Notes from NYS GIS Association Geospatial Conference in Lake Placid

Dear GISMO Members,

Here are notes from the NYS GIS Association Geospatial Conference Jack Eichenbaum and I (Alan Leidner) attended in Lake Placid from October 17-19. Lots of good tidbits for future action. Lots of interaction among participants.

  1. The “Cities RISE” presentation was given by Andrew Kieve of Tolemi Inc. Using money from bank fines obtained through State Attorney General Schneiderman, Tolemi will help sixteen cities across the state to integrate and analyze local information related to property, taxes, utilities, code enforcement, public safety, licenses and permits and mortgages. As yet data integration does not include state GIS data layers. Cities have the option of sharing their data with the public. Tolemi provides a free cloud-based platform for data access and analysis.
  2. Frank Winters, State GIO, State of the State Report including brief GIS application snapshots. Here are some items that caught our attention.
    1. Frank reported that due to budget cuts in the Federal Census Bureau, state and local governments will need to assume more responsibilities for their census counts, which help determine federal funding outlays. Strong GIS systems have been shown to increase census counts and yield a benefit that is likely well more than $150 per additional person counted. Census data collection for 2020 focuses on two operations: first identification of addresses of all residential housing units; then enumeration of individuals in each unit. The first process is about to be launched.
    2. CUNY Graduate School is conducting an analysis of hard to count populations. This could be useful for a. above. Contact Steve Romalewski to see if this is his work or the work of someone he knows.
    3. Jack, who has worked with the Census Bureau as a data collector and supervisor will try to work with Steve Romalewski, Joe Salvo (City Planning) and David J. Kraiker (NYC office of the Census who also presented at this meeting) to suggest field methods to improve collection of residential addresses.
    4. The Town of Southhampton L.I. has implemented a custom built 311 government services/complaint system. Ross Baldwin is GIS Director. His application may have relevance to other local governments in the State and beyond.
  3. Documenting NYS Colleges that Teach GIS: It was suggested that the NYS GIS Association through its Education Committee identify all colleges and universities teaching GIS, and collect information on their internship programs. This related to the work done by Connie Koo/Lisa Palmer to document all NYC schools with a GIS program. Some outstanding work is being done at Monroe Community College (Rochester.) Jack has already linked Jonathon Little  (MCC) with Sunil Bhaskaran (Bronx Community College) and they will be meeting personally at a another conference this week!
  4. Sophia Liu, USGS Innovation Specialist, gave a keynote address discussing a variety of social media methods for collaboration under the headings of open data, data science, public engagement, crisis crowd sourcing and citizen science.  Also see:
  5. Sam Wear, Westchester GIS Director spoke about GIS in government human and social services programs. He noted that health and human services comprise 30% – 50% of county budgets but are rarely supported by GIS. Sam is working to change this in Westchester. He said that GIS relates to client addresses, locating service providers, public transport proximity, vehicle routing, fraud detection, case load optimization and others. I will try to obtain and post his presentation.
  6. GIS for Business Intelligence – Getting Cloud Connected: Tom Farrell of DVG Interactive Inc. discussed work done for a cosmetics company with 1700 retail locations. GIS is being applied to business processes related to address geo-coding, territories, routes, field staff, sales, travel, etc. Good addressing is a key. They use “Voroni Polygons” to map out non-overlapping territories. Once implemented, ROI will be measured. This project could be a useful model that we can use to publicize the benefits of GIS to businesses that do not now use it.
  7. Mickey Dietrich of NYS Tug Hill Commission described efforts to teach field data collection to local government workers for the collection of infrastructure features. Technology used is a combination of Blue Tooth GPS Devices and smart phones. This low cost solution can produce excellent accuracy and is easy to learn. I continue to be interested in the development of a generic field data collection application that can be used by non-GIS personnel across the State. Jack emphasizes that experience in field data collection is essential to GIS education.
  8. Marie Rusin of Walkspan, LLC is measuring “walkability” using GIS in Manhattan. Her approaches dovetail with the GIS/aesthetics NYC study initiated by Timur Pozhidaev, a GISMO board member. Jack is a reader for his M.S. at Hunter.
  9. Wendy Dorf, GISMO Board member, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the State Association for thirty+ years of managing and supporting critical GIS projects from the DEP watermain map to the NYC basemap, the Deep Infrastructure initiative following 9/11, and current work on underground infrastructure.
  10. NYGeoCon Technical Session Presentation have been posted to

This was a terrific conference at a wonderful Adirondacks venue.

Alan and Jack