Spatial Plexus Determined to Solve “Wicked GIS Problems”

By Danielle Ayan

The Spatial Plexus '13 international conference offers a twist on the conference paradigm by bringing problems to the practitioners and educators, as opposed to bringing practitioners to the problems.

The intricacies and interdependencies of “wicked problems” - meaning those difficult to solve because of incomplete, contradictory and changing requirements - can be exposed, defined and dissected through the geospatial approach. Geographic information systems (GIS) provide spatial, temporal and additional (social, environmental, etc.) context.

“Wicked problems” to be highlighted this year through panel presentations and audience interaction include: “Geospatial Intelligence in Higher Education,” “GIS for Sustaining the Built Environment,” “GIS for Business Intelligence,” “GIS for Public Health” and “GIS for Public Safety.”

Open Mic and Topical Roundtables will encourage discussions about these “wicked problems” and additional issues of interest, including but not limited to: “GIS in the Cloud,” “GIS and IT: Integration/Separation/Recognition,” “Challenges for GIS,” “Speculation/Forecasting Future Issues” and “GIS for Social Media.”

The annual live environment (Nov 4 – 6, 2013 | Atlanta, GA) and continuous online community created by Spatial Plexus foster direct interaction between educators and practitioners.

Contributions by distinguished keynote speakers will build the story of geospatial literacy at a foundational education level, with emphasis on the articulation from education to work force and how practitioners from all fields leverage the geospatial approach for real-world implementation. These speakers include Daniel Edelson of the National Geographic Society (NGS), Rachel Kornak of University of Southern California, Dr. Frederic Grant of Emory University and Major General Reddel of the Adjutants General Association of the United States (AGAUS).

“Geospatial literacy is a critical skill for career, college, and civic readiness in our modern, interconnected world,” states Daniel Edelson, who serves as VP of Education for the NGS. Rachel Kornak promotes “creative opportunities for industry and academic leaders to collaborate in preparing the next generation of geospatial problem-solvers.” These efforts are critical in enabling global health and first response efforts, for example, among so many other practices. Dr. Fred Grant states, “Because public health problems affect people, there is an ongoing need for speed and methods that produce the greatest understanding of problems and the role of geospatial/geotemporal analysis in their solution.” Likewise, Major General Reddel, chair of the Cyber/GIS/IT Committee for the AGAUS, identifies location-enabled (i.e., geospatial) decision support as the following:

  • “a rapidly maturing practice that CHANGES THE WAY WE SEE OUR WORLD and HOW WE INTERACT WITH IT
  • the basis for a HOLISTIC and SYNERGISTIC APPROACH to solving issues”

Noteworthy among Spatial Plexus panelists and contributors are the following:

  • Page Siplon of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics was named “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” by DC Velocity Magazine for his use of GIS to drive logistics related awareness and analyses.
  • Josh Knauer, president and CEO of Rhiza, a Spatial Plexus sponsor, has served on a working group of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology and leverages geospatial capabilities for media and marketing.
  • Carl Anderson was an original author of the “United States Thoroughfare, Landmark, and Postal Address Data Standard” and is the president-elect of URISA. He will be leading a Spatial Plexus panel on “GIS 4 Business Intelligence.”
  • Shan Arora, a non-GIS practitioner and former attorney, conducted and will present the first clean energy industries census for the Southeast.
  • Art Kalinski established the Navy’s first GIS and will be sharing soft power solutions, managed through GIS.

Additional conference content and activities include an academic showcase of geospatial programs from across the country, an ignite session and a social mixer highlighting Spatial Plexus sponsors, which include the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF), MapLarge and Rhiza.

This year’s event will be held at the Georgia Tech Historic Academy of Medicine, with space exclusively for Spatial Plexus. A tour of this historic building and its assets will be offered.

All attendees will leave the conference with great insights, new contacts, documented takeaways and action items to promote a year-round Spatial Plexus community of support/interest.

Spatial Plexus is an intimate event (under 250 attendees), founded and chaired by Danielle Ayan of the Georgia Tech Research Institute(GTRI) and co-hosted by the National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence.

MEDIA COVERAGE @ Spatial Plexus ’13 provided by Directions Magazine

Nov 4 – 6, 2013 |

Twitter:| #SpatialPlexus


Published Monday, October 7th, 2013

Written by Danielle Ayan

Published in


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