Friday, September 20, 2013

Updated and New Datasets on the GIS Hub

Two datasets have been recently updated on the GIS Hub by the North Dakota GIS Technical Committee data stewards.  These are:
  • Railroads 24k (Updated, with assistance from Applied Data Consultants)
  • TIGER 2013 Roads (New - replaces 2012, courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau)
These datasets can be downloaded or delivered via data services.  More information on these datasets can be found on the Hub Data Portal. You may find it convenient to simply browse to the data within the Categories section of the Hub Data Portal. After you've located the data of interest, click on the More Information button and then scroll down to the Transfer Options section. In that section, click the Download link to download the data or click one of the other links such as the 'Esri REST including WMS' link to obtain the data service information.

2013 North Dakota GIS Users Conference Wrap-Up

The 2013 North Dakota GIS Users Conference, held at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, is a wrap.  The Conference Committee did a nice job of pulling it all together, creating a well-attended event that provided excellent value to the attendees.  If you weren't able to attend you missed out, but we hope to see you at the next conference.

New for this year was the Learning Lab from Esri.  That appears to have been a popular event which was well received.  Thanks Esri for putting that on!

Esri Learning Lab
Also new for this year was the box lunch, sponsored by Kadrmas, Lee, and Jackson (KLJ) who was a Platinum Plus sponsor.  When you get a chance, please be sure to thank KLJ for their sponsorship.

The conference benefited greatly from the many other sponsors and much of the conference value came from the excellent presentations, posters, and workshops. 

I found the keynote presentations to be very interesting.  Dr. Mark Askelson from the University of North Dakota provided a lot of information about drones unmanned aircraft. If North Dakota becomes one of the six states to operate test sites for unmanned aircraft, expect to hear a whole lot more about these.  James Fee, owner of Spatially Adjusted LLC and Spatial IT Director at the URS Corporation, gave us a heads-up that GIS professionals who can still get around on the command line, and in particular, know how to use Python, are well-situated for future work in the geospatial world. And congratulations goes to James for being able to visit AND stay in his 50th state, he had never been to North Dakota before.

James Fee Keynote
ArcGIS Online was prevalent in many of the presentations that I attended. If you haven't looked into it yet, you need to.  It isn't perfect, but it will certainly continue to grow in functionality and applicability in our work flows.

Another one of my takeaways from the conference was the growing use of Esri's Local Government Information Model, or because we all need more acronyms, LGIM for short. Although it introduces some complexities, they may be well worth the effort when trying to develop a new or streamline an existing implementation of GIS into one's organization.

Poster Session
There's no way to cover everything that I saw or heard but hopefully this small wrap-up gives you a glimpse into the conference.  Please also visit the post-conference web site to obtain additional info including links to presentations.

So what about the next conference? There are already some discussions going on.  Please be sure to contact me or one of the 2013 conference chairs if you have ideas or comments for the next conference, currently planned for the fall of 2015. At the moment some ideas are floating around on where to hold it, time of year, and length of the conference.  Nothing is set in stone yet but will be soon in order to set the location and date, so if you have something to suggest, please do so!