VICTORIA – Today students around the province are celebrating Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day 2013 as teachers demonstrate the power of location using digital mapping, geographical data and applications and other innovative technologies in use by British Columbians.
The government of B.C. is supporting and promoting the use of GIS by updating and expanding on a series of eight lesson plans created to increase young people’s geographic literacy and familiarity with GIS technology. This year’s lesson plans are a collaborative effort among DataBC, the Ministry of Education and Esri Canada.
Powerful computer mapping tools like GIS allow users to create custom digital maps by adding the geographic data of their choosing, such as the locations of roads and rivers or the boundaries of municipalities or provincial parks. The government of B.C. and many organizations around the world rely on GIS to make important decisions in everyday work.
This year, post-secondary institutions have been matched with local K-12 schools. Undergraduate GIS students from the University of Victoria, University of Northern British Columbia, British Columbia Institute of Technology and Simon Fraser University will visit and teach elementary, middle and high school students the lesson plans.
As part of the lessons, students will be able to map their school on iPhones or iPads, learn about the spread of the Mountain Pine Beetle and locate their address and B.C. landmarks in a variety of tools. Students will also learn how to find data in the DataBC Catalogue and access it for decision making.
B.C. is a world leader with respect to geographic information, having developed a shared and central repository of geographic data and services that enable public servants, businesses and citizens to discover, map, visualize, analyze and download a wealth of B.C. data.