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14th Annual GIS Day Huge Success

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The 14th Annual GIS Day at KU was held on Wednesday, November 18th at the Kansas Union which highlighted five speakers, 11 sponsors and over 100 participants and attendees focusing on the value of GIS as a tool for many industries and disciplines. GIS Day at KU was part of a nationwide event to promote awareness of geographic information systems (GIS) and how the use of this evolving tool can help analyze the world. This event continues a strong tradition of bringing together a community of GIS users from academia, business and government.

The day opened with a variety of informational booths, networking and a delicious continental breakfast.  The event then moved from the main lobby of the student union to Alderson Auditorium where the five speakers gave their scheduled presentations.

Dr. Nathaniel Brunsell, Chair for the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science, gave opening remarks followed by an engaging presentation given by David Tarboton on the topic, "Clearing Your Desk!  Software and Data Services for Collaborative Web Based GIS Analysis."

The second speaker was Jennifer Ciminelli of Virginia Commonweath University who spoke about her geospatial work at VCU.  VCU was recently given a large patch of rural land by a generous donor and Ciminelli was tasked with the process of conducting field research and organizing the property in a functional manner to be utilized effectively by all departments of the university.  She chose to use GIS to organize the property and then designed an app using GIS technology to further catalogue the location.

The fun part of the day came with the Student Research Presentation which featured intricate posters and speeches given by students showcasing the results of data they had drawn from different projects using information from GIS Systems in a variety of research areas.  Siddharth Shankar won first place in the contest with his theme, "Quantifying Iceberg Distribution in Rink Fjord Using Satellite Remote Sensing."  Second place was taken by Weibo Liu with the topic, "Graph Based Representation and Analysis for Storm Events."  Shankar was assisted by Leigh Stearns for this Project.  Liu was assisted by Xingong Li.

Other speakers included Tucker Hickey, a Network Planner from Sprint who discussed GIS applications in the wireless telecommunications industry, Eugene Derner, a senior Hydrologist for the NOAA/National Weather Service who talked about GIS frameworks for the National Weather Service, and Daoqui Tong, an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona who used GIS technology to identify urban food deserts. 

Attendees came from a cross-section of people and included members of the general public, students, staff, faculty, and employees of companies who use GIS technology across a broad range of areas.  The event was free and open to the public.  Members of the general public were able to view the student poster research project prior to the contest.



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