Happy GIS Day!

Did you know that November 17th is GIS Day?  Probably not.  GIS Day is an awareness campaign, sponsored by ESRI, which is designed to increase the visibility of the spatial arts.  Which is important, because I don’t think GIS has become part of the everyday lexicon yet.  Whenever people ask me what I do for a living, my answer always bewilders them.  I usually end up telling them that I make maps with the computer – it’s just easier than describing the complex relationship between cartography, database management, and spatial modeling that GIS embodies.

I’m sure all the other GIS blogs out there are linking their visitors to gisday.com and ESRI’s gis.com.  I thought it would be fun instead to link to some of the lesser known online resources that GIS professionals are using.

Color Brewer is a neat application that helps you cook up attractive and usable color schemes for your thematic maps:
http://www.personal.psu.edu/cab38/ColorBrewer/ColorBrewer_intro.html

Spatial Reference has a comprehensive catalog of spatial reference systems and projection info.  Each system is available in a wide number of formats, including JSON, WKT, and XML:
http://spatialreference.org/

Getting tired of the icons and symbols included in your desktop GIS?  Here’s a very large collection of replacements, in convenient scalable vector graphics (SVG) format:
http://www.sjjb.co.uk/mapicons/contactsheet

With today’s focus on green energy, GIS professionals in the land use and development fields will increasingly be called upon to calculate the solar potential of the building site.  Sustainable By Design hosts a number of tools that can help you calculate solar angle, solar path, and even helps design window shades:
http://www.susdesign.com/tools.php

In a similar vein, the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory provides a number of different wind energy resources, which can be used to estimate the wind potential of a site:
http://www.nrel.gov/gis/data_analysis.html

Hope everyone has a happy GIS Day!

2 Comments

Norsky on November 17, 2010 at 19:03.

Do you have any good links to politically-oriented maps or data, specifically within King County, WA?

leigh on November 18, 2010 at 21:06.

Political GIS data (districts, precincts, etc) can be downloaded from the King County GIS data portal:
http://www5.kingcounty.gov/gisdataportal/

King County also maintains a set of pre-built election reference maps which can be downloaded as PDFs:
http://www.kingcounty.gov/elections/referenceresources/electionmaps/legislativedistricts.aspx

Hope that helps!