Published: Oct. 9, 2018

GIS Day is a worldwide event that celebrates the technology of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). As explained by GISGeography, "GIS can capture, display and analyze location data to help make powerful decisions. For example, GIS helps us understand where best to build a wind farm, predict areas of flooding or plan the most efficient bus route."

This year, GIS Day will be celebrated at CU Boulder as a collaborative venture of the Geography Department, University Libraries, and the Center for Research Data and Digital Scholarship (CRDDS). Sarah Kelly, GIScience Instructor, and Phil White, Earth Sciences & Environment Librarian, are co-coordinating a series of events to demonstrate how GIS makes a difference in our society and connect GIS users from our campus community.

The event will take place the afternoon of November 14, and a keynote talk will be delivered by Mamata Akella, Head of Cartography at Carto. All GIS Day events will take place in Norlin Library. Prior to the celebration, you can explore the geospatial resources at CU Boulder.

1-3pm: Kickoff and Talks Norlin Library E206

GIS Day will kickoff at 1pm with a series of presentations on a variety of GIS topics:

  • Davey Lovin - Data Driven International Development; recent grad from CU in Applied Math, Computer Science and Geography
  • Jeff Pearson - Solutions Engineer, Esri; Using geospatial analysis to determine Environmental impacts
  • James Sill, Solutions Engineer, Esri; Machine Learning and Remote Sensing
  • Apollo Mapping (Katie Nelson and Jake Zatz) - Map Mavin: An innovative, online-mapping platform facilitating seamless data sharing between administrators and users
  • Matt Whitlock, CU Computer Science PhD student; FieldView: Mobile and Immersive Situated Analysis in the Field
  • Emily Volk, CU student in EBIO and TAM; Story Maps and interactive, data-driven storytelling

3-4pm: Networking and Poster Session Norlin Library N410

An informal networking and poster session will take place at 3pm in Norlin Library room N410. We are actively soliciting poster presenters. If you would like to present a poster, please email the GIS Day organizers, Phil White ( and Sarah Kelly ( You are welcome to reuse a poster already presented at another venue.

4-5pm: Keynote Norlin Library CBIS (5th floor)

Join us for a keynote talk by Mamata Akella. Mamata is the Head of Cartography at Carto and will deliver a keynote titled The power of cartography: turning raw data into actionable insights. The keynote will take place just around the corner from the poster session in the Center for British and Irish Studies (CBIS) in Norlin Library.

5-7pm: Mapathon Norlin Library E206

At 5pm on GIS Day, the Center for Research Data and Digital Scholarship will host an OpenStreetMap Mapathon event. The Mapathon will be a friendly competition between mappers at CU Boulder, Colorado State, Colorado School of Mines, and the University of Northern Colorado. Absolutely no experience required—just an interest in mapping and a desire to contribute to an OpenStreetMap Humanitarian mapping project. The event will take place in Norlin Library room E206 and will start at 5pm with a brief training session with the “competition” running from 5:15 to 6:45. Free pizza and soft drinks will be provided. Please sign up ahead of time so we’ll know how much pizza to order.