GIS in Action 2021 has ended
Welcome to the 29th annual GIS in Action Conference!

This year’s GIS in Action conference may look quite a bit different from years past but promises to be one that will engage and inspire you in all the ways that you expect and some ways that will surprise you! This year’s important and timely theme, Resilience and Equity, provides attendees with an opportunity for discourse and growth. The program is packed with 4 keynote addresses, 6 topical tracks, 7 workshops, a map gallery, as well as time for networking. We have 16 sponsors and over 250 people registered! 

We’re excited to feature keynote speaker Annita Lucchesi who serves as the Executive Director of Sovereign Bodies Institute and will discuss her work as the caretaker of the MMIW database on day 1. On day 2, we’ll feature keynote speakers Steven Hoffert, Jeff Frkonja, and Colleen Miller as they discuss the importance of geospatial data sharing, collaboration, and coordination for delivering government services equitably and effectively. For the day 3 keynote, Nicole Franklin will unpack the use of GIS for equity and social justice, and on day 4 Karsten Vennemann  will illustrate how open and fair access to spatial information and open software are transforming our world. 

The conference offers something for everyone with the presentation tracks of: Building Your GIS Program, Critical GIS, Emergency Response, Technology, and Workforce Development. Several specialized sessions will focus on meeting the needs of Emerging Professionals and offer a lively way to grow your network. The annual Student Showcase session reveals innovative approaches to geospatial problem solving year after year.

The 2021 Conference Committee, composed of members from the Oregon & SW Washington URISA (ORURISA) and the Cascadia Region of ASPRS (American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing), has been innovating and tirelessly working to bring you the array of informative keynote addresses, workshops, and presentations. Many thanks to Alexa Todd (Chair) and the entire conference committee including Ben Brady, Claire Brumbaugh-Smith, Dave Brown, Matthew Freid, Marcus Glass, Tara Kaur, Jesse King, Lauren McKinney, Ashley Moran, David Percy, Neil Revello, Cy Smith, Shivon Van Allen, and many others involved in the planning and delivery of this exciting event. 

We look forward to meeting you at the 2021 conference and continuing to grow this vibrant and strong GIS community!

Theresa Burcsu, President, Oregon-Southwest Washington URISA Chapter 

Robert Hairston-Porter, President, Cascadia Region ASPRS 

Accessing the Plenaries, Sessions, and Socials
  1. For access to plenaries, sessions, and socials, the link to the Zoom meeting will appear in Sched 10 minutes before the session start time. Click Video Stream to join the meeting, as shown in the images below.

  2. You can change sessions or re-enter a session by returning to the schedule.

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Workshop [clear filter]
Monday, April 19

1:00pm PDT

Workshop: Adventures in LiDAR using Arc

Workshops require separate registration. To participate in this workshop, signup here by Friday, April 16.

Take a tour in Arc using lidar data and see the many products and tools that can be made with lidar data. Students will be provided with a dataset and full tutorial on the processes and tools that will be demonstrated.


Debbie Barnes

Senior GIS Analyst, Sanborn Map Company

Monday April 19, 2021 1:00pm - 3:50pm PDT
Tuesday, April 20

3:00pm PDT

Workshop: Examining the legacy of redlining in the United States using the Google Earth Engine Python API

Workshops require separate registration. To participate in this workshop, signup here by Friday, April 16.

This workshop is an introduction to the ‘big data’ analysis capabilities of Google Earth Engine via the Python API, including accessing remote sensing and model data collections, calculating spectral indices, and sampling environmental variables for areas of interest. Using the 'area descriptions' created by the US ' Home Owners' Loan Corporation' (HOLC) n the late 1930s (the origin of the term ‘redlining’) that were compiled digitally by the Mapping Inequality project, the workshop characterizes modern day environmental conditions in the different HOLC grades using measures such as land surface temperature, vegetation greenness, and
seasonal temperature variations.

● A Google Earth Engine Account
● A Google account for access to the Colaboratory virtual machine environment.


Nick Kohler

University of Oregon
Dr. Kohler teaches courses in remote sensing, geospatial data science, andhuman-environment relations at the University of Oregon. His research concerns natural andcultural world heritage management and conservation, land use change related to economicdevelopment, environmental monitoring... Read More →

Tuesday April 20, 2021 3:00pm - 4:50pm PDT

3:00pm PDT

Workshop: Understanding how your GIS is used with CMMS in the Analysis of Risk

Workshops require separate registration. To participate in this workshop, signup here by Friday, April 16.

GIS is critical to a fully functioning Infrastructure Asset Management Program. We will walk through each step of a supporting GIS to achieve the goal of assessing and analyzing asset Risk and Criticality.


Ben Hoffman

President, Ben Hoffman Consulting, Inc.
Ben is GISP with over 15 years of experience in GIS. He has work experience in both the Public and Private sectors. Ben has given workshops, trainings and presentations on Asset Management and has implemented multiple AMS sites. He believes the process is a true collaboration between... Read More →

Tuesday April 20, 2021 3:00pm - 4:50pm PDT
Wednesday, April 21

3:00pm PDT

Workshop: GLOBE Observer: An example for using community science data to build and maintain your GIS capacity

Workshops require separate registration. To participate in this workshop, signup here by Friday, April 16.

The aim of this workshop is to present the latest developments in which community and citizen science are creating and contributing open-access geospatial data. With the proliferation of mobile technology that are location-enabled, there are emerging opportunities to teach foundational geospatial concepts, engage communities in quality-controlled data collection, and developing the ‘people’ component of a geographic information system (GIS). To demonstrate a process for using a citizen science tool, you will be introduced and use a mobile app developed by the NASA-supported Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program. Weather and local regulations permitting, you can go outside and collect data related to tree height, land cover, and clouds. Then we will explore and compare this type of data to authoritative geospatial data maintained by local, state, and federal organizations. Finally, we will facilitate a discussion on recommendations for key areas in which communities could continue involvement in building and maintaining maps, GIS, and the needed open access data. This workshop is sponsored by OregonView.

avatar for Peder V Nelson

Peder V Nelson

Oregon State University

Wednesday April 21, 2021 3:00pm - 4:50pm PDT
Thursday, April 22

1:00pm PDT

Workshop: GIS for Community Resilience

Workshops require separate registration. To participate in this workshop, signup here by Friday, April 16.

This workshop is comprised of two parts. First we highlight ways that GIS can contribute to achieving community resilience highlighting case studies and share methods for community empowerment by leveraging spatial thinking and GIS. In the second portion we will introduce the activities and opportunities to engage with resilience in context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and a new URISA International working group for Climate Change and Climate Equity. In this workshop we engage with attendees to identify experiences and opportunities for community engagement to address these challenges.

Not required, but we welcome participants to explore case studies in our recently released book if interested:
S.L. Steinberg and Steinberg, S.J.,eds. 2021. Resilient Communities across Geographies, Esri Press, Redlands, CA. ISBN: 9781589483781.

avatar for Teresa Townsend, AICP

Teresa Townsend, AICP

Chief Executive Officer, Planning Communities, LLC Raleigh, North Carolina
avatar for Dr. Sheila Lakshmi Steinberg

Dr. Sheila Lakshmi Steinberg

Professor of GIS, Social and Environmental Sciences, Brandman University
Dr. Sheila Lakshmi Steinberg is Faculty Assembly President and Full Professor of  GIS, Social and Environmental Sciences at Brandman University, Irvine, CA. Steinberg is an accomplished author who has published a variety of books and edited volumes. Her most recent books is co-edited... Read More →
avatar for Steven Steinberg, Ph.D, MPA, GISP

Steven Steinberg, Ph.D, MPA, GISP

GIO, Los Angeles County California

Thursday April 22, 2021 1:00pm - 2:50pm PDT

1:00pm PDT

Workshop: Remote Sensing with Free and Open Source Software (FOSS): Land Cover Analysis
Workshops require separate registration. To participate in this workshop, signup here by Friday, April 16. 

Discover the powerful capabilities that Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)[1] has to offer for remote sensing tasks and beyond. This 4-hour workshop will demonstrate how to perform a land cover analysis using Sentinel 2 imagery[2] using two different approaches. Participants are welcome to follow along with the workflow on their own machines if desired. Examples will include both the use of “Maximum Likelihood” and “Random Forest” classification algorithms. The first approach will show how to do a land cover analysis on QGIS desktop (on windows), while the second approach covers how to use the Goggle Earth Engine platform(GEE)[5] (a cloud-computing-platform based earth analysis engine) to do the same.

A brief overview of FOSS for remote sensing will be followed by an introduction to QGIS desktop[3] and the Semi-automatic Classification Plug-in (SCP)[4]. This covers a complete workflow of performing a land cover analysis in QGIS based on Sentinel 2 imagery at 10-meter resolution. Steps covered in this workflow include:

  • Selecting and obtaining imagery (direct queries, filtering of areas and imagery parameters, and download directly via the GUI in QGIS)
  • Creating a suitable band set for the land cover analysis depending on the satellite/imagery used
  • Preprocessing, conversion to reflectance, and simple atmospheric correction of imagery bands
  • Creating training areas for the land cover classification
  • performing the land cover classification (Maximum Likelihood vs. Random Forest)
  • A brief overview of post-processing capabilities
  • Accuracy assessment and error correction

The second approach shows the use of the Goggle Earth Engine platform (GEE)[5] to perform a similar analysis. The use of GEE is free for academic and private purposes. Following the workflow of the first approach example scripts will be illustrated on how to run a Random Forest-based land cover analysis on a time series of sentinel 2 and sentinel 1 imagery.

In summary, the workshop will include the following parts
  1. Overview of FOSS for remote sensing tasks
  2. Land Cover Analysis using QGIS and the SCP plug-in
    • Brief Overview of QGIS desktop
    • Overview of the SCP (Semi-automatic classification) plug-in
    • Land Cover Classification using the SCP
  3. The GOOGLE Earth Engine(GEE) Platform
  4. Brief Overview of (GEE)
  5. Land cover Classification using GEE

avatar for Karsten Vennemann

Karsten Vennemann

GIS Consultant, Terra GIS Ltd
Karsten Vennemann is originally from Germany and has been living with his family in Seattle since 2004. He has been working as a GIS professional for over 20 years and gathered experience in the academic and private sectors, as well as in non-profit organizations, before founding... Read More →

Thursday April 22, 2021 1:00pm - 3:50pm PDT

3:00pm PDT

Workshop: Geographic Information Science & Technology Best Practices for Equity & Social Justice

Workshops require separate registration. To participate in this workshop, signup here by Friday, April 16.

The focus of this workshop is on emerging best practices for doing work with geographic information science & technology (GIS&T) for issues related to equity and social justice (ESJ). During the past decade many government agencies have begun to apply an equity lens to public policies, projects, and programs. On January 20, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order ‘On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government’ that recognizes the key role of geography and IT.
This workshop will review recently published best practices on using GIS&T for ESJ, including data management, data sources, geospatial analysis, cartographic display, general visualization, and the use of dashboards – all within the context of a GIS&T to ESJ lifecycle. The workshop will also cover ideas for community involvement in GIS&T based ESJ work.

avatar for Greg Babinski

Greg Babinski

GIS Marketing & Business Development Manager, King County IT Regional Services
Greg Babinski’s GIS career spans 31 years. He has worked for the King County GIS Center in Seattle since 1998. Greg originated the URISA GIS Capability Maturity Model and participated in the development of the Geospatial Management Competency Model. He is a GISP and an American... Read More →

Thursday April 22, 2021 3:00pm - 4:50pm PDT
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