Written by: Katy Rossiter
The holiday season is upon us and for the Geography Division at the U.S. Census Bureau, the season starts with GIS Day! Today is GIS Day, a worldwide celebration that highlights how geography and GIS can help answer questions. Geographic information systems (GIS) combine software and data to display and analyze spatial information. GIS allows us to visualize and interpret data through maps and charts, and in a way that is quick to understand.
At the Census Bureau, GIS plays an important role in our everyday work, not only in the Geography Division, but throughout the Census Bureau. Whether it is using the OnTheMap tool to help answer questions about our working population or creating maps for our data visualization gallery to make data not only interesting and fun but also easier to understand, you will find GIS technology throughout census.gov.
In addition, we utilize GIS to be more efficient in our daily activities and we are now better able to share products with data users. For example, GIS has allowed us to create and print millions of maps for taking a census in a relatively short period. We are also able to provide GIS files that data users can use in their own GIS software and a web-mapping application with a web mapping service (WMS) for those who do not have their own GIS or want to stream our data as a base in their own applications. We create maps, charts, reports, and tools so our data can be viewed spatially, all using GIS.
At the Census Bureau, we will be celebrating on November 15 with the Geospatial Summit for employees. The Geospatial Summit will bring awareness of geospatial technologies within the Census Bureau, allowing staff to broaden their knowledge through presentations and lightning talks, hands-on demonstrations and a map gallery showing some of the maps created using GIS. Learning from their colleagues through presentations on technologies, such as web-based mapping, enterprise GIS, geospatial data visualization, and web application development will help staff across the Census Bureau use geospatial technology in their work. Geospatial technology will be used to better assign our field staff to conduct censuses and surveys, assist analysts reviewing data, improve the accuracy of our geospatial products and create products for the public to visualize our data.
Look for more blogs in the coming months that delve deeper into how the Census Bureau uses GIS technology.