2017 Conference Abstracts


We are excited to welcome our keynote speaker Dr. John R. Schott, founder of the Digital Imaging and Remote Sensing Lab at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Dr. Schott will be presenting on RIT’s role in the development of Landsats 4,5,7,8,9, and 10, as well as Landsat’s growing role in water resource monitoring.

John in the Kayak.JPG

About The Speaker:

Dr. Schott has broad research and development experience in advanced technology for solving problems related to imaging science and remote sensing. He spent 8 years at Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory (later Calspan) as a principle physicist leading development of their thermal infrared remote sensing research capabilities. For the past 36 years he has been at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) where he founded and led the Digital Imaging and Remote Sensing Lab. He has served as the principal investigator on numerous research programs for the defense/intelligence and civil communities, including serving as a principal investigator for NASA’s LIDQA and Landsat 7 Science Teams and the USGS’s Landsat 8 Science Team. This work led to the development of visible and thermal infrared synthetic image generation tools embodied in RIT’s DIRSIG scene/sensor image simulation model.

His research has led to over 200 technical publications, including two text/reference books on Remote Sensing, as well as co-inventor status on two patents.  Dr. Schott has supervised over 100 graduate students and continues to lead a research group at RIT. Dr. Schott served on a number of scientific advisory panels including serving as a member of the Intelligence Science Board which advised the intelligence community and the Director of National Intelligence.

Session 1A

Guiderail Inventory Mapping; From Paper to GIS

Justin D. Cole, GISP, Barton & Loguidice

For many county transportation departments’ asset information is on many spreadsheets, but these assets have a location. This project culminates many years of work, initially using linear referencing desktop GIS tools to automate mapping, to using ArcGIS Collector, Geoforms, and Web GIS Applications to map locations and conditions. The final product is a location aware asset inventory allowing for improvements in work order productivity and preventative maintenance.

Traffic Sign Inventory and Maintenance

Nick Tonias, P.E., The CEDRA Corporation

Many municipalities have developed GIS databases for their traffic signs.  Many more are interested in developing a GIS based traffic sign inventory.  When it comes to signs, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) is the standard for conformance of signs, signals, markings and other devices intended to regulate, warn or guide traffic.  This paper discusses a traffic sign database design based upon the MUTCD and procedures for data collection and traffic sign database maintenance.

Session 1B – Student Lightning Talks

Use of Ground Penetrating Radar to identify the presence of caskets in St. Francis Cemetery, LeRoy New York

Nicole DeRose, The College at Brockport

St, Francis Cemetery has a long history of burials and there was some uncertainty as to where each casket was actually buried. A GIS database was developed for the cemetery, consisting of roads digitized from aerial photography, and a point shape file of existing headstones. Headstones were digitized using oblique imagery. GPR profiles were conducted to determine the presence of caskets. A GPS was used to create a point shapefile of caskets. A set of maps were produced.

Using remote sensing and spatial analysis to assess the trends in riparian vegetation extent and vigor

Ge (Jeff) Pu, SUNY-ESF 

Riparian buffers play a significant role in filtering contamination and maintaining water quality. Under stress from climate change, agricultural practices and urbanization, the extent of buffers in many areas within the Great Lakes Basin is decreasing and will remain under pressure due to continued economic revitalization plans. This project developed a tool for rapid riparian buffer delineation and monitoring based on imagery within Google Earth Engine, a highly-advanced cloud-based platform for performing remote sensing and spatial analysis. As a pilot study, this tool was applied to quantify change in riparian buffer extent and vigor from 2006 to 2015 along the main stem of Genesee River, which flows through western Pennsylvania and New York into Lake Ontario. While this study focused on a small area and short time interval, we aimed to develop a framework that could be expanded beyond the scope of this study to address various temporal and spatial scales and explore the future potential of the approach for riparian buffer modeling. This presentation will also describe the management implications of utilizing such tools.

Secondhand Geography: A Place Name Analysis of Goodwill Clothing

Ben Freiman, SUNY Geneseo

Can the items found in thrift stores provide insight into the cultural characteristics of the communities they serve? This research is premised on the idea that because their inventories are sourced from surrounding communities, items in Goodwill stores, such as used clothing, will reflect local cultural geographies. This project examines and compares the geographic characteristics of place name-bearing clothing collected from one rural, one suburban, and one urban Goodwill store located in Western New York State. Clothing was examined at each store and place names were recorded, geocoded, and assigned a typology. Place scale and proximity to the store was also measured. The resulting place names were then mapped using a GIS and analyzed using spatial and qualitative methods. This unusual data source shows that substantive differences exist in the cultural geographies of rural, suburban and urban areas serviced by Goodwill stores. Place-name analysis of secondhand clothing also provides unique insight into local patterns of consumption and travel as well as attachments to place and regional identity.

Predicting mortality caused by diesel truck emissions with BenMAP-CE

Katelijn Van Munster, Rochester Institute of Technology

BenMAP-CE is an air pollution-related health incidence modeling software with built-in GIS capabilities. I am using it to model the potential mortalities caused by Particulate Matter (PM2.5) emissions from heavy duty diesel truck traffic around Pittsburgh, PA.

Watershed Delineation and the Importance of Manual Quality Control

Mandy Wasicsko, SUNY Geneseo

The Hydrology toolset in ArcGIS provides a set of analytical tools to know where water comes from and where it is going. This knowledge helps municipalities with environmental planning, structural planning, and watershed management. However, the toolset is not perfect. This presentation will outline the steps necessary to create a watershed from a digital elevation model (DEM) using the Hydrology toolset and the importance of manual quality control in watershed delineation.

Watching Our Water: Recognizing Features in Satellite Images

Mary Cotter, Allendale Columbia School (7th grade)

OpenCV is an open source computer vision collection of programs.  It contains more than 2500 optimized algorithms for processing photographs, similar to how the human eye and brain process light.  ImageMagick is an open source library for processing images.
Python programs were written to apply OpenCV and ImageMagick algorithms to Landsat 8 images of Monroe County and the results were analyzed.  In the future, Image Segmentation will be used to find important features in the images.

Using EPA’s Waterscape as a Method for Prioritizing Watersheds for Streambank Stabilization in the Genesee River Basin of New York

Wayne Howard, Monroe Community College

This project broadly evaluates several efforts to spatially prioritize watersheds for restoration in the Genesee River Basin, including the NYSDEC’s Nine Element Plan, the NYNHP Trees for Tribs program and a new watershed prioritization technique using the EPA’s Waterscape. Waterscape is examined in detail for use as a screening tool for prioritizing watersheds for streambank stabilization for the Genesee RiverWatch Initiative. (geneseeriverwatch.org/)
Waterscape is a GIS-based framework for identifying priority HUC12 watersheds and is provided by ESRI and the EPA as an add-in for ArcGIS Desktop. It utilizes intrinsic data (“properties”) derived from industry standard spatial datasets. It also allows you to add your own weighting criteria to prioritize these intrinsic factors, using local knowledge of the watershed. Additional spatial factors (derived from other HUC12 watershed layers) may also be added by the user.

Session 1C

UAS Commercial Drone Rules

Brian Pitre, SkyOp LLC

As of August 2016, with the new rules drone pilots are now required to pass the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) remote pilot knowledge test “Unmanned Aircraft – General” for everyone operating a drone for any commercial or business purposes. FAA regulations now require remote pilot certification.

We’ll cover when you need a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating? And provide information on the Remote Pilot Certification and Test.

Session 2A

Designing ESRI Story Maps

Stephen Tuolwiecki, Ph.D., MRB Group

Esri Story Maps is a feature of the ArcGIS Online platform that affords the creation of engaging and visually impactful web maps that are accessible to the public.  Web maps designed using Story Maps often display one or more maps enriched with a multimedia experience of photos, text, and video.  Any GIS user with an ArcGIS Online account has the ability to create and share web maps using Story Maps templates.  The goals of this presentation are threefold: (1) explain the basic requirements and considerations for designing a web map using Story Maps, (2) compare and contrast the most common Story Maps templates available to the ArcGIS Online user, and (3) examine a Story Map case study.

Introduction to ESRI’s Web AppBuilder

Daniel Allen, GISP, MRB Group

With ESRI’s Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS, you can build powerful GIS apps with no coding, which run on any device. Web AppBuilder is included with your ArcGIS.com subscription, and provides widgets, themes, and templates to make your first app in as little as five minutes. This presentation will review the basic concepts of Web AppBuilder, and guide you through making your first app.

Session 2B

Building a 3D Basemap for Local Government

Eric Brady, Bergmann Associates

3D basemaps are now a viable data-set to support common Planning operations.  Using desktop tools like Esri’s ArcGIS Pro, the creation and management of 3D terrain and building models offers planners new visualization and analytic tools to support their work.  Just as a quality ortho image can support numerous GIS needs, a 3D base map act as a foundational data-set for new and innovative uses of GIS throughout the local government enterprise.


Matthew Quick, Eagleview

This session will provide a demonstration of Critical360, a system that combines exterior aerial imagery of buildings with detailed interior 3D floor plans and panoramic imagery. It is designed to give First Responders, 9-1-1 and Emergency Managers access to interior and exterior views of buildings with the ability to quickly search for specific locations in a building and see them in high resolution images, tied to an up to date floor plan.

Session 2C

LUCA (Local Update of Census Addresses)

David Kraiker & William Adams, Census Bureau

LUCA is the once-a-decade participation project in which municipal governments can work with the Census Bureau to improve its database.  It allows governments to access census street files and individual addresses to make improvements to insure the integrity of Census questionnaire distribution.   It is the only chance local government will get to work with the Census Bureau at this depth, but often needs a GIS analyst to help with the process.


Session 3A

ArcGIS Enterprise 10.5 Concepts and Configurations

 Mark Scott & Jason Sealy, ESRI

ArcGIS Server users have a lot to look forward to at 10.5, as Esri introduces ArcGIS Enterprise. ArcGIS Enterprise is a key component of the ArcGIS platform, providing a complete WebGIS that runs behind your firewall, in your infrastructure, on-premises, and in the cloud and works with your enterprise systems and policies. An Esri representative will outline the components and things you need to be aware of when implementing this new configuration of the server-oriented platform.

Form-Centric Mobile Data Collection with Survey123, What’s Coming Next, and Don’t Forget the Backend

Austin Fisher & Scott Manley, VBH

There are many ways to categorize mobile data collection applications. GIS professionals have traditionally used map-centric products like ArcPad and Collector. However, a growing number of form-centric applications are available today including Esri’s Survey123 for ArcGIS. Survey123 is an excellent option that should be considered for mobile data collection, depending on the nature of the project requirements. This presentation will provide an overview of Survey123, including new features planned for the next release. It will also stress the importance of addressing how the data will be managed after it’s been collected in the field (i.e., the backend). Collector for ArcGIS will be used to illustrate the differences between a map-centric and form-centric application.

Session 3B

Survey123 and Collector for ArcGIS Applications for understanding the Livelihoods of Displaced Persons: Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) 2017 Field Operations in the Mugumbwa Kigeme and Refugee Camps, Rwanda.

Nathanael Thomas, RIT

Working in partnership with UNHCR and MIDIMAR, RIT conducted a three-week humanitarian field work mission in Rwanda in January 2017 to create maps and economic surveys of the Kigeme and Mugumbwa refugee camps.  The overall mission had two main objectives. The first objective was to compile field geographic data to create the first detailed map of the Mugumbwa refugee camp. The second objective was to conduct economic surveys about local business in both the Mugumbwa and Kigeme refugee camps.

The GLOBE Program

Michael Jabot, SUNY Fredonia

The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program connects teachers and students around the world through the process of ground-truthing remotely sensed data. This presentation will share an overview of this program as well as information on how you can help connect schools with GLOBE.

Session 3C

Meet the Scholars

Thomas Cuyler, GIS Scholars

A presentation briefly detailing the history of GIS Scholars, discussing or most notorious projects, and introducing the newest members of our group.

Building an Infrastructure for Geospatial Learning

Joseph Becker, UrbInnovations

If We are going to maintain the GISystems that are in place, We will need trained and capable workers. In order to introduce GIS/Geospatial Learning into RCSD and local College classrooms, We must build an infrastructure (i.e. classrooms,software, networks, data, et al) to accommodate providing Instruction and Hands-On experience for Elementary, Secondary and Higher Ed Students.  We will review our Progress and ask for Recommendations on moving Forward

Session 4A

ArcGIS Pro 1.4 – Desktop GIS for the Professional

Mark Scott & Jason Sealy, ESRI

2017 will be the year ArcGIS Pro has it’s coming of age party! Esri’s next-gen 64-bit flagship desktop offering, it’s technologically ahead of everything else on the market, ArcGIS Pro provides professional 2D and 3D mapping in an intuitive user interface. You can think of ArcGIS Pro as a big step forward—one that advances visualization, analytics, image processing, data management, and integration. At version 1.4, released concurrently with ArcGIS 10.5

Session 4B

Speaking the Language of Coordinate Systems: From Field to Feature Class

Bill Trask, Fisher Associates

Coordinate systems put the geographic in GIS. As such, we ought to take charge in being the coordinate system experts. Beginning with what entails a coordinate system, we will move on into a discussion of datums, followed by some examples of coordinate system hangups that we often run into in our line of work.

NYS Wild Land Fire Response and Preparedness

Jennifer Snyder, NYS DEC Forest Rangers

Ranger Snyder, will describe how State Forest Rangers leverage the power of GIS and use it as a tool to combat wildland fires. During the last 25 years, rangers responded to an average of 239 wildfires per year that burned an average total of 2,156 acres annually. Following guidelines laid out in the GIS Standard Operating Procedures created by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, Rangers utilize both ArcMap and Terrain Navigator Pro to produce maps for various incidents.