Kihei, Maui —In celebration of national Geography Awareness Week, the Maui Economic Development Board’s Women In Technology (WIT) will be partnering with Hawaii’s Geographic Information System (GIS) professionals to host its annual GIS Day on Oahu, November 17th and Maui, November 21st and its live statewide GIS Day webcast for Hawai’i K-12 schools.

An excellent learning event featuring hands-on geospatial activities, GIS Day brings National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Map (GTM) of the Pacific Ocean to local audiences. One of the world’s largest representations of the world’s largest ocean, the giant map measures an impressive 26 feet by 35 feet, allowing explorers to immerse themselves in rich geographic content and interactive activities.

The map’s brightly colored, smooth vinyl surface gives young and old a chance to walk around and discover the unexpected — from the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on earth, to the world’s tallest mountain, Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, which has its base on the ocean floor.

Students will be able to experience the Pacific Ocean as a living entity, with active volcanoes giving birth to new islands, deep sea vents supporting new life forms, phytoplankton providing over half of the planet’s fresh air, as well as the immensity of the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living structure in the world.

Beginning November 17, GIS Day will be held at the NOAA Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center on Ford Island in Honolulu.  Oahu students will be able to easily transverse the Pacific Ocean using the Giant Traveling Map, as well as participate in activities such as a GPS Treasure Hunt, Augmented Reality Sandbox, and drone demonstrations. The activities help students learn the different applications of GIS and how it is used in various industries across the islands.

The following day on November 18, WIT will host a live statewide webcast for Hawai’i schools.  Students will be able to engage with local professionals to learn more about the growing GIS career opportunities in Hawai’i and the exciting projects that use geospatial technologies.

On November 21, the Giant Traveling Map will make its way to Maui where the public can explore its wonders at GIS Day at Queen Kaahumanu Center in Kahului. Maui students will also learn how GIS technology and drones work together to capture data in the field.

All events are sponsored by MEDB’s Women in Technology and various GIS industry partners.

“We are excited to promote GIS awareness throughout the state and to collaborate with National Geographic Education, HIGICC, 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.”

Women in Technology is an initiative of the Maui Economic Development Board whose mission is to promote STEM throughout the state with hands-on and project-based service learning.

Established by presidential proclamation more than 25 years ago, Geography Awareness Week is organized by National Geographic Education Programs (NGEP) and encourages citizens to think and learn about the significance of place and how we affect and are affected by it.