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You are viewing a static copy of the 2009 Sunriver Conference website archived on December 11, 2013. To view current Northwest GIS User Group events and news, visit

Session: Poster

Anne Davidson

The Northwest Gap Analysis Project (NWGAP) has recently completed a land cover map depicting the distribution of Ecological Systems (ES) across Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming. Developed by NatureServe, ES represent a midscale vegetation classification system designed to be map-able with Landsat 30 meter resolution imagery. Three mapping teams have been involved in mapping the projects 12 map zones; (1) Oregon State University and USDA Forest Serve, (2) Sanborn Solutions, Inc., Portland, Oregon, and (3) NWGAP, Moscow, Idaho. Collectively the 12 zones of the project depict the distribution of one-hundred-seventy-three ES classes and thirty-two land cover and disturbed classes across the Northwest. The NWGAP land cover data have been reviewed by Northwestern vegetation ecologists involved throughout the mapping process. Accuracy rates calculated at the zone level are above 80% for many of the ES. The land cover data are available for download at

Friday, September 18, 2009 - 10:20

Session: Advances in Cartography

Aileen Buckley

The credo of the 1-minute cartographer rests on three ideas: the need to clearly appraise what the map needs, the knowledge of how to make the appropriate edits, and the ability to evaluate the results. These are the secrets of the 1-minute cartographer – 1-minute appraisals, 1-minute fixes, and one minute evaluations. Design principles and common-sense cartography underpin the short- and long-term success of your maps. In this session, we teach you some fundamental design principles (color selection, typography, page layout, etc.) and how to use them for map making with ArcGIS. You'll also learn where to get help when you're stuck, and how to know you got the job done right. In the end, you'll be equipped with an arsenal of tips and tricks to design better maps and make them "come to life" with ArcGIS.

Friday, September 18, 2009 - 16:13

Session: Mobile GIS, GPS & Asset Management

Lou Garcia

Asset management is typically viewed as a large and fiscally expensive program. It does not need to be. The ability to leverage advances in software and data interoperability create the very real environment for a cost effective and robust asset management program. With a well thought out approach and leverage of past and existing efforts it is possible to do “more with less”.

To achieve this, the program needs to be properly defined, expectations set and managed, and a phased approach built upon previous successes must be utilized. This presentation will begin with defining what asset management is, what an asset management program should be and how the program can be defined and developed specifically for the entity. The presentation will then move to how a strategically and politically driven approach is developed so that quick success can be realized and built upon. The most logical approach may not always be the most advantageous in securing future funding, therefore an approach that allows for some quick returns while supporting the overall strategy can be developed. The presentation will also discuss how past, current and future GIS initiatives can be and should be centric to an asset management program.

Thursday, September 17, 2009 - 10:47

Session: ESRI ArcGIS Server API Comparison

Dorothy Mortenson

The Oregon ArcGIS Server Special Interest Group

The Oregon ArcGIS Server Special Interest Group provides a mechanism for sharing codes, ideas, strategies, and standards for developing interactive maps use the ESRI software, ArcGIS Server.  These applications are developed in Flex/ActionScript, JavaScript, .NET, Java, or Silverlight. Previous applications have been developed in ESRI's software called ArcIMS. Membership is open to anyone. Meetings are mostly held in the Willamette Valley. The Google Group website is:


Thursday’s Lunch Discussion on API’s  (12:00 -1:00- Landmark 1)

Most of the GIS Developers for the interactive mapping systems are fairly new to using these programming languages. Many still are questioning which Application Programming Interface (API) to use. The Thursday lunch will be a round table discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of each API and general discussion of what was learned during the conference week.  GIS Developers from other states are also welcome to participate in this discussion.

Monday, September 14, 2009 - 13:59

Session: GeoVisualization/3D GIS

Ron Hall

The use of SketchUp, Google Earth, Google Sites to host a piece of custom kml about the Spokane River and the issues that are facing it today. Presentation includes government .shp files. All software used was open source. Server cost is free.

You can read more about the story here:

Friday, September 11, 2009 - 08:43

Session: GIS in Education

Brian Wachs, Crook County HS Teacher

In this presentation, I will focus on getting more from our resources and acquiring grants. Many opportunities are immediately available, but go unused. I will give suggestions on how to access this variety of resources and the logistics of quickly and efficiently utilizing them. Partnerships also play a major role in doing more with less. How to develop useful partnerships that cooperatively benefit both you and the community will be discussed. The presentation will end with the process of grants, grant writing, and determining what you need, how to get it, and what you are responsible for once you get a grant.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 - 14:43
GIS in Education
Prof. John Ritter

GIS Education in the University Setting

Baccalaureate and graduate degree programs in GIS are diverse in their intent and scope. A brief overview of GIS undergraduate and graduate programs in the Northwest will be given in light of a few of the educational needs noted by the recent publication of Geographic Information Science & Technology – Body of Knowledge.

Efforts being made by the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) to promote GIS education will be discussed. These efforts include: 1) week-long training workshops for K-12 teachers in the use/implementation of GPS/GIS within their classroom; 2) the construction of articulation agreements with regional community colleges; and 3) the maintenance of suitable GIS curricula to support current degree programs at OIT (i.e., a GIS Minor, a four-year B.S. degree in Geomatics/GIS, and its intent to begin a Master’s program by the Fall of 2010).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 - 13:30
GIS in Education

Session: Data Sharing & Standards

Tom Carlson, Scott Van Hoff, Sheri Schneider

Part one:
Tom Carlson

The role of the USGS Geospatial Liaison and National Spatial Data Infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest

The USGS Geospatial Liaison Network consists of USGS Geospatial Liaisons housed in National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Partnership Offices across the nation. These liaisons and offices perform numerous partnership related functions in support of the NSDI, The National Map and Geospatial One Stop. They represent and coordinate National Geospatial Program (NGP) initiatives in state, local, and other federal agencies, cultivate and maintain long-term relationships, and develop partnerships and supporting agreements. The USGS Geospatial Liaison Network is the "local face" of the USGS NSDI and NGP programs. This presentation will introduce Geospatial Liaison’s from Idaho, Oregon and Washington and describe the programs they support across the region.

Part two:
Scott Van Hoff

New USGS topographic and image Map products and the new viewer for The National Map.

The USGS has begun a process to update it's best known product, the 7.5 minute series topo maps. These new digital products will soon be available for many states in the west. These products will be familiar to users of the old paper topoquads but will have new features, and updated data. The USGS is also introducing a new viewer for The National Map. The improved viewer will incorporate more up to date features and functions.

Part Three:

Sheri Schneider

The International Charter for space and major disasters

This presentation will provide information on the International Charter, the role of U. S. Geological Survey, and how to request satellite data through the Charter to support emergency response during a disaster. Earthquakes, floods, forest fires and oil spills are examples of natural and technological disasters, with social and economic relevance for Earth and mankind. During an emergency, the challenge is to obtain a quick, reliable and clear view of the situation, in support of rescue operations. The International Charter was developed to provide satellite data to those affected by natural or technological disaster. Ten countries are members to the charter and provide twenty one different space resources to support the Charter. The Charter has been activated several times in the United States. A recent example in the Pacific Northwest was the flooding that occurred in Washington in January 2009.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 - 13:34

Session: Open Source Technology

Karsten Vennemann

The talk describes a web GIS application based on open source geospatial software components that was built for the Obama Campaign during the 2008 US presidential election. The goal of the application was to support the work of campaign field organizers in battleground states for voter targeting and prioritization purposes. Technically the application was hosted on an Amazon EC2 server running an Ubuntu (Linux) operating system, Apache 2 HTTP Server, PHP server side scripting and included three main building blocks of the web GIS: a spatial database (PostGIS), a map rendering engine (MapServer), and a mapping framework which supplies the map viewer (OpenLayers). The initial application was set-up for the state of Indiana as a template and was used as a model to build similar applications for other battleground states to follow. The idea was that all battleground states have their dedicated website and data sources, but share the server applications and GIS components. Data relevant to the Campaign such as voter registration percentages, voter persuasion rates, and vote activities of prior elections were mapped on voting district (precincts) level. In addition information about individual voters and their likely candidate of choice, along with a variety of base layers were published as Web Map Services (WMS) via MapServer. Many of the relevant election data in the PostGIS databases were then updated by the campaign on a daily basis. Spatial data from WMS were then draped over background layers such as Yahoo or Google base maps in the OpenLayers map viewer. The template-oriented approach worked well for the campaign and later was rolled out to about a dozen battleground states. The project illustrates how powerful interoperable OS GIS components can be, even with minimal customization and on a low budget:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009 - 22:14
Karsten Vennemann

The talk gives an overview on building web GIS solutions using open source geospatial software components. A selection of the most advanced and popular open source components and their roles and functionality in an application framework are described. A complete stack for building web GIS solutions may include a client-server application framework, a web mapping engine supporting cartographic rendering functionality and basic GIS capabilities, data storage solutions such as spatial databases, and additional tools extending or enhancing the GIS capabilities of the mapping engine. The concept of an interoperable software solution is illustrated using a variety of examples. Web GIS application frameworks are either complete client-server solutions such as MapFish and Mapbender or Web GIS clients such as Open Layers and Ka-Map. Internet mapping engines such as MapServer and GeoServer render images, provide basic GIS functionality and/or provide the functionality for serving Web mapping services (WMS) and Web feature Services (WFS). Using cached and tiled data in a web GIS application can substantially speed up its response time. TileCache is a server and caching solution that can be used for the creation of cached data from WMS. Feature Server provides data conversion of simple features from a variety of input formats into target formats such as JSON, GML and KML and can be used to integrate the framework with additional applications. Spatial databases include solutions such as PostGIS and MySQL. PostGIS itself provides comprehensive GIS capabilities that can greatly extend the mapping engine’s capabilities and simplify execution of geo-processing tasks using spatial SQL. Additional tools can be integrated with the framework to provide specific GIS capabilities.

Monday, September 14, 2009 - 14:08