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GIS-Pro & CalGIS 2018 Call for Presentations

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

Abstract Submission: Closed (Note that the deadline has passed but late submissions may be considered to address any needs.) Review the topics and proceed to the submission form at the bottom of the page.

We now invite your presentation proposals.

This one-of-a-kind Geospatial Event will bring together not only both California and National GIS professionals at all stages of their careers, but also an international audience to present, discuss, analyze, and share their experiences, insights, and solutions. Help us get the dialogue going.  Show 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 & CalGIS 2018?

  • 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 GIS technology; best practices for GIS Management and Leadership; GIS for Natural Resources; GIS Supporting Health and Human Services; Data-Driven Communities; GIS for NextGen 9-1-1 and Emergency Response;  GIS in Education and much more. We're also including a special program track focused on preparing for the GISP Exam. (It was a popular track in Jacksonville last year, so we're going to deliver it again!)

Presentation Topics to Consider

The Education 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 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

Preparing for GISP Certification

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

  • Reasons for certification
  • Portfolio development
  • GIS Code of Ethics

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

GIS for Natural Resources

This track will discuss the influence GIS has on determining the future of our planet's most precious resources. From forestry management to conservation and renewable energy, GIS has never been more important in providing technology to sustain our future. Share your stories on such an important topic.  This track is for professionals and researchers working in any area of natural resource planning, management or research. Presentations from professionals working within public agencies, consulting firms and academia are encouraged, including examples of current planning and management applications, or modeling and planning for long-term changes at the local, regional or ecosystem scale.

  • Natural resource and environmental conservation management
  • Renewable energy
  • Climate change
  •  Forestry and Fire
  • Coastal Protection
  • Water: Drought, Floods, and Supply
  • Wildlife
  • Parks and the Natural Landscape
  • Land Use Data for Resource Planning
  • Natural Resource Monitoring and Data Stewardship
  • Other natural resource topics

GIS for Next-Gen 9-1-1 and Emergency Response

As the use of GIS continues to grow in the fields of emergency response and next generation 9-1-1 telecommunications, having the ability to accurately locate emergency incidents is more important than ever. The application of GIS technology is a proven benefit to those who are responding to both natural and human-caused disasters. With no shortage of emergency situations, whether it is a catastrophic wildfire or isolated call for help via 9-1-1, GIS and accurate address data facilitate timely emergency responses. GIS-Pro and CalGIS 2018 recognize the value of GIS in assisting those who answer the calls for help. Presentations highlighted in the GIS for Next Gen 9-1-1 and Emergency Response track will cover improving location data quality, emergency response applications, emergency mitigation applications, and the coordination and data sharing between local, regional, national and international agencies that improves the emergency response at all levels.

Suggested Topics:

  • Emergency Response and Coordination using GIS
  • Hazard Mitigation
  • NextGen 9-1-1 GIS Data Quality
  • Disaster Preparation Planning
  • Wildfire Mitigation
  • Landslide Mitigation
  • Other related topics

GIS Supporting Health and 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.

  • Supporting vulnerable populations (homeless, aging, disabled, veterans, etc.)
  • Building Healthy Communities
  • Fighting the opioid epidemic
  • Health impact assessments
  • Well-being and mental health
  • Access to healthcare / health facilities and services
  • Access to healthy foods (food deserts), food safety
  • Active living, recreation, and physical activity; obesity strategies and interventions
  • Crime, violence, personal safety/health
  • Epidemiology; disease vectors; spread of infectious diseases (Zika, cholera, measles, flu outbreak, etc.)
  • Exposures (air quality, water quality, lead, etc.)
  • Emerging technologies
  • Chronic diseases and the environment, including cancers, diabetes and obesity
  • Data privacy, confidentiality
  • Other health and human services topics

Data Driven Communities aka Smart Communities

The sessions in the track will discuss the ways communities use data (both geospatial and non-spatial), the pros and cons of data collection and analysis, and how people interact with data to form policies.  

  • Crowdsourcing 
  • Community Engagement
  • Smart Cities
  • Urban Planning
  • Transportation and Transit
  • Autonomous vehicles 
  • Sustainability & Resilience
  • Environment
  • Active Transportation
  • Walkability
  • Sustainability
  • Resilience
  • Market Urbanism
  • Broadband
  • Retrofitting the Suburbs


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 the new GIS and supporting geospatial technology and capabilities that meet defined needs, demonstrate values, and just plain impress. 

Suggested Topics:

  • Addressing
  • Aerial Photography, Remote Sensing, & LIDAR
  • Agency Collaboration
  • Application Development
  • Architecture & Integration
  • Asset Management
  • Big Data
  • Cartography & Map Design
  • Census
  • Efficient Workflows
  • Emerging Technologies and the Cloud
  • GeoDesign
  • Map Publication Systems and Applications
  • Mobile Applications & GPS
  • Open Data
  • Open Source GIS
  • Surveying
  • 3D GIS
  • Tribal GIS
  • UAVs/Drones
  • Utilities – Water, Wastewater, Electrical, Gas, Stormwater, Phone, Broadband, etc.
  • And any other topics that demonstrate GIS capabilities

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 Topics for GIS Education:

  • 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

Suggested Topics for Young Professionals/Students:

  • 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 for students and young professionals

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 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 & CalGIS 2018 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 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.


  • Deadline for Submission: March 5, 2018
  • Acceptance Notification: April 10, 2018
  • Presenter Registration Deadline: August 1, 2018 (After that date, unregistered speakers will be removed from the program.)
  • Event: October 9-13, 2018

Links to Online Submission Forms: Late submissions may be considered. Feel free to submit a proposal


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