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Celebrate GIS Day with us at the 2018 Spatial Forum on November 14. The UMN Spatial Forum is a yearly event highlighting spatial research, teaching, and outreach. This event is free and open to the public and features lightning talks, research exhibits, conversation, and the Borchert Lecture. This event is co-sponsored by the MGIS program, Geography, Environment & Society, U-Spatial, and DASH.

Where: Wilson Research Collaborative Studio

Time Event
12:00 - 1:30pm Lightning Talks
1:30 - 2:00pm Vendors and hors d’ oeuvres
2:00 - 2:45pm Panel on Geospatial Data Science
2:45 - 3:15pm Design with Nature 50 year anniversary
3:15 - 4:00pm Reception - Hors d'oeuvres & GIS Day cake served
4:00 - 5:00 pm Borchert Lecture
5:00 - 7:00pm Networking event (Campus Club)


Borchert Lecture

We are pleased to announce that Dawn Wright, Esri Chief Scientist, will give the Borchert lecture this year. This lecture series honors the late John Borchert, UMN Regents Professor in Geography & member of the National Academy of Sciences. To learn more on the importance of Dr. Wright’s research, view Episode 6 of the Let Science Speak, a series of short videos (

Dawn Wright at their desk with Sponge Bob figurines

“Swells, Soundings, and Sustainability in the Ocean”

Swells, Soundings, and Sustainability in the Ocean will begin with a brief history of how the ocean has been mapped from ancient times to the present. But Dr. Wright will also explain how modern-day mapping systems have become increasingly intelligent. These systems are changing what we measure, how we analyze, what predictions we make, how we plan and regulate, how we design, how we evaluate and ultimately how we manage it all. And yet “here be monsters!” There remain compelling challenges in coping with both the over abundance and paucity of data in the ocean, its multidimensionality, and how to make it accessible to the myriad audiences in great need of it.


2018 Lightning Talk Speakers

12:05 - Drones in Precision Agriculture 
David Mulla 
Professor - Soil, Water & Climate

12:20 - Crawling out of my Silo: High Throughput Phenotyping of Large Breeding Nurseries using Remote Sensing, and GIS Techniques 
Atena Haghighattalab 
Phenomics Lead - Department of Plant Pathology

12:35 - Spatio-temporal patterns in crop climatologies using G.E.M.S. 
Jeff Thompson 
HPC Geospatial Analyst - Minnesota Supercomputing Institute

12:50 - Using GIS to Understand Utilization of Breast Cancer Services 
David Haynes 
Post Doctoral Fellow - Family Medicine and Community Health

1:05 - GIS in the Environmental Justice Classroom: Building Student Skillsets, Community-Engaged Scholarship, and Equitable Communities 
Michelle Garvey 
Teaching Specialist - Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies

1:20 - International Geodesign Collaboration: Changing Geography by Design
Tom Fisher
Director - Minnesota Design Center


Design with Nature 50 Year Anniversary

Following Nature's Advice: Mapping Ian McHarg's Impact on the Twin Cities
Dan Milz
Visiting Assistant Professor - Humphrey School of Public Affairs


Panel on Geospatial Data Science

Snigdhansu Chatterjee
Director - Institute for Research in Statistics and its Applications (IRSA)

Atena Haghighattalab
Phenomics Lead - Plant Pathology

Sona Maniyan
Senior Business Intelligence Analyst - Target

Mohamed Mokbel
Professor - Computer Science
Chief Scientist - Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI)

Paul Morin
Director - Polar Geospatial Center

Dawn Wright
Chief Scientist - Esri

Eric Shook (Moderator)
Assistant Professor - Geography, Environment & Society


Research Exhibitors

UMN Enterprise GIS
Flyover Country
MN Geological Survey
MN Traffic Observatory
Geographic Information Science Student Organization (GISSO)
UMD Geospatial Analysis Center
Borchert Map Library (tour available at 3:15)
Minnesota Population Center
Master of Geographic Information Science (MGIS)
Digital Arts, Science & Humanities (DASH)
Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI)
Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Lab/UAS Lab
Minnesota Design Center
7’ Ian McHarg map display
Polar Geospatial Center