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Celebrating GIS Day 2020

November 18, 2020

GIS (geographic information systems) Day was created in 1999 by ESRI president and co-founder Jack Dangermond through the inspiration of Ralph Nader. In its 21 years, it has grown from a day of celebrating GIS technology into a global initiative that provides an international forum for users of geographic information systems to demonstrate real-world GIS applications that are making a difference in our society.

GIS Day at VCU Libraries

In 2018, VCU Libraries hosted its first formal event for GIS Day in partnership with the Wilder School, Career Services, Environmental Sciences and community organizations. Because of the positive response, VCU Libraries hosted a second GIS Day event in 2019 tied to the Common Book Evicted and focusing on the RVA Eviction Lab and the role that GIS plays in understanding eviction rates in the Richmond area.

In 2020, given the changes in the semester, organizers wanted to keep things very simple, so instead of having a formal event, they invite you to become more informed about the power and importance of GIS by exploring some of the many resources available online, at VCU and in the community.

GIS Resources from VCU Libraries

VCU Libraries subscribes to databases that utilize GIS to help locate and communicate research, including SimplyAnalytics and Data Axle (formerly REF USA). The libraries have also created curated research guides (Lib Guides) for a number of disciplines that use GIS. These include:


The university offers a number of ways to learn GIS and cartography:

  • The post-baccalaureate graduate certificate in geographic information systems, a four-course certificate program in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
  • A number of classes in various departments:
    • ANTH 303 — Archaeological Methods and Research Design.
    • BIOS 649 — Advanced Spatial Data Analysis
    • ENVS 421 — Environmental Data Visualization
    • ENVS 521 — Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
    • ENVS 591 — Advanced Spatial Modeling
    • ENVS 603 — Environmental Research Methods
    • ENVS 675 — Advanced Environmental Applications of GIS
    • FIRE 628 — Using GIS in Real Estate Decisions
    • MASC 644 — Computer-assisted Reporting
    • MATH 230 — Mathematics in Civilization
    • MILS 102 — Military Science and Leadership: Foundations of Agile and Adaptive Leadership
    • URSP 360 — Community and Regional Analysis and GIS
    • URSP 521 and URSP 621 — Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
    • URSP 525 — Site Planning and Graphics
    • URSP 622 — Community Socioeconomic Analysis Using GIS
    • URSP 625 — Spatial Database Management and GIS Modeling
    • URSP 627 — GIS Applications in Urban Design
    • URSP 651 — Transportation Policy and Planning
  • GIS training outlined in the VCU Libraries GIS guide

Creating Maps

If you’re interested in exploring additional tools to help you create data-informed maps of your own, check out these resources:

Local GIS- and Map-related Projects of Interest

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