The rainy spring weather did not deter the over 50 attendees from making their way to the Washington County Public Library in Hagerstown for the MSGIC Spring Quarterly meeting on April 19, 2017. As always, the agenda was packed. In case you missed it, here are some highlights of the day.

Pat Mcloughlin, MSGIC Chair, got the morning started by unveiling the new and improved MSGIC website and placing an open call out to the MSGIC membership for participation in two upcoming initiatives; a visioning committee tasked with formulating strategic goals for the organization in the coming year and a new GIS Careers Working Group. Interested MSGIC members are encouraged to get involved with these new initiatives or any of the current initiatives.

Patrick Mcloughlin giving opening remarks.

Kevin Coyne, State Government Caucus Chair, provided an update on statewide activities including a new Childcare Mapping Tool, MD Smart Buy Mapper and an update on the 2017 Flyover status. Roger Barlowe (USGS) discussed issues surrounding LiDAR data collection in the state as well as a recent state/federal effort relating to Geographic Names. Erick Pate, Regional Caucus Chair, provided updates on GIS projects and activities taking place in both the local government caucus and regional caucus.

Hilary Melton, a former graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, educated the audience about how GIS is utilized in Mountain Search and Rescue Operations and the work she performed as part of her capstone project in support of a recent exercise at Catoctin Mountain Park. This very specialized public safety community is increasingly embracing GIS for pre-planning, incident response and after-action reporting.

James Shaw, Greenman Pederson Inc. & MSGIC Liaison to the Maryland Society of Surveyors, outlined the issues surrounding the sometimes contentious relationship between GIS professionals and the land surveying community. Despite some recent controversy in our neighboring states of Virginia and Pennsylvania, James described how the Maryland GIS and land surveying communities have instead chosen a different path based on mutual respect, communication and cooperation.

Mary Buffington, ESRGC, detailed the efforts at ESRGC to assist small farmers on the Eastern Shore with leveraging GIS for precision agriculture. There are many challenges surrounding this effort but the first phase of the project involves standing up a web mapping application that will allow small farmers to more easily access the many available GIS datasets that can be helpful in their efforts to increase yields and reduce costs.

Matt Viverito, ESRI, presented ESRI’s newest Open Data Portal and showed how the out-of-the-box interface can be configured based on your organizational needs. The last presenter of the day was Keith Ownens, Fugro, who provided insight on some logistical and workflow tools used by Fugro to manage their data collection activities.

See the MSGIC Presentations page for more information.