Symposium 2021 > Schedule

UCGIS Symposium 2021

Monday June 7 - Friday June 11, 2021 



The 2021 Symposium will consist of numerous sessions focused broadly on GIS, GIScience, and their implications for public policy in different applications.  The list of sessions below is arranged alphabetically until scheduling is announced. 


Environmental Sustainability-based Policy Solutions 

  • Description: The session aims to bring together academic scholars, practitioners and educators to exchange and share their experiences and research results of policy solutions on all aspects of Environmental Sustainability using GIS and spatial data science technologies. The session also provides an interdisciplinary platform for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovation, trends, and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and policy solutions adopted in the fields of Environmental Sustainability and GIS. The topics cover a wide range of policy solution issues such as climate change, renewable energy, water management, water and air pollution, food security, and ecosystems.
  • Session Formatpaper presentations (abstracts invited; see Call for Abstracts)
  • Organizer: Cindy Zhang (University of Connecticut)
  • Eligibility for submitting abstracts: Open to all
  • Abstract submissionsSee the Call for Abstracts or access the online abstract submission form directly

GIScience and Public Policy: Elements for a Professional Ethics

  • Description:  What is the role of the GIScientist in the public policy arena? This question has been with us since at least the 1990s, with various NCGIA initiatives and a robust debate on critical GIS. Often the conversation has focused on GIS and the technological aspects of GIScience. This session will instead focus on human aspects. The idea is to bring together four GIScience professionals from the academia, the public sector, the private sector, and the GIS industry to discuss the profession. To focus the discussion, participants will be asked to comment on one particular issue to be determined (privacy OR big data OR a social OR environmental issue).
  • Session Format: Invited panel; no open call for abstracts
  • Organizer: Alberto Giordano (Texas State University)


GIScience-Informed Evaluations of COVID-19 Policy Responses

  • Description:  In the absence of a vaccine, non=pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) have been widely employed by government jurisdictions at various levels via guidelines or mandate to slow the spread of COVID-19. Many of these interventions have a geographic component meant to mitigate personal contact among individuals: physical/social distancing, limitations on large gatherings of people, stay-at-home directives, border closings and other travel restrictions, and closures of non-essential businesses, schools, and places of worship, and restaurants and bars. Upon the dissemination of a vaccine, it will be key to assess geographic variation in vaccination rates and efficacy towards stopping the spread of the disease. This panel will address the role of geospatial technologies for monitoring, modeling, and responding to the spread and severity of COVID-19 and for evaluating the effects of NPI and vaccination on mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic..
  • Session Format: Invited panel; no open call for abstracts
  • Organizer: Jeremy Mennis (Temple University) and Wei Luo (Harvard University)


GIScience Applications and Research: Poster Session

  • Description: UCGIS will host an online collection of posters as a chance for scholars to share their research and activities. This session may include a chance for authors to share highlights of their work through audio as well.
  • Session Format: online digital posters
  • Organizers: Suzanne Wechsler (Cal State University, Long Beach) and Diana Sinton (UCGIS)
  • Eligibility for submitting abstracts: Open to all.
  • Abstract submissions: See the Call for Abstracts or access the online abstract submission form directly

Recent Developments, Policy Implications, and the Future of Unmanned Aerial Systems in the Geospatial Field

  • DescriptionUnmanned aerial systems (UASs) have witnessed rapid and extensive developments in recent years, becoming more user-friendly, readily accessible, and affordable. The number of new applications and business prospects continue to grow as technologies evolve/emerge. With this growth come policy implications relevant to the geospatial community, including safety, legal obligations and responsibilities, personal privacy, threats and risks, and data integrity, among others. This session will bring together experts from industry, academia, and government to discuss the risks, challenges, and possibilities of UASs, as well as examine prospects for the future of this technology in the geospatial field.
  • Session Format: invited panel; no open call for abstracts
  • Organizers: Jane Read (Syracuse University) and Paddington Hodza (University of Wyoming)

Smart and Resilient Cities

  • Description: Smart spatial data and smart spatial technologies are playing crucial roles to improve the functioning of cities and to enable news forms of policy analysis. Researchers and practitioners are interested in methods to establish intelligent systems for more effective urban governance and more resilient urban environments. This session calls for submissions about research work related to theoretical, methodological, or empirical aspects of smart systems for urban governance and planning. Topics include, but are not limited to, human mobility, social network, healthcare management, smart governance, emergency response, smart urban environment & ecosystems, digital city and smart growth, intelligent infrastructure, and so on. 
  • Session Formatpaper presentations
  • Organizer: Angela Yao (University of Georgia
  • Eligibility for submitting abstracts: Open to all. 
  • Abstract submissions: See the Call for Abstracts or access the online abstract submission form directly

Student GIScience Research: Lightning Talks

  • Description: During this session, students will have a chance to share their GIS-related activities in a focused and brief manner. 
  • Session Format: Lightning talks.  If an abstract is not selected for a lightning talk, the presenter will be offered the chance to present a poster instead.
  • Organizer: Suzanne Wechsler (Cal State University, Long Beach)
  • Eligibility for submitting abstracts: Students only
  • Abstract submissionsSee the Call for Abstracts or access the online abstract submission form directly

(Un)Mapping Social and Spatial Inequality: Extending Socio-Theoretically Informed Critical Approaches to Engage Policy

  • Description:  This session aims to convene a conversation about how socio-theoretically informed GIS and geovisualization are used to engage policy, particularly in relation to difficult questions about social inequality and justice. GIScientists have increasingly recognized and embraced the unprecedented capacities of GIS and geovisualization for researching the spatial dimensions of social issues ranging from urban poverty, housing, disinvestment, and gentrification to struggles for social/spatial justice and equity. How can such socially engaged approaches to GIS and geovisualization extend traditions of critical mapping and geovisualization in ways that are also adequately reflexive and ethically sensitive to the experiences and priorities of the people most impacted while remaining deeply attuned to the broader social and political processes which structure the issues being researched? How might different modes of (un)mapping take up the challenge of researching social structures and issues using multi-epistemological ‘processual’ approaches to engage, produce, and represent spatial knowledge and complexity in ways that do not obscure or shy away from but indeed strive to center these ethical and reflexive aspects in relation to broader relational geographies? How can innovative GIS-based conceptual and methodological frameworks take these considerations on board to understand and confront social and spatial inequality and engage policy and policy advocacy in reflexive and potentially transformative ways? We invite the participation of GIScientists and other geographers doing work related to or attempting to think through these and parallel questions.  
  • Session Format: invited panel; no open call for abstracts
  • Organizers: Jin-Kyu Jung (University of Washington) and Christian Anderson (University of Washington)