Southwest Florida GIS Day 2012 at the Morgan Family Community Center in North Port was a resounding success. A diverse group of over 100 people attended, ranging in age from middle school students to older adults.
GIS Day is an annual opportunity for the community to come together around new ways to look at and understand the world we live in. Community members were invited to learn about the geography of our region and the ways that residents and government agencies are working together to make Southwest Florida an even better place to live.
The City of North Port hosted the event in partnership with Sarasota County Government, Charlotte County Government, Manatee County Government, the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office, SWFWMD, SCOPE, FEMA, and the Sarasota County Community Data Collaborative. Each of the partners showcased how they are using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) in their work at booths and in the map gallery at the community center. Some of the most innovative presentations included a LIDAR visualization of Walt Disney World in Orlando from SWFWMD and a regional map created by the City of North Port that participants enhanced with stickers locating where they live, work, learn and play in the region. Another popular feature was the interactive geocaching with GPS devices.
In order to increase awareness about the efforts of the Community Data Collaborative, SCOPE brought a series of maps that were generated using data about demographics, community assets, indicators of wellbeing and community change efforts that have been gathered by the Sarasota County community over the past decade. GIS Day participants who stopped by to find out more about SCOPE and the Community Data Collaborative also had a chance to play around with the online Community Platform that the Community Data Collaborative is building by choosing their neighborhood in Sarasota County and picking various datasets (demographics, community assets, indicators of wellbeing) to discover more about their neighborhood. SCOPErs had a great time talking with community members about using GIS for community decision-making, and we look forward to seeing some of these folks at the upcoming Community Data Collaborative meeting on November 28th from 9:30-11am at the Florida House (see the SCOPE website for more details).