In 2009 MAGIC sponsored a number of educational events, in part by
providing opportunities for matching funds. MAGIC was concerned
about the availability of educational events and, in the current
economic climate, participants' ability to attend. MAGIC, along with
partners including USGS and state Geographic Information Officers
(GIOs), offered travel grants and scholarships to help fund facilities
and meal costs. Ultimately, the cost to participants was very low and
the events fostered collaboration and education throughout the
region. Topics covered included emergency response, state data
clearinghouses, rural GIS and data development/distribution. These
events provided great opportunities to augment the expertise of
Below are highlights from events supported by MAGIC.
The Emergency Response with GIS Workshop - Washington University, University City, MO, May 5, 2009
Forty-two attendees, representing an even mix of first-responders and
GIS staff, attended presentations on a variety of emergency response
and GIS technologies. This workshop was organized as a one-day event to
allow local government first responders and staffers to attend without
the need for an overnight stay. Missouri Task Force 1's Scott
Olsen discussed recent major responder events and the application of
GIS for each. St. Louis County's Brett Lord Castillo presented on
Geospatial Area Flood Response. Maryland Height's Andy Wagner presented
on Municipal Police and Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL). Washington
University's Aaron Addison discussed Event Planning and Response with
Table-top exercises were designed and moderated by the Missouri State
Emergency Management Agency's Debbie Briedwell. They challenged
different groups to wrestle with various events and then report on what
information users would need at their fingertips to adequately respond
to emergency events. Tim Haithcoat, Missouri's State Geographic
Information Officer, provided final comments on current funding to
support emergency response GIS in different areas of the state.
Haithcoat also provided a brief update on some of Missouri's geospatial
Post workshop surveys were extremely positive for this event, with many
attendees suggesting additional workshops in the future. While MAGIC
was the primary sponsor of this workshop, the Missouri Geographic
Advisory Committee (MGISAC) provided funding for breaks.
2009 MAGIC State GIS Clearinghouse Retreat, Lincoln, NE, September 15-16, 2009
The 4th annual MAGIC State GIS Clearinghouse Retreat provided an
opportunity for representatives from state GIS programs across the
MAGIC region to gather to discuss issues related to clearinghouse
operations. Historically, the retreat is hosted by a different state
each year, with the goal of holding the event in all of the MAGIC
states. Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri have hosted prior Clearinghouse
Retreats. MAGIC sponsored travel for two representatives from each
state. This year's event drew 22 attendees from nine states, including
USGS Geospatial Liaisons from Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas,
Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.
The first day's agenda items included a 30-minute program summary from
each state; these summaries included an overview of major initiatives.
The summaries were followed by a presentation by Rob Dollison (USGS) on
the National Map Viewer, a discussion on the impacts of Light Detection
and Ranging (LiDAR) data on the state clearinghouses, and an open
discussion on the International Charter.
The second day featured a technical discussion of ESRI server-based
technologies including ArcGIS Server, ArcGIS Server Image Extension,
and ESRI's Web mapping Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Lloyd
Heberlie from ESRI's St. Louis regional office helped to facilitate the
Rural GIS Summits
The Rural GIS Summit was designed "by rural folks - for rural folks."
One of MAGIC's philosophies is to "build once, use often," so this
program is ideal for education and outreach. Rural GIS Summit materials
are made freely available for other states to use. Iowa and
Missouri leadership saw an opportunity to address some of the GIS
growing pains both states were experiencing in their rural areas. Each
held a Rural GIS Summit in 2009.
Rural GIS practitioners tend to wear more hats than their urban
counterparts, often representing a one-person shop. Resources are fewer
and networking opportunities may be almost non-existent. Participating
in an event for like-minded rural folks creates an environment for
voicing concerns and finding solutions. Participants may learn what
someone else with the same limited resources and a similar situation
has accomplished or they may find the opportunity to join forces to
find a viable solution to a mutual problem.
Kirksville, MO, May 20-21, 2009
This two-day summit attracted 64 rural GIS users. MAGIC provided travel
funds (up to $100) to those requesting assistance. Most meals were
provided and the MGISAC assisted by providing breaks.
Presentations on the first day included topics such as "Why you need
GIS - Management," a roundtable discussion by seven rural, one-person
GIS shop managers, and a "GIS Return on Investment (ROI) Study -
Lessons for Rural Communities from Iowa." Haithcoat provided updates on
legislation, standards and resources and inquired about attendees'
Osceola, IA, September 29-30, 2009
The second Rural GIS Summit in Iowa drew 48 attendees representing four
states. The Iowa Summit focused on communication about Iowa's state
projects and how attendees could get the necessary training to use the
available services and products.
The Iowa statewide 2-foot pixel resolution imagery project started in
2009 will be completed in 2010. Aerial Services, Inc., the project
contractor, offered counties, cities and others the ability to buy
6-inch imagery for a contracted price. The 2-foot full color imagery
will be available for free via download. This is excellent imagery for
many relevant rural GIS projects and participants were anxious to get
started! Also, the statewide LiDAR project is nearly complete and will
provide another useful dataset with training and information available.
The Iowa Geographic Information Council (IGIC) is building the Iowa
Geospatial Infrastructure (IGI), starting with a Statewide Geocoding
Project that will produce building footprints and structure outlines,
building address points, E911 address points and more. With input from
many resources, including rural and new-to-GIS folks, the IGI will
eventually contain very accurate data for all of the framework GIS data
layers. IGIC is also working on creating a County GIS Service Bureau
that will provide coordination, training, data hosting, Web
applications, online mapping, technical assistance and more.
An event such as the Rural Summit is perfect for spreading the word
about all these projects and useful tools, and attendees learn how
their agencies and businesses will benefit from them. Participants also
learn the sources of the data they use, and how they can help make the
data better and the projects more complete. It is likely that
MAGIC will continue to sponsor this format for educational workshops,
and MAGIC and its partners will grow as a base of support for rural GIS
Invitation to Participate
The projects and workshops above are just some of the examples of how
MAGIC is working to expand the geospatial expertise and escalate the
development of significant projects nationwide. The MAGIC executive
committee invites interested parties to become involved with this
volunteer organization. Check out our projects and events, particularly
the biennial Symposium on April 18-22 at the Westin Crown Center in
Kansas City, Mo. Become a MAGIC participant at any time by joining our
listserv, Twitter and Facebook feeds, all at www.magicgis.org!