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Our Story

Our Vision:

URISA connects people and resources in the geospatial community.

Our Mission:

URISA is a multi-disciplinary geospatial organization that provides professional education and training, a vibrant and connected community, advocacy for geospatial challenges and issues, and essential resources. URISA fosters excellence in GIS and engages geospatial professionals throughout their careers.

Our Strategic Goals:

  1. Protect, promote and grow the GIS profession.
  2. Support GIS professionals at all stages of their careers with essential training and resources.
  3. Sustain and strengthen the organization.

Our History:

URISA emanated from a conference held on August 28, 1963 on the campus of the University of Southern California, organized by Edgar Horwood and attended by 48 people to trade information on developments in regional information systems. This was billed as the ‘First Annual Conference on Urban Planning Information Systems and Programs.’ Additional annual conferences were held from 1964 through 1966 in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Berkeley.  At the 1966 Berkeley Conference, attendees approved a Constitution establishing the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA). 

The conference held in 1967 in Garden City, New York was the first called the URISA Annual Conference. However, URISA considers that its first conference was the one held in 1963 on the USC Campus in Los Angeles.

Edgar Horwood founded URISA and was its first president.  Horwood provided intellectual leadership toward building an interdisciplinary association and served as a constructive critic in the development of ethical practices in the emerging area of applying information systems technology to urban and regional applications.   He patterned URISA after the Regional Science Association, an inclusive interest association, not an exclusive professional society overly concerned with credentials.

  • In preparation for URISA's 50th Annual Conference in 2012, a number of industry luminaries collaborated on a retrospective publication celebrating the influence of URISA over the years.  The 300-page book, Foundations of Urban and Regional Information Systems and Geographic Information Systems and Science, discusses the significant research, education, training, and applications foundations that URISA and its members have contributed to urban and regional information systems and geographic information systems and science.

Click here for more information about URISA's esteemed history. 

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