When Esri celebrated its first GIS Day in 1999, Ventura College—located in Southern California—followed suit with its inaugural, daylong GIS Day conference on campus.
This year will mark Ventura College’s thirteenth GIS Day conference. Cosponsoring the event is the Channel Islands Regional GIS Collaborative (CIRGIS), the GIS group for Santa Barbara/Ventura.
The college’s message has been “Look at and learn from and share the wonderful GIS work that is going on in our region,” says event host Steve Palladino, professor of geography, GIS, and environmental science. The event typically has included a welcome and orientation, plenary session, keynote address, vendor showcase, breakout sessions, and displays.
GIS Day 2011 featured an Esri presentation, “Sharing Your Maps Using ArcGIS Online; awards; and a discussion of CIRGIS interactive maps and other projects, Palladino says.
Ventura College hosts typically hold the event in several classrooms and open spaces, including a large lecture hall for the plenary session and keynote speech, lab rooms for the vendor showcase, and smaller lecture rooms for 25-minute breakout sessions.
The organizers run two or three tracks of presentations, with presenters often being members of the local GIS community, Palladino says. Lunch is provided both outside on the campus’s small plaza and inside the vendor rooms.
“Last year’s event went very well,” he says, due in no small measure to years of experience. “We have much of the organizing details ‘in the can,’ which helps the event run smoothly.”
Over the years, attendance has ranged from about 120 to 180, with about 125 attendees in 2011. The largest portion of attendees included local GIS professionals. Also officially registered last year to look, learn, and share were other professionals from GIS and related fields, adults in the community who were interested in the subject, and 20–25 Ventura College students.
“Many more come in during the day, some for the extra credit for their geography classes that have been canceled to make room for our event,” Palladino says. “This is an important networking event for the GIS community in our region.”