Geography in action

In celebration of National Geographic Awareness Week, November 17-21, the Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology (WIT) Project presented Geographic Information System (GIS) Day at Queen Kaahumanu Center in Kahului. The event featured displays and demonstrations to encourage the community to think and learn about the significance of place and how we affect and are affected by it. Local GIS professionals were on hand to talk about their respective projects utilizing GIS technology, a computer-based mapping technique that links locational and database information. The ability to see geographic features on a map and visualize patterns and trends enables planners, analysts and others to make evaluations and informed decisions about their communities. WIT also hosted a live statewide GIS Day webcast for Hawai’i students, enabling over 600 of them to engage with experts about the exciting projects that use geospatial technologies.

“We are excited to promote GIS awareness throughout the state and to collaborate with National Geographic Education, Hawaii Geographic Coordinating Council, and the Hawaii Geographic Alliance to help make it happen,” said Isla Young, director of K12 STEM Education for MEDB’s Women in Technology Project. “Inspiring the next generation of spatially literate and engaging Hawai’i STEM students are two of our highest priorities.” In addition, the public experienced National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Map of the Pacific Ocean. Measuring 26 by 35 feet, the brightly colored geographic floor-map offered student explorers a chance to ‘walk across the Pacific’, studying the geographic features of our world’s largest ocean. “Teachers and students were also shown how GIS technology and drones work together to capture data in the field,” Young added.

George K. Purdy IV, owner of Drone Services Hawai’i, explained “My company’s mission is to provide high quality drone products and services for personal, professional, commercial and government use. It’s important, for my son Adam and other students, to get our children excited about STEM so they can apply it to their future careers and the sustainability of our islands.”

Furthering GIS and STEM education in our state will guarantee numerous jobs here in Hawai’i.

George K. Purdy IV, Drone Services Hawai’i

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