#GISTRIBE Hashtag: The GIS Twitter Community
GoGeomatics recently had the opportunity to chat with Emily Garding, the founder of #GISTRIBE. Emily is a Wildlife Biologist who uses GIS to help preserve wildlife and wildlands. She started working with GIS while tracking pumas on a research project in the Grand Canyon. She has since learned to apply her GIS skills to larger, landscape-level conservation issues including habitat fragmentation and connectivity.
GoGeomatics: Where did the inspiration for the #GISTRIBE Hashtag come from?
Emily: I’m a GIS professional and Wildlife Biologist who has been using GIS to help preserve wildlife and wildlands for over a decade. In addition to holding different GIS positions for various agencies and organizations throughout my career, I also work periodically as a contractor or consultant. This means spending lots of time working alone, without other people to who I can bounce ideas off of, brainstorm with, trouble shoot technical issues with, or any of the other benefits of collaboration. On the other hand, I’ve always really enjoyed the sense of camaraderie and inspiration that I get when I attend GIS conferences in person such as the Society for Conservation GIS Conference or the ESRI UC. However, I find that getting together with other GIS professionals once a year just isn’t enough.
GoGeomatics: What is #GISTRIBE?
Emily: #GISTRIBE is a Twitter chat that provides a space for people who want to collaborate online to come together and meet.
GoGeomatics: How did you discover the online GIS community?
Emily: In 2009 I started my own blog where I share about how I’ve used GIS technology in wildlife research, amongs other things. At that time, I started using social media, in particular twitter, to promote my blog content as well as to connect with other people with similar interests. I discovered that there was a really supportive atmosphere online, and a lot of GIS users on Twitter who I otherwise wouldn’t even know. I started to wonder if it would be possible to bring some of these people together- at a set time, on purpose, in order to build a supportive network of GIS professionals and students from all walks of life. I imagined people with different experiences providing advice and inspiration to each other over the internet every week. I mean, what if a researcher in Wisconsin could answer a question a student in South Africa has, or vice versa?
GoGeomatics: How did you start #GISTRIBE Hashtag?
Emily: In March 2014, I put the call out. I asked if anyone would be interested in a joining a weekly chat about all things geo. The response was really positive. I organized our first live online chat just about 2 years ago, with about a dozen attendees, all using the hashtag #gistribe. Since that time, we’ve had hundreds of people join the weekly chats. Some people just pop in a few times, others become regulars who attend nearly every week, and some use the hashtag all throughout the week to chat with others, ask questions, or post interesting articles outside of our designated chat time.
GoGeomatics: What was your goal when you created #GISTRIBE?
Emily: It was my intention with #gistribe to create the space for people who want to collaborate online to come together and meet. It has become a truly supportive international community of GIS users who provide eachother with technical help, career advice, news about the latest advances in technology, and most importantly, we have a lot of fun when we get together.
GoGeomatics: Who can join in on the #GISTRIBE chat? How do we join?
Emily: Anyone who has a twitter account can join the live, weekly #gistribe chat on Wednesdays from 12-1 Pacific time. Just use the hashtag to follow and contribute to the conversation.
GoGeomatics: Thank you for the interview. We will be sure to join the #GISTRIBE chat on Twitter.