Arts & Humanities

GIS Day Bringing Disney Animator And Free Workshops To Texas A&M Nov. 13-15

November 9, 2017

"Zootopia" (Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Studios)
“Zootopia” (Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Studios)
By Leslie Lee, Texas A&M University College of Geosciences

The local community and Texas A&M University students, faculty and staff are invited to attend free geographic information science (GIS) and technology workshops, interactive events and a keynote address by a Walt Disney Animation Studios animator at Texas A&M GIS Day Nov. 13-15.

Brandon Jarratt ’10, a general technical director at Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, California, and Texas A&M former student, will be presenting the event’s keynote address Nov. 14 at 4:30 p.m. in the Memorial Student Center, room 2300A. Jarratt has worked on feature films such as “Big Hero 6” and “Moana,” and used geospatial technology to design the cityscape in the recent feature film “Zootopia.” He earned a master’s degree in visualization in 2013 and bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2010 from Texas A&M.

“Brandon’s work is a great example of the application of geospatial technology and highlights the diverse career opportunities that are available,” said University Libraries Map Librarian Sierra Laddusaw, chair of TAMU GIS Day. “All Aggies, from geography students to engineering majors, will benefit from hearing about Brandon’s unique experiences.”

Free GIS Day workshops will cover everything from learning basic geospatial mapping capabilities to assessing public health data. Workshops include:

  • Kick Start Your GIS:  a whirl-wind tour of the many research, public and private sector applications that utilize geographic information science;
  • Maps of Imaginary Places: a private GIS Day tour of the Cushing Library exhibit featuring maps of fantastical places such as Hogwarts, Middle Earth and Westeros;
  • GIS Career Fair and Industry Speed Dating: a set of career oriented sessions targeted toward getting Aggies great jobs and internships in the geospatial industry;
  • GIS Vehicle Exhibition: an event with local and regional first responders, including the Brazos Mobile Command Unit, providing tours and presentations on their vehicle’s capabilities; and
  • Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute: an overview of how the institute uses GIS applications to support research in wildlife research, land use and conservation.

“We are excited to welcome the public and Aggies alike to tour the library’s Maps of Imaginary Places exhibit, which is family friendly and perfect for both the young and young-at-heart,” Laddusaw said.

Attendees are encouraged to register for workshops, events and competitions using the TAMU GIS Day app, available on iOS and . All workshops are open to the public, and registration is encouraged but not required. The app was developed by the Department of Geography at Texas A&M.

“All Aggies preparing for careers in science and technology fields and looking for a leg-up on the competition should be learning GIS skills and networking with industry professionals,” said Dan Goldberg, a co-chair of GIS Day, and assistant professor in both the Department of Geography and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M.

“To get the jobs of tomorrow, students need to be learning GIS today,” Goldberg said. “GIS Day gives students from across campus an opportunity to learn these skills for free, which will be beneficial to both their current course work and future careers.”

Texas A&M students also are invited to compete in poster and paper competitions, and abstracts for the competitions are due by Nov. 11.

GIS Day is a multidisciplinary, campus-wide event hosted and supported by the Texas A&M University Libraries, College of Geosciences, Department of Geography, Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Center for Geospatial Sciences, Applications and Technology (GEOSAT), Hazard Reduction Recovery Center, Office of Facilities Coordination, Transportation Services, Texas Research Data Center, and the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management.

The organizers would like to thank external industry sponsors ESRI and ConocoPhillips for providing additional funding for this year’s events.


Media contact: Leslie Lee, Communications Coordinator, College of Geosciences, (979) 845-0910,

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