GIS Day @ University of Idaho


Mapping a Resilient Future: People, Places, and Science

November 17, 2021

Vandal Ballroom (and Online!)
Bruce M. Pitman Center
University of Idaho
Moscow, Idaho

GIS Day @ University of Idaho, Mapping a Resilient Future: People, Places, and Science, 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. The sessions will take place on Wednesday, Nov 17th, 2021 as a hybrid event hosted at Vandal Ballroom of the Bruce M. Pitman Center and streaming live via Zoom.

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

Schedule of Events

GIS Day @ U of I 2021 is a hybrid event taking place on November 17th in the Vandal Ballroom (on the second floor of the Bruce M. Pitman Center) and live streaming via Zoom. Times are given in Pacific Time (PST). Please register to receive the Zoom link.
Please note that face coverings are REQUIRED on the University of Idaho campus and all visitors are expected to abide by the Healthy Vandal Pledge.

Wednesday, Nov 17th, 2021

9:30 am - 10:15 am
Vandal Ballroom and Zoom

Towards Spatial Equity: Framing, Empowering, and Designing Disruption

Jean Yang (Senior Associate at Studio-MLA and Visiting Faculty Fellow in Design for Spatial Justice at the University of Oregon)
Presenting virtually

This keynote presentation will provide an overview of how geodesign practices can help us understand landscape in an equity-focused, design-driven, participatory, and benefits-based framework.

How can geodesign help us understand landscape in an equity-focused, design-driven, participatory, and benefits-based framework?

Our work should promulgate a reading of place that acknowledges the complex cultural, ecological, and biochemical processes taking place above, below, and within the urban ground. In this talk, I’ll share my experiences in teaching, analyzing, and designing patterns of living, stewarding, and connection. Using examples from my work on the NWF Urban Wildlife Connectivity Study, the Upper LA River and Tributaries Plan, and Destination Crenshaw, the talk will highlight what happens “behind the scenes” - the messy process of collaborative design, analysis techniques, and community narratives.

Presenter Bio

Jean Yang is a landscape designer, urban planner, and educator focused on design-driven, equity-focused, and benefits-based landscapes. A Senior Associate at Studio-MLA and Visiting Faculty Fellow in Design for Spatial Justice at the University of Oregon, Yang has analyzed, designed, and fought for public space in historically challenged areas. Her projects include Destination Crenshaw - is a 1.3 mile–long open-air museum dedicated to preserving the history and culture of African American, the Upper LA River and Tributaries plan - which will provide new and enhanced open spaces to over a million people, and the LA County Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan, which aligns one of the largest landowners in Los Angeles with the fight for justice and equity. Yang has received Azure Award for Urban Design Vision, the Southern California ASLA Merit Award, and the ASLA Honor Award.

10:20 am - 11:05 am
Vandal Ballroom and Zoom

Short Talks - Morning

Ensheng Dong (Johns Hopkins University); Nate Moody, Hailey Geib, Jacob Crist, and Graham Orren (University of Idaho); Tarita Harju (Alta Science & Engineering); Julie Hurdman (University of Idaho)

Ten minute presentations highlighting recent geospatial-related work

Presenters from across the geospatial, GIS, and drone community will give 10-minute presentations highlighting their recent work.

  • An introduction to the Johns Hopkins University CSSE COVID-19 Dashboard, Ensheng Dong (Johns Hopkins University) – The introduction to the JHU COVID-19 dashboard. This dashboard has been featured in the New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, WSJ, Fox News, and other mainstream media in the US and the world.
  • Where Vandals Roam: A StoryMap to Connect Place, Intention, and Narrative, Nate Moody, Hailey Geib, Jacob Crist, and Graham Orren (Outdoor Program, University of Idaho) – Where Vandals Roam is a StoryMap project presented through the U of I Outdoor Program (UIOP) where UIOP trip staff share their expedition planning process and place based trip reports. This presentation focuses on the methods of gathering geospatial data related to outdoor experiential education through the ArcGIS Online QuickCapture app.
  • Remote sensor comparison for long-term riparian habitat monitoring, Tarita Harju (Alta Science & Engineering) – Alta Science & Engineering is conducting a pilot project that compares multiple sensors to determine their suitability for long-term riparian habitat monitoring at a local level. We collected UAS-based Laser Scanner [LiDAR], 5-band multi-spectral imagery, high resolution RGB imagery, as well as Terrestrial Laser Scanner data. Data from each sensor are compared against one another in their ability to calculate riparian vegetation cover, height, density, greenness, and other important riparian characteristics such as open water and floodplain profile. Partners include Clark County Desert Conservation Program, and Aridlands LLC.
  • Food access and environment of vulnerable populations in the Treasure Valley, Idaho, Julie Hurdman (Geography and Geological Sciences, University of Idaho) – Blending the popular research topics of food deserts and swamps, we examine if vulnerable populations in the Boise Metropolitan Area are more likely to have ready access to nutrition-poor, calorie-dense foods.
11:10 am - 11:35 am
Vandal Ballroom and Zoom

GeoPlanner for Geodesign

Eliza Gutierrez-Dewar (Esri)
Presenting virtually

Invited special topics presentation

This presentation will demonstrate and explain a web-based planning tool that empowers you to rapidly design city, regional, and landscape-scale scenarios in a collaborative and iterative environment. The presentation will focus on how GeoPlanner can be used for conservation planning using a geodesign workflow.

11:35 am - 12:50 pm

Lunch break

Please note: there is no catered meal. A variety of restaurants are available on campus or a short walk from the venue.

12:50 pm - 1:35 pm
Vandal Ballroom and Zoom

What is Justice Mapping?

Jennifer Ladino (English, University of Idaho), Teresa Cohn (Natural Resources and Society, University of Idaho), and Confluence Lab (University of Idaho)

Invited special topics presentation

In this session members of University of Idaho’s interdisciplinary Confluence Lab will lead a discussion around the question “What is Justice Mapping?” Framing the discussion, they will introduce preliminary work on “Stories of Fire: A Pacific Northwest Climate Justice Atlas”, a community based, multimodal atlas that gathers, tracks and maps stories and images of wildfire, especially those that foreground connections between fire, social/environmental justice and traditionally underrepresented rural voices. The session will explore their approach to narrative cartography as it relates to the larger Pacific Northwest Just Futures Institute for Racial and Climate Justice.

1:45 pm - 2:10 pm
Vandal Ballroom and Zoom

Mapping for Resilience: A storymap about using lidar to address Idaho's challenges

Tara Pozzi (Environmental Policy and Behavior, UC Davis)
Presenting virtually

Invited special topics presentation

Idaho will have publicly-available lidar data and lidar-derived products for 73% of the state by the end of 2021. Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) is a remote sensing technology that provides high-resolution elevation data. With the influx of new data, there are many opportunities for local communities to use this information for natural hazard management, strategic development, and conservation, among other applications. The Storymap blends texts and visuals to explore lidar acquisition and implementation in Idaho. This information is intended for anyone that may want to use lidar or already uses lidar including GIS technicians, planners, engineers, academics, and artists, among others. As a compilation of stories from Idahoans representing various government agencies and academic institutions, this Storymap gives background on how lidar works, its applications in Idaho, and instructions/resources on how to acquire lidar. We hope this is a place for Idahoans to learn about the usability of lidar and be inspired to use it towards forming a resilient Idaho.

Presenter Bio

Tara Pozzi is a first-year PhD student in the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior at UC Davis. Her main research focuses on behavior and decision-making processes that influence a community’s adaptive capacity and resilience to hazards. Tara has an interdisciplinary background in engineering, ecological science, and social science. Before starting her PhD, Tara worked as a water resource engineer in San Francisco Bay, a science communicator in Belize and Ireland, and a wilderness therapy instructor in Idaho. Tara earned her bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Santa Clara University and her master’s in Human-Environment Systems from Boise State University.

2:25 pm - 3:40 pm
Vandal Ballroom and Zoom

Short Talks - Afternoon

Chao Fan (University of Idaho); Kara Utter (Valley County); Katherine Hegewisch (University of California Merced); Georgia Harrison (University of Idaho); Eric Matson and Ann Ulliman (University of Idaho); Rob Keefe (University of Idaho) and Mark Corrao (Northwest Management, Inc.)

Ten minute presentations highlighting recent geospatial-related work

Presenters from across the geospatial, GIS, and drone community will give 10-minute presentations highlighting their recent work.

  • A simulation-based evaluation of a spatiotemporal modeling framework, Chao Fan (Computer Science, University of Idaho) – This talk will introduce a novel regression framework that was designed to address spatially and temporally heterogeneous relationships. We will present a series of simulation experiments to assess the performance of the framework in terms of parameter estimation and response prediction.
  • A Slow GIS Evolution: The Story of Building Resiliency in a Rural County, Kara Utter (GIS Analyst, Valley County) – A story of my GIS journey as the rural Valley County GIS Analyst. An evolution full of challenges, low hanging fruit, and, eventually, champions and big wins!
  • Future Climate Analogs in the Climate Toolbox, Katherine Hegewisch (University of California Merced) – The Future Climate Analogs tool in the Climate Toolbox provides a map of current and future climate analogs for National Park locations in an attempt to understand the question ‘Where do we find a climate today that will resemble the future climate of a location?’. We’ll explore some climate stories with the tool.
  • New lidar-derived individual tree inventory products available for research on the University of Idaho Experimental Forest, Rob Keefe (Director, University of Idaho Experimental Forest) and Mark Corrao (Northwest Management, Inc.) – Through a collaboration involving Idaho Dept. of Lands, the University of Idaho Experimental Forest (UIEF), the Intermountain Forestry Cooperative, forest industry partners partners, and Northwest Management, Inc. we have a complete lidar-derived individual tree stem map for the UIEF. To foster innovative research and teaching on the UIEF, we are making the stem map data for the UIEF Big Meadow Creek management Unit available for general research and teaching use by faculty, students and staff.
  • Using ESRI’s Survey123 Mobile App and Student Volunteers to Improve Campus Accessibility, Eric Matson (Center for Disability Access and Resources, University of Idaho) and Ann Ulliman (Architectural and Engineering Services, University of Idaho) – How we worked with student volunteers to use the Survey123 app to collect information about bahtroom accessibility across the Moscow campus.
  • Using GIS tools to track Sagebrush plant community resiliency, Georgia Harrison (Plant Sciences, University of Idaho) – A demonstration of using Google Earth Engine within Python to access rangeland plant cover data from the rangelands analysis platform ( We will track plant cover and assess how it has changed over time.

Thursday, Nov 18th, 2021

2:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Library, Second Floor Classroom and Zoom

Using GeoDesign to create future climate stories

Dan Cronan and Katherine Hegewisch (University of Idaho)

Special topics workshop taking you hands on with a geodesign process and climate change. Please register on the workshop event page!

Geodesign attempts to answer the question, "How do we get from now to the best possible future?".

In this workshop, we will walk through a condensed version of a geodesign process to tell a climate data story for a study area in a changing climate. We will identify how different scenarios of change in the population, land use, and climate of a region can lead to different future landuse and landcover possibilities.

Specifically, participants will use an online ESRI geo planning tool to run several models of future scenarios to inform their climate data stories for a specific local area. Participants will prepare input layers for the ESRI tool using the QGIS open-source tool with climate projections downloaded from the Climate Toolbox ( Participants will set scenario assumptions for change and impact modelling in the ESRI tool and visualize the results in different geospatial layers on a map. Afterwards, participants will share their climate stories with the group.

The workshop will be offered as a hybrid event, meeting both in person and via Zoom. Please visit the workshop event page to register. Registration is free and open to everyone.

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


Registration is closed until next year! Check back in Fall 2022.


Each year a variety of entities generously provide financial contributions to help make this a successful event. The current list recognizes our 2019 supporters.

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.

Planning Committee Members

  • Bruce Godfrey - Chair (Library)
  • Daniel Cronan (Landscape Architecture)
  • Vincent Jansen (Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences)
  • Lisa Jones (Plant Science)
  • Jason Karl (Forest, Rangeland, and Fire Sciences)
  • Jeremy Kenyon (Library)
  • Jessica Martinez (Library)
  • Perri Moreno (Library)
  • Evan Williamson (Library)