With a record number 600 total attendees from private enterprise, education, the non-profit sector, and all levels of government, the TUgis 2015 conference began with several exciting plenary speakers. Towson University’s interim president, Dr. Timothy Chandler and Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford delivered opening remarks. Rutherford shared the Hogan administration’s plans to integrate StateStat into business improvement processes, and implement geospatial technology as a part of the newly established Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Christopher Tucker of the MapStory Foundation, gave a highly engaging presentation on how humanity’s perspective on change over time (and space) has evolved, beginning with early lunar and solar calendars, and moving through the quest for longitude, land surveying, expanded understanding of synchronicity and the space-time fabric, and modern GIS and GPS technology. The intention behind MapStory is to function as way to visualize change and engage in problem solving. MapStory acts as a companion to Wikipedia, which is specific to sharing spatial knowledge, and also as a storytelling community that is directed and shaped by the interests and passions of its members. Dr. Tucker concluded with an invitation to all to “join the community, and make it your own.”

Chris Tucker of MapStory was the keynote speaker for the TUgis opening plenary

Chris Tucker of MapStory was the keynote speaker for the TUgis opening plenary

The Center for GIS was heavily involved in this year’s conference. Managing Director, Ardys Russakis, served on the TUgis Advisory Committee and delivered the closing remarks at the plenary session. Nearly every member of CGIS staff participated in a presentation.

  • Phil Reese presented with Jackie Takacs of the UMD Sea Grant Extension on the creation of the Stormwater Management and Restoration Tracker (SMART Tool), an application that allows citizens to the public to submit information about voluntarily installed stormwater best management practices (BMPs) that would otherwise not be tracked by county and municipal agencies. These small-scale residential stormwater BMPs are perceived to have an insignificant impact, but when aggregated by SMART Tool, significant reductions can be measured.
  • Michael Bentivegna, Melanie Bruce and Tim Hutchinson spoke about their most recent efforts on the Maryland Emergency Management Agency’s Osprey Dashboard EOC, which is used to view real time statewide data for power outages, weather, traffic, and local government feeds.
  • David Sides presented with Leo Fothergill of the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) Office of Safety on a stormwater compliance trackingapplication designed to monitor and depict MTA’s progress toward achieving NPDES impervious runoff and nutrient reduction goals.
  • I presented along with Wangui Muthaka in support of her capstone project. Wangui, a graduate student from the TU Department of eBusiness and Technology Management researched how GIS is able to enhance traditional logistics analysis and trade area decision making.
  • Bryan Brick shared insights on his efforts to develop a tool to view NETS business establishment data using the D3 visualization library and Backbone MV framework.

Bryan Brick presented on NETS business establishment data

  • Ashley Buzzeo, Ardys Russakis and I shared an update on our efforts to evaluate and implement GIS tools to help librarians make informed decisions, in a pilot project with the Eastern Shore Regional Library, funded by an Institute of Museum and Library Services Sparks! Ignition Grant.

TUgis 2015 also marked the debut of CGIS’s new marketing materials, including a new table display and informational collateral. The entire CGIS team collaborated on the development of our new messaging and it perfectly describes how we partner with business, government, and non-profits to utilize data to the fullest potential. We strive to help our clients map their data, visualize patterns and trends, and work toward solutions.

Ardys Russakis at the CGIS booth speaking with TUgis attendees

Ardys Russakis spoke with TUgis attendees at the CGIS booth