Thursday, November 20, 2008

Did you celebrate GIS Day yesterday?

Yesterday was the 10th annual GIS Day. Never heard of GIS Day, you say? Me neither, until yesterday. Capital Metro, of course, uses GIS (Geographic Information Systems) everyday for route planning, safety and risk management, etc. When you use our online trip planner or Google Transit to plan a trip on a Capital Metro bus, GIS is the underlying technology that makes it possible (in addition to the efforts of some smart programmers and planners at Capital Metro).

Meet Capital Metro's Arc Users Group: Ed Easton, Van Sutherland, Meredith Highsmith, Jenn Golech, Thomas Tsang, and James Gamez

GIS Day is about increasing understanding of the real-world applications of GIS technology. The Capital Metro Arc Users Group--a cadre of planners, risk managers, and others who use GIS or are interested in its applications--hosted a GIS Day celebration for all of Capital Metro, highlighting the many ways we depend upon the technology.

Honestly, it wasn't boring, and I'm not a transit nerd or geographer. It was almost fascinating, really. One of the demonstrations was by GIS Coordinator Van Sutherland. Van developed the Capital Metro Transit Stops system geodatabase, which allows you to view all of our 3,000+ bus stops, including a photograph and a list of the stop amenities, as well as what times a bus will be arriving, according to the schedule. You can check it out here.

Van created the interface about three years ago. His work saves our planning team a considerable amount of time, because before, the planners needed to consult many sources of information in order to plot routes and plan stops. Van notes, "Now they can use a single interface."