GIS Day is a time when geospatial professionals, hobbyists, and students celebrate their work; help others learn more about Geography and GIS; and in Portland it has become an anticipated day when the local GIS community comes together. For the 8th Annual Portland GIS Day Celebration, over 150 people gathered at Ecotrust's Billy Frank, Jr. Conference Center in NW Portland to honor the day and tradition.
GIS day, first recognized in 1999 and credited to Ralph Nader, always intended to be a grassroots effort – something initiated from the ground up. The Portland GIS Day event has always been grassroots, with a volunteer group of organizers and open to anyone who is interested in attending. Christina Friedle (Portland Community College) and Madeline Steele (Tri Met) first organized the Portland GIS Day event in 2012, with Alexa Todd (Metro) joining them in 2016. This year, Debbie Blackmore (EYEON18) and Liam Neeley-Brown (Kroger) join the group or organizers, making it a well-rounded team.
The highlight of the evening was our Keynote Speaker, Metro Planner and "Geospatial Philosopher" Matthew Hampton. His presentation titled “Alis Volat Propriis” explored what it means to be an Oregonian and fly with your own wings. Hampton entertained with a retro “Streetview” video tour of Aspen, CO from 1978 and a live demonstration of black-powder mapping.
A record number of local businesses and organizations, whose donations covered the cost of the venue, food and beverages, raffle prizes, a speaker gift and other giveaways, sponsored the event. Sponsors included the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Ecotrust, Esri, Mapbox, Oregon Chapter of Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, DOGAMI, Portland Community College - Geography, Portland State University - Geography, Quantum Spatial, Society for Conservation GIS, Gartrell Group, and Timmons Group.
Following another GIS Day tradition was the late afternoon Missing Maps Mapathon, led by Chaelese Kailewa and Dale Kunce (co-founder of the Missing Maps project!). This event brought together 25-30 people to digitize buildings in Tegal, Indonesia using OpenStreetMap. The data created during this event will be used by the Red Cross to assist in forecasting future disaster impacts by knowing in advance what is likely to be impacted, its exposure and vulnerability. Many thanks to the PSU Geography department for use of the computer lab. The data improvements made during this Mapathon - and others like it - make a huge difference for aid groups around the world.
Thank you to all the additional volunteers who made the night run smoothly – PCC students Catherine Greene, Ben Meister, and Michael Puma; our photographer Kelly Neely-Brown; and our video production team at Outlier.
Please take a minute to check out the Portland GIS Day video and photos from the event!