Selkirk College Sheds Light on Technology at GIS Day

Full Day of Education, Speakers and Demonstrations On Tap


Selkirk College is inviting you to view the earth in a whole different way.

GIS Day is an internationally recognized event that demonstrates the power and importance of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in our everyday lives. On Wednesday, November 19, the Selkirk College School of Environment & Geomatics is hosting a GIS Day event on the Castlegar Campus that will provide a closer look at the technology.

GIS Day - Harrier

Peter LeCouffe from  Harrier Aerial Survey will be one of the presenters at the Selkirk College GIS Day event on November 19 on the Castlegar Campus. LeCouffe will present on drone technology which is an important tool in today’s mapping processes.

“We use GIS to analyze the relationships between animals and habitat, business and location, development and impact, and human health and health services,” says Selkirk College GIS Instructor Frank Zhang. “We gather data linked to locations (spatial data) using satellite imagery and GPS, cell phones and tables, drones and scanners, and road and stream networks.”

Also included in the field is the creation of visualizations in maps, 3D models and time change series dimensions.

“The field of GIS is gaining popularity at an exponential rate and for good reason,” says Zhang. “We’re using it to make sense of our big data, communicate important messages and ultimately make better decisions related to our planet.”

A Closer Look at Selkirk College's GIS Programming

The Selkirk College GIS Day event will provide a glimpse of what faculty, researchers and students are doing right here in the West Kootenay-Boundary. Those in attendance will get to see how Selkirk’s partners and sponsors are leveraging this important technology on a daily basis.

There will be exhibits, map and poster displays by Columbia Power, Harrier Aerial Survey, the Canadian Society of Remote Sensing (Kootenay Chapter), and current Selkirk College students who will all be coming together to promote data literacy and geography awareness in the province.

The keynote speaker for the day is Dr. Jon Corbett from the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO). Corbett is an associate professor in Community, Culture & Global Studies at UBCO and the co-director of the Centre for Social, Spatial and Economic Justice. He will be speaking on disruptive GIS.

GIS Day - Ian Parfitt

Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre Coordinator Ian Parfitt.

“A disruptive technology is one that creates new values and markets and shakes up old ways of doing things,” says Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre Coordinator Ian Parfitt. “A new technology or innovation first displaces old methods and then sets the stage for unexpected opportunities, insights and cultural shifts.

“GIS are one such innovation. The old school hand-crafted methods of map making have been uprooted and replaced with digital systems that not only allow for the rapid development and reproduction of cartographic products, but also for the analysis of space and spatial relations. GIS has now infiltrated into previously unimaginable industries and crept into the everyday lives of users with new purposes.”

Corbett will be speaking between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Sponsors Help Make Day Happen

The Selkirk College GIS Day is sponsored by Columbia Power, Harrier Aerial Survey, the Canadian Society of Remote Sensing (Kootenay Chapter), ESRI Canada, Geospatial Information Technology Association (GITA) Pacific Northwest Chapter, and MacDonald, Dettwiler & Associates Inc.

The event will run between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in The Pit on the Castlegar Campus (main building). Lunch is provided courtesy of the event sponsors and everybody with an interest in learning more about the technology is invited. Go to to register. For more information please contact GIS Instructor Frank Zhang at (250.304.6527) or Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre Coordinator Ian Parfitt at (250.304.6524).


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