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GIS-Pro 2020 Call for Presentation Proposals

GIS-Pro 2020
September 27-October 1, 2020
Baltimore, Maryland

Although the submission deadline has passed, we're still accepting proposals for those who might want to be considered for late participation and for invited talks! Please submit below!

This one-of-a-kind Geospatial Event will bring together GIS professionals to present, discuss, analyze, and share their experiences, insights, and solutions. Help us get the dialogue going! Showcase your expertise, collaborate with peers, and share your stories with an international community. Presenters at all stages of their careers (from high school students to seasoned professionals) are invited to submit. All proposals will be considered.

Why should you present at GIS-Pro 2020?

  • 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 Contribution Points toward your GISP certification or renewal.
  • Discuss your work in a meaningful way to a variety of individuals.
  • Receive valuable feedback from your peers. Are you on the right track?
  • Help us celebrate exemplary applications of innovative GIS Technology!

Presentation Topics to Consider

  • GIS Leadership & Management
  • Community Resiliency & Sustainability
  • Equity & Social Justice Implications of GIS
  • GIS Supporting Health & Human Services
  • Data Management & Analysis
  • Geospatial Technology Innovations
  • NextGen 9-1-1
  • Federal GIS 
  • National Spatial Reference System/Datums 2022
  • Inspiring the Future of GIS and Education

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.  Discuss your success stories, your challenges, or even your failures.   All proposals received will be reviewed and considered for the program.

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 strategic planning, ROI, maturity, and more.

Suggested Topics:

  • Value Proposition: Communicating benefits of GIS to decision makers
  • GIS Strategic Planning
  • Running/Managing a Small Business
  • GIS Capability Maturity Model
  • Change Management
  • GIS Budgeting/ROI
  • Capacity Building
  • Success Stories and Challenges
  • Team Building and GIS Staff Management
  • Professional Development Plans
  • Other topics related to GIS leadership and management

Community Resiliency & Sustainability

As communities continue to face both natural and human-made challenges, this track will present how communities are using GIS to plan for resiliency and promote sustainability.

Suggested Topics:

  • Climate Change
  • Coastal Protection
  • Disaster Preparation Planning
  • Emergency Response and Coordination using GIS
  • Forestry and Fire
  • Hazard Mitigation
  • Land Use Data for Resource Planning
  • Landslide Mitigation
  • Natural Resource and Environmental Conservation Management
  • Natural Resource Monitoring and Data Stewardship
  • NextGen 9-1-1 GIS Data Quality
  • Parks and the Natural Landscape
  • Renewable Energy
  • Water: Drought, Floods, and Supply
  • Wildfires
  • Wildlife
  • Other resiliency and sustainability topics

Equity & Social Justice Implications of GIS

As GIS assists with the visualization of our world, it continues to provide context policy issues and understanding of the impacts of policy options. This track will cover how communities and organizations are using GIS to better understand vulnerable populations and make analytics-driven decisions for the improvement of society.  It will also include GIS professional ethical responsibility as it relates to cartography, data access, and decision making.

Suggested Topics:

  • Applications of Census Data
  • Food Deserts
  • Human Rights
  • Public Services
  • Rural Services
  • Environmental Justice
  • Social Responsibility
  • Supporting Vulnerable Populations (homeless, aging, disabled, veterans, etc.)
  • Voting/Elections
  • Economic Development
  • Planning/Zoning Analysis
  • Housing Issues
  • Transportation Equity
  • Ethics & mapping
  • Responsibility to the community
  • Other equity & social justice topics

GIS Supporting Health & Human Services

Explore the numerous ways that GIS can support the development of healthy communities; fight pandemics; support our vulnerable citizens; combat the opioid crisis; and better support both the mental and physical health of the public. Share your challenges and solutions to some of these issues that impact us all. Explore the numerous ways that GIS is used to plan and facilitate effective delivery of services to the public at the individual and community level.

Suggested Topics:

  • Access to Healthcare / Health Facilities and Services
  • Access to Healthy Foods (food deserts)
  • Active living, recreation, and physical activity; obesity strategies and interventions
  • Building Healthy Communities
  • Chronic Diseases and the Environment, including cancers, diabetes and obesity
  • Crime, Violence, Personal Safety/Health
  • Data Privacy, confidentiality
  • Emerging Technologies
  • Epidemiology; Disease Vectors; Spread of Infectious Diseases (Zika, cholera, measles, flu outbreak, etc.)
  • Exposures (air quality, water quality, lead, etc.)
  • Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
  • Health Impact Assessments
  • Supporting Vulnerable Populations (homeless, aging, disabled, veterans, etc.)
  • Well-being and Mental Health
  • Other health and human services topics

Data Management and Analysis

GIS and related technologies help us manage and analyze a variety of spatial and non-spatial data. But what are the best ways to manage assets, collect data in the field, and analyze significant amounts of data to develop appropriate solutions and collaborate with others in your organization or community?

Suggested Topics: 

  • Application Development
  • Architecture & Integration
  • Asset Management
  • Big Data
  • Census
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Field Data Collections and Workflows
  • GIS and Cybersecurity
  • Map Publication Systems and Applications
  • Open Data
  • Tribal GIS
  • Other data management and analysis topics 

Geospatial Technology Innovations

Technology changes the way we do business. Modern technology provides the GIS professional with new capabilities to perform much of what we do in our careers. Some of this technology is must-have, providing a real return on investment, while others address new business challenges, while some are just simply cool and provide the wow factor to our work. The presentations in this program track will highlight new GIS tools and supporting geospatial technology with capabilities that meet defined needs, demonstrate values, and just plain impress.

Suggested Topics:

  • 3D GIS
  • Addressing
  • Aerial Photography, Remote Sensing, & LiDAR
  • Agency Collaboration
  • Cartography & Map Design
  • Efficient Workflows
  • Emerging Technologies and the Cloud
  • GeoDesign
  • Mobile Applications & GPS
  • Open Source GIS
  • Precision Agriculture
  • Surveying
  • UAVs/Drones
  • Utilities – Water, Wastewater, Electrical, Gas, Stormwater, Phone, Broadband, etc.
  • Other topics that demonstrate GIS capabilities and innovations

NextGen 9-1-1

NextGen 9-1-1 relates to upgrades to the existing 911 system to address mobile communications and technology advances since the development of the E911 system.  NextGen 9-1-1 will rely on improved road centerline and addressing data.   

Suggested Topics:

  • Addressing
  • NextGen 9-1-1 GIS Data Quality
  • NextGen 9-1-1 Standards
  • Urban/Rural Issues
  • Jurisdictional Boundaries
  • Other topics related to NG9-1-1

Federal GIS

This track will include issues specific to Federal GIS.  GIS is used extensively in national government from defense and intelligence to health, transportation, and public safety operations. 

Suggested Topics:

  • GeoInt
  • Transportation
  • Health/CDC
  • Census
  • National Parks
  • NOAA Digital Coast
  • Data access and sharing
  • Other Federal GIS topics

National Spatial Reference System/Datums 2022

This track will help us all understand and respond to the changes in datums and the national spatial reference system.  What do they mean for older data, projections between datums, accuracy, continual changes?  How will the change be made in large institutions?  In local jurisdictions?

Suggested Topics:

  • Changes to NSRS
  • Impacts to Surveys
  • Conversion/Projections
  • New Datums
  • GPS Data collection

Inspiring the Future of GIS and Education

This track is designed to 1) share GIS Education experiences and innovations across a variety of formats (face-to-face, online, workshops) and 2) support young professionals and students in their geospatial career development. The GIS Education sessions will bring together educators from all platforms and how they teach and inspire future generations of geospatial professionals using innovative pedagogy and engaged student learning. The student and YP 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 GIS Education Topics:

  • Teaching GIS to kids (K-12 education)
  • Innovations in Community College and University geospatial education
  • GIS education for adult learners & mid-career professionals
  • GIS Across the Curriculum: Interdisciplinary Approach
  • Life-long learning for geospatial professionals
  • Teaching GIS to non-GIS users
  • And any other topics of interest to faculty and students 


Suggested Young Professional Support Topics:

  • Networking 101
  • Translating your GIS skills into the workplace
  • Mentorship
  • Building the best resume
  • Importance of Professional Communities
  • 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 to young professionals 

Please Note:

URISA's Vanguard Cabinet will again sponsor a student/young professional digital competition. Stay tuned for details!

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 IGNITE-style 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 takeaways. Action plan for follow-up after the event 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 15 to 30 minutes, plus a few minutes for questions. Presentations of this type will be scheduled with 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 GIS-Pro 2020 and pay the 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 proceedings. Your session moderator will collect the papers/presentations during the conference on a thumb drive.

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

Interaction and exercises always add interest to a presentation.


  • Although the submission deadline has passed, we're still accepting proposals for those who might want to be considered for late participation and for invited talks! Please submit below!
  • Acceptance Notification: March 31, 2020
  • Presenter Registration Deadline: July 27, 2020 (after that date, unregistered speakers will be removed from the program.)
  • GIS-Pro 2020 in Baltimore:
    September 27 (meetings)
    September 28 (workshops)
    September 29-October 1 (conference programming)

Links to Online Submission Forms: 

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