GIS Day 2017 (Wednesday 15th November 2017)
Theme: Discovering the World through GIS
KU Rallying: We Map It, Do You?
The week of 13th - 17th November is the International GIS Week and on Wednesday 15th November 2017 the World will come together in celebration of the annual salute to geospatial technology and its power to transform and better lives. This year’s GIS Day theme is “Discovering the World through GIS” and the rallying call for KU is “We Map It, Do You?”. The GIS Day has been celebrated since 1999 when the first event took place. Here at KU we will be holding our 4th GIS Day, the first one having been held in 2014. Each year about 400 students in KU participate in the whole day of GIS Fun, Lectures, Career Talks and Networking with the GIS stakeholders from industry.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has become an integral part of several disciplines and cuts across all areas of modern information society. In the recent past, government agencies, companies and societies have deployed geo-spatial technologies to solve a number of challenges. The challenges range from climate change, market failure, conflicts, to agriculture and infrastructure. The development of spatially oriented databases, web map services, navigation and localization of events using the Global Navigation Satellite Systems has played a significant role in the use of GIS technology across the general public. The development of Geo-information technology is directly related to the need for technical training for faculty members and students across a University.
With the support of ESRI 100 African Universities programme since May 2013 Kenyatta University has had a standard product; the ArcGIS site license that serve the teaching and research needs. As a pioneer of the programme, Kenyatta University has grown to be recognized as a lighthouse of Geo-Spatial knowledge and for that reason ESRI President Jack Dangermond in 2015 awarded the university with a Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award
Besides providing training to students and faculty the mobilization of the use of geospatial tools has supported coordinating of learning activities in form of seminars, workshops and conferences. Some of the learning activities that the university has been engaged in since the launch of the Esri site license include;
1. Organizing and holding the annual GIS Day every 3rd Wednesday of November since 2014.
2. Participation in Esri Eastern Africa GIS Education User conferences since 2013
3. Participating in GIS and Remote Sensing conferences in the region organized by AARSE, RCMRD and other organizations
GIS and Remote Sensing play a significant role in enhancing effectiveness in solving environmental, socio-economic and scientific problems. The body of knowledge simplifies and accelerates the process of analysis and decision-making in when it comes to complex and intertwined subjects.
GIS technologies is one of the three most important emerging and evolving fields in modern science, along with nanotechnology and biotechnology. GIS has extended the frontiers of many disciplines and emerged as a discipline in its own right. GIS is the common ground, or 'glue', that underpins data sharing across disciplines, entrenching geography and GIS in research and applications far beyond geography itself. Several projects, businesses, industries, governments and organizations now depend on the integrative and analytical power of new geo-technologies to deal with information that is inherently spatial. This has led to a huge demand for people with sound theoretical insights into the science of handling geographical Information along with the technological expertise of using GI Systems.
Employment opportunities and professional training needs are growing worldwide as geo-technologies become pervasive in the wider economy. The limited number of students who have previously acquired the technical skills in GIS and Remote Sensing at KU have had an additional advantage in the job market. The set of skills offer a cutting-edge advantage when it comes to employability and entrepreneurship of the candidates.
The hope and desire is that her students recognise that their future in the work place will require capacities connected to GIS, narrowed to five needs of the workforce must have:
1. Ability to Model the real world’s complexities – this is a subject of Geodesign
2. Holistic thinking about spatial and temporal connections amongst and between watersheds, human settlement, natural hazards, soils, weather patterns, landforms, and land use, about communities, regions, and the planet.
3. Ability to Turn information into matter and matter into base information - critical thinking about data and information
4. Ability in analysing data from a variety of sources, time periods, scales, and themes to make sense of a problem and begin to address its pertinent issues.
5. Ability to tell a good story & be ready to become “shallow experts” very quickly on many different types of software, platforms, and services
We are looking forward to your presence and participation in this field of the “Science of where”
Prof Simon M Onywere
7th November 2017