What Is PostGIS Day?

For the last 20 years, we have celebrated GIS day along with Esri. It is a great opportunity to get people who haven’t used GIS or mapping before in your office to have a look at what you do and maybe share a map cake (Note: It is traditional for GIS professionals to make a GIS-themed cake for the event; this year produced some awesome entries.

Esri South Africa

So, you know how Star Wars day is on May 4th, and then the next day is the “Revenge of the 5th”? Well, the day after GIS Day is always PostGIS Day—get it? On this day the technology underpinning many of the geospatial systems in the world is celebrated, although there isn’t as much cake (although one should point out that pi(e) would be better).

Seen by Steven Feldman

On PostGIS day, events are held around the world by OSGeo,  the Open Source Geospatial Foundation, and these events are great to attend as a user or non-user. Just as GIS day is about opening your door and showing people what you do, PostGIS day is the same in that those who use it discuss and show how to get using it and how to use it better. If you are lucky enough to be in downtown St. Louis, then you will have the opportunity to hear from the father of PostGIS, Paul Ramsey, and hear how you can quickly and easily get up and running.

Why PostGIS? Simply, shapefiles and geojson files thrown into a shared folder isn’t a good way to work. Also, it is a database that stores geometries so you can interact with it directly without needing a GIS. Those of you familiar with the older Esri server systems will be familiar with Oracle. Well PostGIS (an extension to enable geospatial data in PostGRES) is a little bit like Oracle but with super-powers. It has many features you will not find on any other geospatial database system and is now the default database format for Esri server systems. QGIS and even companies like Carto use it for their infrastructure. If you can use a geodatabase or use Excel to create formulas, then you can easily start doing awesomeness with PostGIS.

So, happy PostGIS day! Now go and see where your nearest event is and see what it can do for you!

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