URISA Caribbean GIS Conference in Curacao to Feature Influential Keynote Speakers

URISAThe Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) is pleased to announce the keynote speakers for the Seventh Caribbean GIS Conference, taking place in Curacao, October 26-30, 2014. The 2014 conference theme is “Spatial Technologies: Fueling Economic Growth and Development.”  Mr. Steve Kemp, Executive Director of OpenPlan, will deliver the opening keynote address and Mr. Trevor Taylor, Director for the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), will provide the closing keynote address.

Opening Keynote Address – Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Working Together to Plan a Prosperous Future: Using GIS to Make Effective Plans and Achieve Results
As a spatial planner who has been working on projects in the Caribbean since 2006, Steve Kemp has come to know and love the region and is passionate about the role that spatial planning can play in helping Caribbean nations and communities tackle the challenges they face and seize opportunities that have all-too-often remained just beyond their grasp. In 2012/13, Steve led a multi-disciplinary team combining professionals from the Caribbean and the UK to help the Government of Trinidad & Tobago prepare a new National Spatial Development Strategy. The team included GIS experts who made major contributions to the plan-making process. Steve will explain how this experience has increased his understanding and appreciation of the key role that GIS can – and should – play in preparing sound, relevant, evidence-based and effective plans, and that GIS specialists can play in bringing different professions out of their silos to work as integrated teams with common purpose and understanding. He will also explain how GIS can help in engaging communities in plan-making and place-making and facilitating informed participation in democratic decision making.

Founder and Executive Director of OpenPlan based in the United Kingdom, Steve is a spatial planner with over 30 years professional experience who specializes in strategic, integrated and creative planning. His public and private sector work has enabled him to refine his approach, believing that, at its core, planning is about managing change to achieve the best for people now and in the future – a value that he places at the heart of OpenPlan.


Closing Keynote Address – Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Role of Standards in Geospatial Information Management for the Caribbean and Beyond

Throughout The Caribbean and the world, there is growing awareness and understanding of the power of location in decision making and the importance of open geospatial standards to enable and ease the sharing and application of this information, across a myriad of available information technologies. In response to a recent United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) Secretariat request, the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), the Geomatics Technical Committee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) collaborated to create a guide that outlines the importance of open standards supporting the development of Spatial Data Infrastructure. The guide is intended to assist organizations and communities of interest in determining what capabilities are required to meet current and future needs and how specific standards relate to the capabilities. This talk will  provides attendees with insight into the different tiers of geospatial capabilities desired by organizations, the essential standards associated with each tier, and includes real world operational implementations.

Trevor Taylor, currently responsible for Services for Asia and the Americas for the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), has over twenty-five years of experience in the international Earth Observation community. With a background in Geography (Carleton University, Canada), Mr. Taylor has worked with the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, Dipix Technologies, Interra (now InterMap) Technologies and, for the last 15 years, PCI Geomatics, where his last position was Director, Business Development with a focus on Central and South America. Mr. Taylor has significant global experience in a wide variety of technical, client services, project, business and strategic planning activities. Mr. Taylor was PCI Geomatics’ business contact to OGC for the past decade, representing PCI and OGC interests at the technical, principal, principal plus and strategic levels, particularly in South America, India, China and Western Europe.

In addition to these influential keynote speakers, the conference will feature preconference workshops and courses, important regional conversations, dozens of educational sessions, and a solutions exhibition. Individuals are encouraged to make their travel plans swiftly as the significantly-discounted conference hotel rate being offered by the Santa Barbara Resort (only $129 including internet) expires on October 8. Complete conference details, registration and hotel information is online.

[Source: URISA press release]

2014 GIS Managers’ Open Summit: Presentations and Round Table Discussion Notes

2014 GIS Managers Open Summit

2014 GIS Managers Open Summit

The 2014 GIS Managers’ Open Summit took place Tuesday, July 15th, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Esri User Conference in San Diego, California. The Summit is a track designed for GIS managers, business and technology strategists, and other decision makers attending the Esri UC. It offers opportunities to engage in conversations with peers on topics that relate to business efficiencies, return on investment (ROI), managing data, and more.

Now in its fifth year, more than 400 people pre-registered for the event, and many more registered on-site. The format was a little different this year. Four scheduled speakers focused on GIS management issues:

  1. GIS for Big Data and Big Decisions: From the Citizen on the Street to the Leadership SuiteJim Geringer and Heather Blatchford
  2. A Modern Approach to GIS in the Enterprise – Adam Carnow
  3. Aligning People, Projects, and Strategic Priorities – Michael Green
  4. Planning, Managing, and Building a GISDave Peters

Each presentation was followed by round table discussions on highlighted topics that came up during the presentations. Like last year, we asked each table to fill out a card briefly summarizing what they talked about, and what their big takeaways were. A representative from each table then shared this information back with the larger group.

For the benefit of those who could not attend this event and the larger GIS community, Dave Peters collected all of the summary cards and has compiled the information presented below.


 1. GIS for Big Data and Big Decisions: From the Citizen on the Street to the Leadership Suite – Jim Geringer and Heather Blatchford

Budgets – if you had a 20% increase in your GIS budget, what would you do differently?

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Strategic plans
    • Return on Investment study
    • Proof on concept
  • Takeaways
    • Staffing
    • Salaries
    • Data integrity investments

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Difference between hardware and software deployment patterns
    • Employee enrichment with GIS training
    • Use funds for additional GIS staffing
  • Takeaways
    • Every organizations needs are different
    • We all have strategic plans with identified gaps that need to be addressed

Table 3:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Sustainability
    • Staffing
  • Takeaways
    • Each Agency and Participant has unique needs based on individual plans.

Table 4:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Not enough funding for current GIS needs
    • Not enough for needed system upgrades
    • What about on-going maintenance costs?
  • Takeaways
    • Different agencies, different problems
    • High demands, low budgets, understaffing
    • Not enough money (GIS budget) is common problem

Networking – sharing best practices, apps, data

  • Main issues discussed
    • Networking
    • Sharing best practices, apps, and data
  • Takeaways
    • Move away from the term GIS to make people less scared
      • i.e. Information portal
    • Open data – provide for commercial development
    • Provide $ to local government to share data
      • IGIC/Indiana example

Roll-up of local and state data into a national data set, such as addresses, parcels and road/street centerline records. This would be similar to the community basemap approach.

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Data sharing
  • Takeaways
    • Willing to share data
    • Legal issues need to be addressed

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Free vs for profit datasets
    • Level of detail
  • Takeaways
    • Standard schema needed

Cloud-Apps, computing, data, ArcGIS Online

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Not clear understanding of available resources, ways to synchronize data, etc.
  • Takeaways
    • Bandwidth considerations (scalability)
    • Hybrid model options available
    • Good options for smaller environments
    • Security is a concern – need a trust relationship
    • Cloud is a great source for computing resources

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Currency of online data
    • Data authority/quality/metadata
  • Takeaways
    • Uncertain about how this will fit in our organization

Table 3:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Data security and privacy
    • Knowing who gets permissions and regulating access
    • Administration strategies
  • Takeaways
    • Weigh security concerns against benefits
    • Do a lot behind the firewall – plenty internally (on-premise)

Table 4:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Data, Data, Data – Metadata
    • Authorization and currency of online dta
  • Takeaways
    • Collaboration is great using ArcGIS Online
    • WebMaps are nice
    • (Power of ArcGIS Online portal is not well understood.)

Communicating the value of GIS to senior management – securing support/resources

  • Main issues discussed
    • Alignment with purpose and strategy
    • Understand business needs
    • Resonate a solution in a language senior management can understand
  • Takeaways
    • Know business purpose and priorities
    • Establish meaningful metrics
    • Increase product throughput/improve workflow productivity, etc

Advocating GIS in your organization – know your audience, know their priorities

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Cross department buy-in
    • Across department communications
  • Takeaways
    • GIS is an asset value add, not an end solution
    • Case studies
      • Walgreens
      • City of Roseville – GIS/IT
      • Sweden Grid – Utilities
      • PlaceWorks – urban planning

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • How to get their time to implement a huge integration
      • Core goals – build balanced infrastructure, keep user productivity and performance high
      • Align to strategic business plans – start there, GIS follows
    • Strong mayor who promotes change (management challenge)
      • Won’t take time to understand what’s already in place
      • GIS is put into county code w/ court orders to lock it in place (improve stability)
      • Understand organization core objectives, connect to these (improve value)
      • Commercial entity, fiber optics, can’t build infrastructure with two people on staff (need more infrastructure)
    • Understand the business
      • Go from scattershot to enterprise
      • Strategic plan – interview everyone
      • Many different workflow processes in several offices
        • Focus on short term “wins”, business gains.
      • Start with the younger employees, show them as they integrate
      • Continue to communicate successes
  • Takeaways
    • Understand the business (strategic goals and priorities)
      • Migrate from scattershot to enterprise
      • Have a strategic plan – interview everyone
      • Many different workflow processes in several offices
        • Focus on short term “wins”, business gains.
      • Start with the younger employees, show them as they integrate
      • Continue to communicate successes

Governance: Consolidation/optimization of GIS services as a separate entity or combined with overall IT

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Current organizational model and challenges
  • Takeaways
    • Lots of organizational models all with pros and cons.

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • IT cost center vs Business Profit Center
    • Lots of talk – management challenges
      • Disconnects, challenges with IT consolidation
      • Business approaches, business strategies, business leadership (IT)
      • IT focus on back office automation/GIS focus on business workflow optimization
      • Power struggles/mixed business strategies
    • Takeaways
      • Complex problem to solve
        • GIS value in IT or Business – how to represent
        • Utilization of overall governance framework including stewardship and partnerships
        • Leverage business strategy to drive and influence IT Information Metrics
      • New CDO (Chief Digital Officer) approach (GIS/IT business enablement focus)
        • Reinvent IT more tightly integrated with business operations

Mobile Services – Devices, apps, workforce, security policy, support, wireless services

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Disconnected capability is key
    • Security is a concern, especially with the Cloud integration
    • How do we build and maintain apps at the pace expected by users
  • Takeaways
    • Focused apps; new user configurable apps
    • Use templates
    • Develop a security plan

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Security policies/defining methods and strategies
    • Support for security standards within organizations
    • Related table access with field applications
    • Mobile application deployment (development) patterns
      • Disconnected editing
      • One location (app service), many uses (multiple user interfaces)
    • Takeaways
      • Collector w/ related tables – wonderful
      • HTML5, Java – programing environment supported on all devices
      • Building apps to common standard (configurable applications)
      • Apps for multiple devices/multiple flavors
      • Setting device/app standards for handling customer security needs.

Open data and shared data – between and among departments within a single organization, between and among organizations. Fits with Esri Open Data App

  • Main issues discussed
    • Why are you doing open data
    • Organization, governance, and licensing of open data
    • So many apps already available
  • Takeaways
    • Not clear why you are doing open data

Prepping your executives to engage with Esri – leverage Esri partnership to expand use of GIS at your org

  • Main issues discussed
    • IT with Business and who does what
    • How does IT and GIS work together
  • Takeaways
    • How do you get IT to understand the value of GIS
    • Move from order taker to service provider

Data protection, training, and awareness

  • Main issues discussed
    • Marketing your data
  • Takeaways
    • Different levels of data security
    • Risk Assessment strategies

Advocating GIS in your organization – know your audience, know their priorities

  • Main issues discussed
    • Know individual roles within the organization
    • Need for GIS Department
  • Takeaways
    • Co-existence of GIS with IT to help advocate GIS
    • Understanding of GIS by management
      • Finding their language
        • Keep it simple (visualize solution opportunities)
    • understanding how to sell GIS benefits
      • Focus on areas that have greatest impact (benefits)
      • Share the value of GIS information throughput the workplace
    • Getting them to buy and commit implementation funding
      • High return on investment
      • Low risk implementation

Big data – definition, management, sharing, processing, authoritativeness

  • Main issues discussed
    • Definition – aggregation of a pervasive data set
    • Management – trust, open minded, top down management, support, collaboration
    • Technology – storage, services, enterprise architecture
  • Takeaways
    • Standards, Metadata
    • Products (GeoEvent Server and GIS Tools for Hadoop)
    • Guidelines, Architecture Design patterns

Finding a champion to broaden exposure with senior executives. Importance of key staff.

  • Main issues discussed
    • Administration support (firewall)
    • Finding a champion to reach the executive staff
    • Silos – information resources and relationships
    • Enterprise operations, Legacy investments, Integration challenges
  • Takeaways
    • GIS is an analysis engine
    • Common challenges with both private and public organizations
    • Key focus targets can open doors to build success


2. A Modern Approach to GIS in the Enterprise – Adam Carnow

GIS Strategic Plan

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Simplify the message/vision
    • Identify the type of language used
    • Who had a strategic plan for their organization
      • Half of those at the table
    • Takeaways
      • Line of sight strategy between Government/Company objectives
      • One pager for general staff consumption

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Planning the strategy
    • Learn management priorities
  • Takeaways
    • Short term, mid-range, open strategy
    • Steering committee, meet every 6 months with operations and VP only present.

Table 3:

  • Main issues discussed
    • GIS not being held as important
    • Relationships between IT and GIS
    • CIOs and CEOs not having a GIS background
  • Takeaways
    • Need a long term and short term vision
    • IT/GIS plan or separate
    • Budgets cause issues with implementation

Table 4:

  • emphasizing communication without communicating
  • Main issues discussed
    • How to communicate technical details (dumb down UMD)
      • Leadership adopts catch phrases, hard to disabuse
      • Data/planning/analysis focus not clear
    • Data silos breakdown ownership
      • No communication
    • Too busy putting out fires
    • Strategic plan is
      • convincing Execs they should be leading leadership
        • Use their vision/language
        • Focus on the purpose
  • Takeaways
    • We know what we want to do
      • Communicate in their language
        • Why is it expensive?
        • What is their benefit?
        • Small app for the executive (show benefits)
        • Interpret for the user techies
      • Use ArcGIS Online/Esri Web site for COTS solutions vs reinvent
        • GIS = my GIS app
        • GIS liaisons

Table 5:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Should funding be included for strategic planning?
    • Alignment of issues with other partners/agencies and departments can be challenging.
  • Takeaways
    • The difficulties in aligning with other agencies and political involvement
    • Issues and challenges that alignment with other agencies creates.

GIS as a Location Platform

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Like a poker game (ACE in your hand)
      • Share information/Secure data
      • Weak gets bigger, then concerns
    • Takeaways
      • It is an evolutionary process

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Simplify (make it simple to use GIS)
    • Include location information with all data
  • Takeaways
    • Strategy about how we can link our data together (by location)

Marketing GIS

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • We think GIS Management thinks solutions
    • Don’t say GIS – have a solution
      • Nice, pretty, tells a story
      • Show it
    • Find the right sponsor
    • Find a partner with solutions that work
      • Fits your business model
    • What is the bottom line
      • Where is the most pain/exposure/bad press
      • Solutions/benefits/sustainable – back it up!
      • Repeatable
    • Everyone needs information
      • Find avenue of least resistance
      • Harvest the hanging fruits
      • Strategic goal – Fix it
    • Takeaways
      • Go mobile
      • Be proactive

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • We have done a lot of work, yet people are not aware of the value.
    • Getting people using what we’ve got
    • Spatial analysis – not just making maps
  • Takeaways
    • Focused maps that meet users’ needs
    • Join business meetings and listen for opportunities for GIS
    • Enable GIS where they do their work
    • Personal connections/relationships matter
    • Try your best to never say no
    • Be persistent – don’t give up

Engaging with Executives

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Limited time and all about the $$
    • Filtering, segmenting, don’t bargain, dependencies
    • Communication up and down different management levels
  • Takeaways
    • Focus on upper management priorities
    • Keep it high level – focus on values, address the pain (solutions)
    • Demo – visualization (iPAD on elevator) – cool focused apps
    • One page executive summary – all about the value
    • Their focused “dashboard” to show GIS benefits

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Expectations – knowing your audience (pain points)
    • Executive have a shelf life, shorter than yours
  • Takeaways
    • Visualization works best

Sustainability – COTS over Custom

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Cost of custom applications when budgets are limited
    • Federal (BLM) – Structured process – National contracting
      • Contracted for custom apps
      • COTS
      • Common portal
        • Publishing GIS Services/utilities
  • Serving very large communities
    • Tempo is increasing
    • Still much paper processes
  • Small business (COTS drivers)
    • Cost effective
    • Limited budget
    • Open source
  • Takeaways
    • Flexibility of COTS when budgets are limited
    • Larger organizations can meet the needs of broad audiences

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Custom apps require data model changes
    • 3rd party integration requires data model changes
    • Stitching COTS = Custom Solution
    • New relationships require attention and present moving targets
    • Redundancy in custom solutions
    • 3rd party source in escrow (Washington)
  • Takeaways
    • Hybrid solution allows for sustainability and flexibility

Table 3:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Often COTS don’t do exactly what is needed, so customization is needed.
    • It’s one thing to build something; it’s another to maintain it.
    • However COTS over Custom can have similar problems when Esri supported tools are no longer supported with subsequent releases.
  • Takeaways
    • Focus on “throw away apps”.
    • Need to use COTS where applicable, but need to be flexible to create when necessary.
    • Follow good project management
      • Prioritizing your business needs
      • Use business needs to define if COTS is acceptable or not
      • In other words, 7 of 10 tools in COTS are good, but you may need to build and maintain the other 3 tools as custom applications.

Table 4:

  • Main issues discussed
    • COTS don’t meet all our business needs
    • Maintained legacy apps can satisfy critical business needs
  • Takeaways
    • To go COTS: need to make the case (benefits to the stake holders)
    • Develop a strategic plan
      • Challenge of migration from legacy to COTS
      • Need a champion

Power of Spatial Analysis

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Automation
    • Marketing GIS
    • What kinds of analysis opportunities
    • Understanding business needs for spatial analysis
  • Takeaways
    • Maps answer where and what
      • Spatial analysis answers why
    • Communicates purpose, efficiency
    • Automation available, along with documentation

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Main benefits of GIS come from spatial analysis
      • Data in/of itself is not useful
    • Takeaways
      • We have always done analysis, but doing it spatially can help you do it faster and see things you can’t see in tabular data.

System architecture design

  • Main issues discussed
    • Implementation costs (budget)
    • Hardware/software needs
    • Location of GIS in the organization
    • Security
    • Interoperability
  • Takeaways
    • Leadership buy-in/Department buy-in
    • Know your audience
    • Sell your solution


3. Aligning People, Projects, and Strategic Priorities – Michael Green

Skill/Will Matrix

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • GIS is a small field (skilled workforce needed)
      • State and private marketplace
      • Will ArcGIS Online help address skill challenges?
    • Salaries don’t match required skills in the workplace
    • Depend on contractors to fill skill gaps
    • Will is a primary motivating component
      • Will to do cool things
      • Not willing to learn is a problem
      • Is it a job or a passion?
    • Takeaways
      • Build a culture for success
        • Common vision
        • Empowerment
      • One on one meetings with staff

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • People are the issue/Collins says people first (right people in the right job)
    • Then we have some control over our team, but not all users
  • Takeaways
    • Private vs public – people in the wrong quadrant should transition out
      • Public workplace – we have less control over apathy and incompetence.
    • Remove obstacles to users
    • Make sure the technology is not the problem
    • Make the technology easy and even fun
    • Bring end users and GIS Techs together
      • Embed GIS with the user community
      • Bring GIS liaisons to GIS group
    • Identify liaisons who are both “doers” (skill and will) and influential

Change Management

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Change management – broad – people are strong
    • Micro management – slows change
  • Takeaways
    • Turned a light on myself
      • I show interest and then resist
    • Patience is important – look inward

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Managing data
    • Integrating the IT workflow into GIS
  • Takeaways
    • Creating a repeatable process

ArcGIS Online and what it means for a platform

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Host applications
      • decrease development costs
    • Credit usage
      • how to control costs
      • ELA concerns
    • Esri Jumpstart
      • Esri help to get started
    • Takeaways
      • ArcGIS Server deployment
        • Host local or leverage the cloud

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • GAP in technology (online vs on-premise)
    • Security concerns
    • Managing public vs private operations
  • Takeaways
    • Shareable
    • Limited functionality and usability for advanced users (does not yet replace the core GIS)
    • More development needed in some cases (future potential)
    • Empowerment to larger user base – focused apps and templates
    • More education needed about credits

Speaking a different language

  • Main issues discussed
    • Losing organizational language – capturing institutional language
    • IT paradigm “it’s just data”
  • Takeaways
    • Understand from the others viewpoint
      • What’s the thing that inspires them
        • Tie to funding or other payoff/benefits
      • We often don’t think in terms of budgets
        • Removing pain/obstacles
        • Goal: work myself out of a job

Are you seeing the growth of GIS the way that you want within your organization?

  • Main issues discussed
    • Executive buy-in important
    • High level champion for the GIS platform
    • Getting positive field user feedback as proof of value
    • Too many SaaS offerings and technology overload
    • Language barriers with terminology
  • Takeaways
    • Better communication involving success stories
    • Educate new management with history
    • Involve management in the process steps

3 A’s (Alignment, Analysis, Action)

  • Main issues discussed
    • Effective top down management (local government)
    • Dealing with elected officials / Business needs.
    • Continuity with rollover of executive status
    • Getting the message to upper management
  • Takeaways
    • Have training elements available
    • Not always change the process – but change the message as necessary.
    • Story maps are a useful tool for messages to executive management.


4. Planning, Managing, and Building a GIS – Dave Peters

Building effective GIS operations

  • Main issues discussed
    • Under staffing
    • No/Little buy in from senior stake holders
    • Relative – based on your organization culture
    • Build marketing skills – take responsibility to improve communications.
    • Find the solutions
    • Lack the power to influence the persons who are decision makers
      • Not that you are inadequate
      • Bridging the gap so each party hears that same thing.
    • Take responsibility, manage expectations, listen, do requests, produce
  • Takeaways
    • Senior management wants a GIS, but expects GIS managers to do it.
    • Not a collaborative effort

Engaging with executive management

  • Main issues discussed
    • Getting the meeting
    • Showing what is possible
    • Analytics, grants and building
    • Tie in with existing plans and needs
    • Power of speaking with one voice
    • Geoenable existing solutions such as customer location, and easy win
    • “We have always done it that way” – ask why.
    • Note: Executives are strategic thinkers
  • Takeaways
    • Have something to show
    • Find out (identify) their pain points
    • Have a middle manager or director champion

Enterprise GIS Vision

  • Main issues discussed
    • Tried to define what enterprise GIS is
      • Consistency of use across the organization
      • No duplication of effort and staffing
      • Integrated GIS organization across departments
    • +/- of distributed/centralized management model
  • Takeaways
    • Component (distributed) verses corporate (centralized)
      • Centralized – enterprise governance and strategy
      • GIS craft – understanding + opportunity – specific disconnects

Governance and political landscape

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • GIS steering committees
      • Good for buy-in if properly done
    • Where GIS is situated in the organization
    • Role of committees
    • IT/GIS mix
  • Takeaways
    • IT/GIS relationship is important
      • Some confusion in roles
      • Position hoarding can be a problem
      • IT formal processes can be valuable
      • Steering committee TOR (terms of reference) process can be valuable
    • Who should be on the committees?

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Interagency conflict and silos – political challenges
  • Takeaways
    • Migrate from us vs you => we.
    • Older and bigger => harder to change
    • Educate executive -> has to be rebuilt every 5-7 years

Managing technology change

  • Main issues discussed
    • How to bring together all of the disparate parts that don’t cleanly connect.
    • GIS and IT system requirements need to be aligned
    • May need SQL Server + Oracle for optimum solution
  • Takeaways
    • Getting administrators on board (GIS training and business value)
    • Training (GIS and IT management and administration)
    • Management oversight/support

GIS business workflows

  • Main issues discussed
    • How do you document business workflows
      • Tools: Word, excel, Visio project, mind mapper
    • Who updates existing workflows
    • Managing wants over willing to learn
  • Takeaways
    • User interviews with all stakeholders
    • Embracing change – innovation
    • Winning over stubborn clients – learning to turn heads
    • Be available at the very beginning – early involvement

GIS Staffing

  • Main issues discussed
    • Common problem: (1) person is the manager, analyst, developer, etc
    • Challenge: training new hires to be productive
  • Takeaways
    • Hire productive (experienced) employees that do not require a lot of coaching and training that takes time from senior level employees
    • Outsourcing – generating partnerships with contractors to fill the missing gaps

GIS Matrix Management

  • Main issues discussed
    • Often no direct management authority over users
    • Leadership buy-in, sponsorship, and support critical
  • Takeaways
    • Matrix organization is common structure throughout GIS community
      • Integrates IT, applications, database, and GIS user community
    • What works has to be shared

Esri Celebrates Outstanding Applications of Geographic Technology

Esri logoMore than 170 Organizations Recognized for Innovative Maps and Apps

Esri celebrated more than 170 organizations during the Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Awards ceremony yesterday at the Esri User Conference (Esri UC) in San Diego, California. The SAG Awards highlight users that have shown vision, leadership, hard work, and innovation in their use of Esri’s geographic information system (GIS) technology.

“Every day, people and organizations are improving our world and driving change through geospatial technology,” says Esri president Jack Dangermond. “We are humbled by their passion and deeply appreciative of their tireless work. It’s an honor for us to recognize their efforts and it’s something that I personally look forward to every year.”

Organizations from around the world honored at the Esri UC span industries including environmental management, education, government, health and human services, natural resources, nonprofits, telecommunications, transportation, and utilities.

The SAG Awards ceremony was held at the San Diego Convention Center on July 16, 2014. For more information about the 2014 Special Achievement in GIS Award winners, including project information and photos, visit esri.com/sag.

[Source: Esri press release]

What Do Maps Reveal in the Fight to Eradicate Polio?

Esri logoThe World Health Organization and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will share their stories at the 2014 Esri User Conference.

Dr. Bruce Aylward from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Dr. Vincent Seaman from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will share their stories with an audience of more than 16,000 attendees at the Opening Session of the 2014 Esri User Conference (Esri UC) on Monday, July 14. As experts in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, they will describe the challenges and opportunities involved in bringing fundamental healthcare to impoverished regions. They’ll also talk about the importance maps have in pinpointing where help is needed most around the world.

“Polio, a terrible disease, is almost completely eradicated, but ‘almost’ isn’t good enough with a disease slated for complete eradication,” said Aylward.

Most of the world hardly remembers polio, which has been reduced by over 99 percent in the past generation by vaccination. However, the disease survives in parts of just a few countries, and has repeatedly spread back from these places to polio-free areas worldwide. The urgency of preventing such spread and protecting the polio-free world led the WHO Director-General to declare a public health emergency of international concern on May 5, 2014.

“The polio eradication program is an international effort to reach the most vulnerable people in the world, irrespective of geography, poverty, culture, and conflict,” said Aylward.

The Esri UC, to be held July 14–18, will bring together thousands of people from more than 90 countries, all unified by their use of Esri’s geographic information system (GIS) technology. Of particular interest to Esri UC attendees will be the use of GIS in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Aylward will explain how the people working at WHO identify where there are new outbreaks in the world, how the disease spreads, and where it has been eradicated. Seaman will share how the polio program uses GIS-based maps and analyses in high-risk areas to plan vaccination campaigns targeting every child under the age of five and to provide better tools to assess the effectiveness of these efforts.

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“At the Esri UC Plenary Session, we like to feature innovative people doing important work around the world,” said Esri president Jack Dangermond. “Dr. Aylward and Dr. Seaman certainly qualify. We are honored to welcome them and excited that GIS can help fulfill the mission of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative as the teams of humanitarians use maps to understand and solve problems.”

About the Esri UC Plenary Keynote Speakers

Dr. Bruce Aylward is a Canadian physician and epidemiologist and the assistant director-general for the WHO’s Polio and Emergencies cluster. He began his career with the WHO in 1992 as a medical officer with the Expanded Program on Immunization. Aylward worked in national immunization programs in developing countries, primarily those focusing on polio, and took assignments in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Egypt, Iraq, and Myanmar. After six years in the field, Aylward returned to the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1997 to lead the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

Dr. Vincent Seaman is an American health scientist, educator, and a senior program officer for the Polio Country Support Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Before that, Seaman was a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention secondee to the WHO in Nigeria for nearly 3 years, where he provided technical support to the Expanded Program on Immunization and worked on the polio eradication effort. He began his career at CDC as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2006, and continued on as an epidemiologist in the areas of environmental public health and vaccine-preventable diseases. In addition to leading health investigations at various Superfund sites in the U.S., Dr. Seaman supported the HIV/AIDS program in Mozambique in 2009, and was a STOP Polio volunteer in Liberia in 2010.

For more information about the Esri UC, visit esri.com/uc.

[Source: Esri press release]

Share Your Expertise at the Esri Ocean GIS Forum


Are you using GIS for ocean or maritime projects? If so, consider giving a presentation about your GIS applications and methods. The Esri Ocean GIS Forum offers two modes for presentations. The first is the paper presentation, which is a 20-25-minute talk supported by PowerPoint and allows time for questions and answers. These presentations are part of topic tracks and are attended by people wanting information in a specific area. The second is the Lightning Talk, which is about five minutes long, wherein the speaker gives a quick overview of a project or method to the large audience in the main hall.

This year, we are particularly interested in presentations in the following categories:

  • Coastal Protection and Marine Spatial Planning
  • Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Ocean Science
    • Fisheries Science and Management
    • Coastal Management and Resilience
    • Ocean Science Research and Analysis
    • Ocean-Use Planning
  • Oil Spill Contingency Planning
  • E-Navigation and Hydrography
  • Ports and Shipping

Whether your talk is a paper presentation or a Lightning Talk, you need to submit an abstract for consideration by August 15, 2014.

OGC Encourages Attendance at AGILE and COBWEB Workshop – “Citizen Science, Quality and Standards”

OGC_Logo_Border_Blue_3DAGILE (Association of Geographic Information Laboratories for Europe) and COBWEB (Citizen OBservatory WEB, an EU FP7 Project) invite public participation in a special workshop on crowdsourced data and the environment.  The AGILE & COBWEB Workshop – “Citizen Science, Quality and Standards” will be held June 3, 2014 in Castellón, Spain in conjunction with the AGILE 2014 conference.

Crowdsourced data (“people as sensors” recording real-time observations and measurements) are a valuable source of scientific and policy-making information when enhanced with an indication of quality and fused with authoritative data. This workshop seeks to engage the scientific community in discussions about the use of quality controlled crowdsourced environmental data.

The infrastructure being developed within COBWEB exploits technological developments in ubiquitous mobile devices. It also exploits and contributes to developments in the operational standards that are used widely in public spatial data infrastructures and also increasingly used in science. COBWEB infrastructure is being designed to enable citizens living within Biosphere Reserves to collect environmental information on a range of parameters including species distribution, flooding and land cover/use. The main driver is the value that can result when citizens participate in environmental governance. It is anticipated that COBWEB work products will be useful in similar activities around the world.

To maximize impact, COBWEB is working with standards organizations. Specifically, COBWEB will aim to improve the usability of OGC Sensor Web Enablement standards and the OGC GeoPackage Encoding Standard with mobile devices, develop widespread acceptance of the data quality approach developed and maximize the applications potential of COBWEB outputs.

Details, agenda and call for brief presentations are available at: http://bit.ly/RoYRT6

COBWEB organizers:

  • Stephanie Ties, Environment Systems
  • Bart De Lathouwer, OGC Europe (OGCE)
  • Mike Jackson, University of Nottingham, 
  • Lars Bernard, TU Dresden
  • Mason Davis, Welsh Government

About OGC: The OGC® is an international consortium of more than 475 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC standards support interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. Visit the OGC website at http://www.opengeospatial.org/.

[Source: OGC press release]

Understanding and Managing Our Oceans: Esri Ocean GIS Forum, 05-07 November 2014

Esri logoSee different ways that ocean and maritime agencies are successfully using geospatial analysis to better understand the ocean’s dynamic environment and make intelligent decisions. The Esri Ocean GIS Forum is your opportunity to explore new GIS technology.

Ocean scientists, hydrographers, and GIS experts will be addressing topics that are particularly relevant to people who work for research institutions, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, seafood companies, energy providers, local and state governments, port authorities, shipping companies, the US Coast Guard, and the US Navy.

The Esri Ocean GIS Forum is a unique event that offers these activities:

  • A rigorous agenda of session topics presented by GIS users that work in the ocean and maritime industries
  • Best practice presentations by project managers from ocean agencies
  • An ocean science forum to share and exchange ideas
  • ArcGIS and ArcGIS Online technical demonstrations set in an ocean and maritime context
  • Meet-and-greet opportunities for expanding professional networks
  • On-site GIS professionals and domain experts that can answer questions and offer advice
  • An EXPO sponsored by ocean and maritime business consultants and technology providers
  • An app contest for posters and Story Maps
  • Two GIS hands-on workshops
  • Learning Lab

Immerse yourself in all things GIS at the Esri Ocean GIS Forum.

URISA’s Student Competition Revolutionized for GIS-Pro 2014

URISAIn a recent development for GIS-Pro 2014: URISA’s Annual Conference taking place September 8-11, 2014 in New Orleans, the URISA Vanguard Cabinet has revitalized the traditional student presentation competition.

Help revitalize traditional poster contests by joining the Vanguard Cabinet for a showcase of recent ‘maptastic’ GIS student innovations. Instead of traditional printed and thumb-tacked maps, we are going completely digital. There will be a series of brief presentations (no longer than five minutes each) during the competition session on September 9th at 2:00 PM where students will compete for the “Best Presentation” cash award*. Additionally, digital submissions will be accepted for students unable to attend the conference, where they can compete for additional cash prizes in various categories. All approved submissions will be uploaded online and displayed in the common area during the conference, to allow conference attendees to vote on a “People’s Choice” award. All awards will be presented to select competitors during the Wednesday morning awards ceremony at GIS-Pro 2014: URISA’s 52nd Annual Conference in New Orleans.

“With today’s GIS students becoming the future leaders of our industry, it’s essential to offer students a platform to continue learning, present analysis results, and get feedback to improve their skills,” said Ashley Hitt, a current URISA board member. “As young GIS professionals, the Vanguard Cabinet recognizes this and is offering more opportunities for students and other young professionals to get involved and take advantage of the opportunity.”

Students may submit a map or poster .pdf (or image file), a PowerPoint presentation, or a video walk-through of a web app., mobile app., model, or script they have developed. All submissions will be reviewed, to ensure appropriate content, and competitors will receive an email confirmation upon approval. We encourage competitors to attend the conference to present their work, but those unable to attend will still be able to compete for all but the “Best Presentation” award. All students are welcome to compete, as long as they submit evidence of at least half-time enrollment at an accredited college for the Fall 2014 term. More details, as well as the competition application form, can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/gispro2014studentcompetition/.

Additional opportunities for GIS students to get involved with the URISA GIS-Pro Conference – to be held in New Orleans, LA from September 8-11, 2014 – include a panel designed for students/young professionals and student volunteer opportunities.

  • Young Professional/Student Panel: This will be an educational session for students and young GIS professionals to learn more about GIS career paths, how to keep up with skills and technology changes required for more advanced positions, advice on creating effective resumes and portfolios, interview tips, and resources for open job positions. This session will take place on Tuesday, September 9 from 4-5 p.m.
  • Student Volunteer Opportunities: URISA strives to involve students as much as possible in its annual conference. There are a limited number of opportunities to attend the conference through a complimentary registration, in return for volunteering at the conference. An application is posted here: https://sites.google.com/site/gispro2014studentcompetition/volunteer

If you have any questions about the student competition, or would like additional information, please contact urisa.vc@gmail.com.

About URISA: URISA – Fostering Excellence in GIS – is a leading provider of learning and knowledge for the GIS community. URISA connects great ideas and great people to inspire leadership and achievement. We strive to provide exceptional educational experiences, a vibrant and connected community, and the essential resources you need to be successful in your career. URISA is a multidisciplinary association where professionals from all parts of the spatial data community come together to share concerns and ideas. www.urisa.org

About the URISA Vanguard Cabinet: The vision of the Vanguard Cabinet is to provide students and young professionals within the geospatial profession with opportunities to further professional development and represent their interests with the URISA organization. http://www.urisa.org/about/vanguard

* URISA is seeking a total of $1,500 in sponsorship funds to award cash prizes to the top submissions in various categories. Demonstrate your commitment to future GIS leaders by sponsoring this important event.  If your organization is interested in sponsoring the student competition, or would like additional information, please contact Wendy Nelson at wnelson@urisa.org.

[Source: URISA press release]

Ecocitizen World Map Project to Launch at World Urban Forum in Medellín

EcoCitizenWorldMapProjectLogo72-e1387608575887International collaboration delivers tools for sustainable urban development and links community crowdsourced information to national, regional, and global data sets.

A coalition of international partners announced today the launch of the Ecocitizen World Map Project, a powerful online crowd mapping tool designed to explore, understand, and measure holistic urban health from a citizen’s perspective, at the upcoming 7th World Urban Forum (WUF7) in Medellín Colombia, April 5-11th.

Led by non-profit Ecocity Builders USA in collaboration with the Organization of American States, Esri, the Association of American Geographers, Eye on Earth (a partnership of UNEP + Abu Dhabi Environmental Data Initiative) along with local academic partners, NGOs and community organizations, the public-private partnership was developed to facilitate simple individual snapshots of a community’s social and environmental health as well as more sophisticated local and regional training and geospatial analysis.

“As the global community is becoming more aware of the crucial role cities play in mitigating climate change and leading the way toward sustainable development, the importance of understanding and connecting the diverse layers that comprise urban ecosystems cannot be overstated,” says Kirstin Miller, Executive Director of Ecocity Builders.

The Ecocitizen World Map Project consists of two interwoven elements. One enables and encourages citizens to participate directly by taking a short online survey—powered by crowdsourcing platform Ushahidi—ranking their cities and neighborhoods along fifteen conditions outlined by the International Ecocity Framework and Standards Initiative.

Another provides on-the-ground training in pilot cities to students, citizens, and public officials, using Esri’s mobile GIS technology in combination with online tools and educational materials to assess, measure, and plan for increasing the health and resilience of urban systems and to identify barriers to improving quality of life. Inaugural pilot cities include WUF7 host Medellín, supported by a grant from the OAS’ Sustainable Communities in the Americas Initiative, as well as Cairo and Casablanca, supported by a grant from Eye on Earth.

“In order to make informed decisions that benefit all stakeholders equitably and sustainably we have to delve more deeply into as many social, geographical, and environmental areas as possible,” Miller explains the need for charting the progress of cities’ social and environmental sustainability. “And who better to provide that first-hand knowledge than the inhabitants of those microcosms?”

The project will be presented by Ecocity Builders, AAG, Esri, OAS, AGEDI, and the US Department of State at the “Building Resilience and Equity Through Citizen Participation and Geodesign” session on Thursday April 10th, 11am – 12pm, at the UN Habitat City Changer Room. It will also be showcased throughout the conference at the Esri Geospatial Pavilion. A training event entitled “How to use mobile technology to measure urban equity,” presented by ITC-University of Twente, the Netherlands, Esri, and Ecocity Builders, will be held on Wednesday, April 9th at TE7, Room 20.

More information: