Women in GIS Networking Groups

Caitlin Dempsey


Web sites with information specifically regarding peer support for women in GIS. Read interviews about women in this field or find GIS related support groups. Networking groups are listed alphabetically:

African Women in GIS
African Women in GIS is a community made up of African women around the world who study, work or are interested in the geospatial industry.  To become involved, follow African Women in GIS on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Black Girls MAPP
This networking group has a mission to create  “Awareness, Connect and Celebrate black women who are contributing to the progress of Women in GIS.”

Supporting Women in Geography and GIS (SWIGGIS)
Based in Austin, Texas, SWIGIS is an “organization of female geospatial professionals dedicated to the awareness, education and participation in geography and GIS.” Members can participate in social and educational events in the Austin area.

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WeCan @ Esri
Short for Women’s Empowerment & Career Advancement Network, WeCan @ Esri is devoted to “nabling women of all backgrounds at Esri to achieve their goals and build strong careers.”

Women in Geospatial
This professional networking group seeks to promote gender-equality in the geospatial industry. The group hosts an active Slack network.  To apply to join the channel, fill out the interest form.

Women’s Geospatial Forum
Hosted on Esri’s GeoNet, the Women’s Geospatial Forum was launched as a place for “women across all geospatial sectors to find information and resources, ask technical or professional questions, and engage in discussions with women and allies in the GIS industry.”

Women in GIS LinkedIn Group
Connect with other women GIS professionals on LinkedIn.

Women in GIS (WIGIS)
Pronounced  “wahjus” after the group’s acronym WIGIS, this networking group seeks to promote the visibility of women in the geospatial industry field.

The mission of WIGIS is to: work towards overcoming job discrimination, lower pay, professional isolation, and other common barriers women might face, and foster relationships and resource sharing among members and institutions.  Female geospatial professionals that would like to join this group are invited to add themselves on the Women in GIS story map and join the LinkedIn Women in GIS group.  

Women in GIS, Kenya
Women in GIS , Kenya is an initiative that champions for diversity and Inclusivity in the geospatial industry through trainings, technical events and Mentorship. We also hold quarterly #DataViz Challenges to explore issues that affect Women and Girls.  The group is currently developing their website so the best way to reach them is via their Twitter account: @WiGISKe.

Women in Spatial (NZ)
This LinkedIn networking group was launched about five years ago as a way to provide information to those working (or seeking a job) in GIS in New Zealand.  Members of the group can access GIS related tips, job listings, access to speakers, and geospatial industry news.  The group also has local branches in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, and some of the smaller regions in New Zealand.

‘Women and GIS: Mapping Their Stories’

Esri Press has a collection of twenty-three profiles featuring women professionals who use GIS.  Hailing from a range of fields, the book takes a look at the professional lives of these women particularly from the standpoint of using maps, analysis, and GIS.

The book contains a forward by Dawn Wright, Chief Scientist at Esri, who has been active in promoting Women in GIS initiatives. She explains the impetus for the book writing, “We need to celebrate the women of GIS because they’re also out there. And they’re exceedingly proud and honored to be part of a field and a technology that is literally saving the world.”

The cover of a book called "Women in GIS: Mapping their stories" with a faded line map in the background and a red compass rose under the subtitle.

The roster of profiles feature prominent women working in such diverse fields as oceanography, archeology, education, social justice, conservation biology, and government:

Catherine Ball – Rising high with ‘drones for good’
Ranu Basu – Seeking human interconnectedness on a global scale
Deirdre Bishop – Keeping track of the census
Paulette Brown-Hinds – Bringing community awareness to life
Molly Burhans – Turning landownership into land stewardship
Kate Chapman – Open to helping others benefit from technology
Wan-Hwa Cheng – Green sea turtles the apple of her eye
Sylvia A. Earle – Her Deepness works to save the ocean
Shoreh Elhami – A life of service and volunteerism to the greater community
Karen E. Firehock – Connecting people to green infrastructure
Kass Green – Providing the big picture on natural resources
Kristen Kurland – The heart fo the giving teacher
Nacny La Vigne – Using quantitative research to tip the scales of justice
Wangari Maathai – The power of one little hummingbird
Holley Moyes – Archaeologist explroes Maya ritual cages
Natalia Ocampo-Peñuela – On the wings of conservation ecology
Miriam Olivares – Mentoring from Mexico to Yale
Breece Robertson – Protecting what she holds dear
Elena Shevchenko – Forging an international bond in tense times
Mary Spence – A cartographer worthy of queen’s honors
Kathryn D. Sullivan – Meeting the challenge, from NASA to NOAA — and beyond
Nancy Tosta – Setting standards and seeking consensus
Madison Vorva – Taking her seat at the table

Women and GIS: Mapping Their Stories.  Esri Press. ISBN: 9781589485280    2018   232 pages   $24.99

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Women in GIS Interviews

Women and GIS: Mapping Their Stories: a collection of twenty-three profiles featuring women professionals who use GIS published by Esri Press.

We are all cartographers: Interview by the Mappyist Hour Podcast with Sarah Bell, a cartographer with Esri and Co-Founder of Petrichor(dot)studio.

“Lindsey the GIS Specialist”: This free children’s book follows Lindsey, who works as a GIS specialist, as she explains what the acronym GIS means, the different types of GIS data, how she collects data, and what some of the maps she makes are used for.

Women in GIS Series: Now defunct series of occasional interviews spotlighting women who work in the field of GIS. From Directions Magazine.

Women Cartographers Exhibit

An exhibit at the Osher Map Library at the University of Southern Maine celebrated 400 years of women cartographers. The exhibit, which was curated by Alice Hudson, former Chief of the Map Division at the New York Public Library, ran until October 22, 2015.

The exhibit covered contributions from women cartographers from the 17th century to present day, and the exhibition locale included a computer display that incorporated GIS and computer cartography examples.

The exhibit’s educational materials can still be accessed online:

This article was originally published on January 12, 2018 and has since been updated.


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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.