WAURISA 2014 - Conference Logo

Last modified:8/12/2014

2014 Washington GIS Conference

Was held May 12-14, 2014
Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center
1500 Broadway
Tacoma, Washington

Conference Proceedings are now available! The proceedings include links to the conference presentations and other materials.

Please be certain to thank the 2014 Conference Sponsors!

Click here to view the 2014 Conference Booklet

Photos from the conference are posted here


As a sign of our growth and commitment to providing a high quality professional development experience, this year's conference will consist of two FULL days of activities, including both opening and closing plenary sessions.

Please plan to join us for the full duration of the conference and participate in a two-day conversation on our theme Communicating Our World.

Another new addition to our conference will be a set of lunch "theme" tables on the first day of the event, where you will be able to meet others who share your interests. Please let us know if you'd like to volunteer to be a table leader.


Important Dates
Workshop Information
Keynote Speaker & Closing Plenary Sessions
Call for Presentations, Panel Discussions, & Lighting Talks
Lunch-theme Talks
Richard 'Dick' Thomas Memorial Student Presentation Competition & Award
Best Map, Poster, Script, & Online Mapping Application Contests
WAURISA GIS Person of the Year – The Summit Award
ESRI Hands on Learning Lab
Exhibitor Information
Hotel Accommodations
4th Annual Wednesday Fun Run
Tuesday Night Social
Call for Conference Planning Volunteers

IMPORTANT DATES  (back to top)

The 2014 Conference was a great success and we hope to see everyone next year!


REGISTRATION  (back to top)

Conference & Workshop Rates Early Bird
Ends April 7
April 8 - May 4
May 5 - May 14
Professional Rates
Workshop & Conference $270 $290 $340
Conference Only $195 $210 $260
Workshop Only $120 $135 $165
Student Rates
Workshop & Conference $135 $160 $185
Conference Only $95 $120 $145
Workshop Only $85 $110 $135

WORKSHOPS  (back to top)

2014 Washington GIS Conference Committee workshops was held Monday, May 12th. We had an exciting line-up of three morning workshops, three afternoon workshops, and one all day workshop:

The morning workshops
Data Capture for Asset Management Using Smart Phones/Tablets
An Overview of SQL Reporting for GIS
ArcGIS Online "Unconference"
Extending ArcGIS for Desktop Using Python and .NET Add-Ins (Part l)

The afternoon workshops
Asset Management: Planning, Strategy, and Implementation
Intermediate Python: tips and tricks to take your programming to the next level
ArcGIS WebApp Builder: JavaScript Apps Made Easy
Extending ArcGIS for Desktop Using Python and .NET Add-Ins (Part II)

For more information on the workshops, please visit the Workshops Page.


A Two-Day Conversation on Communicating Our World, Featuring Our Keynote Speaker, Breece Robertson

Breece Robertson

Breece Robertson is the National Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Director for The Trust for Public Lands. Robertson joined The Trust for Public Lands in 2001 to create a comprehensive, coordinated GIS program. Today she provides leadership for the organization's Conservation Vision and GIS service - the leading provider of "Land for People" science in the country-managing a cutting-edge team of GIS staff and consultants nationwide.

At the 2012 Esri International GIS Users Conference, The Making a Difference Award honored the work of The Trust for Public Land and was accepted by Breece Robertson, the trust’s director of conservation vision, and Will Rogers, chief executive officer. The award is given to an organization that has used GIS to bring about meaningful change in the world. For more than a decade, The Trust for Public Land has enhanced its conservation real estate expertise with Greenprinting, a community-driven GIS planning service. Greenprinting provides a framework for communities to prioritize their parks and conservation goals and implement funding and land protection strategies. Using GIS in a transparent mapping and modeling process, The Trust for Public Land has used Greenprinting to engage local residents in a thoughtful, place-based planning exercise.

The Trust for Public Land has over 50 projects in the Pacific Northwest; over 25 of those are in Washington State. From the deserts of Central and Eastern Washington, to the mountains and forests of the Cascades and the waters of the Puget Sound, the Trust of Public Land has projects that touch much of the conservation work that we as GIS practitioners support. As the premier GIS professional organization in Washington, WAURISA is excited to have Breece Robertson as our Keynote Speaker at the 2014 GIS Conference to be held at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center on May 13 & 14, 2014.

A PDF of this announcement is available for download.

A Two-Day Conversation on Communicating Our World

A primary goal for this year’s conference is to encourage all attendees to participate in what will effectively be a two-day conversation on the conference theme Communicating Our World. In particular, we are emphasizing the following three aspects of this theme:

  • How have you communicated the value of GIS to your organization or clients?
  • How has your use of GIS supported a communication effort?
  • How have you improved communication between participants in your GIS projects?

Through the Call for Presentations, presenters were asked to discuss at the conference how their topic relates to one or more of these aspects of the theme.

The two-day conversation will be supported by a two-part keynote address, which will consist of both the opening plenary session and a new closing plenary session.

The opening plenary session will consist of the keynote presentation by Breece Robertson and the introduction of a group of "thought leaders" drawn from the local GIS community. The Thought Leaders are:

  • Breece Robertson - The Trust for Public Land
  • Geoff Almvig - Skagit County
  • Parker Wittman - Aspect Consulting
  • Tami Faulkner - Thurston County
  • Steve Beimborn - Seattle Public Utilities
  • David Howes - David Howes, LLC (coordinator)

Their mission will be to gather contributions to the conference theme from presentations and discussions with attendees throughout the conference. In the afternoon of the second day, these thought leaders will join Breece in the closing plenary session for a panel discussion to review the lessons learned from the conference. Our goal is to engage as many audience members as possible during this panel discussion and provide a strong and inspirational professional development experience as a way of bringing the conference to a close. We and your fellow GIS professionals are counting on you to stay for the full duration of the conference to help make the event a great success.

During the conference, we will be encouraging you to engage in as many conversations as possible on the subject of the conference theme. We will also provide mechanisms for you to submit comments and ideas related to the theme for consideration in the closing panel discussion.


The 2014 Conference was a great success and we hope to see everyone next year!

LUNCH THEME TABLES  (back to top)

On the first day of the conference, approximately two-thirds of the lunch tables will be reserved for “theme” discussions. This will provide an opportunity for you to meet others who share your interests and chat informally about the table theme with assistance from a volunteer table leader. Themes will include, for example, geoprocessing with Python, ArcGIS Online and mobile technology and open source web mapping. If you wish to be a table leader, please send your name, phone number and preferred theme to the Planning Committee.


WAURISA announces the 8th annual Richard "Dick" Thomas award. This award was established to honor Washington State GIS pioneer and mentor Richard ‘Dick’ Thomas, who passed away in 2006. The intent of this award is to honor Dick by continuing his work of encouraging students to excel in their studies and to transition successfully into careers in the field of GIS.

Please see the Complete Guidelines and Competition FAQs for more information on how to enter the Richard 'Dick' Thomas Memorial Student Competition.

2014 Competition Prizes

1st Place

  • Dick Thomas Award Plaque
  • $1,000
  • One year membership in WAURISA
  • Free registration to the 2015 Washington GIS Conference
  • Publication of paper in The Summit (Washington GIS Newsletter)
  • Plus, possible additional prizes

2nd Place

  • Dick Thomas Second Place Award Certificate
  • $300
  • One year membership in WAURISA
  • Publication of paper in The Summit (Washington GIS Newsletter)
  • Plus, possible additional prizes

3rd Place

  • Dick Thomas Third Place Award Certificate
  • $200
  • One year membership in WAURISA
  • Publication of paper in The Summit (Washington GIS Newsletter)
  • Plus, possible additional prizes

This year we are continuing the cash award given to the advisor or professor of the first place winner. This year's prize was $250.

All Student presenters will earn 1 GISCI Contribution Point for Conference Presentation in addition to points earned for attending the 2014 Conference.

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2014 Washington GIS Conference Map Contest Winners to be announced shortly!

Contest Categories

Best Cartographic Design:
Judging criteria: Efficiency in communication of intended message and maximization of the user's cognitive experience.

Best Analytic Presentation:
Judging criteria: Communication of the problem/project to be solved and presentation of the analytic procedures.

Best Data Integration:
Judging criteria: Relevance and select variety of chosen data sources (surveying, remote sensing, GPS, etc.) and data formats (raster, vector, text, etc.) to the problem-solving and mapmaking processes.

Best Online Interactive Map:
Judging criteria: Clear, effective design to maximize user understanding and experience of map interaction and application usage.

Best Student Map:
Judging criteria: Communication of a research project implemented in class with an explanation and presentation of the methodology, steps, and conclusion or results of the project or map creation.

Innovative Scripting Process/Custom Geoprocessing Tool
Judging criteria: Compelling use of scripting and geoprocessing tools and workflows to automate complex data manipulation workflows.

Display-only Option:
You are encouraged to share your work even if you do not want to enter the contest. You can also share your map even if you are not able to attend the conference (space permitting).


The Summit Award is given to the Washington State GIS Person of the Year. It is given to a person who has contributed to the GIS Community in Washington State. This award is given out annually at the WAURISA Conference.

Past winners include:

  • 2013 - Karl Johansen
  • 2012 - Greg Babinski - King County
  • 2011 - Tom Nolan - City of Seattle
  • 2010 - Ian von Essen - Spokane County
  • 2009 - Marty Balikov - ESRI
  • 2008 - Mike Onzay - City of Mercer Island
  • 2007 - Donna Wendt - City of Tacoma
  • 2006 - Nancy Hultquist - Central Washington University, Geography Dept.
  • 2005 - Geoff Almvig - Skagit County
  • 2004 - Linda Gerull - Pierce County
  • 2003 - Richard 'Dick' Thomas - Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District


Take Esri training at your own pace in the Hands-on Learning Lab (HOLL). The lab consists of a group of laptops with headphones where students can work through lessons at their own pace. A lesson consists of a recorded presentation followed by a hands-on exercise. Each lesson typically takes about 45 minutes to one hour to complete and students can generally come and go as they please. Esri instructor Jack Horton will be on hand to assist users with questions and to discuss Esri products, other training opportunities and Esri Technical Certification. HOLL software and exercises are currently using ArcGIS Desktop 10.2.

Lessons for ArcGIS 10.2 in Esri's Hands-on Learning Lab:

Lesson 1 - Introduction to ArcGIS for Desktop
Designed for the new ArcGIS user, this lesson will introduce you to the basic principles of GIS using ArcGIS for Desktop.
Lesson 2 - Creating a map in ArcGIS for Desktop
In this lesson, you will use ArcGIS for Desktop to create a display-quality map in ArcMap using layout view. You will first learn how to symbolize the map layers, and then add a legend, north arrow, title, border, and background color to the map layout.
Lesson 3 - Basics of the geodatabase model
This lesson will cover the key elements of the geodatabase model, including the geodatabase structure, feature classes, subtypes, relationship classes, topologies, and geometric networks
Lesson 4 - Editing with ArcGIS for Desktop
In this lesson, you will use the Editor toolbar commands in ArcMap to create and modify features stored in a geodatabase. You will be introduced to the snapping environment, feature templates, and construction methods.
Lesson 5 - Introduction to versioned editing
Versioning allows multiple users to edit the same data without applying locks or duplicating data. In this lesson, you will learn to register data as versioned, create a new version, switch between versions, edit the versioned data, merge versions, and manage versioned data.
Lesson 6 - Editing and maintaining parcel data in a parcel fabric
Parcel data is the foundation of a local government's land records database. In this lesson, you will learn about the parcel fabric data model, explore the parcel fabric editing environment and learn to add a new parcel to the fabric.
Lesson 7 - Geocoding with ArcGIS for Desktop
In this lesson, you will learn to create a point feature class from a list of addresses.
Lesson 8 - Introduction to ArcGIS Network Analyst
ArcGIS Network Analyst helps you dynamically model network conditions and solve vehicle routing problems. In this lesson, you will explore a network dataset, then run a variety of route solver tools to address various scenarios.
Lesson 9 - Introduction to linear referencing
GIS professionals in a variety of industries use the linear referencing functionality embedded in ArcGIS to maintain, analyze, and plan incidents, assets, and activities that occur along linear networks. In this lesson, you will use ArcMap to create, display, and modify routes and events.
Lesson 10 - Using geometric networks for utilities applications
Water distribution, electrical lines, gas pipelines, telephone services, and water flow in a stream are all examples of resource flows that can be modeled and analyzed using a geometric network. In this lesson, you will explore a geometric network, edit network features, use connectivity rules, and explore network trace operations.
Lesson 11 - Introduction to ArcGIS Spatial Analyst
The ArcGIS Spatial Analyst extension provides a broad range of powerful spatial modeling and analysis capabilities. In this lesson, you will explore symbolizing points as vectors, and then you will create rasters using two interpolators found in the Spatial Analyst toolbox: the Spline tool and the IDW tool.
Lesson 12 - Introduction to ArcGIS for Server
ArcGIS for Server is software that makes your geographic information available to others in your organization, or optionally, anyone with an Internet connection. In this lesson, you will author, publish, and share GIS resources using ArcGIS Server.
Lesson 13 - Designing web applications using ArcGIS for Server
Once you have created a web service using ArcGIS for Server (see Lesson 8), you can use a web application to access the service. This lesson is designed to teach you how to create a web application using the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex application.
Lesson 14 - Sharing maps and tools using ArcGIS Online
ArcGIS Online is a place to web-enable your maps and related geographic information and then share them with your users. In this lesson, you will use ArcGIS for Desktop and ArcGIS Online to explore different methods for sharing maps and data, including using map packages and geoprocessing packages.
Lesson 15 - Sharing data with the Community Maps Program
Through Esri's Community Maps Program, your organization can contribute geographic data that Esri may include in one or more ArcGIS Online community maps. In this lesson, you will use ArcGIS Explorer to discover examples of the content available on ArcGIS Online and explore techniques for determining if you have basemap content that should be contributed to the Community Maps Program.
Lesson 16 - Spatial statistics for public health
The spatial statistics tools are exploratory tools that allow you to determine the distribution and patterns of various geographic phenomena and events. In this lesson, you will use several tools located in the Spatial Statistics Tools toolbox to examine the spatial pattern and distribution of a dengue fever outbreak.
Lesson 17 - Working with CAD in ArcGIS for Desktop
GIS workflows often rely on CAD datasets generated by outside survey, engineering, and architectural sources. Integrating CAD data with your GIS can be a critical step in streamlining design processes and using your GIS as a central repository for spatial data. In this lesson, you will learn to convert an existing CAD data source into features in the geodatabase.
Lesson 18 - Introduction to geoprocessing using Python
This lesson is an introduction to the Python scripting language and its usefulness for accessing the power of GIS.
Lesson 19 - What's new in ArcGIS for Desktop 10
ArcGIS 10.2 includes extensive additional and improved functionality throughout the ArcGIS product line. This lesson examines a variety of updates in ArcGIS Desktop across both versions.


2014 Washington GIS Conference had wonderful group of vendors! See them all here 2014 Conference Sponsors!


The Hotel Murano was selected as the 2014 conference hotel.

1320 Broadway Plaza
Tacoma, WA 98402
Room Rates were $106 single, $116 double, not including lodging tax (13.5%) or TPA fee ($1.50 per night)

  • Room reservation includes complimentary wireless internet access
  • Rate were valid as long as the hotel had room availability


Getting to the Conference:

The following transit lines have routes that take you to the Sounder Station/Amtrak Station in Tacoma. Once there, you can ride the free Tacoma Link light rail directly to the conference center at 10 minute intervals. Visit the following transit links for details.

Sound Transit
Pierce Transit (PT)
Intercity Transit (IT)

Free Tacoma Light Rail Train info here

Conference Parking options:

Directions to the Tacoma Convention Center, click here

Street parking is free in Tacoma, but you'll need to arrive well before 8 a.m. weekdays to find a free all-day parking spot. Additionally, there are 1 and 2 hour free parking spots near the center, but be aware that parking enforcement is quite efficient.

The Greater Tacoma Trade and Convention Center offers on-site parking at the rate of $10 per day in the Lot A Garage.

Another option is to park for free at the Tacoma Dome Station and take the free Tacoma Link light rail to the convention center. Parking and route map here


The run was held Wednesday, May 14th off right with the 4th annual Washington GIS Conference Fun Run!

Greg Babinski and Heather Glock led this casual tour of the Tacoma.


Location: The Social Bar & Grill - 1715 Dock Street, Tacoma (253) 301-3835

Map of the area around "The Social Bar & Grill" Time was 6:00pm - 10:00pm

After the vendor reception, the reception was from 6pm till 10pm at The Social Bar & Grill, walking distance from the Tacoma Trade and Convention Center. Games, prizes, food, and fun will be provided.


WAURISA is currently planning the 2015 conference. If you are interesting in being part of the conference planning process, please contact us, or for specific Sub-Committee Contacts see the Conference Committee page.