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Celebrate GIS Day at the Library of Congress on Tuesday, November 14th!

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Join us for GIS Day at the Library of Congress, Tuesday, November 14th, for a full day of talks highlighting GIS technology and its impact on the work of policymakers, researchers, and librarians on Capitol Hill and beyond!

The GIS Day morning session will feature a keynote address by Congressman Mark Takano, of California, on the use of GIS and geospatial data for policy in Congress, as well as a speech by Congressman Bruce Westerman, of Arkansas, on the importance of geospatial data.

The program will kick off at 9:15am in the Montpelier Room on the Sixth Floor of the Madison Building (101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, D.C.). The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not needed. Individuals requiring accommodations for this event are requested to submit a request at least five business days in advance by contacting (202) 707-6362 or [email protected].

A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system for storing, analyzing, manipulating and displaying digital data that is linked to positions on the Earth’s surface. GIS provides the modern basis for digital geographic analysis and map-making.

Taking place during Geography Awareness Week, GIS Day is an annual celebration of GIS technology observed by hundreds of events held around the world. Formally organized since 1999, GIS Day aims to provide a welcoming forum that promotes the benefits of GIS research, demonstrates real-world applications of GIS, and fosters open, idea-sharing and growth in the GIS community.

In addition to speeches by Congressman Takano and Congressman Westerman, the morning session will include presentations focused on the use of GIS technology in the work of the Senate, House of Representatives, and the Congressional Research Service.

Afternoon sessions for GIS Day will focus on how GIS and the “Story Map” narrative format are allowing Library of Congress researchers and specialists to harness geospatial technologies for the digital humanities. Following introductions on the topics GIS in digital humanities research and Story Map design, participants in the Library’s Story Map Pilot Project will present their Story Maps, which showcase collections from across the Library of Congress as well as demonstrate the use of web mapping technologies to enhance visual storytelling.

Night Lights map of the world, detail on North and South America
Detail of “Night lights : [satellite view of the world]” by Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, 2004. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.

The event will conclude with tours of the Geography and Map Division’s collections, including the rare and valuable cartographic treasures of our vault.


Morning Session
GIS and Geospatial Data for Congress

8:45 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.: Coffee Conversations

9:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Welcome, Dr. Paulette Hasier, Chief Geography and Map Division

9:30 a.m. to 9:40 a.m. Mark Sweeney, Introduction of Keynote Speaker, Acting Deputy Librarian

9:40 a.m. to 10 a.m.: “GIS and Geospatial Data for Policy in Congress,” by Congressman Mark Takano, of California

10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.: “Congressional Research Service’s Use of GIS for Congress” by Mary Mazanec, Director of the Congressional Research Service and the CRS GIS Team

10:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.: Coffee break

10:45 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.: “Using GIS in the Senate,” by Timothy Petty, Deputy Legislative Director, Senator James E. Risch, of Idaho

11:10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.: “Using GIS in the House of Representatives,” by Rae Best, House Librarian and Nick Schumate, House Library GIS specialist

11:30 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.: The Importance of Geospatial Data, by Congressman Bruce Westerman, of Arkansas

11:50 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch

Afternoon Session
GIS for the Digital Humanities and Data Visualization at the Library of Congress

1 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.: “Introduction to GIS and Story Maps for the Digital Humanities,” by John Hessler, Specialist in modern cartography and GIS at the Library of Congress

1:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.: “Story Maps: Case Studies in Design,” by Owen Williams, ESRI

1:45 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Story Map Pilot Project Presentations, by Library of Congress divisions, including:

Law Library of Congress
Geography and Map Division
Rare Book and Special Collections Division
Prints and Photographs Division
Asian Division
The American Folklife Center
Serial and Government Publications Division

3 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.: Concluding remarks

3:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Open House in the Geography and Map Division

Through this diverse program, we are excited to showcase the GIS resources available to Congress and further promote the value of GIS technology to the broader American public. We look forward to seeing you there!


  1. Thank you for this opportunity!

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