Conference Inaugurates Spatial Reasoning and Technologies Center at UCSB

Geographers and other spatial thinkers will meet at the University of California, Santa Barbara on May 29 to share information about their uses of geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial thinking. The afternoon conference, titled "Connecting Our Region Through GIS and Geospatial Technologies," will celebrate the launch of spatial@UCSB, an innovative research center devoted to the use of spatial reasoning and spatial technologies in planning, research, and teaching.

The conference begins at 2 p.m., Thursday, May 29, in the University Center's Corwin Pavilion. It is free and open to the public. Speakers include Michael Goodchild, a professor of geography and director of spatial@UCSB; Shoreh Elhami, co-founder and chair of GISCorps; and Jack Dangermond, president of Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI).

Elhami will discuss the role of GISCorps's volunteers in disaster response missions. A program of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, GISCorps coordinates the deployment of volunteer GIS professionals to underserved communities to provide spatial information essential to meeting the needs of emergency and non-emergency response missions throughout the world. A member of the National Research Council's Mapping Science Committee, Elhami is also director of GIS in Delaware County, Ohio, and an adjunct instructor at Ohio State University.

A pioneer in spatial analysis methods and one of the creators of GIS technology, Dangermond founded ESRI in 1969. It has since become the world's leading producer of GIS and spatial analysis software with clients in more than 100 countries. Dangermond is a recipient of the American Geographical Society's Cullum Geographical Medal, the Association of American Geographer's Anderson Medal, and the United States Geological Survey's John Wesley Powell Award. He has served on advisory committees for United States agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Academy of Sciences.

The conference also will include displays of more than 40 posters illustrating current regional projects that make use of spatial thinking, GIS, and geospatial technologies.

For more information about the conference or spatial@UCSB, visit

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