A day-long conference to showcase the work of those who use computers to mark and map where things are located is set for Wednesday, Nov. 15 at the 1500 Jefferson Building in Olympia.
“Discovering the World through GIS,” is the theme for the 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. event, which will feature a number of seminars and presentations on how Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are used across Washington state. GIS is the graphical display of data, such as buildings, cities, highways, wetlands, signs, businesses or other objects, facilities and ecosystems.
he state Department of Natural Resources, for example, uses GIS in a number of ways – such as identifying areas where insects and disease are damaging state forest land, and to show where large patches of kelp are floating in tidal areas. The Department of Transportation uses GIS extensively for highway mapping data. And the state Department of Ecology has teams that use GIS to show places where the public can access state beaches, where all of the dams are in the state and where flood plains are located.
Much of the state’s geospatial data is publicly available, and linked through the state’s Open Data Bridge website.
The conference, hosted by WaTech and the state’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), will feature 20 to 30 presentations by a variety of state and local government agencies. There is no registration necessary or fee to attend – just bring a healthy interest in what GIS professionals call “the Power of Where.”
The conference is in conjunction with the worldwide celebration of GISday, “an annual salute to geospatial technology and its power to transform and better our lives.” Similar events are being held around the world.
Non-professionals are also invited to attend the event, which takes place in the Training Center rooms on the second floor of the 1500 Jefferson Building, located just east of the state’s Capitol Campus at 1500 Jefferson St. in Olympia.
Street parking in the residential areas near the 1500 Jefferson Building is scarce and limited to just a few hours. Paid parking is available in a lot across the street along Maple Park and in the Plaza Parking Garage.
Check the OCIO web site for specific information on presentations and tracks as they are developed. For more information about the conference contact Joanne Markert, state GIS coordinator, via email or at (360) 407-8691.