As long-time GIS practitioners, we got curious about the types of national days related to GIS and mapping. We wanted to create a list of geo-related national days that even Waldo Tobler would be proud of.
These national days have wide applicability beyond the GIS community. Each of the following holidays shares a connection to Geography and GIS. We invite you to recognize and celebrate them with us.
“Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things…This is the first law of geography” – American-Swiss Geographer Waldo Tobler
List of 2023 Geographic and GIS Holidays:
National Geographic Day (January 27, 2023) – Not to be confused with National Geographic Awareness Week, National Geographic Day is a day that pays homage to National Geographic Magazine. National Geographic Day is held every year on January 27th.
National Surveyors’ Day (March 11, 2023) – National Surveyors’ Day is held on the Sunday of National Surveyors week, which starts every year on the third Sunday of March.
National 3D Day (March 22, 2023) – Many geospatial technologies (such as lidar) owe their success to 3D technology. 3D Day is observed (through a pair of 3D spectacles) every year on the third day of the third week of March.
National Read a Road Map Day (April 5, 2023) – Before the days you could whip out your phone and navigate with Google Maps, hard copy road maps and atlases littered passenger seats and filled glove compartments. National Read a Road Map Day is held annually on April 5th, and encourages people to go on more adventures.
Earth Day (April 22, 2023) – The original Geo Day – Earth Day, is held every year on April 22nd. Earth Day was originally created in 1970 to spur on the passing of the Clean Air and Clean Water Act (which passed in December 1970 and October 1972, respectively).
National Cartography Day (Brazil – May 6, 2023) – Although not (yet!) an officially recognized day in the United States, National Cartography Day is celebrated in Brazil annually on May 6th.
World Environment Day (June 5, 2023) – Inspired by the United Nations Environment Program, World Environment day is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2023, and is held annually on June 5th.
World Sea Turtle Day (June 16, 2023) – Known as the great navigators of the animal kingdom, we believe Sea Turtle’s have earned their geographic importance. World Sea Turtle Day is held each year on June 16th.
National Aviation Day (August 19, 2023) – Held annually on August 19th since 1939, National Aviation Day celebrates the anniversary of Orville Wright’s Birthday. For the record, Wilbur’s birthday is April 16th; which some may know as national semicolon day.
National Public Lands Day (September 23, 2023) – Much more than just about National Parks themselves, National Public Lands Day is historically the most popular day to volunteer in general (every 4th Saturday in September).
Earth Science Week (October 8-14, 2023) – Held on the second week of October, Earth Science Week was founded by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) and has been sponsored for quite some time by USGS. Earth Science Week raises awareness and appreciation of earth sciences.
National Marooned Without a Compass Day (November 6, 2023) – Perhaps nothing could be scarier to any good navigator than losing their compass. Celebrated every year on November 6th, National Marooned Without a Compass Day highlights and asks us to embrace the lack of direction in our lives.
GIS Day (November 15, 2023) – Originally inspired by Ralph Nader (according to Esri’s Jack Dangermond) the ubiquitous GIS Day is held on the Wednesday of the third week in November each year. GIS Day is now celebrated worldwide with thousands of official and unofficial events and is championed by GIS companies like ESRI.
Are any geographic national days missing from this list? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions.