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URISA Conference Addresses the Important Topics

Park Ridge, IL – Next month, GIS Professionals will convene at URISA’s 46th Annual Conference & Exposition in New Orleans, to address the important topics of the day including inter-governmental collaboration for cost savings and efficiencies; infrastructure sustainability and asset management; enterprise solutions; disaster response and readiness; and results-oriented public participation GIS.

URISA President, Susan Johnson, notes, “With the troubled economy and natural disasters impacting the global community, it’s more important than ever for GIS professionals to discuss ways to make our limited technology dollars stretch further and more effectively. I’m looking forward to a number of sessions during the URISA conference that will demonstrate ways of doing more with less.”

Following are just a few of the sessions that are highlighted in this year’s educational offerings:

Cooperative Orthoimagery Acquisition
If the diverse business needs of governmental agencies using orthoimagery can be met, significant cost savings can be realized through collaborative efforts.  Learn how two such efforts have successfully implemented cooperative orthoimagery acquisition programs.

  • We Can Get Along - Creation of a Multi-Agency Cooperative Base Mapping Program
    • Kim Mc Donough, GISP,Tennessee Dept of Transportation, Nashville, TN   
  • Managing a Regional Orthophoto Consortium: Project Management Tips &Tricks
    • Matthew Krusemark,GISP, Denver Regional Council of Governments,Denver, CO   

A New Funding Model for GIS Development
This highly interactive panel session will present results of collaborative national effort to define a mechanism for tracking GIS benefits to various levels of Government. A proposed method will be presented, followed by discussion.

  • A New Funding Model for GIS Development
    • Cy Smith, GISP, State of Oregon, Salem, OR   

Infrastructure Lifecycle and Sustainability
Using an integrated approach to Asset Management throughout the lifecycle reduces the challenges in managing and maintaining an aging infrastructure with limited funding.

  • GIS, Engineering Design and the Interoperability Challenge
    • Michael Schlosser, Autodesk Canada Inc,Regina, SK Canada
  • Building the Foundation for Sustainability
    • Karen Stewart, GISP, ESRI Canada, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • GIS-Based Infrastructure Management for Municipalities
    • Justin Gough, Novotx LLC, Clearfield, UT   

Postal Data & Google Maps Shine Light on New Orleans Recovery
After Hurricane Katrina emptied New Orleans and damaged 71% of the housing stock, government, nonprofits and neighborhood groups needed a way to track when and where people returned. Learn how the Data Center developed an alternative source of population data, created a Google Map application to deliver it, and most importantly, how groups are using the data to support their efforts in the recovery of New Orleans.

  • Joy Bonaguro, Elaine Ortiz, and Allison Plyer, Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, New Orleans, LA

A Business Case for Data Sharing
This panel will talk about best practices in data sharing, including the use of local parcel data to support western wild fires. Responding to emergencies is one of the most important business drivers for data sharing. State agencies play an important role in pre-deploying data that can be made available for sharing. These issues will be presented and discussed.

  • Data Sharing For a Purpose: A Business Case for Data Sharing
    • Anne Payne,GISP,  Wake County GIS, Raleigh, NC
    • Nancy von Meyer, GISP, Fairview Industries, Pendleton, SC
    • David Tulloch, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ

Disaster Response and Readiness
Regional response and collaboration across multi-jurisdictional and multi-disciplinary boundaries to mitigate or respond to natural or man-made disasters is not only a concept, but a requirement.

  • Cooperative GIS Initiative for Regional Fire Protection and Disaster Planning
    • David Allen,GISP, City of Euless, Euless, TX   
  • Marine Corps Leverages GIS and ArcGIS Server During the 2007 Southern California Wildfires
    • Michelle Boivin, GISP, Technology Associates International Corp, Chula Vista, CA
  • The Minneapolis I-35 Bridge Catastrophe
    • Paul Weinberger, City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis, MN

Closing Plenary Session – Grass Roots GIS in the Recovery of New Orleans
The ability of a disaster to motivate citizens to work for change cannot be underestimated. In 2005, storm surge from Hurricane Katrina caused the failure of several levees in New Orleans. In all, 80% of the city was flooded, and the recovery from this disaster has been long and hard. Throughout the city, citizens frustrated with the pace of recovery have organized themselves and their neighborhoods in an effort to rebuild and return to normalcy. Many neighborhood groups benefitted from volunteers who, by using GIS, were able to help pin-point the areas of greatest need and secure much needed rebuilding resources. This session will present the work of two of those neighborhood groups, the Broadmoor Improvement Association and the Mid-City Neighborhood Improvement Association, in a panel discussion about how GIS is helping them to make spatial sense of their recovery. Also on the panel will be representatives of two local non-profit organizations dedicated to helping citizens find and use GIS data to support their grass roots efforts to improve the quality of life in New Orleans.

URISA's 46th Annual Conference: October 7-10, 2008 - New Orleans
For conference details, visit  

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