The first-ever UC GIS Week was a resounding success thanks to the ingenuity and passionate support of the UCR community, according to Geospatial Information Librarian Janet Reyes.
COVID-related event cancellations in 2020 inspired UCR to pivot from planning a UCR-only GIS Day event to participating in the inaugural UC GIS Week virtual conference. Reyes and Elizabeth Perez, Campus Space / GIS Coordinator from UCR’s office of Planning, Design and Construction, both made significant contributions to the conference planning activities. “It was a collaboration across all UC campuses,” Reyes said.
Held on Nov. 17-19, 2020, UC GIS Week provided an opportunity for attendees to learn and engage with experts and mapping projects across the UC system and beyond, Reyes explained. “They could ask questions during the thematic mapping panels, engage with GIS industry professionals, interact with poster presenters, and connect during social events.”
With 865 attendees from across the UC system and the general population, UC Riverside ranked fourth in participation, despite our enrollment numbers ranking seventh of the 10 UC campuses. “Only UCLA, UC Berkeley, and UC San Diego had more attendees,” Reyes added.
In addition, five of the 64 conference presenters were from UC Riverside:
- Nicolas Barth, Assistant Professor of Geology
- Ahmed Eldawy, Assistant Professor in Computer Science
- Emily Esposito, graduate student in Psychology
- Andre Mere, graduate student in Earth and Planetary Sciences
- Elia Scudiero, Assistant Research Agronomist at the USDA-ARS US Salinity Laboratory
“It will happen again next year and hopefully for years to come,” Reyes said. She credited the high level of Highlander participation to an increasing interest in GIS and geospatial study at UCR, as well as to robust publicity efforts. “Attendance has been increasing at our monthly GIS/Geospatial Meetups, and for workshops in the Geospatial series offered by the Research Services department,” she added.
In addition to conference planning, Reyes also created the UCR GIS Profile for the UC GIS Hub, which was launched during the plenary session. “The Hub will help GIS users throughout the UC system connect with each other, compare notes, find expertise, and more,” she explained.
Recordings of the sessions are all available on the UC GIS Week website.
A committee of GIS advocates at UC Riverside will continue to explore ways for UCR GIS users to connect with useful information and with each other. To get involved with GIS at UCR, please contact Janet Reyes.