URISA actively works to advance and support the GIS profession and GIS professionals. That work requires developing clear positions on critical issues and advocating for those positions.

Policy Statements & Recommendations


Advocacy Agenda

Policy Advisory Committee

Statement About Advocacy

Current Advocacy Agenda

1.   Executive Support & Sustainable Funding for Geospatial Programs

  • Develop, promote, and implement URISA’s Return On Investment model for GIS
  • Engage URISA Chapters to promote and enhance geospatial activities
  • Encourage the application of geospatial technology in support of social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of communities

See NSGIC's document on Economic Studies for GIS Operations which the URISA Board endorsed as a valuable reference (Nov 2013).

2.   Nationwide Development of High Quality, Publicly Accessible Geospatial Data

  • Promote development of URISA’s Geospatial Capability Maturity Assessment
  • Support and encourage development of a shared geospatial data infrastructure “For the Nation”
  • Support and encourage development of policies and legal frameworks for sharing geospatial data
  • Support and encourage formation of “Collaboration Infrastructures” for geospatial data sharing/use
  • Support and encourage the development of central repositories of geospatial data and metadata
  • Support and encourage development of high accuracy geospatial data

See NSGIC's document on Geospatial Data Sharing Guidelines for Best Practices which the URISA Board endorsed as a valuable reference (Nov 2013).

3.  Affordable Geospatial Training Programs Offered by Academic Institutions and Other Organizations

  • Support GeoTech Center and others in developing affordable geospatial training
  • Identify and promote open educational resources initiatives internationally
  • Promote more federal financial aid opportunities for part-time & non-traditional students
  • Continue developing web-based curricula of URISA workshops and webinars
  • Create web collaborations to extend reach of geospatial education beyond URISA

4.   Highly Capable Geospatial Workforce to Meet Current and Future Demands

  • Support implementation of Geospatial Technology Competency Model
  • Promote use/understanding of the GIS&T Body of Knowledge
  • Promote use/implementation of the Geospatial Management Competency Model

Policy Advisory Committee

The PAC is advisory to the URISA Board.  It monitors local and national activities, advising the board when it feels action is necessary and recommends appropriate responses. Contact PAC Chair Bruce Joffe at

URISA Board Statement About Advocacy

Truly valuable professional associations do three things well for their members: education, communication, and advocacy. URISA has always advocated on behalf of its members, but we’ve recently started to take the advocacy role to a new, more effective level. There’s a value proposition for you in the URISA advocacy role: Having URISA on your side, speaking out for you to National and State/Provincial Legislatures, County, City, and Town Commissions, and Regional/Tribal Governments will result in greater, more effective investment in geospatial systems (data, people and technology) for everyone.

For that to happen, you have to let URISA know what geospatial issues are important to you and what you think should be done to improve things. At the annual GIS-Pro conference, there are many opportunities in which URISA Chapter leaders and members get a chance to talk about what they’ve heard from their members on important issues. The URISA Advocacy Agenda Committee also solicits input from all URISA and Chapter members through a survey in the months leading up to GIS-Pro. We spend time in many of the conference sessions discussing those important issues and defining actions that need to be taken…actions for which URISA can advocate.

The result of the discussions at GIS-Pro and a member-wide survey is the URISA Advocacy Agenda (detailed above). This tool provides any member a way to show leaders in their jurisdiction what URISA believes is important and what actions are needed to make the agenda items a reality. 

We are already using the Advocacy Agenda to coordinate efforts on executive support, data development, education, and workforce development with a number of other professional associations, thereby leveraging the influence of many others to accomplish our objectives. For example, we are coordinating with the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) on national address data development and Next Generation 911. We’re coordinating with the U.S. Department of Labor and the Surveying & Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI) on workforce development and education/training. We also work with the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations on all of our advocacy agenda items in various ways.

URISA and our partner organizations communicate directly with leaders in Congress and the White House, with State legislators and with local elected officials often throughout the year to advocate for specific actions that align with our advocacy agenda. The Advocacy Agenda is there for you to use to do the same, to ensure that we are all speaking with the same powerful voice. The Advocacy Agenda guides our efforts as a professional association and helps us prioritize those efforts. 

The coordination we’re doing with other associations and organizations is something that’s made possible because we’re working together through URISA to use the combined influence of our membership. That combined influence, reflected through our Advocacy Agenda, and brought to bear on the problems and issues that stand in the way of our individual and collective success is tremendously valuable to every member.


eGIS Associates, Inc.
GeoTech Vision
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North West Geomatics
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TGA inc.