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JIS News

Denham Town Primary and the Wolmer’s Girls’ and Boys’ Schools will receive various commendations and prizes on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day for their outstanding performances in the United Nations sponsored ‘My Community, Our Earth’ competition.
GIS Day is being observed on November 16 with the presentation of awards scheduled for the Assembly Hall at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus during a day long GIS exposition.
The competition, which focuses on geographic learning for sustainable development was held earlier this year with Wolmer’s Girls’ School emerging first overall in the competition for the second consecutive year. In addition the institution secured first place in the high school category.
Wolmer’s Boys’ School, came in third in the overall competition, and placed second in the high school category. Meanwhile, Denham Town Primary was awarded first prize in the primary school category.
As for the other activities slated for GIS Day, which will be observed under the theme, ‘GIS: Securing Our Communities’, National GIS Coordinator in the Ministry of Land and Environment, Cecille Blake told JIS News that the day would offer a variety of activities, which included presentations and exhibitions as well as a quiz competition.
To begin the day there will be an opening ceremony at the Assembly Hall starting at 9:00 a.m. Chair of the Land Information Council of Jamaica, Jacqueline daCosta will be the chairperson for the day’s proceedings while Deputy Commissioner of Police in Charge of Crime, Mark Shields will be on hand to deliver the opening address. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Land and Environment, Donovan Stanberry is also scheduled to participate in the event.
In addition, representatives from the National Land Agency (NLA), the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), and the Ministry of Transport and Works among other agencies will host technology exhibitions during the day.
One of the main events for the day is a GIS quiz competition coordinated by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, which gets underway at 1:00 p.m.
Commenting on the significance of GIS Day, Ms. Blake said GIS Day was a grass-roots event, which formalized the practice of Geographic Information Systems in all countries.
A GIS represents computer software, data and solutions used by a plethora of agencies, businesses and governments. It takes any information that is related to land and allows the user to put it in a data base form. Locations such as streets, buildings and water features are transformed into visual layers, and users have the ability to see the geographic features on a map.
“It gives users a better understanding of a particular location and it enables users such as planners and analysts to make more informed decisions. It really provides the ability to combine different data,” Ms. Blake said.
The day is a global event for users and vendors of GIS technology to educate and showcase real-world applications of this important technology to schools, businesses and the general public. The day is also the highlight of Geography Awareness Week, which is being observed from November 13 to 18.
Last year marked the sixth global GIS Day. More than 1,000 organisations hosted GIS Day events in some 80 countries.

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