The Illinois GIS Association is the only statewide organization of GIS/geospatial professionals in Illinois. It advances the understanding, communication, and effectiveness of geospatial technology in Illinois. It connects over 500 members working in local, regional, state and federal government, higher educational institutions, and private industries.
Just a few months ago, when this blog began, the Outreach Committee simply updated the submission guidelines from GIS Notes. In the following weeks and months, many meeting conversations surrounded the requirements of these guidelines.
As a result of these conversations we have decided to simplify the submission guidelines for the GeoTalk Blog based on two reasons; 1. A Blog is not simply a digital version of a publication. The original title “web-log” was intended to be an online diary of sorts. The format is normally casual and conversational. Longer articles are better suited to professional peer-reviewed journals. We knew that some blog articles will be used for ILGISA communication, not just GIS project reports. 2. We want article submissions! Long guidelines inhibit submissions. This may be the most controversial reason. It is very difficult to get all of our wonderful members to write about their jobs. I understand, it seems…. arrogant. The Outreach Committee would rather see 10 ‘boastful articles’ about successful GIS projects rather than just a committee report from the Finance Chairman (sorry Jason). Besides, our membership is gracious and humble. I hardly see that becoming a problem.
Either of those reasons alone is enough for us to change our guidelines. Together they compel this committee chairman to make the change. And So, I submit to you the simplified GeoTalk Submission Guidelines:
Author Name & Contact
Blog Post Title
Text - ½ page to 2 pages max
Inserts: Pictures, Maps, Links, Screencaptures OK
Citations/Acknowledgements (if needed)
That’s it. Zip & Ship! Rend & Send! Set it & Forget it!
Of Course, upon submission, all content will be editorially reviewed by the ILGISA Outreach Committee prior to publication on the Blog. We will try our best to lay out the article as best we can.
At the Annual Conference next month, I will be imploring all the speakers to write ‘a short article’ about their topics of discussion. Look for me, I will have a gift for anyone who agrees to submit. -Micah Williamson (Outreach Committee Chairman)
ILGISA is subsidizing daycare at a rate of $25 per conference attendee per day. There are 5 slots available on a first come first serve basis. Rates vary with the age of the child. To enroll, email email@example.com
As I sit here typing this blog post I have a thousand things running through my mind. I am sure most GIS professionals can relate. How are we going to update this data layer? When can we roll out this new app? How can we use GIS to solve a problem in our community? How in the world am I going to keep pace with all of these software updates? One thing is for sure, GIS is changing faster now than ever before.
I think one of the biggest changes in GIS over the last few years is that GIS is becoming more of a collaborative space. Today’s GIS is about sharing information, asking others to participate in your GIS through public input and crowd sourced information, and it is also about developing stronger relationships with our peers.
So how do we handle this change?
As a member and chair of the Program Committee, that is what we focus on. Providing the ILGISA members opportunities to network with their peers, share their ideas and information, and have access to educational opportunities that will help them become a better GIS professional.
Over the last few years we have offered a mix of opportunities. We have regional meetings that are hosted throughout the state, online webinars, training sessions, workshops, and of course, the annual conference. (Registration is open now). But in order for any of these events to be successful we need you to participate. I encourage you to not only attend these events but put together a presentation and tell us what you are working on. There are several formats to present that range from a half day workshop to the quick 5 minute lightning talk. We are also always looking for suggestions for new locations and topics so if you have any input please submit them through the website or email me directly.
We have a great mix of events to finish out this year so click on the Events menu at the top of the page to see everything that is coming up. I look forward to seeing you at an event in the near future. Cassidy Killian, GISP ILGISA Program Committee Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello! I’m Thomas O’Malley, your Membership Committee Chair. Did you know that there is a whole group of volunteers dedicated to improving the ILGISA member experience? Well there is, and we’ve been hard at work this year making sure that everyone that participates in ILGISA gets the most out of their experience. It’s a big job, but thankfully we don’t live in a vacuum, and we can take cues from other successful organizations and conferences.
One such improvement is the addition of a conference Code of Conduct. We value our members and want them to feel welcome and respected. This simple code reflects the values we’ve always held, and institutes a system for reporting and handling infractions. We think we have a great community, and we aim to keep it that way!
Have you noticed the banner ads at the top of the page? Those are ILGISA Gold Sponsors! This year we were able to improve our sponsor packages, making them even more appealing. Better sponsor packages means more sponsors, and more sponsors means more services provided to our valued members! Going forward we want to connect sponsors directly with those services. Last year we had the Wi-Fi sponsor, this year we’re offering a Conference Schedule App Sponsorship. We are fortunate to have generous sponsors that help us add value to ILGISA membership, and we don’t want to see any of that goodwill going to landfills, so we’re doing away with the Padfolio and Registration Bag sponsorships and focusing on more green options. I’m excited to see what can be accomplished in the years to come. -Thomas O'Malley (Edited by mwilliamson)
Inflated balloon lifting the payload nicknamed Defiance used in Adler Planetarium's NITELITE a people-powered science mission, just prior to launch. Look close, you can see silhouettes of volunteers.
That's one festive balloon! Go Defiance!
Several nights this Spring a team from the Adler Planetarium launched balloons into the night sky. Altho not specifically in celebration, cheers resounded as the balloon reached altitude and hundreds of images of the nighttime landscape below were captured. Each flight contributed immediately useful information that was then applied to the next flight, culminating in a seriously successful flight the night of April 29th over Kankakee and the surrounding area.
Designed to measure the nature and intensity of artificial light spilling upwards into the night sky, these flights are part of the on-going NITESat project, part of the larger twelve-year old Far Horizons Program. Ken Walczak, project manager, and Geza Gyuk head up the team, which includes an ever-changing, enthusiastic group of interns and volunteers.
Pre-flight computer check by students and volunteers David Hurst, Jeff Wiedemann, Eleanor Marshall, Jeremy Seeman and Paulina Kawalec at Koerner Aviation's hangar in Kankakee.
Every good project needs a succinct name, hopefully an acronym. NITESat, Night Imaging and Tracking Experiment Satellite, is the cubesat mission Adler has planned to image light pollution from orbit. Great name. This project, using balloons for the same purpose, is called NITELITE. Great name, and fitting for it’s smaller scale. These balloons carry several downward-pointing cameras designed to measure the amount of energy which is lost to the night sky rather illuminating the intended roads, sidewalks and other areas for human travelers on the ground. This lost energy is a waste of resources that also causes harm to humans and migrating birds, among other negative side effects. Hey, who needs a street light shining into your bedroom at night when you are trying to sleep, instead of towards the street below?
Arrangement of the three cameras used in NITELITE missions
These first flights allowed the team to fine-tune their cameras’ aperture size, length of exposure, and frequency of image capture. Three cameras capture slightly differing views of the landscape. One points directly downward, truly a nadir view, while the other cameras flank this central lens, collecting images at an oblique angle of about 20 degrees. A series of subsequent flights are scheduled in this ongoing project.
After capturing the imagery, the individual images are sorted to select the best shots in the sequence – there is much intended redundancy. Remember the balloon is propelled by our variable winds, moving at irregular speeds while performing slow pirouettes as it travels across the night sky. Not every image will be of usable quality. The selected images are “stitched” together to form a mosaic of the landscape over which the balloon flew. Images must then be registered to the actual ground. While the cameras geotag the images when captured, the precision of this step is not sufficient to really lockdown the nighttime balloon imagery over another set of imagery captured during the day - the aerials typically seen on Internet mapping sites. Those road intersections and building corners are kinda hard to make out in night-captured imagery.
Sample of the flight captured imagery
Knowing exactly where each light source is located on real ground allows the team to delve into the particulars of the lamp, answering questions important to their research such as: sodium or mercury vapor, or LED? How many lumens or kelvins are output, as measured from above?
This location-refining task is perfect for citizen scientist participation, including STEM students. Just as launch prep and deployment relies on a cadre of volunteers, post-flight processing provides opportunities for volunteers to join in the fun. Using web platforms and freeware such as Zooniverse to organize the task at no or minimal cost to the citizen scientist, Walczak and Gyuk invite crowd-sourcing to complete that task.
The ILGISA board was contacted and asked to help coordinate Geo-Professionals and enthusiasts for assisting the project crowdsource the post-capture image processing. We eagerly joined the team.
The Governance Committee is seeking nominations for candidates to serve on the 2018-2019 ILGISA Board of Directors. This is an exciting opportunity for GIS professionals in Illinois to get involved and support a great organization. If you are interested, please visit The ILGISA Board page
Or if you would like to nominate someone else for the ILGISA board of directors, please see the nomination form here
Also the Governance Committee is also seeking nominations for the Outstanding Student Award, ILGISA Service Award, Dahlberg Award, and the Hilton Award. To learn more about the criteria for these awards and to submit a nomination, please visit the ILGISA website Awards Page The winners will be announced at the Fall Conference in October!
Governance Committee NOTE: This is the combination of what once was the Nominations, Honors, & Bylaws Committee This committee shall review the policies and procedures for the standing committees, requests for changes in the bylaws, candidates for nomination as directors and President-Elect to the Board of Directors, and recommendations for ILGISA awards. These duties address reviewing governance structure and identifying board development. This committee shall report their recommendations to the Board of Directors. Nicole Gattuso (Chair)
As I ventured into the year being into President-Elect of ILGISA, I looked forward to observing the organization with a different purpose and an all-encompassing goal. My omnipresence would ensure that going into the year of my Presidency I would have a thorough understanding of all things ILGISA. Shortly after I began my tenure as President-Elect, I received a call that swiftly evolved my role into the President of ILGISA. While the passage was unconventional, the support of the ILGISA Board and CM Services provided a fluid transition. But most importantly, the reason for this transition was that our President, Justin Nettleton, had the opportunity to continue his career in San Diego, CA. We thank Justin for his hard work and dedication to ILGISA and wish him and his family the brightest of futures. ILGISA has a busy year ahead, with Regional Meetings in full swing, several ad-hoc committee’s and initiatives that support the growth of GIS within the state, and the annual ILGISA conference this fall. That change of an officer role set in motion a series of others. Chad Sperry was appointed as the President-Elect by the board for the remainder of the calendar year. Filling Chad’s position of Treasurer is Jason Verachtert. That fulfillment left a ILGISA Board Member position vacant and was unanimously filled by the board with Seth Stark, the GIS Administrator for the City of Decatur, Illinois. We are very pleased that Seth has accepted the role and are very excited for his contributions to come. Many changes have occurred in these past months, nonetheless ILGISA’s focus and goal to advance GIS in the state of Illinois remains intact.
New ILGISA Blog: GeoTalk
GIS Noteshas been a staple of ILGISA since the summer of 2000, sometimes as an annual publication, sometimes biannually. If you know your ILGISA history, you will note that that was five years (or six depending on who you talk to) after the inception of the association. In fact, GIS Notes itself was a combination of two publications: the ILGISA Newsletter and Dr Dahlberg's Illinois Mapnotes - some of which are available on Google Books. In 1999, the Board surveyed the membership concerning publications and realized that there continued to remain a strong desire to focus on Case Studies and Training Articles for this new publication. ILGISA hired a managing editor for GIS Notes and intended that they would turn out at least three volumes a year! This never happened; but for the last 17 years, GIS professionals in Illinois have had a place to publish and discuss their mapping projects.
This same focus will now continue on in the form of the ILGISA blog. Having evolved into the most relevant form of disseminating information, this blog will allow for easy linking to online applications and better resource collaboration. We will continue to promote Illinois GIS projects in and around the state with particular emphasis on case studies from our membership and training articles. All of the same committee reports and messages from the president that you have come to love will still be published. We, as the outreach committee, intend to publish articles once a month at first, then more often as articles begin to backlog. The image on the right is a snip from the firstGIS Notes and the result of the ILGISA Board's membership survey noted above.
I want to personally thank all of the GIS Notes editors from the last 17 years. And I will leave you with the same final paragraph from the original GIS Notes, co-edited by Don Luman and Larry Gunderson (with a slight modification at the beginning):
GeoTalk will continue to evolve as the principal publication (Blog) of the Illinois GIS Association. Therefore, we encourage readers to provide us continuing feedback on this new publication so that we can make it as responsive to the membership as possible.
-Micah Williamson Outreach Committee Chairman, on behalf of the entire committee