In 1988, the U.S. National Science Foundation established the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA), a consortium of three institutions: the University of California at Santa Barbara, the State University of New York at Buffalo, and the University of Maine. The primary mission of the NCGIA was to conduct basic research, but the organization was also asked, from time to time, to provide services or coordination for members of the broader Geographic Information Science community. In 1990, the NCGIA board of directors recommended that a more broadly-based organization be established to promote and support the field, especially the needs of researchers. NCGIA responded in 1991 by establishing an ad hoc steering committee consisting of 16 individuals from as many institutions, representing about seven different academic disciplines. After a series of meetings at professional conferences, sufficient momentum was gathered to establish a national conference on the issue in Boulder, Colorado in 1994.

The University Consortium for Geographic Information Science emerged from this, and was officially incorporated as a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C. on August 3, 1995.

YearSummer Assembly or Symposium LocationOrganizing President
1994 Boulder, Colorado (founding meeting)

John Bossler

1996 Columbus, Ohio

Will Craig

1997 Bar Harbor, Maine

Jerry Dobson

1998 Park City, Utah

David Mark

1999 Minneapolis, Minnesota

William Huxhold

2000 Mt. Hood, Oregon

Greg Elmes

2001 Buffalo, New York

Harlan Onsrud

2002 Athens, Georgia

Art Getis

2003 Asilomar, California

Carolyn Merry

2004 College Park, Maryland, with GIScience 2004

Lynn Usery

2005 Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Nina Lam

2006 Vancouver, Washington, with AutoCarto

John Wilson

2007 Yellowstone, Wyoming

Sean Ahearn

2008 Minneapolis, Minnesota

Bob McMaster

2009 Santa Fe, New Mexico

Tim Nyerges

2010 Hilton Head, South Carolina

Tim Nyerges

2011 Boulder, Colorado

May Yuan

2012 Washington, DC

Tim Nyerges

2013 George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia

Laxmi Ramasubramanian

2014 Pasadena, California, with University of Southern California

Laxmi Ramasubramanian

2015 Alexandria, Virginia

Steve Prager

2016 Scottsdale, Arizona

Libby Wentz

2017 Arlington, Virginia

Shaowen Wang

2018 Madison, Wisconsin, with AutoCarto

Shashi Shekhar

2019 Washington, DC

Alberto Giordano