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Typically, an association is structured so that when an individual joins, he/she is a member of both the parent organization and their local chapter. One dues fee is collected by the organization to support services at both levels. The parent organization helps to support chapter programs and events, collaborating with local volunteer leaders. There is a coordinated and exponential increase in the organization's ability to share knowledge, education and best practices and have a positive impact on the profession. The OneURISA goal is to make that structure a reality after 50+ years of existence. 

Chapter Letters of Support:


1. What is OneURISA?

OneURISA is integral to the strategic vision of URISA in creating a unified organization and membership model, uniting/aligning the International Organization with the chapters and expanding the resources, capabilities and opportunities for our members at global, regional and local level.  It is designed to provide many benefits to individual members, chapters and URISA International.  A key feature of the OneURISA model is that it empowers all our members, chapter members and International members alike, by making them part of the same organization.  Without a unified membership model in place, it has been possible to be a member of a chapter but not a member of URISA International or a member of URISA International but not a member of a chapter. OneURISA will eliminate this missed opportunity and provide more value to all of us as URISA members. OneURISA is the name of this initiative and does not reflect a name or branding change of URISA.

2. How has the OneURISA initiative evolved?

OneURISA has been in the works for over 15 years. The OneURISA model blueprint represents nearly 5 years of work by the Chapter Advisory Board (CAB) and approved by the URISA International Board, defined what we are trying to build as OneURISA. The blueprint was based on the work done by the CAB over the last several years. It is the first step in a larger process required to move forward. Making a significant membership model change in an international organization takes a lot of careful planning and coordination. Since the OneURISA model blueprint has been in place, the process of determining how we will build the model has been underway. Initially, this included a financial and general systems analysis to determine  the potential costs of implementation.

The original financial analysis included the potential need for a new membership management platform, resulting in higher than anticipated costs associated with the implementation phase. Upon further review, URISA was able to eliminate the need for the new and expanded system through capabilities with our existing membership software/platform.  As a result of these significant reductions and concerns voiced over potential cost, the URISA Board of Directors voted to approve a zero-cost option for the implementation of OneURISA. Any prior suggested dues rates will not be the rate for an individual membership under OneURISA. Membership under OneURISA will be a fee equal to the cost of a current URISA membership plus whatever additional fee the local chapter in your area charges. This is consistent with the practices of other professional organizations such as the American Planning Association (APA) and the Geospatial Information Technology Association (GITA).

OneURISA Update from Tripp Corbin, URISA President (July 2017)

3. What is the current status of OneURISA and what are next steps? *

OneURISA is moving forward with a target date of January 1, 2020 for full implementation of the unified membership model. URISA has adopted and is actively working on action items of an implementation plan. A OneURISA Implementation Team has been formed as a central point of contact for questions and ensuring that the actions established for implementation are accomplished. Communication and marketing initiatives, data collection for input into the membership model platform and governing documents are well underway. Financial information requests are anticipated to be sent out to the chapters in early-mid August. Many chapters have submitted their written endorsements. The OneURISA implementation is awaiting final review of the Affiliation Agreement from URISA legal counsel. The Affiliation Agreement is the cornerstone of the OneURISA model. The URISA BOD anticipates review and approval of the Affiliation Agreement by the end of August. The first of the early adopters (New England and Louisiana Chapters) will begin the transition to OneURISA as soon as the Affiliation Agreement is finalized.
The OneURISA Implementation Team has been working with the CAB and individual chapters in providing up to date information about current and upcoming next steps for the chapters. Updates and announcements are being provided on the URISA website as well in direct communication efforts with URISA membership. OneURISA Tech Assist teams will be working with specific chapters to assist with next steps and any unique circumstances and information pertinent to the chapter.

*Applies to US Chapters only. A separate implementation process is currently being developed for bringing international chapters into the unified membership model.

URISA Chapters

4. I am currently a Chapter Member only — how does OneURISA apply to me?

Similar to other professional organizations, dues will be paid to the parent organization, URISA, and a selection will be made for the chapter that is associated with your primary residence. As OneURISA is implemented, you will no longer just be a chapter member. Instead, you will become a member of your chapter and also URISA International, making you part of a larger organization. As such you will have increased benefits, such as:

  • Access to a larger professional network.
  • Belonging to a stronger organization with a more influential voice to address issues important to the profession and community. There is power in numbers and we have opportunities to make a positive impact on the GIS profession on many fronts.
  • Having a voice on the international, national and local stage through URISA and our affiliations with groups such as the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO), the United Nations, National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), and others to address issues facing the profession.
  • More opportunities to earn contribution points for GISP certification.
  • URISA publications such as The GIS Professional and URISA Digest.
  • Discounts on URISA events such as GIS-Pro, GIS Leadership Academy, and specialty conferences.
  • Voting in URISA elections, running for office, and serving on committees.
  • One-stop shop for membership sign-up, renewal and information.

5. What is the schedule for implementing OneURISA?

The implementation plan is already in motion, which defines the action steps that the OneURISA Implementation Team is taking towards full implementation of the unified membership model. Following the initial step of collecting relevant chapter information and evaluating conditions of governing docs to understand the base structural information, URISA will identify which chapters have the structural elements in place to transition fully into the new membership model. This will initially begin with 2-3 "early adopter" chapters going through the transition process, with that number increasing as the process is refined.The ultimate goal is to have full implementation for US chapters achieved by 2020. International chapters will come a bit later as we work through details specific to their country and other issues.

Key Milestones of OneURISA Implementation (US Chapters only):

May 2018

Submit chapter base information: Contact Info & Governing Docs - Thanks to all chapters that have submitted this information!

June 2018

❏ Chapters provide written endorsements/confirmation to OneURISA by June 30, 2018.
❏ URISA identification of “Early Adopters” - Congrats to the Louisiana and New England chapters!

July- September 2018

❏ URISA - Chapter Affiliation Agreement currently in development (anticipated mid/late September)
❏ Chapters to provide incoming board member continuity plan by end of July 2018.
❏ OneURISA chapter document reviews
❏ HQ Membership Model Platform Revisions
❏ URISA provides model by-law templates to chapters (anticipated by October 2018).

GIS-Pro & CalGIS 2018 in Palm Springs, California - October 9-12, 2018

❏ Introduction/Appointment of Technical Assistance Teams to OneURISA chapters

November 2018

❏ Kick off Technical Assistance Teams by chapter November 2018 - December 2019
❏ Chapters/Technical Assistance Teams work together to final implementation

January 2020OneURISA Implementation Process is complete for US chapters!

6. Will URISA International provide assistance for implementation to chapters?

Yes, URISA is working on creating Tech Assist Teams to help each chapter transition to the new OneURISA model. Tech Assist Teams will be introduced to the chapter by the date of the annual conference.

7. Once OneURISA has been implemented, will there still be a chapter affiliation fee?

No, once a chapter has implemented the new OneURISA model, they will no longer be required to pay the chapter affiliation fee.

8. Does the money collected from chapter events remain with the chapters?

If a chapter holds an event, the chapter will keep all the money it raises from the event. This includes conferences, workshops, lunch and learns, meet ups and so on. The practice of cost and revenue sharing for joint events or those where a chapter contracts with URISA to manage the event will continue as has been done in the past (such as CalGIS). In these situations, a separate agreement is executed between the chapter and URISA.

9. How will the relationship/responsibilities between URISA and the chapters be established?

This will be accomplished via an Affiliation Agreement between the chapter and URISA. This is currently being drafted by the URISA attorney and will be made available to the chapters as soon as possible. 

10. What obligations does the initial letter of intent from chapters to support OneURISA create?

The initial letter of intent to support OneURISA only means a chapter intends to continue forward with the process and does not create any obligations. It is not until the chapter signs the Affiliation Agreement that it is committed to implement the new OneURISA membership model.

11. Will chapters maintain their status as separate 501c non-profits?

Yes, each chapter will continue as its own 501c non-profit.

12. Will the chapters have to revise Bylaws and other governing documents?

In most cases, chapter bylaws will need to be updated for consistency. This is to ensure that membership levels, nomenclature and various other elements are consistent between URISA and chapter documents. URISA requested copies of these documents from all chapters, and review of these documents is underway. URISA is developing a template set of documents which can be used by each chapter. The Tech Teams will assist each chapter to customize the template documents where needed for each chapter for things that may be unique for the chapter such as officer term lengths, board position descriptions or at large board member titles.

13. Will all chapters become part of the OneURISA initiative?

If an existing chapter elects to not to become part of OneURISA or is non-compliant with the process, they will cease to be a chapter of URISA and lose all rights and benefits of a chapter.

URISA International Members

14. As a URISA member, what does OneURISA mean for me?

When OneURISA is implemented, you will be a member of a stronger, more vital organization. OneURISA will enhance URISA’s already significant representation and profile in the geospatial industry, giving us a stronger voice to impact initiatives, such as the Geospatial Data Act, and challenges which have been facing our industry at an ever-increasing rate. It will also provide access to an even larger professional network.  It will provide you with membership in a local chapter, if one exists. This means you will be able to benefit from their activities, as well, and work with dedicated GIS professionals in your local area. Inherently, chapters are able to provide or facilitate meetings, networking, and training in a more personal context.  Chapters can help influence public policy at the State and local level, as well as raise issues that are impacting policy trends that affect the GIS industry in other States and in other countries.  

15. I live in an area where there is no local chapter currently formed. What happens for me in this situation?

If you live in an area that does not have an active chapter, you will be considered an At-Large member. An At-Large member will have all the benefits of URISA membership but is not required to join a local chapter unless they elect to do so.

If you are in an area that does not have an active chapter and you have interest in establishing a chapter, please contact Wendy Nelson to inquire about starting a new chapter in that area.

16. Am I required to join my local chapter? Can I join more than one chapter?

Yes, if there is an active chapter in your geographic area, the OneURISA model requires that you join that chapter.  You can join as many chapters as you like as long as you pay the required dues determined by and associated with each chapter. All dues are paid annually to URISA and distributed accordingly based on the "home" chapter and any other chapters you select to join.

17. What is the current URISA Individual Membership?

The fee for an Individual URISA membership is $195.00.

18. What is the current cost of individual memberships for URISA chapters?

It varies from chapter to chapter. Currently some are free to join, and others charge an annual fee while others include membership in the chapter as part of registration for a conference. For current information on chapter dues, visit your local chapter website for their detailed fee structure. You can find a list of all current URISA chapters with links to their website here. Once a chapter is part of the unified membership model, dues will be collected through the URISA membership platform and will include current chapter pricing. 

Download the OneURISA FAQ PDF

URISA Chapter List

Questions or concerns? Send an email to oneurisa@urisa.org 

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