2024 Conference Abstracts

Keynote – Felt Inspired: Mapping the Future, Collaboratively” – Catherine DuBreck, GISP – Locana

Catherine DuBreck, GISP - Photo

Abstract: “What do you get when you mix GIS with Google Docs?  While the punchline to this bad joke is seemingly Google Maps, this presentation aims to introduce the audience to another tool in the geospatial technology arsenal: Felt!  Felt is an easy-to-use, web-based collaborative mapping tool with functionality and features for all. This includes QGIS and OSM integration as well as real-time collaboration and map co-creation.  Through a combination of slides, live demo, and use-case highlights, we will explore together how this emerging geospatial technology is reshaping the landscape of collaborative mapping by empowering individuals and organizations to turn spatial data into actionable insights and drive positive change.”

Catherine DuBreck, GISP is a Rochester-area native with a passion for GIS and geospatial technology.  With a background in geography, planning, and GIS, Catherine has worked both the public and private sectors, and currently works full-time as a GIS Change Management Consultant for Locana.  She also works part-time with the GIST program at Monroe Community College, and as an adjunct GIS instructor with the Rochester Institute of Technology.  Her love for all things geospatial has taken her across four continents for various presentations and research opportunities, and she was recently included on Geospatial World’s 50 Rising Stars Highly Commended List for 2024.  Catherine’s primary aspiration in life is to educate others on the incalculable impact that geospatial technology has on the world, oftentimes in ways people don’t even realize.  Catherine naturally enjoys geospatial-related hobbies in her free time like exploring the outdoors with her dog, Max, and travelling around the globe.

Session 1A

Leveraging GIS for use with Residential Waste Water Treatment Procedures within The Niagara County Public Health Department (Environmental Division)

Lisa Casey- University at Buffalo

The heterogeneity and fragmentation of landscapes is an important ecological feature and is best approximated through geographic analysis and theory. Landscape connectivity is defined as, “the degree to which the landscape facilitates or impedes movement among resource patches.”  Methods to quantify connectivity often incorporate graph theory, species-specific movement parameters, or landscape-specific elements, though few methods incorporate all approaches in a parsimonious manner. Here, we describe the sinuous connection reduction (SCR) index, a novel connectivity metric that achieves this goal. We also demonstrate the use of the SCR index using white-tailed deer connectivity in the 92 wildlife management units in New York State. 

Value of GIS for Health and Human Services

Maureen Graney, Sr Account Executive, Health & Human Services – Esri

Build healthier communities with modern geospatial visualizations, shared data, and effective communication tools. This session highlights how GIS professionals and their Public Health and Human Services colleagues can use data enrichment, spatial analysis and access to location-aware data to benefit counties and cities, addressing the NYS Prevention Agenda and promoting health equity. See examples of how GIS builds trust through data transparency, makes possible effective disease surveillance, and uses geospatial analysis to determine optimal prevention measures and resource allocation. Learn more about ArcGIS Business Analyst and see how ArcGIS Solutions make data gathering and communication easier. Invite your Public Health colleagues!

Session 1B – Student Lightning Talks

Land Classification in Lackawanna: Remote Sensing Applications for Analyzing  Land Use and Land Cover

Brennan Postich – SUNY Buffalo State University Urban

Spaces are constantly changing, demanding different methods of analysis to be understood. The City of Lackawanna lacks a planning department, and its land use documents are outdated. Remote sensing techniques can provide timely and substantive data for municipalities to analyze. Supervised classification allows researchers to analyze past and present conditions through class categories, providing easily understood class categories. This project found a significant increase in the amount of land devoted to industrial uses inside Lackawanna from 2002 to 2021. Further, this piece explores supervised classification’s flaws, limitations, and opportunities in analyzing land use and land cover.

Housing Crisis in the Adirondacks, NY 

Becca Halter – Adirondack Land Trust/UW-Madison 

Becca will share the Storymap she made about the housing crisis in the Adirondacks (https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/f34184b4fe5b44fa9a3b7efb4c01a01a). The story map focuses on the conflict of a tourist economy providing worker housing and accommodations for visitors and second homeowners. The presentation will discuss the overall design process and what motivated her to make the map.

The Sinuous Connection Reduction index: a novel metric for quantifying species-specific functional connectivity. 

Collin O’Connor – University at Buffalo

The heterogeneity and fragmentation of landscapes is an important ecological feature and is best approximated through geographic analysis and theory. Landscape connectivity is defined as, “the degree to which the landscape facilitates or impedes movement among resource patches.”  Methods to quantify connectivity often incorporate graph theory, species-specific movement parameters, or landscape-specific elements, though few methods incorporate all approaches in a parsimonious manner. Here, we describe the sinuous connection reduction (SCR) index, a novel connectivity metric that achieves this goal. We also demonstrate the use of the SCR index using white-tailed deer connectivity in the 92 wildlife management units in New York State. 

Heat Vulnerability and Poverty Intersection in Upper Manhattan to Bronx New York 

Keith Gonzalez – RIT 

Due to their large size, buildings act as effective insulators, absorbing and retaining heat. This creates a significant challenge in dense urban areas, where the abundance of buildings and scarcity of natural green spaces and reflective pavements contribute to “” raising ambient temperatures. Consequently, residents rely heavily on air conditioning, leading to increased energy costs and potential financial strain, especially for low-income households. To address this issue, cities are exploring investments in cool roofs, a technology that can reduce building temperatures and decrease energy consumption. There are also public spaces like libraries and swimming spots, but the cuts from local government puts these areas at risk.

BOO! From Green to Grey: Using High-Resolution Imagery to Improve Remote Sensing of Ghost Forests and Coastal Forest Degradation from Space – NASA SARP East 2023 

Kathleen R. Hall – NASA Student Airborne Program, University of Rochester

As sea levels rise due to global warming, the world’s coastlines are changing. A phenomenon called “ghost forests” has been observed where sea level rise stresses vegetation and destroys coastal ecosystems, emitting greenhouse gases. For this study, high resolution multispectral imagery captured an area affected by water stress in southern VA. This imagery was classified to identify dead trees and their spectral signature. Seasonal patterns in normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and enhanced vegetation index (EVI) were captured with Landsat. Previous studies posited that ghost forests have a weaker seasonal signal in both NDVI and EVI and can be identified in this way. However, our results did not identify this signal. 

Session 1C

Leaf Collection System, Town of Tonawanda, NY

Skyler Paternostro – Town of Tonawanda

The Town of Tonawanda’s new Leaf Collection System originated with the desire to become more spatially and temporally aware of the leaf collection process. A main goal of this project was to track the general locations (routes) of the leaf pickup crews in real-time. A general need for adapting from using paper maps to GIS maps is trending throughout municipalities, including the Town of Tonawanda. The methods practiced throughout this project provide an open door to creating other real-world projects that involve managing and tracking field data. We will discuss the procedures involved in the creation of the new leaf collection system, including publishing hosted data, using field collection apps and maps and creating a desktop viewing app.

Using GIS to Support Public Engagement for the Town’s Public Information Office

Karyn Tareen – Geocove

After implementing GIS in the traditional departments, such as highways, public works / utilities, planning and public safety, what’s next? This session will discuss how this town is using their GIS enterprise to support town-wide public engagement activities including a public map for Town “Alerts” and sharing the location for Town Board agenda items.

Session 2A

Get Stuff Done with AI

Marjorie Roswell – Tech for Good Academy

The presenter is a daily user of AI tools to get stuff done. She will demo a variety of ways that the chat prompt can yield support for GIS professionals. Examples of demoed prompt topics:

Javascript Assists

1. Build mini-scrapers directly in Chrome DevTools

2. Describe JavaScript output from QGIS2Web

Python and Bash Assists

3. Explore new mapping methods in Python notebooks

4. Generate a PDF of online documentation

5. Generate mapshaper commands


6. Generate sample data

7. Datasette enrichment tools 


8. Resolve GitHub authentication issues

9. Open-ended idea generators to inspire QGIS learning curves and even plugin development

10. Alternatives to ChatGPT

… and maybe more…. Whatever we can fit in 25 minutes.

3D World Building with CityEngine, ArcGIS Pro, and LiDAR From Your Pocket

Justin Cole – University of Wisconsin Madison – GIS Professional Program

3D GIS has been a big hit at conferences, esri publications, and advertisements for years. Many GIS users have an idea that ArcGIS Pro has the capability, but very few implement it due to barriers such as data availability, rendering time, or just what to look at. This presentation will go through how to use a few simple datasets so you can start to build a 3D world of GIS. We will also explore how these features can be brought into CityEngine for faster rendering and to create an immersive environment. We will also look at using the LiDAR sensor on many smartphones to help supplement our data in either environment.

Session 2B

Survey123; Moving from Beginner to Advanced

Colin Liu – Geocove

Survey123 is a form-centric data gathering tool. Due to its simplicity and intuitiveness, Survey123 is widely adopted by Esri users for internal and public data collection. While many are probably already familiar with rolling out basic Survey123 forms, we will demonstrate a few extra examples of form design and functions you may want to consider adding to your skill set. We will highlight dynamic choice lists, image-map appearance, map and annotation for attachments, group and pages, and reports.

The Parcel Fabric… It’s not that scary.

Gerard Aiken – Esri

There are many organizations in New York that manage land records and require accurate, up-to-date, and authoritative parcel data. The ArcGIS Parcel Fabric is a service-based GIS that these organizations can use to manage parcel data, ownership records, and agricultural and natural resource rights, which can help improve communication across their organizations. However, some organizations are hesitant to move towards using ArcGIS Pro and a service-based model.

Let’s discuss the benefits of a modern tax parcel data model that can be leveraged by any county department in need of this data, as well as citizens who are looking for accurate information. We can also dispel any myths that suggest it is too difficult to accomplish.”

Session 3A

Using ArcHydro to Model Floods in the Main River Watershed, Germany

Karl Korfmacher – Rochester Institute of Technology

The Main River Hydrology Analyses used ArcGIS and ArcHydro to generate stream networks, flooding estimates, and estimated runoff volumes using the Height Above Nearest Drainage (HAND) and the NRCS Curve Number Approach. Results compare favorably against published German flood model results. This talk will provide an overview of the methodology and how the HAND and CN models can be used for regional watershed analyses.

Quantifying Plant Biodiversity Using Different Spectrometers

Bianca Cilento – Rochester Institute of Technology

Climate-driven land cover change and biodiversity loss are problems affecting the food security, economic growth, human health, and cultural identity of arctic environments, such as Stordalen Mire, Abisko, Sweden. The sensitive nature of these remote areas necessitates large-scale, less-invasive monitoring via remote sensing, but still requires field validation. This project assesses the accuracy and utility of two low-cost spectrometers, the Sherwin-Williams® ColorSnap® and the NASA STELLA-Q, in conjunction with ArcGIS and GoogleEarth Engine programs and aerial imagery to quantify species and land cover level changes from 2022 to 2023. This project presents the results of the landscape classifications and change analyses, as well as the tradeoffs of these devices. The ColorSnap® is an effective tool for collecting spectral data for individual species, while the STELLA is better suited to collect at the land cover level. The combination of these tools allow for a comprehensive analysis of how an ecosystem is changing over time.

Session 3B

NY DOS Gateway – More Than Just A Data Portal

Jeff Herter – NY Department of State, Office of Planning Development and Community Infrastructure

The NY Dept. of State has been developing a geospatial portal “to make information available to the public and decision-makers” since 2007. In subsequent years that portal has evolved iteratively to today’s Geographic Information Gateway (Gateway). The Gateway is a geospatial data portal, but it is also a community planning resource, an educational tool, a community engagement tool, and a guide for responsible stewardship of NY’s resources. Showcasing a new user-friendly mapping interface, easy data access, and a new story map format the Gateway was most recently updated and re-released in April 2023, and is still under development, with increased accessibility, user guides, and a new Kid-friendly Gateway in beta testing.

Leveraging Locomotive Solutions Using GIS

Vaibhav Hariram – Railinc Corp.

This talk will explore the utilization of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a tool for leveraging locomotive solutions. By using spatial data analysis, visualization, and modeling offered by GIS, railway operators can effectively address complex logistical issues, streamline processes, and improve overall performance. This helps railroads plan, monitor and execute the movement of trains through some of the busiest terminals in North America. Will be also talking about application uses of GIS in the workforce in America, where I am based in and a recent internship I completed that worked on rail technology that is using GIS Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth in America, and how the use of GIS products is transforming the rail industry.

Session 4

What’s New in the 2024 ArcGIS Landscape

Mark Scott – Esri

GIS technology is in an intense period of evolution, with tools and workflows available to more users on more devices for more wide-ranging use cases than ever before. While it’s hard to keep up with it all, I will attempt to summarize some of the highlights of the ever-evolving ArcGIS platform such as Indoor GIS, specialized planning tools, tighter integration with CAD technology, tighter integration with Office 365, and an ArcGIS Solution that works with Waze to communicate road closures. It’s an exiting time to be an ArcGIS user!