URISA GIS-Pro & NWGIS 2015 Conference Details Announced

Program details announced; registration opens and exhibit discounts until June 15. Excellent Value – Important Education – Unmatched Connections

Rules and Judging Criteria Announced for 2015 Undergraduate Geospatial Technology Skills Competition

Top five finalists to receive all-expense paid trip to GIS-Pro & NWGIS 2015 in Spokane this October.

URISA's GISCorps Volunteers Respond to Typhoon Pam

Twenty-two GISCorps volunteers responded to the call for Typhoon Pam, which devastated the island nation of Vanuatu on March 13, 2015.

Vanguard Cabinet


Vanguard Cabinet to co-host the 2015 Undergraduate Geospatial Technology Skills Competition

The Vanguard Cabinet (VC) is a URISA initiative (which debuted in 2011) to engage young GIS practitioners, increase their numbers in the organization, and better understand the concerns facing these future leaders of the GIS community. The VC is an advisory board made up of URISA young professionals who represent the young membership of the organization. The Cabinet’s mission is to collaborate with URISA’s Board of Directors and Committees in creating and promoting programs and policies of benefit to young professionals. Comprised entirely of passionate young members selected from different geospatial disciplines, the Cabinet aims to position URISA as the center of opportunities for creative young professionals who are committed to improving URISA and the geospatial profession via innovation, collaboration, networking, and professional development.  

URISA members who are age 35 and under are encouraged to apply for membership to the Cabinet. Each year, five young professionals will be selected by the Vanguard Steering Committee, and each will serve a two year appointment on the Cabinet. In addition, each Cabinet member will participate on a URISA Committee to bring their unique perspective to the activities of that Committee. In recognition of their service, each Cabinet member will be offered a free GIS-Pro conference registration while serving on the Cabinet.  In addition, one Cabinet member will be chosen as GIS Young Professional of the Year and will be awarded free tuition to the URISA Leadership Academy.


2015-2016 Vanguard Cabinet Members:

  • Daniel Behnke, GISP - Orlando, Florida
  • Yuriy Czoli - Toronto, Ontario Canada
  • Derreck Deason - New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Carey-Lee Dixon – Kingston, Jamaica
  • Damian Graham, GISP - Chicago, Illinois
  • Kitty Hurley, GISP - Saint Paul, Minnesota

Daniel Behnke - "Being selected to serve as a URISA Vanguard Cabinet Member is definitely an honor.  I look forward to representing young professionals in the GIS field and assisting with the creation of opportunities for students and other young professionals to build relationships within our discipline.   I’m continuously amazed at the variety of ways GIS is being utilized and I look forward to learning from my fellow GIS professionals."

  Yuriy Czoli -  "I am delighted to be joining the URISA Vanguard Cabinet! I look forward to helping young professionals and students connect and share their experiences with others. The world of geography is ripe for collaboration; by sharing our ideas and diversifying our networks we can further our understanding of the challenges facing us as geographers. Whether your solution focuses on local, national, or global issues, collaboration will get you closer to your goals, faster. Reach out to me on twitter @YKCzoli or by email at I'd love to hear your story."

  Derreck Deason - “Young professionals like myself are the next generation entering the industry, and by working with the veterans in our field, we have an invaluable opportunity to gain insight, understanding, and experience. I am excited to play a part in promoting the programs and policies of URISA’s Board of Directors and Committees, and the innovation, collaboration, networking, and professional development that will result. There is no better environment for growth, and I am honored to be involved.”

  Carey-Lee Dixon - "The change, we want to see in the geospatial industry, begins with us. Being selected as a URISA Vanguard Cabinet member is an honour, as the platform provides an excellent avenue for young professionals like myself to connect, collaborate, innovate and inspire change at the international level. I would like to see more young GIS professionals and women integrally involved in innovative ventures and decision-making, and I look forward to learning and adding value to the VC and the industry."

  Damian Graham, GISP - "It’s an honor to have been selected to serve on the Vanguard Cabinet. I am also very excited to work with such a distinguished cadre of young professionals. This is an exciting time for both URISA and the geospatial industry and I welcome the opportunity to learn, engage and partner on strategic initiatives that will disrupt traditional GIS approaches and bring the power of geospatial to a wider industry cross-section.  I would like to see the continued development of our young GIS professionals by providing more opportunities for innovation, collaboration, education and networking.  Looking forward to the future"

  Kitty Hurley, GISP - "I am honored to be a member of the URISA Vanguard Cabinet and am ready to get to work! I look forward to continuing down the path other Vanguard Cabinet members have laid down before me and creating a few others along the way! I will live by something best asked by Robert H. Schuller, “What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?”  Please don’t be a stranger; connect with me on LinkedIn and/or send me a tweet on Twitter @GeospatialEM. I’m always up for a good conversation or story! Geogeeks unite!"

2014-2015 Vanguard Cabinet Members:

  • Kari Chael – Chicago, Illinois
  • Sarah Finne, GISP – Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • William Moore – Winchester, Kentucky
  • Andrew Spiliotis – Raleigh, North Carolina  Kari Chael  - "I am very excited to have been selected to serve on the Vanguard Cabinet. Over the next two years I hope to connect and grow with other young professionals in my field. I look forward to getting more involved in other committees within URISA, as well as learning new ways in which GIS is being used by those in different areas of our field. GIS is a powerful resource; by working together we can help find innovative ways to utilize and develop this technology for the future."  Sarah Finne - "The Vanguard Cabinet provides a unique platform for young GIS professionals to foster networking and professional development opportunities for other young professionals. I am honored to be a part of this increasingly important mission and will use my tenure to help college students and other young professionals realize the benefits that URISA provides. I look forward to working with my fellow cabinet members and URISA leadership to help increase student outreach, promote networking and other professional development opportunities, and be a voice for young professionals in our field."  Billy Moore – “I am very excited to be a part of the Vanguard Cabinet! I look forward to diligently working with everyone to provide young professionals and students with information, tools, and first-hand experience on how to help them grow in the GIS world.  I look forward to expanding my knowledge of GIS from my other Vanguard Cabinet members as well as others within URISA.  As we all know the young professionals are the future to taking GIS to the next level.” Spiliotis picture.jpg  Drew Spiliotis - “I am honored to represent URISA young professionals on the Vanguard Cabinet.  I hope to use this opportunity to promote networking and mentoring opportunities for students and young professionals.  I am looking forward to working with URISA members and seeing the innovative ways GIS is applied in different disciplines.”

Vanguard Cabinet Members Since 2011

Vision, Mission and Member Policies

Vanguard Cabinet - Vision, Mission and Member Policies

Vanguard Cabinet Committees

  • Mentoring Committee (Chair: Diana Rodriguez)
    The mentoring committee is focused on fostering relationships between individuals who have questions or needs regarding the GIS profession, and individuals who have the knowledge or skills to answer those questions.  Entering into a profession is a difficult task in itself and the goal of this mentoring program is to provide individuals with an invaluable asset, which are people that have the knowledge, experience, and skills that can become their go-to person. This committee is responsible for creating a website that hosts this mentoring program, developing resource materials that help mentors and mentees  in this process, and coming up with innovative ways to make this mentoring program a success. If you have ever wanted to mentor someone, have questions about career paths or resume development, have experience with developing or hosting a website, or simply want to be part of a group focused on connecting people, this is the place for you!

    Proceed to the Vanguard Cabinet Mentoring Site


Apply to be a URISA Vanguard Cabinet Member

The application process for the 2016 URISA Vanguard Cabinet members will open Fall 2015.


The Vanguard Steering Committee:

  • Clare Brown, GISP - Chair of the Vanguard Steering Committee - Data Manager, New Orleans Regional Planning Commission
  • Amy Esnard - URISA Board of Directors, Data Transfer Solutions, Hood River, OR
  • Hilary Perkins, GISP, AICP - Past President of URISA - Planner, City of Maryland Heights, MO
  • Wendy Peloquin, GISP - Sr. Geospatial Analyst at GISi, Jacksonville, FL
Blue Marble
Connected Nation
eGIS Associates, Inc.
Geo Planning Services
GeoTech Vision
Hexagon Geospatial
Open Spatial
Planning Communities
Sani-International Technology Advisors
Spatial Focus
TGA inc.
Thomson Reuters
Valtus Imagery Services