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URISA News November. December 2009

URISA News November. December 2009

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Published by: URISA- The Association for GIS Professionals on Oct 26, 2010
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Issue 234 • November/December 2009Geospatial Technology professionals,whether in public or private sector, are faced with many fascinating oppor-tunities for gathering, disseminating,and communicating information. Thismeans a constant search to optimizethe job. Recently, I ran across a news feed, indicating that USGS is testing amethod for gathering data via the ex-tremely popular social media site Twit-ter. Immediately, this was intriguing.How are they presenting the intercon-nectivity of GIS and Social Media? Whatelse is out there? What kinds of policiesor guidelines exist for social media inthe public sector? Social media comesin many forms (blogs, mini-blogs, wikis,RSS, podcasts, and other social-centric forums or knowledge-bases) and it is all,in some way, location based. (It is upto us to harness the data). This articleincludes a brief review of the fast grow-ing social media (Web 2.0) phenomenawithin the public service sector andhighlights some popular uses, includingGeographic Information Systems (GIS).Social media is a flexible rangeof applications with many options for serving the public from a governmentalperspective. The
CIO Council 
Public Service Social Media
Keri S. Shearer, GISP
states that “The use of social mediatechnologies…quickly becomesa complex topic, with varyinginterpretations and perspectives.Researchers at the National DefenseUniversity (NDU) define social mediaas social software, applications thatinherently connect people andinformation in spontaneous, interactiveways”. If you are not very familiar withthe term social media, here are somepopular application examples for reference:
AddThis, Twitter, Facebook,Google Earth, Zillow, Digg, Pageflakes,Skype, Yelp, My Yahoo!, My Site, YouTube,Second Life, Twine, BlogSpot, AIM, Gmail,CityWatch, RSS, LinkedIn, Slide Share 
.This in no way reflects the wholewidth and breadth of the social mediaoptions available to both private andpublic entities. It shows the abundanceavailable to us. You may say to yourself after reading this list, well thatsounds like everything that is on theinternet and my cell phone. There areso many applications to choose from,in-depth research is recommendedbefore beginning a plan of action. A relevant point by AndyBlumenthal, chief technology officer 
The Association for GIS Professionals 
3 President’s Column6 Addressing, 3-D, Suitesand Occupancies—GISNeeds to be in theForefront!7 Book Review8 GIS for the UtilityIndustry, Not JustMaps….
at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,Firearms and Explosives delves intohow today, in both public and privatelives, the technologies available to us for communication are in constant flux.Can the government provide servicesin the many ways our customers expectand the way our employees and other organizations expect to interact? So, astechnology trends have headed towardcommunicating via social media,incorporating various applicationsand devices to interact with the worldin their everyday lives, governmententities are going to be expected topass services in the same way (Nextgov.com). What some government entitieshave begun to do is welcome socialmedia services with open arms andothers are investigating the risk of using these platforms. It seems thatthese types of data flow are completelyorganic, driven by internal and external forces to the government. A brief reviewof public service social media, withinthe United States, at the federal, state,
continued on page 4
Important URISADates to Remember
December 7–11, 2009
URISA Leadership AcademySeattle, WA
March 8–11, 2010
14th Annual GIS/CAMA TechnologiesConferenceLittle Rock, AR
August 16–18, 2010
URISA/NENA Addressing ConferenceCharlotte, NC
September 28–October 1, 2010
48th Annual URISA Conference &ExpositionOrlando, FLThe Urban and Regional InformationSystems Association (URISA) is thepremier professional association for those involved in improving our urbanand regional environments through theeffective use of information technology.Professionals in planning, economicdevelopment, information systems,emergency services, natural resources,public works, transportation, and other departments within state and localgovernment have depended on URISA for professional development andeducational needs since 1963. Throughits international, national and localchapter operations, URISA serves nearly8,000 professionals.
Kathrine Cargo, GISP-Orleans ParishCommunication Districtkcargo@911nola.org
Cy Smith, GISP-State of Oregoncy.smith@state.or.us
Hilary Perkins, GISP AICP-East-West GatewayCouncil of Governments, St. Louis, MOhilary.perkins@ewgateway.org
Cynthia Braddock-Boulder County (CO) Assessor’s Ofcecbraddock@co.boulder.co.us
Greg Babinski, GISP-King County (WA) GISCenter greg.babinski@kingcounty.govCarl Anderson, GISP-Fulton County (GA)carl.anderson@vadose.orgClare Brown, GISP-Montgomery WatsonHarza, New Orleans, LAclare.brown@us.mwhglobal.comDavid DiBiase, GISP-Penn State Universitydibiase@psu.eduMichael W Lovett, GISP-CDM Camp Dresser & McKee, Maitland, FLlovettm@cdm.comSandra Majewski, GISP-Las Vegas MetroPolice Depts6370m@lvmpd.comTwyla McDermott, GISP-City of Charlotte (NC)tmcdermott@ci.charlotte.nc.usKaren RM Stewart, GISP-ESRI Canada, Vancouver, BCkstewart@esricanada.com
URISA Headquarters
701 Lee Street, Suite 680Des Plaines, IL 60016Phone: 847-824-6300Fax: 847-824-6363info@urisa.orghttp://www.urisa.org
Wendy NelsonExecutive Director
Article submissions, calendar items and industry news should be sent townelson@urisa.org 
November/DecemberURISA News
Kathrine Cargo
PSD’S COMSA Matters
By Kathrine Cargo, URISA President 2009-2010
In a recent issue of the
URISA Digest 
,President-elect Cy Smith sent a reminder to the membership to check out theURISA website (http://www.urisa.org/an-nual/keynote) for the Opening Keynote Address delivered at the 2009 AnnualConference in Anaheim. The speaker wasDr. Barry Wellar, who, besides being a PastPresident of URISA, has accomplishmentsin the eld of GIS that are too numerousto list here. His topic was “Core Informa-tion Challenges and Opportunities, 2010-2020: Building on Strengths,” in whichDr. Wellar laid out four main areas whereURISA should consider focusing its ener-gies and agendas over the next decade.It was an excellent presentation, andcontained much food for thought notonly for the leaders in URISA, but for theentire URISA membership in that we, asGIS professionals, have the institutionalknowledge, experiences, and ability todirect the future course of GIS activities.By identifying four areas of focus, Dr. Wellar challenged URISA to not onlymaintain the past high standard of GISservice to the industry and membership,but to continue to strive to be the go-toassociation for geospatial research, ethics,and best practices.
The idea of challenging URISA to focus on four areas intrigued me, and I wanted tosee how closely Dr. Wellar’s view of thedirection in which URISA should movemirrored the initiatives in the URISA Stra-tegic Plan. Given the space constraintsof this column, I have summarized Dr. Wellar’s Core Information points for thepurposes of comparison with the StrategicPlan initiatives.
Point 1 - Strengthening nterdepen-dent nfrastructures
. Briey stated,URISA has always been about how
urbanand regional entities identify and useinformation. As Dr. Wellar stated, “Oneof the core information challenges andopportunities for URISA in the comingdecade is to elaborate federal and state/provincial government perspectives oninfrastructures, so that they are consis-tent with urban and regional realities.”Infrastructure can mean many things tomany people, and for the purposes of his presentation, Dr. Wellar focused onidentifying interdependent infrastructuresvia a matrix to assist in showing wherethe greatest interdependencies exist, andthus, where GIS could be used to producedata with the maximum benet. While the URISA Strategic PlanningCommittee did not use a matrix to figureout our interdependent “infrastructures”when identifying our initiatives, we didconsider those activities that wouldproduce the maximum benefit to themembership and the Association. Whether it is developing a new methodologyto identify and create new workshops,or institutionalizing a professionaldevelopment track at the AnnualConference, or the most interdependentof all infrastructures, strengthening thebonds between URISA and her chapters,the Strategic Plan initiatives all support theassociation’s objectives of engaging themembers in key issues, and building themembership community.
Point 2 - Climate Change Mitigationand Adjustment
. As an example of identifying information systems applica-tions, Dr. Wellar suggests that climatechange is one area where there is stillmuch work to be done “linking inter-dependent infrastructures and climatechange mitigation and adjustment at theurban and regional level.” He contendsthat while much has been written aboutclimate change, there is little quantitativeevidence to support mitigation efforts atlocal and regional levels. Dr. Wellar feelsthat this is an area where URISA, in col-laboration with other associations, canlead the way in providing analytical datato support mitigation efforts.URISA’s Strategic Plan also supportscollaborative efforts to achieve itsinitiatives. Specifically, the StrategicPlan wants to work more closely withCorporate and Business members todevelop educational offerings that providegeospatial solutions to the membership. Another educational initiative is to offer URISA Workshops to regional and nationalconferences of affiliated organizations inorder to better educate those outside of URISA of the benefits of geospatial analysis.The Strategic Plan is right in line with Dr. Wellar’s ideas on promoting the knowledgeand benefits of GIS use to help addressissues for today and into the future.
Point 3 - Safety and Security.
 Accord-ing to Dr. Wellar,
homeland security andpublic safety are interdependent infra-structures which have gained signicantattention over the last decade. The sheer amount of complex information that isgenerated keeping humans safe from realand perceived threats is overwhelming tothose at all levels of government taskedwith protecting vulnerable populations.But it is precisely the management of allthis generated information that is boggingdown the process of using the informa-tion. Dr. Wellar pointed out that URISAhas a history of synthesizing informationcreated by a large variety of sources intousable data, or as he says, the “data‐in- formation‐knowledge transform processthat has characterized URISA discussionssince the 1960s.” He further opined that,
continued on page 6
November/DecemberURISA News

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