2016 Washington GIS Conference

WAURISA 2016 - Conference Logo

Register Here

WAURISA 2016 Washington GIS Conference was a success!

The 2016 Washington State GIS Conference planning committee was held May 23 - 25 at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, Tacoma, WA.

Please be certain to thank the 2016 Conference Sponsors!


Important Dates
Conference Schedule
Registration Information (Register Here)
Washington Local Government GIS Leaders Summit (Free Special Interest Group Meeting)
Keynote Speaker & Closing Plenary Sessions
Call for Presentations, Panel Discussions, & Lighting Talks
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
Conference Socials
Call for Conference Planning Volunteers
Richard 'Dick' Thomas Memorial Student Presentation Competition & Award

IMPORTANT DATES  (back to top)

All imported dates has past.


View the Conference Schedule here, 2016 Washington GIS Schedule & Directory.

You can manage your schedule online and using a mobile device 2016 Washington GIS Schedule & Directory (mobile) or simple scan this QR code with your device!

Sched.org QR Code



We want to hear them - Email the conference planning committee at cc@waurisa.org.

REGISTRATION  (back to top)

The Conference is over.

Conference & Workshop Rates Early Bird
Ends April 18
April 19 - May 5
May 6 - May 25
Professional Rates
Workshop & Conference $305 $315 $335
Conference Only $230 $240 $260
One Day Conference Only $150 $150 $150
Workshop Only $120 $135 $165
Student Rates
Workshop & Conference $135 $160 $185
Conference Only $100 $120 $145
Workshop Only $85 $110 $135

*Reduced Registration fee due to Financial hardship will be considered on a case by case basis by the conference chair. Please answer via email the following questions explaining your financial need and why you should be given a reduced rate:

  1. Please state as clearly and with as much detail why you are requesting a reduced rate. (this should be at least 2 paragraphs
  2. How would attending the conference help you professionally?

While all requests will be considered, special attention will be given to employees of non-profits, former students recently entering the workforce and individuals who are currently unemployed. You may be contacted for additional information or documentation. All decisions are final. This discount is limited and offered on a first come, first served basis.

Send your email answers along with any letters of recommendation or supporting documentation to Secretary@waurisa.org

WORKSHOPS  (back to top)

2016 Washington GIS Conference workshops were held Monday, May 23th, 2016.

The Morning workshops: 8:30am - 12pm

Create Great Web Apps - No Coding Required
Move Beyond Static Maps: Introduction to ArcGIS Online
Key Surveying and Geodesy Elements Geospatial Professionals Should Understand
GIS Program Management (part 1 of 2)

The Afternoon workshops: 1:30pm - 5:00pm

ArcGIS Open Data: Get Started & Use Best Practices
Using ArcGIS Online and Esri Collector to Capture GIS Data
GIS Program Management (part 2 of 2)

Questions? Please see the Workshop Page for further details or email questions to Workshops@waurisa.org.


Held Monday, May 23th, 2016 1:30 - 5:00 pm

All too often city and county GIS managers have to make decisions isolated from their peers. The purpose of this free half day work session is to break down those silos and explore ways to better support our local GIS managers and leaders in their work goals. This session is intended for GIS department heads and managers who work at County and City offices. We will start with some presentations that introduce current resources available to GIS managers. These include presentations from our State GIS Coordinator, the Chair of the WA Geographic Information Council (WAGIC), the Past Executive Board Member of the Association of County & City Information Systems (ACCIS), and the creator of the URISA GIS Capability Maturity Model. The rest of the afternoon will be a working session to discuss goals and objectives, and to brainstorm to identify how we can leverage our GIS network across the state. The participation of our City and County GIS leaders is crucial to building this community cooperation and involvement.

For more information see the Local Government Summit Page

PLEASE RSVP and direct questions to: president@waurisa.org


Josh Howell

Opening Keynote by: Josh Howell
Digital Business Lead & Field CTO

Josh Howell consults with organizations on strategy around digital transformation and technology needs. Mobile applications, digital marketing, IoT devices, and big data analytics are reshaping every industry, and promise to be more impactful than the internet has been to date. Josh works to distill high-level digital business best practices and strategies down to actionable, low-cost, and effective ways to get started, and deliver rapid results. The EMC Federation of companies have consulted with, and performed work for companies ranging from the Fortune 100 to startups like Uber and Twitter.

Leveraging his 15 year background in IT across several industries, an MBA focused on Innovation Management, and lessons derived from thousands of customer meetings, Josh works with commercial, education, healthcare, and local government organizations across Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and California who are interested in how to be the disruptor of their industries rather than the disrupted.


Abstracts for the 2016 program are no longer being accepted.

The conference theme for 2016 is "GIS Evolved: Transforming Our World". WAURISA is seeking potential speakers to provide fresh, dynamic solutions to today's challenges. Presentations are invited that address the broad subjects of interest to GIS practitioners.

(back to top)

The Washington State Chapter of URISA (WAURISA) invites you to enter your best poster, map, script, or mapping application at the 2016 Washington GIS Conference. Take advantage of this great opportunity to showcase your work and inspire your peers and colleagues with your fascinating projects.

The deadline has past. The deadline to enter the poster contest was May 20, 2016

Poster Displays

The dimensions of the poster should be no larger than 48 inches x 60 inches and no smaller than 24 inches x 24 inches. The poster should contain a title, y our name and affiliation, an introduction (abstract), methods, results and conclusion / outcomes / impacts. Easels will be provided. A limited number of display boards will be made available to pre-college and higher education entries.

Questions? Send them to Kerri Hairrel at mapcontest@waurisa.org.

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:
Attendees were encouraged to share their work even if they did not want to enter the contest.


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.

Selection criteria can be found on the "Awards" page under GIS Person of the Year.

The deadline has past. The deadline to submit a nomination was April 11, 2016

Past winners include:

  • 2015 - Joy Paulus - Washington State Geospatial Program Office, WA Technology Solutions
  • 2014 - Sabah Jabbouri - Green River Community College
  • 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. Find out more here

Lesson offerings for 2016 in Esri's Hands-on Learning Lab:

1. Getting Started with GIS 1: Understanding the ArcGIS Platform
2. Getting Started with GIS 2: Using ArcMAP to Explore GIS Data
3. Getting to Know ArcGIS Pro
4. Advantages to Storing Your GIS Data in the Geodatabase
5. Creating Presentation Quality Maps in ArcMap
6. Editing GIS Data in ArcMap
7. Multi-user Editing Using Versioning
8. Editing and Maintaining Parcels Stored in a Parcel Fabric
9. Geocoding Street Addresses to Create Map Points
10. Importing and Preparing CAD Data for Use in ArcGIS
11. The Importance of Spatial Reference in Tactical Applications
12. Exploring Health and Epidemic Patterns Using Spatial Statistics Tools
13. Optimizing Transportation Routs Using ArcGIS Network Analyst
14. Modeling Time and Distance Along Networks Using Linear Referencing
15. Working with Geometric Networks to Manage Utilities
16. Interpolating Sample Points to Create Rasters Using Spatial Analyst Tools
17. Geoprocessing GIS Data Using Python
18. Sharing Maps and GIS Content Using ArcGIS Online
19. Understanding Web Services Using ArcGIS for Server
20. Generating Web Applications for the GIS Novice
21. Getting Started with the Community Maps Data Preparation Tools
22. Mapping Excel Data Using Esri Maps for Office


Make plans to exhibit at the 2016 Washington GIS Conference! Our conference attendees are looking for the latest advances in the GIS industry - this is an excellent opportunity for your company to connect with influential decision-makers.

All pertinent details for exhibitors are contained in the Call for Exhibitors PDF document. We sincerely look forward to working with you to make this a successful engagement for your company and products.

Interested in being a sponsor? Contact Heather Glock and Joy Paulus at VendorSupport@waurisa.org

Benefits for vendors include:

  • A logo and listing in the printed conference program
  • A listing on our conference webpage and WAURISA.org
  • One year WAURISA sponsorship
  • Participate in the Vendor Passport Program

Vendor registration options

  Rates Booth Attendee Pass Summit Ad Vendor Presentation
Mount Rainier $1100 2 booths 3 passes Full page Yes
Mount Adams $900 1 booth 2 passes 1/4 page Yes
Mount Baker $700 1 booth 1 pass Listing Yes
Mount Olympus $350 shared 1 pass Listing No
Benefits for all vendors
A logo and listing in the printed conference program.
A listing on our conference web page and WAURISA.org.
One-year WAURISA Sponsorship
Participate in Vendor Passport Program


We returned to Hotel Murano for the 2016 conference hotel. Hotel Murano is located at:
1320 Broadway Plaza
Tacoma, WA 98402
Phone: (253) 238-8000 or (877) 986-8083 toll free

Online and phone reservations will be accepted until May 1, 2016 which is the cut off date for reservations.

Online Reservation Link: Phone Reservations: 253-238-8000 or 888-862-3255 Room Rates were $112 per night, not including lodging tax (13.5%) or TPA fee ($1.50 per night)

TRANSPORTATION  (back to top)

Getting to the Conference:

Directions to the Tacoma Convention Center, click here.
Transit Options:

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)

Tacoma's Free Link Light Rail runs frequently throughout the downtown corridor with a stop located just outside the GTCTC on Commerce Street. More information: route map (PDF) and schedule.

Parking options:

Street parking is free in Tacoma, but you'll need to arrive well before 8 a.m. on weekdays to find a free all-day parking spot. Additionally, there are free parking spots for 1 and 2 hours 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.

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

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.


Monday Night Welcoming Social

May 23, 2016 6:00 - 8:00pm

The Social Bar & Grill

Whether you are finishing a day of our workshops or just arriving for the conference, come join us for some appetizers and a time to reacquaint with your GIS colleagues.

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

The Social Bar & Grill

Tuesday Night Social

May 24, 2016 6:30 - 8:00pm

Steel Creek

After the Vendor social the night doesn't have to end. Come join us for a great night of appetizers, bull riding, line dancing, prizes and unwind.

Location: Steel Creek - 1114 Broadway Tacoma, Wa 98402, Tacoma

Steel Creek

Women in GIS Breakfast on Wednesday

May 25, 2016 7:00am

The Bite Restaurant in the Hotel Murano

The 3rd annual Women in GIS breakfast will be on Wednesday, May 25 at 7 AM at Bite in the Hotel Murano. Besides great food, this is an informal chance to network and make friends with other women in our field. Please RSVP with Christina Chelf, cchelf@geoengineers.com.

Location: Bite1320 Broadway Plaza Tacoma, WA 98402

Bite at Hotel Murano

Wednesday, May 25th Fun Run - 6:15 AM - Hotel Murano lobby

Start Wednesday, May 8th off right with the 3rd annual Washington GIS Conference Fun Run!

Feeling energetic? Our annual 5K Fun Run/Walk is the perfect early morning networking event! Meet your fellow running enthusiasts at 6:15 AM in the Hotel Murano lobby for a leisurely 5K jog along the water and Downtown Tacoma. Then head to breakfast to replace all of those calories you burned! (This unorganized run does not require a fee and is not covered by URISA's liability insurance.) All paces and abilities are welcome to run with us!


WAURISA is currently planning the 2016 conference. If you are interesting in being part of the conference planning process, please contact us.


The Student Competition is on hiatus for a year while we revamp rules. Please stay tuned for exciting changes we have planned. Please contact Sarah Myers, secretary@waurisa.org with questions or comments.