Tuesday, May 20, 2008

4th Caribbean GIS Conference Press Release

URISAMay 20, 2008 (Park Ridge, IL) – Registration has opened for URISA’s 4th Caribbean GIS Conference. The conference will take place August 25-29, 2008 at the Ritz Carlton Resort on Grand Cayman and will feature workshops, keynote presentations, dozens of educational sessions, an exhibition, poster session and networking opportunities.

Preconference events begin on Monday, August 25 with an ESRI user group meeting and an ArcGIS training course, and URISA Certified Workshops will be presented on Tuesday, August 26 on these topics:

  • GIS Program Management
  • GIS Enterprise Architecture & System Integration
  • An Overview of Open Source GIS Software

During the opening session on August 27, the “Status of Caribbean GIS” will be explored through on-stage interviews of key GIS professionals in the region, followed by a keynote address from Dr. David Maguire, Chief Scientist at ESRI. For this Fourth Caribbean GIS Conference, URISA is pleased to announce a second keynote address on Thursday morning from Vanessa Lawrence CB, Director General and Chief Executive of the Ordnance Survey.

The Program Committee has organized an educational program based upon abstracts submitted through the Call for Presentations within these topical program tracks:

  • Disaster Management, Law Enforcement, Public Health and Safety
  • Standards, Policy and Management
  • Land, Environment, Planning and Natural Resources
  • Utilities, Business and Organizational GIS
  • Hot Topics

Some featured sessions include:

National and Regional Case Studies in Disaster Management
This session will look at examples of Disaster Management Applications using GIS around the region.

  • The Caribbean GIS Community and its Response to Disasters: Lessons Learnt from MapAction LAC - Vijay Datadin, Caribbean GIS, Georgetown, Guyana
  • A Case Study: Tropical Storm Noel, The Bahamas - Sharon Griffith, Ministry of Works & Housing, Nassau, Bahamas
  • Geographic Information Systems and Their Employment In The Management for Risks Reduction of Disasters in Cuba - Silvio Rodríguez Hernández, GEOCUBA Investigation and Consultancy, Playa, Havana, Cuba

Enterprise GIS Systems and Their Profitability
Developing a successful Enterprise GIS is not an easy task and it certainly requires significant investment. This session examines how to put the right systems in place and how to leverage the same in order to generate self-sustaining revenue.

  • The Issues Involved in the Establishment of a National Clearinghouse for Jamaica -Damian Graham, Spatial Innovision Ltd, Kingston, Jamaica
  • Towards an Enterprise GIS System for the BVI-Kyron Adams, Town and Country Planning Chief Ministers Office, Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Lisa Kay S. Lewis, GISP, National GIS Coordinator, Office of the Premier, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
  • Making Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Profitable -Karen Edwards and Sharon Patterson, National Land Agency, Kingston, Jamaica

Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI)
SDI is being touted as the new “hot thing” in GIS. This session will explore ways in which SDI might work for the Caribbean and provides two examples of SDI projects underway in the region.

  • In Search of Policies to Support the Implementation of SDIs in the Caribbean - Garfield Giff, Delft University, Delft, The Netherlands
  • Spatial Data Infrastructure for the Republic of Cuba – IDERC - Tatiana Delgado, SDI in Cuba, Havana, Cuba
  • Creating a Framework for Data Sharing and Access with the Jamaican National Spatial Data Infrastructures (NSDI) - Damian Graham, Spatial Innovision Ltd, Kingston, Jamaica

Conservation Planning: Systems and Methods
In this session, a non-governmental organization and national governments will present innovative systems and methods that are being developed and employed for conservation planning.

  • Conservation Information System in the Meso America and the Caribbean - Steven Schill, The Nature Conservancy, Orem, Utah, USA
  • GIS and Conservation in Bermuda: Challenges and Solutions - Mandy Shailer, Bermuda Government, Flatts, Bermuda
  • Using GIS to Conserve the British Virgin Islands’ Marine Environment - Nancy Woodfield-Pascoe, National Parks Trust, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

The previous three Caribbean GIS Conferences took place in the Bahamas (2006), Barbados (2004) and Jamaica (2001). The Chair of the 2008 Conference Committee is Alan Jones, Director of Lands & Surveys for the Cayman Islands. The committee is comprised of well-respected GIS professionals from across the Caribbean region, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

As in the previous conferences, the conference objectives are:

  1. To inform broad cross-section of Caribbean users about GIS technology and applications
  2. To share experiences regarding GIS implementation and management issues
  3. To establish new relationships with the vendor/consultant community
  4. To provide workshops and sessions that are application driven, and are relevant to the Caribbean community of GIS users
  5. To foster a Caribbean GIS network

Visit http://www.urisa.org/conferences/caribbean/info for detailed conference information.

Caribbean GIS Snapshot - Caribbean GIS professionals are also asked to participate in a survey to include country information in an overview of the 'status of GIS' in the region. The results of the survey will be presented at the URISA Conference on Grand Cayman.

Wendy Nelson
Executive Director

Friday, May 16, 2008

Open Source Rolls On

So, now the NY Stock Exchange runs on Open Source software. Whilst there are quite a few good Free and Open Source GIS packages that run on the Windows Operating System, is it time for the major vendors like ESRI, Intergraph, AutoDesk and Leica-ERDAS to port versions of their popular packages for the Linux Operating System?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


The annual Open Source Geospatial Software conference, Free and Open Source Geospatial 2008 (FOSS4G2008), will be held in Cape Town, South Africa from September 29 - Oct 3 2008. The theme is Open Source Geospatial: An Option for Developing Nations. The Conference Chair writes, via a widely released email:

FOSS4G is renowned for its hands-on Workshops and Labs. 2008 is no exception. The Workshop/labs track has been going well in terms of submissions. We have (as of 9th May 2008) 26 interesting and relevant submissions to choose from, ranging across a wide spectrum of GIS topics. Desktop GIS (with spatial analysis and geovisualization to the fore) is a common theme and there is a strong representation from the broad Internet GIS field (web map servers, rich internet applications/web clients, OGC web services). Themes also making an appearance are geoportals, metadata, spatial ETL and the use of spatial databases. There is also some focus on programming/scripting. The emphasis is heavily on showing what is possible with FOSS4G through practical "how-to's", getting software/services up and running quickly and trying them out. Many of the workshops emphasise the excellent Java-based tools and frameworks.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

4th Caribbean GIS Conference Schedule

The schedule for URISA's 4th Caribbean GIS Conference - Evolution & Next Steps, Aug 25-29 2008 in the Cayman Islands - and other details are now online on the URISA website.

Aside from keynote addresses by Dr. David Maguire, Chief Scientist and a corporate director of ESRI, and Vanessa Lawrence CB, Director General and Chief Executive of the UK Ordnance Survey; and technical presentations related to disaster response, public health, policy, land, environment and utilities, there promises to be vibrant discussion of the future of GIS in the region including the issues of copyright, costs and access to data.

Register by July 1 to get US$50 off the regular rate. Students do the same and get 82% off the full conference registration (US$60)! Presenters must register by July 2. Discounts on accommodation are available only until July 24 2008, and discounts on airfare are available as well. Previously provided information may be found here.