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GIS-Pro 2021 Call for Presentation Proposals

GIS-Pro 2021
October 3-6, 2021
Baltimore, Maryland

Abstract Submission Deadline: March 31, 2021

This exceptional Geospatial Event brings together a wide range of GIS professionals eager to present, discuss, analyze, and share their experiences, insights, and creative solutions.  Showcase your expertise, collaborate with peers, and share your stories with an international community. Presenters at all stages of their careers (from students to seasoned professionals) are invited to submit. All proposals will be considered. Let’s get the dialogue going!

Of course the health and safety of URISA members, leaders, and staff remains of utmost importance. If pandemic health and safety concerns have been minimized (or eliminated), we all hope to meet in Baltimore in October for URISA's 59th Annual Conference, GIS-Pro 2021. We will certainly pivot to virtual delivery if the situation demands it.  When submitting a presentation proposal, please indicate on the form if you are willing to deliver your presentation virtually if the conference must shift to a virtual format.

Why should you present at GIS-Pro 2021?

  • 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 with 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
  • Students and Young Professionals - Shaping the Future of GIS
  • Addressing & Next Generation 9-1-1
  • GIS Role in the Census and Redistricting

The list is not meant to be restrictive, but is provided to stimulate ideas. Feel free to think outside the box! 

Propose presentations that are geared to GIS beginners, mid-career managers, or the leaders in the field.  Discuss your opportunities, challenges, or even failures (which may become an opportunity).   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 Maturity Models
  • Change Management in the New Workplace
  • GIS Budgeting/ROI
  • GIS Project Management
  • Capacity Building
  • Success Stories and Challenges
  • Team Building and GIS Staff Management
  • Professional Development Plans
  • Remote GIS Workforce Management
  • Managing Cloud-Based Systems
  • 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, Policy, and Action
  • Climate Events and Vulnerability
  • Disaster Preparation Planning, Response, and Mitigation
    • Hazard Mitigation
    • Forestry and Fire
    • Landslide Mitigation
    • Water: Drought, Floods, and Supply
    • Coastal Protection
    • Wildlife
  • Emergency Response and Coordination using GIS
  • Clean Renewable Energy, GHG Reduction, and Carbon Capture
  • Land Use Data for Resource Planning and Policy (Sustainable Development Goals - SDG’s)
  • Natural Resource and Environmental Conservation Management
  • Natural Resource Monitoring and Data Stewardship
  • Parks and the Natural Landscape
  • Renewable Energy
  • Addressing
  • Best Practices for GIS Dashboards
  • 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/Redistricting
  • Economic Development
  • Planning/Zoning Analysis
  • Housing Issues
  • Transportation Equity
  • Ethics & mapping
  • Responsibility to the Community
  • Best ESJ Practices
  • Resilient and Sustainable Communities
  • Climate Equity
  • GIS for ESJ – Community Participation Plan
  • 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 (COVID, 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
  • Best Practices for GIS Dashboards
  • 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
  • How to Manage Data in the Cloud
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Field Data Collections and Workflows
  • GIS and Cybersecurity
  • Map Publication Systems and Applications
  • Open Data
  • Tribal GIS
  • Open Source Software
  • GIS System Maintenance
  • 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 a must-have, providing a real return on investment, while others address new business challenges, and 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
  • Indoor GIS
  • 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 GIS – Water, Wastewater, Electrical, Gas, Stormwater, Phone, Broadband, etc.
  • Profession Boundaries: GIS, Survey, & Photogrammetry
  • Other topics that demonstrate GIS capabilities and innovations

Students and Young Professionals - Shaping the Future of GIS

This track is designed to 1) share unique experiences of young professionals, 2) share GIS Education experiences and innovations across a variety of formats (face-to-face, online, workshops) and 3) support young professionals and students in their geospatial career development. The Young Professionals sessions will bring together GIS professionals from all platforms and share 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 Topics:

  • Young Professional Success Stories
  • Key Components to 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
  • Empowering non-GIS Users with Access to GIS
  • Strategies for Growing Your GIS Career
  • Insights to a Successful Professional Portfolio
  • And any other topics of interest to students and young professionals 

Addressing & Next Generation 911

Address data is crucial to a wide range of operations and systems, from 9-1-1 response to service delivery to long-range planning. Learn about proven strategies and practical methods for creating, managing and maintaining a high-quality address repository that supports the many use cases of local governments and businesses.  One of the most critical uses of address data is support of emergency response.  The shift in the E-911 community to the mobile technologies of NG9-1-1 have changed the address data needs of the emergency response community as well.  This track covers implementation success stories, elements of address and road network data needed to support emergency response, elections, tax appraisal, school attendance, planning and development, infrastructure asset management, and many other functions of government.  Additional topics include coordination and data sharing between local, regional, national, and international agencies, as well as standards, policies and data architectures to support enterprise address data quality and usability. 

Suggested Topics:

  • Practical Strategies for Building an Enterprise Address Repository
  • Street Networks and Centerlines for Addressing and NG9-1-1
  • Address Data Compilation Strategies
  • Address Data Aggregation and the National Address Database
  • Developing an Address Manual: Policies and Rules for Address Administration
  • Business Processes for Address Maintenance
  • Address Data Quality
  • Agency/Jurisdiction Collaboration
  • Creative Implementation Strategies for Address and NG9-1-1 Data
  • How Addresses Play a Critical Role in NG9-1-1 Implementation
  • Emergency Response and Coordination using GIS
  • NG9-1-1 in Less Populated Areas
  • NG9-1-1 and the Emerging Importance of Z-values
  • Other topics related to addressing, NG 9-1-1, public safety, and emergency response 

GIS Role in the Census and Redistricting

Many countries conduct a census. The frequency may vary from country to country. In the US, every 10 years the Federal government undertakes the counting of every person living in the United States and its five territories. This count is critical for a number of reasons including formula based grants and congressional redistricting. This track will explore the role GIS plays in the census process around the world.

Suggested Topics:

  • LUCA Success Stories
  • Which Address Database Do I Use?
  • Tracking Who Is Counted
  • Redistricting
  • Census, What Role did GIS Play
  • Other census-related topics

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 2021 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. and will be detailed soon.

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.


  • Acceptance Notification: April 30, 2021
  • Presenter Registration Deadline: August 1, 2021 (after that date, unregistered speakers will be removed from the program.)
  • GIS-Pro 2021 in Baltimore:
    October 2 (meetings)
    October 3 (workshops)
    October 4-6 (conference programming)

Links to Online Proposal Submission Forms 

  • 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.  

Submit a Full Session Proposal

  • 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. 

Submit a Panel Session Proposal

  • 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! 

Submit an Individual Presentation or Ignite-Style Talk Proposal

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