2017 Washington GIS Conference

WAURISA 2017 - Conference Logo

Register Here


The 2017 Washington State GIS Conference will be a four day event held May 15 - 18, 2017 at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, Tacoma, WA.

Please be certain to thank the 2017 Conference Sponsors!


Important Dates
Conference Schedule
Registration Information (Register Here)
Keynote Speaker
Call for Presentations, Panel Discussions, & Lighting Talks
Best Map, Poster, Script, & Online Mapping Application Contests
WAURISA GIS Person of the Year – The Summit Award
ESRI Hands on Learning Lab
Exhibitor Information
Hotel Accommodations
Women in GIS Breakfast
Conference Socials
Call for Conference Planning Volunteers
Richard 'Dick' Thomas Memorial Student Presentation Competition & Award


View the Conference Schedule here, 2017 Washington GIS Schedule & Directory.

A Conference at A Glance Schedule is now available!

The Conference Booklet is now available!

You can manage your schedule online and using a mobile device 2017 Washington GIS Schedule & Directory (mobile) or simple scan this QR code with your device!

Sched.org QR Code


REGISTRATION  (back to top)

Conference registration open! WAURISA is pleased to announce that Conference registration is now open.

Ends May 1
May 2 - 18
Professional Rates $240 $270
Student Rates $120 $145
Discounts are set for Presenter at 50%

WORKSHOPS  (back to top)

Workshop Registration Ends on May 9th, 2017.

This year WAURISA is proud to have 2 full days of high caliber workshops. These range from ˝ day sessions to a 2-day long class.

Workshop prices:
  ˝ day $90
  Full day $170
  2-day $350
  Special Interest group meeting $45

Hours:   Morning starts at 8:30am   Afternoon starts at 1:30pm

2 Day workshop:

Working with Geodatabases and Linear Referencing (MT4)

Monday workshops:

Asset Management: Planning, Strategy, and Implementation (URISA CERTIFIED) - (M1) - All Day
Survey123 for ArcGIS- (M2) - All Day
Practical Python for the GIS Analyst - (M3) - All Day
Rapid Cartography with QGIS - (M5a) - Half Day - Morning
Geosimulation and agent based modeling - (M5b) - Half Day - Afternoon

Tuesday workshops:

Drone and UAV: From start to finish - (T1) - All Day
Special Interest Group WGGL - Government Leaders - (T3) - All Day
GeoPlanner for ArcGIS - (T5a) - Half Day - Morning
ArcGIS Pro - (T5b) - Half Day - Afternoon

See the Workshop Page for details. A Workshop PDF available here: WAURISA_Workshops_2017.pdf

OPENING KEYNOTE  (back to top)

Monica Stephens

Opening Keynote by: Monica Stephens, PhD
University at Buffalo

Monica Stephens, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo) in New York.. She obtained her doctoral degree from the University of Arizona in 2012 and worked as a visiting scholar at the University of Kentucky. Her research integrates methodologies in Geographic Information Science (GIS) with Social Network Analysis (SNA) and Big Data. She harnesses and critiques these methodologies with data from social media and user-generated content to trace inequalities across gender, race and economic status. She blogs with colleagues at www.FloatingSheep.org where she has harnessed social media to map hate speech and identified clusters of internet content indicating a social divide in the United States. She has spoken about her work on gender and technology at SouthBySouthwest and TEDx. She has produced maps for Wired Magazine, the Atlantic, and the Guardian and been interviewed by BBC, CBC, NPR and NBC as well as many blogs and newspapers.


The deadline was April 14, 2017. Abstracts for the 2017 program are no longer being accepted.

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The Washington State Chapter of URISA (WAURISA) invites you to enter your best poster, map, script, or mapping application at the 2017 Washington GIS Conference. Take advantage of this great opportunity to showcase your work and inspire your peers and colleagues with your fascinating projects.

The deadline has past. The deadline to enter the poster contest was May 14, 2017


The Summit Award is given to the Washington State GIS Person of the Year. It is given to a person who has contributed to the GIS Community in Washington State. This award is given out annually at the WAURISA Conference.

Selection criteria can be found on the "Awards" page under GIS Person of the Year.

The deadline has past. The deadline to submit a nomination was May 10, 2017

Past winners include:

  • 2016 - Chuck Buzzard - Pierce County
  • 2015 - Joy Paulus - Washington State Geospatial Program Office, WA Technology Solutions
  • 2014 - Sabah Jabbouri - Green River Community College
  • 2013 - Karl Johansen
  • 2012 - Greg Babinski - King County
  • 2011 - Tom Nolan - City of Seattle
  • 2010 - Ian von Essen - Spokane County
  • 2009 - Marty Balikov - ESRI
  • 2008 - Mike Onzay - City of Mercer Island
  • 2007 - Donna Wendt - City of Tacoma
  • 2006 - Nancy Hultquist - Central Washington University, Geography Dept.
  • 2005 - Geoff Almvig - Skagit County
  • 2004 - Linda Gerull - Pierce County
  • 2003 - Richard 'Dick' Thomas - Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District


Take Esri training at your own pace in the Hands-on Learning Lab (HOLL). The lab consists of a group of laptops with headphones where students can work through lessons at their own pace. A lesson consists of a recorded presentation followed by a hands-on exercise. Each lesson typically takes about 45 minutes to one hour to complete and students can generally come and go as they please. Find out more from the Hands-on Learning Lab Flyer


Make plans to exhibit at the 2017 Washington GIS Conference! Our conference attendees are looking for the latest advances in the GIS industry - this is an excellent opportunity for your company to connect with influential decision-makers.

All pertinent details for exhibitors are contained in the Call for Exhibitors PDF document. We sincerely look forward to working with you to make this a successful engagement for your company and products.

Exhibitor/Vendor registration: www.regonline.com/wagis17

Vendor registration options

  Mt. Olympus Mt. Baker
Cost $375 $700
Number of Booths No Booth 1
Conference Attendee Passes 1 1
1 year WAURISA Chapter Sponsorship
(see waurisa.org/joinus for details)
Yes Yes
Logo and Company Description in Conference Program Yes Yes
Logo on Conference Website Yes Yes
Visibility in Quarterly WAURISA Newsletter The Summit Logo 1/4 page
Post-Conference attendee list (name & org.) Yes Yes
Opportunity to Present in Technology Track No Yes
Participate in Exhibitor Passport Program ** No Yes
Additional Booth Space* (double-size booth) N/A $350

* Does not include additional conference pass, upsize ad to 1/2 page.
**Exhibitor Passport Program:

  • Attendees stop by your booth during conference exhibit hours to receive a stamp for their passport.
  • Quality prizes raffled at closing session for attendees who turn in their completed passport by 3:15 pm on 5/18.
  • WAURISA supplies the prizes, you are also very welcome to donate a prize or hold a raffle at your booth.


We are returning to the Hotel Murano for the 2017 conference hotel. Hotel Murano is located at:
1320 Broadway Plaza
Tacoma, WA 98402
Phone: (253) 238-8000 or (877) 986-8083 toll free (Ask for the "WAURISA GIS Conference" to receive the special group rate.)

Online and phone reservations will be accepted until Apr 23, 2017 which is the cut off date for reservations.

Online Reservation Link: Reserve a Room

Phone Reservations: 253-238-8000 or 888-862-3255 (Ask for the "WAURISA GIS Conference" to receive the special group rate.)

Room Rates are $120 per night, not including lodging tax (13.5%) or TPA fee ($1.50 per night)

TRANSPORTATION  (back to top)

Getting to the Conference:

Please consider car pooling or taking public transit to the conference. Directions to the Tacoma Convention Center, click here.
Transit Options:

The following transit lines have routes that take you to the Sounder Station/Amtrak Station in Tacoma. Once there, you can ride the free Tacoma Link light rail directly to the conference center at 10 minute intervals. Visit the following transit links for details.

Sound Transit
Pierce Transit (PT)
Intercity Transit (IT)

Tacoma's Free Link Light Rail runs frequently throughout the downtown corridor with a stop located just outside the GTCTC on Commerce Street. More information: route map (PDF) and schedule.

Parking options:

Street parking is free in Tacoma, but you'll need to arrive well before 8 a.m. on weekdays to find a free all-day parking spot. Additionally, there are free parking spots for 1 and 2 hours near the center, but be aware that parking enforcement is quite efficient. The Greater Tacoma Trade and Convention Center offers on-site parking at the rate of $10 per day in the Lot A Garage.

The Greater Tacoma Trade and Convention Center offers on-site parking at the rate of $10 per day in the Lot A Garage. More information here.

Another option is to park for free at the Tacoma Dome Station and take the free Tacoma Link light rail to the convention center. Parking and route map here.


Tuesday Night Welcoming Social

Tuesday 6:00-8:00pm

Location: Steel Creek

1114 Broadway, Tacoma, WA

Whether you are finishing a day of our workshops or just arriving for the conference, come join us at Steel Creek for a few hours of socializing and reacquainting with your GIS colleagues. If you are feeling adventurous join in the line dancing lesson or ride the mechanical bull!

Website: http://steelcreekwhiskey.com/

You are invited! Women in GIS Breakfast at the 2017 Washington GIS Conference

Washington URISA is pleased to announce that the 4th annual Women in GIS Breakfast will occur at Bite in the Hotel Murano on Wednesday, May 17 from 7:00 - 8:30 AM. Besides great food, this is an informal chance to network and make friends with other women in geospatial.

This is a no host event and reservations are required. Attendance at the conference is not required.

To reserve your seat, visit Sched at http://sched.co/AOuz or the Facebook Event at http://bit.ly/2oMPCNv.

Location: Bite1320 Broadway Plaza Tacoma, WA 98402

Exhibitor Social

Wednesday 4:30-6:00om

Location: Conference Facility

Come hang out with the Conference's exhibitors at the Exhibitor Social. Get your "Exhibitor Passport" stamped for a chance to win prizes. Visit with your colleagues, check out the posters and vote for your favorite!

Conference Social

Wednesday 6:30-8:00pm

Location: Washington State History Museum

1911 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA

This year the conference social is at the Washington State History Museum. Join us for a unique opportunity to socialize and eat good food while wandering the permanent exhibits with friends and new acquaintances.

Website: http://www.washingtonhistory.org/visit/wshm/

If you don't want to face traffic Thursday afternoon after the conference, the Tacoma Museum of Glass has free admission from 5:00pm - 8:00pm. Watch Hilltop Artists will provide glassmaking demonstrations in the Hot Shop.


WAURISA is currently planning the 2017 conference. If you are interesting in being part of the conference planning process, please contact us at Volunteer@waurisa.org.


WAURISA announces the annual Richard "Dick" Thomas award. This award was established to honor Washington State GIS pioneer and mentor Richard 'Dick' Thomas, who passed away in 2006. The intent of this award is to honor Dick by continuing his work of encouraging students to excel in their studies and to transition successfully into careers in the field of GIS.

Please see the Competition FAQs for more information on how to enter the Richard 'Dick' Thomas Memorial Student Competition.

Now accepting abstracts which can be submitted here - the deadline for entering is April 7, 2017.

Competition Prizes

1st Place

  • Dick Thomas Award Plaque
  • $500
  • One year membership in WAURISA
  • Free registration to the 2018 Washington GIS Conference
  • Publication of paper in The Summit (Washington GIS Newsletter)
  • Plus, possible additional prizes

2nd Place

  • Dick Thomas Second Place Award Certificate
  • $250
  • One year membership in WAURISA
  • Publication of paper in The Summit (Washington GIS Newsletter)
  • Plus, possible additional prize

3rd Place

  • Dick Thomas Third Place Award Certificate
  • $125
  • One year membership in WAURISA
  • Publication of paper in The Summit (Washington GIS Newsletter)
  • Plus, possible additional prizes

All Student presenters will earn 1 GISCI Contribution Point for Conference Presentation in addition to points earned for attending the 2017 Conference.