UCSB Geography Celebrates GIS Day

GIS Day is the third Wednesday of November in each year, during  Geography Awareness Week. As a global event, GIS day provides a great opportunity for GIS researchers and users to exchange ideas and present works to a wide audience. Accordingly, GIS Day is celebrated by many universities, including Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkley, Penn State University, Ohio State University, SUNY Buffalo, and so forth.

With a top-ranking program, UCSB Geography is no exception, and to celebrate this special day for spatial studies, we held “Lightning Talks” on Nov. 18th, 2014 at the UCSB Center for Spatial Studies. During this year’s GIS Day event, we were joined by a good mixture of faculty, postdocs, visiting researchers, and graduate students. The topics of the Lightning Talks were exciting! Prof. Dan Montello gave a great start for the event with a talk “Like Totally SoCal” which assessed vague cognitive regions, such as “southern California.” Our second speaker, Prof. Krzysztof Janowicz, discussed the important semantic issues in GIS workflows which can facilitate automatic reasoning and knowledge discovery. A number of inspiring talks followed and covered a variety of topics in GIS, including place name disambiguation, urban growth modeling, geovisualization and map generalization, place-based sentiment analysis, real estate information management, spatial optimization, animal behavior modeling, social media search, and spatial diffusion of epidemics. Slides of these talks are available at the UCSB GIS Day website.

We would like to thank our sponsors, the Center for Spatial Studies and Esri Inc., which made this event happen! We would also like to thank all our speakers and participants who made this event great! While this year’s GIS Day lightning talks have ended, ideas and research on GIS will continue. We hope this GIS Day event will be a start for new collaborations which will bring fruitful results.

Just a side note: The official GIS Day in 2014 is Nov. 19th (Wednesday). However, there was an important GIS class scheduled on that day, so we figured a good way to celebrate GIS Day was to attend the GIS class. Accordingly, we moved the lightning talks to Tuesday.

Editor’s note: Many thanks to Yingjie Hu for contributing this article and the accompanying photos.

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The “Lightning Talks” were well-attended. Thirteen talks, each limited to 3 minutes, were given.

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Dan Montello kicked off the event with “Like Totally SoCal: A High-resolution Assessment of Vague Cognitive Regions”

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Krzysztof Janowicz’s talk was titled “Getting Out Or Into The GIS Silo?”

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