On Wednesday 19 November the Department of Geo-Spatial Sciences and Technology of the Namibia University of Science and Technology organised the Namibia GIS Day. "GIS" stands for Geographical Informations Systems, a rapidly developing technology used to capture, store, process, develop and display geographical data in digital form. The beginnning of GIS dates back to the late 1960s, when the digital handling of geographical data was pioneered at Havard University. In the 1970s, Canada become the first country to set up a country-wide GIS. In Namibia, the technology has been in use since the late 1990s, but only became a mainstream technology in the new millenium.
GIS is now being used by all major institutions and organisations which handle spatial data and deal with spatial planning. For example, the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) uses GIS to prepare and implement the national census and the City of Windhoek to plan and manage Windhoek's fast growth as well as to manage its services to the citizen. NamWater and NamPower plan and manage their distribution networks with GIS. For several Ministries and NGOs, GIS has become an indispensable technology.
On the occasion of the World GIS Day 2015, the Department of Geo-Spatial Sciences and Technology invited guest speakers from multiple sectors that represented Namibia's fast growing GIS user community to provide an insight into how they make use of GIS in their sector. During the morning, eight presentations, gave NUST staff and students, GIS professionals, and interested laymen an excellent overview over the present use of GIS in Namibia as well as an overview of the current problems and challenges they are facing. The coffee and lunch break provided an opportunity to not only network amongst the different participants, but also gave a chance to view and discuss the numerous posters and stands that were on display.