GIS-Pro 2016 Call for Presentations

GIS-Pro 2016: URISA's 54th Annual Conference
October 31-November 3, 2016
Toronto, Ontario


The GIS-Pro 2016 Conference Committee invites your presentation proposals for URISA's 2016 Conference in Toronto. This year’s conference will once again bring together an international audience of your peers to present, discuss, analyze, and share their experiences, insights, solutions and yes, frustrations in the geospatial arena. Help us get the dialogue going. Presenting at GIS-Pro is rarely a one-way process… your presentation will just be the start of the discussion.


We all know that securing approval for funding and time to attend conferences is frequently a difficult process, so we must make sure that every presentation includes ‘takeaways’ for the audience; lessons learned to apply back at the office to save time, money, and frustration.

Why should you present at GIS-Pro 2016?

  • Get recognized for your achievements and enhance your professional profile.
  • Increase the visibility of your organization and your project.
  • Help somebody else who is facing similar challenges.  
  • Receive valuable points toward your GISP certification or renewal.
  • Practice your presentation skills … discuss your work in a meaningful way to a variety of individuals.
  • Receive valuable feedback from your peers. Are you on the right track?

Presentation Topics to Consider

The Conference Committee has provided the following list to consider as possible presentation topics. The list is not meant to be restrictive, but is provided to stimulate ideas. Feel free to think outside the box. Consider innovations, trends, technical and management topics. Propose ideas geared to GIS beginners, mid-career managers or the leaders in the field.
All proposals received will be reviewed and considered for the conference program.

  • Addressing
  • Advocacy
  • Aerial Photography, Remote Sensing, & LIDAR
  • Agency Collaboration
  • Application Development
  • Architecture & Integration
  • Best Practices, Certifications, & Continuing Education
  • Big Data
  • Capital Asset Management
  • Career Advancement
  • Cartography & Map Design
  • Census
  • Civic Engagement & Public Participation 
  • Developing quality RFPs and measuring ROI
  • Education, particularly K-12 and post-secondary
  • Emerging Technologies and the Cloud
  • Environmental Conservation and Management
  • First Nation GIS
  • GeoDesign
  • GIS and 911; Emergency Response; Hazard Mitigation, Fire Management; Earthquake or Flood Response
  • Map Publication Systems and Applications
  • Mobile Applications & GPS
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Open Data
  • Open Source GIS
  • Private Sector Innovations
  • Program Management & Planning
  • Projects, Implementations, & Strategies
  • Public Health
  • Renewable Energy & Climate Change
  • Smart Cities
  • Soft Skills Development
  • Surveying
  • 3D GIS
  • Transportation and Transit
  • Urban Planning
  • Utilities – Water, Wastewater, Electrical, Gas, Stormwater, Phone, Broadband, etc.

Please Note: Presentations cannot be sales pitches or commercials. Presentation submissions by industry representatives must include a co-presenter who is a user.  The focus must be on education and not selling a product a service.  

Presentation Formats

There are numerous presentation formats to fit your style...from formal speaking slots and panel discussions to casual luncheon presentations and IGNITE talks. Please indicate the presentation format that is best suited for your proposal when you submit your abstract (note that the committee may ask you to reconsider your preferred format to fit the program needs).

  • Full Session: A 60-90 minute comprehensive session with collaborative problem solving and knowledge sharing. Indicate learning objectives, skills gained, takeaways, and research cited. Action plan for follow-up after the conference would be well-received.
  • Individual Presentation: Each presenter is allotted 20 to 30 minutes, plus 10 minutes for questions. Presentations of this type will be scheduled with one or two other presentations to form a cohesive session of 60 or 90 minutes in length.
  • Panel: A 60-90 minute presentation which encourages interaction and discussion between the panelists and the audience. Panel presentations should include at least three panelists all speaking on different aspects of a particular topic.
  • Luncheon Presentation: Individual presentations (15-20 minutes in duration) are made a bit more informally at a lunch table instead of at a podium. The format offers the opportunity for in-depth discussion, questions, and answers about the topic being presented. (Luncheon presentations will be held on Tuesday, November 1.)

  • Poster Session: Students and professionals are asked to share their research work or their cartography skills through posters and/or maps of their work.  Any subject is acceptable as long as the entry contributes to the GIS profession and GIS is used in some form as part of the poster and/or map design.
  • IGNITE Presentation: A big hit every year, IGNITE presentations (also known as lightning talks) are limited to five minutes (20 slides auto-advanced at 15 seconds each). The best presentations are both educational and entertaining! 

Presenter Suggestions & Expectations

As stated above, presenters are encouraged to incorporate specific ‘takeaways’ and lessons learned to make the attendees’ experience as valuable as possible. Consider alternative ways of delivering information, perhaps incorporating audience activities and discussion, peer to peer sharing and other ways to promote active learning.

PowerPoint presentations are an effective tool for sharing data, key points and storytelling. But do you really need slides? Steve Jobs once said, “People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint.” If slides don’t add value to your overall message, don’t use them. Take some time to consider some interactive presentation ideas like these:

Submission of a proposal implies availability to attend the conference.  All accepted presenters must register for the conference and pay the conference registration fee. If a presenter plans to participate in only the session he/she is scheduled in, registration fees may be waived, however a registration form must still be completed. Also:

  • Presentations that market specific products and services are not acceptable at the conference. Exhibiting/sponsoring opportunities to promote your company's products and services will be abundant at the conference.
  • All accepted presenters must submit either a formal paper (preferred but not required) or presentation with notes (i.e. PowerPoint/Prezi) during the conference for inclusion in the conference proceedings. Your session moderator will collect the papers/presentations during the conference on a thumb drive.
  • All participants must read and abide by the URISA Event Code of Conduct to promote a respectful experience for all.

To accommodate conference management, presenters are expected to meet deadlines. The conference utilizes a Sched App for the online publication of the conference schedule, individual presentations, speaker biographies, exhibitor profiles and attendee networking. Presenters will receive instructions to upload their biographies and engage with the community upon acceptance.
Breakout session rooms will be moderated and equipped a screen, projector, and cables to plug into the presenters’ laptop (it is the responsibility of the presenter to verify their laptop’s compatibility with provided cables). A PowerPoint Conference Slide Template will be distributed to all presenters, even if you only use it for your presentation title and name.

During the conference, there are often concurrent sessions with multiple presentations. In order for all attendees to access  the good ideas being presented, URISA produces the Conference Proceedings which is  distributed to all attendees after the conference.  Presenters are expected to submit their presentations, with a brief narrative for distribution to conference attendees. It can be emailed or provided on thumb drive transfer on site at the conference.

Interaction and exercises always add interest to a presentation.


  2. Acceptance Notification: April 15, 2016
  3. Conference: October 31-November 3, 2016

Link to Online Submission Forms:

Submission Form for Full Session (more comprehensive to include learning objectives, case studies, etc.)

Submission Form for All Other Presentation Formats

Return to main conference page


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