GIS Day @ University of Idaho

November 13, 2019

International Ballroom
Bruce M. Pitman Center
University of Idaho
Moscow, Idaho

GIS Day at the University of Idaho is a free event that brings together scholars, students, professionals, businesses, and the public to discuss geospatial technologies and demonstrate their many uses. Admission is free and open to everyone.

Please contact Bruce Godfrey (, 208-292-1407) with any questions.

Schedule of Events

GIS Day @ University of Idaho takes place in the Bruce M. Pitman Center, on the Moscow campus, Wednesday, Nov 13th from 9:00am until 3:30pm. Most events are held in the International Ballroom - North, on the second floor. A special full day workshop, "Machine Learning in ArcGIS Platform" led by keynote speaker Dr. Orhun Aydin, follows on Nov 14th. Additionally, opportunities to meet with an Esri Solutions Engineer for Operations and Management and Research and Teaching will take place on Nov 12th.

Wednesday, Nov 13th, 2019

9:00 am - 9:30 am
International Ballroom, Pitman Center

Sign In & Welcome

Start GIS Day with refreshments and socialize with the community

9:30 am - 10:30 am
International Ballroom, Pitman Center

GIS & Spatial Machine Learning: Transforming Our Planet's Pulse to Action

Dr. Orhun Aydin, PhD | Researcher | Product Engineer, Esri

Keynote presentation from ESRI Spatial Statistics researcher Dr. Orhun Aydin exploring the power of GIS to integrate data for understanding our planet and solving it's most pressing problems.

Space and time are essential components for a wide spectrum of problems ranging from designing resilient cities to understanding natural systems of our planet. Modern developments in GIS can integrate vast amounts and types of space-time data, enabling an interconnected nervous system for our planet. Harnessing the power of this nervous system requires connecting it to intelligent systems that can reveal critical patterns and relationships to guide decisions that shape our future.

The increased quantity and diversity of data sources pose both challenges and opportunities for this connection. One big step in modern GIS is enabling extensible and interoperable systems to connect powerful analysis with big data. Interoperable GIS paves the path for multidisciplinary spatial problem solving to transform big spatial data into deep understanding with modern spatial machine learning.

ESRI is an example of one such platform, where interoperability and extensibility are essential for sophisticated spatial problem solving to understand “the where” and the “the when” to make decisions about “the how”. ESRI's platform fuses state-of-the-art GIS technologies for mapping and spatial analysis with established open-source technologies.

This keynote will showcase components of modern GIS as the central system for understanding our planet. Components of the ESRI ecosystem will be elaborated for ways in which they can be utilized for interoperable GIS connected to a numerical nervous system, such as ESRI’s Living Atlas, to solve our planet’s pressing problems.

Speaker Bio: Orhun Aydin is a researcher in ESRI's Spatial Statistics team and a Lecturer in the Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Prior to his position in ESRI, he conducted his PhD research on uncertainty quantification pertaining to unobserved geologic faults in Stanford School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences. His research interests include forecasting and understanding Earth systems via spatial and spatio-temporal statistical models. His theoretical work involves developing general mathematical frameworks for modelling, mining and representing spatial and spatio-temporal data. In addition to his research work, he is a product engineer in the R-ArcGIS Bridge project.

10:40 am - 11:40 am
International Ballroom, Pitman Center

Short Talks

Various Presenters

Ten minute presentations highlighting recent GIS-related work, educational and entertaining!

Presenters from across the GIS community will give 10-minute presentations highlighting their recent GIS-related work.

  • Colette DePhelps (Extension, U of I), Using GIS Storymapping to Illustrate Idaho's Food Heritage and Festivals.
  • Jodi Nicotra (English, U of I), Creating Digital Stories Using StoryMaps.
  • Xiaogang "Marshall" Ma (Computer Science, U of I), A Knowledge Base of Deep Time to Assimilate Multi-disciplinary Datasets in the Study of Co-Evolving Geosphere and Biosphere.
  • Li Huang (Geography, U of I), GIS and Freshwater Ecosystem Services Valuation Under Climate Change and Conservation.
  • Gina Price (NR URISA), Northern Rockies URISA 2021 Conference in North Idaho.

Moderator: Evan Williamson (Library, U of I)

11:45 am - 12:50 pm
International Ballroom, Pitman Center

Pizza & Posters

Various Presenters

Printed posters and digital exhibits. Did we mention free pizza?

Presenters from across the GIS community will be displaying printed and digital posters / apps demonstrating various uses geospatial technologies for their projects. This is an informal come-and-go session where attendees can mingle, grab some pizza, talk with presenters, and learn about how GIS is being used in a variety of projects.

  • Xiaogang "Marshall" Ma (Computer Science, U of I), Towards a machine-readable knowledge base of deep time: challenges, current progress, and future work.
  • Xiang Que (Computer Science, U of I), Parallel Computing of Spatiotemporal Weighted Regression for Analyzing Large Scale Data in Geospatial Processes (software on GitHub).
  • Craig Woodruff (Biological Engineering, U of I), Applications of the Recurrent Snowmelt Pattern Derived Using Principal Component Analysis of Multi-Year Remotely Sensed Snow Cover from MODIS.
  • Abdullah Alowairdhi (Computer Science, U of I), Toward an implementable framework of FAIR principles for Earth science data management and stewardship (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable).
  • Kit Stokes (Library, U of I), Flunkies and Loggerettes: Women in the White Pine Forest (Storymap).
  • Natalie McDonald (Coeur d'Alene Tribe GIS Program), Sacred Waters: Connecting People, Culture, and Place.
  • Rongbin Tang (Computer Science, U of I), Spatial analysis of driving forces of karst rocky desertification.

Moderator: Jeremy Kenyon

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Cataldo Room, Pitman Center

GIS in the State of Idaho

Wilma Robertson | Chair | Idaho Geospatial Council - Executive Committee

Get the latest updates about the state of GIS in Idaho and connect with the GIS community. This session will include an update from the interim Idaho Geographic Information Officer (GIO), a summary of what the IGC-EC has been working on over the past 6 months, and updates from various groups about specific Idaho GIS themes such as elevation, hydrography, imagery, and transportation. Agendas: IGC Meeting, IGC-EC Meeting

2:40 pm - 3:40 pm
International Ballroom, Pitman Center

Short Talks

Various Presenters

Ten minute presentations highlighting recent GIS-related work, educational and entertaining!

Presenters from across the GIS community will give 10-minute presentations highlighting their recent GIS-related work.

  • Alycia Bean (USDA LTAR, CNR, U of I), Use of ESRI Operations Dashboard for USDA National Networks.
  • Bruce Godfrey (Library, U of I), Exploring U of I ArcGIS Online Activity Logs to Inform Library GIS Services.
  • Haifeng "Felix" Liao (Geography, U of I), A Land-Based and Spatial Assessment of Local Food Capacity in Northern Idaho, USA.
  • Chao Ma (Computer Science, U of I), Spatiotemporal weighted regression in geographic process.
  • Olivia Wikle (Library, U of I), Mapping Digital Collections: GeoJSON and Leaflet.js for sustainable static web.

Moderator: Evan Williamson (Library, U of I)

Thursday, Nov 14th, 2019

8:30am - 4:30pm
University of Idaho Library

Machine Learning in ArcGIS Platform Workshop

Dr. Orhun Aydin, PhD | Researcher | Product Engineer

Join keynote speaker Dr. Orhun Aydin for a deep dive into using machine learning with ArcGIS Pro in this full day workshop. Registration is free for U of I students, $12 for students from other schools, $20 for U of I employees, $25 for all others. Seats are limited, so please sign up using our Registration Form!

Audience: GIS analysts, students, and researchers who want to gain practical knowledge of machine learning methods as they pertain to GIS analysis.


Cost: Registering for the workshop is free for U of I students, $12 for students from other schools, $20 for U of I employees, $25 for all others. The nominal fee will cover a portion of the cost of hosting the workshop and is not a fee imposed by Esri. Lunch will be provided. (Note: if this fee presents a barrier to participation, please get in touch!)

Learning Outcomes: Attendees will have a working knowledge of advanced analytic tools in ArcGIS Pro. Integration with external frameworks such as R and Python will also be covered via hands-on analysis examples.


  • Basic Concepts in Machine Learning
  • Spatial Machine Learning in ArcGIS Platform (Clustering; Space Time Pattern Mining; Balanced Zones; Regionalization; Regression; Classification)
  • ArcGIS Platform Extensibility (Conda Integration; Python Integration; R Integration)
  • R-ArcGIS Bridge (Your First R Jupyter Notebook; Setting Up the Bridge; Working with Feature Classes; Working with Feature Rasters; Script Tools)
  • Machine Learning with Python (Scikit-learn, CNTK Integration; Deep Learning Using Tensorflow; Script Tools in ArcGIS Pro)
  • Machine Learning in GIS Workflows (Predict Seagrass Occurrence; Deliniate Climate Zones)
  • Q & A
  • B.Y.O.D. (Bring You Own Data)

Registration is open!
Registration Form

Content from past presentations, posters, and exhibits can be found in the GIS Day @ U of I repository page


The following entities have generously provided financial contributions to help make this a successful event.

If you or your organization would like to become a sponsor of GIS Day at the University of Idaho please click the button above to learn how to make a donation.


Bruce M. Pitman Center, University of Idaho, 709 Deakin Ave, Moscow, ID 83843.


Coming from off-campus? Email Bruce Godfrey ( for a free one day visitor parking permit!

The U of I Campus Parking Map shows all parking lots and their associated permit requirements.

For those driving to campus a Visitor Parking Permit is required to park in any of the Gold, Red, or Blue lots. Exempt vehicles do not require a permit.

Lots 60, 14, 19, 56, and 17 are within a few minutes' walk of the Pitman Center along 6th street. However, some of these lots may fill up in the morning.

Contact Bruce Godfrey prior to the event for a free one-day Visitor Parking Permit.

Planning Committee Members

  • Bruce Godfrey - Chair (Library)
  • Judy Bielenberg (Library)
  • Daniel Cronan (Landscape Architecture)
  • Lisa Jones (Plant Science)
  • Jeremy Kenyon (Library)
  • Jessica Martinez (Library)
  • Perri Moreno (Library)
  • Skye Swoboda-Colberg (Geography)
  • Emily Thompson (Geography)
  • Evan Williamson (Library)
  • Cindy Barnhart (Communications & Marketing)