GIS-Pro 2017 Call for Presentations

GIS-Pro 2017: URISA's 55th Annual Conference
October 23-26, 2017
Jacksonville, Florida

Abstract Submission Deadline: March 13, 2017 (The deadline to submit has passed, however, late submissions will be considered for any additional sessions that may develop.)

The GIS-Pro 2017 Conference Committee invites your presentation proposals. Help us celebrate exemplary applications of GIS technology; best practices for GIS management and leadership; professional development, certification, and much more. We're also including a special program track focused on preparing for the GISP Exam. (You've asked for it, and we're going to deliver!)


This year’s conference will once again bring together an international audience of your GIS peers to present, discuss, analyze, and share their experiences, insights, and solutions. Help us get the dialogue going.  

Why should you present at GIS-Pro 2017?

  • 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.  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.

Young Professionals: Inspiring the Future of GIS

This track is designed to support young professionals, including students, in their career development. The sessions will provide opportunities to learn about and develop the skills and relationships that will advance their understanding of professional pathways and keys to success in the geospatial workplace.

Suggested Topics:

  • Networking 101
  • Mentorship
  • Developing a portfolio
  • Building the best resume
  • Taking advantage of URISA resources and networks
  • Importance of continuing education
  • Value of graduate degrees
  • Certification vs. Certificates
  • Importance of soft skills in a social media world
  • What are employers looking for in new hires?
  • Crafting a job search
  • And any other topics of interest for young professionals

Unlocking Your Potential: GIS Leadership & Management

From single user to enterprise systems, learn the difference between Leadership and Management and why both are critical to your organization’s GIS success. In this track, learn more about topics such as the GIS Capability Maturity Model, GIS strategic planning, and more.

Suggested Topics:

  • GIS strategic planning
  • Communicating benefits of GIS to decision makers
  • GIS Capability Maturity Model
  • Change management
  • Strategies for GIS skills development
  • GIS Budgeting/ROI
  • Intro to GIS Leadership Academy
  • Building capacity in your organization
  • Share your story: What have been your success stories? What have been your challenges?
  • Leading and managing within the state and local government environment
  • Team building and GIS staff management
  • And any other topic that is related to GIS leadership and management

GISP Exam Fundamentals:  What you should know as a Professional

This track will explore the knowledge areas related to the GISP exam. It will review topics related to the exam, help attendees assess their readiness, and provide a forum for discussion. 

Exam knowledge areas are grouped into the following categories:

  • Conceptual Foundations
  • Cartography and Visualization
  • GIS Design Aspects and Data Modeling
  • GIS Analytical Methods
  • Data Manipulation
  • Geospatial Data

We are seeking presentations that address the specific exam knowledge areas within these categories. For a complete list of these topics, please review the GISCI Geospatial Core Technical Knowledge Exam Candidate Manual also included here:

GIS Technology for Efficiency and Effectiveness

New technology provides all types of new capabilities to do all kinds of things – some are ‘must haves’ with real return on investment; some address new business challenges; and some are simply cool.  The presentations in this program track will demonstrate new GIS capabilities that meet defined needs and demonstrate value.

Suggested Topics: 

  • Addressing
  • Aerial Photography, Remote Sensing, & LIDAR
  • Agency Collaboration
  • Application Development
  • Architecture & Integration
  • Asset Management
  • Big Data
  • Cartography & Map Design
  • Census
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Benefits from Civic Engagement & Public Participation
  • Education, particularly K-12 and post-secondary
  • Efficient Workflows
  • Emergency Response; Hazard Mitigation, NextGen 9-1-1; Hurricane or Disaster Preparation Planning
  • Emerging Technologies and the Cloud
  • GeoDesign
  • Map Publication Systems and Applications
  • Mobile Applications & GPS
  • Natural Resource and Environmental Conservation Management
  • Open Data
  • Open Source GIS
  • Public Health
  • Renewable Energy & Climate Change
  • Smart Cities
  • Surveying
  • 3D GIS
  • Transportation and Transit
  • Tribal GIS
  • UAVs/Drones
  • Urban Planning
  • Utilities – Water, Wastewater, Electrical, Gas, Stormwater, Phone, Broadband, etc.
  • And any other topics that demonstrate GIS capabilities 

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, and takeaway. Action plan for follow-up after the conference would be well-received.
  • 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.
  • Individual Presentation: Each presenter is allotted 20 to 30 minutes, plus a few 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.
  • Ignite-Style Presentation: A big hit every year, Ignite-style 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

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.


  • 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.


  1. Deadline for Submission: March 13, 2017- (The deadline to submit has passed, however, late submissions will be considered for any additional sessions that may develop.)
  2. Acceptance Notification: April 10, 2017
  3. Presenter Registration Deadline: August 1, 2017 (After that date, unregistered speakers will be removed from the program.)
  4. Conference: October 23-26, 2017

Link to Online Submission Forms:

Submission Form for Ignite-style (Lightning) Presentation


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