Digital Scholar Bytes: Celebrating World GIS Day: Unveiling the Power of Spatial Intelligence


In the realm of modern technology, where data is the new currency, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) stand as the unsung heroes orchestrating a symphony of spatial intelligence. November 15 marks World GIS Day, a celebration that shines a spotlight on the transformative impact of GIS in our interconnected world.

Originally conceived by Jack Dangermond, the founder and president of Esri, GIS Day is for people to explore GIS technology and to demonstrate how geospatial technology affects everyone. Real real-world applications of GIS are making a difference in business, government and society. At its essence, GIS are more than just maps and coordinates; it’s a dynamic system that integrates data with geographic locations, unraveling patterns, relationships, and insights that might otherwise remain hidden.

“GIS Day is a wonderful opportunity for professionals from around the world to get together to share their amazing work,” said Dangermond. “These individuals are using GIS technology to take a geographic approach in addressing unprecedented challenges, from COVID-19 to climate change. Organizations across the globe are taking part in grassroots events that help celebrate geospatial science and how it impacts the real world for good. Our users should be proud of their achievements in the field, which GIS Day is meant to showcase.”

Here are four examples of how GIS are improving our society.

Better Traffic Management

GIS are the architects of smart cities. It optimizes traffic flow, designs efficient public transportation systems, and aids in disaster preparedness. By visualizing data in a geographic context, city planners can make informed decisions that enhance the quality of urban life. This can include considerations for green spaces, zoning regulations, and infrastructure development.

Disease Mapping and Epidemiology

GIS enables the mapping of disease outbreaks, helping health professionals visualize the spread of infections. It assists in identifying high-risk areas, facilitating targeted interventions and resource allocation. The first case of using geography and spatial analysis to track disease was by Charles Picquet in 1832 in Paris, during the cholera outbreak.

Disaster Response and Management

When disasters strike, time is of the essence. GIS aid in rapid response and effective management of natural disasters. By overlaying real-time data with geographic information, emergency responders can streamline their efforts, saving lives and minimizing damage.

AI-powered GIS

The integration of AI with GIS revolutionizes spatial analysis and decision-making. AI enhances GIS capabilities through autonomous agents. These agents automate data interpretation, enable predictive modeling, and extract meaningful insights from vast geospatial datasets.


In conclusion, World GIS Day is not just a celebration of a technology, it is a celebration of the profound impact GIS has on our understanding of the world. From unraveling the mysteries of our environment to empowering individuals with the tools to create change, GIS are a testament to the transformative power of spatial intelligence. Let’s celebrate the achievements of GIS and look forward to the innovations that will shape our spatial future.

Further Reading

National Geographic Society, and ESRI. 2023. National Geographic and ESRI: Exploring with GIS. A documentary mini-series.
ESRI. What is GIS? 2023. ESRI.
SpatialPost. 2023. The Evolution Of GIS: From Mapping To Spatial Intelligence. SpatialPost. November 12.
Zhenlong Li & Huan Ning. 2023. “Autonomous GIS: the next-generation AI-powered GIS,” International Journal of Digital Earth, 16:2, 4668-4686.
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