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GIS Day 2012: Discovering the World Through GIS

As we celebrate GIS Day today, it seems fitting that everyone’s attention has been on maps recently, especially with the election results last week and the devastation and recovery from superstorm Sandy. Perhaps without realizing it, everyone is taking advantage of the power of GIS. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) allow us to visualize vast amounts of data and information to better understand our physical world, political events, cultural changes, disasters, and much more.

GIS Day celebrates the use of GIS to analyze diverse topics in local, state, federal, and international applications. From the breakdown of presidential votes by county in the recent election to mapping shelters and storm recovery efforts, GIS is applicable in almost all situations. In fact, GIS has come a long way in being present in most news stories, organizational projects, and some corporate daily operations. As we celebrate 50 years of GISand how far the industry has come, GIS Day offers a forum to showcase the technology and how people are using it to better understand, be more efficient, and make more informed decisions.

Connected Nation uses GIS daily as an essential part of our mission to inform and advance the understanding and utilization of broadband services. We collect and process broadband coverage information from Internet service providers and then aggregate that coverage to create a comprehensive display of where broadband is and is not available. The resulting analyses of maximum download speed, density of unserved households, and others are created using GIS to enable decision makers. Additionally, Connected Nation continuously develops and refines tools such as the interactive My ConnectViewTM to share and demonstrate the value GIS has in discovering patterns, finding answers, or asking more detailed questions.

GIS will continue to be an integral part of what Connected Nation does to increase broadband access, adoption, and use. We are currently upgrading the interactive My ConnectView application to incorporate new enhancements and are also developing applications that can be viewed on mobile devices, including Apple and Android smart phones. As GIS looks forward to the next 50 years of technology evolution, Connected Nation will continue to embrace GIS in a concentrated effort to know where resources should be directed. It’s the power of GIS that helps us understand the current broadband landscape and use that information to make more efficient decisions, allowing more people the opportunity to realize the benefits of broadband.