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Recap of the 24th Annual Virginia GIS Conference

By: Jonah Adkins

virginia gis conference

The 24th Annual Virginia GIS Conference was held Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 in historic Williamsburg, Virginia. The event was sponsored by VAMLIS, the Virginia Association for Mapping and Land Information Systems, and was attended by around 250 GIS practitioners from across the state of Virginia.

I had the pleasure of attending the conference, along with a few of my GISi colleagues: Anthony Scardino, Melinda Dubaj, John Martin, and Marvin Garland. The conference provided a great networking atmosphere to catch up with old colleagues and meet up and coming professionals, as the attendees ranged from college students to private sector to state and local government officials. Dan Widner, from the VGIN (Virginia Geographic Information Network) kicked off the morning with a keynote on the future of GIS within the commonwealth, and was followed by a round of lightning talks, among those, a great overview of the Virginia Broadband Initiative by Michael Edwards of VITA (Virginia Information Technologies Agency).

There were over 40 sessions offered throughout the day, which covered a wide variety of topics. Highlights from the ones I attended were:

  • Jackie Stephan of The City of Newport News discussed tracking energy usage within its offices.
  • Mark Mandell of VDOT (Virginia Department Of Transportation) showed how they tracked snow plow progress via a mobile application and web mapping application during snow events.
  • Andrew Becker displayed results from his Masters project on the predicting Amphibian Breeding Pools.
  • Mike Sweeney from Esri gave a deep-dive into ArcGIS Online and the entire ArcGIS Platform.
  • Chris Gerecke talked about improving user experience in application design.

Lastly, David Wells, the president of VAMLIS awarded some door prizes provided by the conferences sponsors as well as, announced the winners of the map gallery at the college and professional level. A conference sponsor also hosted a short reception afterward that provided a great book-end to day’s events.

Recap of the 24th Annual Virginia GIS Conference