GIS in Action 2019 has ended
Welcome to the 27th annual GIS in Action Conference!

GIS technology and professionals are at work around the clock to support our basic needs and our livelihoods. From directing emergency responders to the scene of an accident, to synchronizing trading on Wall Street, to building 5G networks that support self-driving cars, geospatial data and technology helps us understand our environment and improves the quality of our lives.

Whether you are a LiDAR analyst working on risk mitigation, a wildlife biologist conducting habitat assessment, or an economic policy advisor modeling for financial stability, the geospatial approach provides a lens to illuminate and advance our diverse interests and goals.

We are excited to have you join us at this year’s GIS In Action conference. For our keynote, Sisinnio Concas, Ph.D., Program Director for the Center for Urban Transportation Research, will share his insights into autonomous and connected vehicles and how new data sources are critical to developing smarter cars and smarter roads. Through the conference’s diverse sessions, workshops, and socials, you will have opportunities to learn and share with your colleagues and make new professional connections.

GIS in Action is a collaborative effort between the Oregon and Southwest Washington chapter of URISA and the Columbia River Region chapter of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS). The value of the geospatial industry grows greater every year, and every year GIS In Action brings together talented, creative people to share what they’re working on. Let’s share our collective IQ, learn from one another, and build a stronger, more vibrant community. We look forward to meeting you!

Camille Westlake, President, ASPRS Columbia River Region
Molly Vogt, President, Oregon & SW Washington URISA

The conference takes place Monday, April 22nd and Tuesday, April 23rd in the 3rd floor ballroom at Smith Memorial Student Union on the Portland State University campus (1825 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 ).
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Tuesday, April 23 • 8:30am - 10:00am

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Warming, Vegetation, & Remote Sensing: The Use of NDVI to Track the Influence of Climate Change on Arctic and Alpine Plant Communities
Charlotte Copp, Lewis and Clark College
The Arctic is warming at a faster rate compared to the rest of the world and vegetation there can be used as a signal for a changing climate. In this research I ask, how will climate change alter arctic communities in Ísafjörður, Iceland and alpine communities in the White Mountains, New Hampshire? I used NDVI data to track climate responses at a global scale. I supported these findings with species observations in survey plots in the White Mountains and in Iceland. Although there a similarities in species composition in these two locations, climate change will affect them in different way. This is due to several factors including anticipated changes in climate at the local scale, land management style, and microclimatic conditions. Collectively this research suggests that effects of climate warming on plants are not homogeneous across latitudes or altitude and local management should be applied to support species conservation a the regional scale.

Refugee Camps as Climate Traps
Jamon Van Den Hoek, Oregon State University
As of writing, there are 19.9 million refugees under UN mandate in 126 countries who have fled war and political persecution. Despite the sheer size of this population, refugees are consistently excluded from national surveys and censuses meant to target the most marginalized, inform progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and improve measurements of poverty and living standards. The global refugee population is thus not only being “left behind” in pursuit of SDGs, refugees are also more likely to be trapped in intergenerational poverty and require special assistance to adapt to global environmental change, which may exacerbate the potential for economic isolation, social conflict, and economic instability. Using remote sensing, climate model, and geospatial datasets from 2000-2015, this study offers the first global assessment of camp-level environmental and climatic conditions at 922 UNHCR refugee camps in 60 countries. We find that refugee camps often share similar conditions as other settlements within a given host country, yet are consistently more isolated and, inevitably, vulnerable due to enclosure and land use policies that reflect and reinforce the securitization of refugees. Our results thus improve understanding of the potential for camps to act as ‘climate traps’ and help illuminate pathways for targeted investment in refugee livelihoods.

A Case Study of Human Ecology Mapping in Central Oregon Forests: What Public Participation GIS data can tell us
Alicia Milligan and Krystle Harrell, Portland State University
Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) has become increasingly important for generating socio-spatial data from users of a particular area to help influence land management and planning practices. In this case study we collected sociocultural data from users of the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests in anticipation of updating forest plans to include human values and uses of the forest to comply with the 2012 Forest Planning Rule. This presentation will describe our development and implementation of an interactive web-mapping application which allowed data collection from a wide spectrum of forest users. Through data disaggregation by demographics and use characteristics, and employing a number of spatial analysis techniques, we are able to discover informative and distinct spatial patterns of forest visitation and activity diversity, as well as threats to the experience of specific places. The techniques described in our case study can be of use for a variety of land use planning applications where decision makers require or would benefit from an understanding of people-place relationships.

avatar for Theresa Burcsu

Theresa Burcsu

Oregon GIS Framework Coordinator, State of Oregon
Theresa Burcsu is the Oregon GIS Framework Coordinator with the State of Oregon’s Geospatial Enterprise Office where she works to ensure that authoritative, foundational map data is available when and where it’s needed. As incoming ORURISA (Oregon Chapter of Urban and Regional... Read More →


Charlotte Copp

Student of Environmental Studies, Lewis and Clark College: Class of 2018
avatar for Jamon Van Den Hoek

Jamon Van Den Hoek

Assistant Professor, Oregon State University
Jamon Van Den Hoek is an Assistant Professor of Geography and Geospatial Science in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. He maps social and environmental conditions and change in refugee camps, IDP settlements, and cities affected by conflict... Read More →
avatar for Alicia Milligan

Alicia Milligan

Masters Student of Geography, Portland State University
Alicia is a graduate student in the Department of Geography at Portland State University and working for the Center for Spatial Analysis and Research (CSAR). Alicia’s graduate research focuses on similar PPGIS human ecology mapping studies in the Mt. Hood National Forest with goals... Read More →

Krystle Harrell

Masters Student of Geography, Portland State University
Krystle is a graduate student in the Department of Geography at Portland State University and working for the Center for Spatial Analysis and Research (CSAR). Krystle’s graduate research explores the use of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) and GIS to better understand and... Read More →

Tuesday April 23, 2019 8:30am - 10:00am PDT
Room 333