Louisville, KY (November 13, 2019) – Today we recognize GIS Day, established in 1999 to show how location intelligence through the use of geographic information systems (GIS) impacts everyone. It is now a global event that demonstrates how far GIS extends into people’s lives and provides a forum for users to showcase their unique accomplishments using GIS – in analyses, cartography, and other data visualizations.
Connected Nation uses GIS to better understand the current broadband landscape, analyze service availability and potential expansion impacts, collect local feedback on coverage gaps, and evaluate network engineering data collections. We believe that everyone belongs in a Connected Nation and GIS is an essential tool in the analysis and display of information to direct broadband-related decision-making at the local, state, and federal levels.
To make the most of all GIS has to offer, Connected Nation is a strong advocate for professional development and continuing education, realizing the organizational benefits that come with training opportunities and learning innovative techniques. Selecting GIS-focused conferences to attend plays a significant role in how Connected Nation advances location intelligence methods to ensure the Digital Divide continues to decrease.
This Fall, Connected Nation GIS staff attended three geospatial-focused conferences, with each contributing to professional development in unique ways.
In late September, Ashley Hitt, Director of GIS Services, attended part of the NSGIC (National States Geographic Information Council) Annual Conference, which was held in Snowbird, Utah. The biggest takeaways from this event involved collaboration and advocacy. “It was interesting to see the changing levels of collaboration between states related to their GIS offices and how some states have dramatically advanced the use of GIS for so many state functions,” said Hitt. “The way GIS impacts everything from local projects to federal datasets is a testament to the power of location intelligence and why we must continue to advocate for best practices and collaboration to not duplicate efforts unnecessarily at the cost of taxpayers.”
Immediately following the NSGIC Conference, Ashley Hitt traveled to New Orleans and was joined by Brian Dudek, Senior GIS Analyst, for the URISA GIS-Pro Conference. High energy at GIS-Pro started immediately, where a Voodoo Blessing kicked off the conference in true New Orleans style. Between the keynote speakers, workshops, and breakout sessions, GIS-Pro offered so much for geospatial professionals of all levels. “It was a valuable event for meeting others in the industry and to see the enthusiasm for their craft and the great work happening across the country,” said Dudek. “GIS is being used in all types of fields to improve all of our lives and more credit is due for these tremendous folks.” During GIS-Pro, Ashley Hitt facilitated a GIS Managers’ Roundtable discussion and was also the program chair for the conference.
In October, the Kentucky GIS Conference took place in Louisville, with Ashley Hitt and Frank Aryee, GIS Technician, in attendance. The conference was hosted by the Kentucky Association of Mapping Professionals (KAMP) and offered significant educational opportunities in addition to networking with geospatial professionals on innovations and solving challenges. “There is a high level of organization and participation as well as broader content in terms of pre-conference workshops and research presentations, with more insights into better ways of approaching problems using GIS,” said Aryee. “Moreover, people seem enthusiastic and willing to share their knowledge and experience with you.” During the KY GIS Conference, Ashley Hitt gave a presentation on lessons learned in GIS strategic planning.
All three conferences provided geospatial education, professional training, and insights into how GIS is advancing as a technology. Having data is one thing, but analyzing those datasets and developing maps and applications that impact policy and the public are why GIS is so essential to so many aspects of life. At Connected Nation, we will continue to innovate and strategize new ways to use GIS to allow policymakers to make the most informed decisions possible on where the Digital Divide exists, and more importantly, how to close it.
Happy GIS Day!
About the Author: Ashley Hitt is the Director of GIS Services. She oversees the day-to-day operations of the GIS team. She’s responsible for developing strategies using GIS to provide data visualization solutions that impact policy, economic development, and the digital divide.
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