Since 1999, GIS Day has been celebrated on the Wednesday of Geography Awareness Week. GIS Day was created to show how geographic information systems (GIS) technology is applied in several fields of work to solve problems, answer questions, and otherwise demonstrate the power of spatial data. At the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), staff gather each year to celebrate and share how GIS is used in our work programs across the organization.
What is GIS?
GIS incorporates spatial data in the form of geographic features or locations and tabular data which can be mapped and analyzed to assess real-world problems. The tabular data provides additional information or data associated with a geographic location, this allows users to perform a variety of analysis or to create maps to be shared with more information than a traditional map can.
How do we use GIS?
COG’s Planning Data Resources team, housed in the Department of Transportation Planning (DTP), organizes and hosts GIS Day. The event’s agenda includes topics which appeal to our veteran and beginner users. Staff already utilizing the technology are encouraged to participate by showing recent work products, while staff new to GIS can learn about COG’s spatial data offerings through presentations and demonstrations. Last year, Department of Environmental Programs (DEP) staff introduced colleagues to the Anacostia River through an interactive story map, as well as demonstrated how they use the Collector App in the field, and DTP staff explained how the regional Freight Significant Network was developed among COG members.
This year’s GIS Day program will follow much of the same format. One anticipated highlight will be the debut of TPB’s Visualize 2045 story map. This product, intended to be a summarized digital companion to recently-adopted long range transportation plan, showcases programs, data, and analysis from multiple departments across COG.
You can explore the Visualize 2045 story map here. While you are going through the story map, see if you can find the answers to the following questions!
Approximately how many people live within the TPB Region?
How many miles of metro rails are there?
By 2045 what will the percentage of lanes congested during rush hours be?
What is the percentage of commuters who drive to work alone right now?