Thursday, June 03, 2010
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications (304) 696-7153

West Virginia GIS Conference next week at Marshall University

– Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) professionals from across West Virginia and nearby states will gather June 7-10 at the Memorial Student Center on Marshall University’s Huntington campus for the biennial 2010 West Virginia GIS Conference.

The statewide conference features scholarly presentations, agency reports, student posters, workshops, demonstrations and vendor displays.  Organizers, sponsors and participants promote and share geographic information and mapping technologies for users and stakeholders in the Mountain State.  The conference will address geospatial issues as they relate to a broad range of topics including transportation, natural resources, education, economic development, GIS software, data collection and sharing.  For more information, visit

Tony Simental, West Virginia State GIS Coordinator, said more than 200 people are expected to attend the conference. GIS is a collection of tools that represent and analyze geographical data, helping to reveal relationships, patterns and trends through maps, globes, reports and charts. GIS is used for a variety of purposes, including emergency management, urban planning, environmental impact studies, navigation, natural resource management and scientific investigation.

“This conference brings together geospatial professionals from state, private and local entities,” Simental said. “It helps in development, planning and resource management in the state of West Virginia. During this meeting we will exchange ideas and encourage government and private entities to partner together because we think this is the best and most economical solution in these trying times.”

The most recent conferences took place in 2008 in Charleston and in 2006 in Morgantown. Simental said Dr. James Leonard, an associate professor in geography at Marshall, was instrumental in securing MU as this year’s host.

“Most of us organizers have connections to Marshall University,” said Simental, who has a master’s degree from MU. “We wanted to showcase Marshall University.”

The conference’s theme, “Partnering Together, a Strategy for GIS in the Mountain State,” refers to the implementation of new GIS strategic and business plans for GIS firms and agencies. The conference agenda includes reports of geospatial activities and notable speakers, such as Gov. Joe Manchin (Tuesday, June 8), paper/poster presentations and awards (Wednesday, June 9), and seminars and workshops on Monday (June 7) and Thursday (June 10).

The 2010 conference is hosted by the state GIS coordinator, Marshall University’s Geography Department, and the West Virginia Association of Geospatial Professionals.

Representatives from a spectrum of GIS users will participate, including:

·         Universities such as Marshall and West Virginia University

·         K-12 teachers

·         Federal agencies such as NOAA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Geological Survey, Forest Service, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency

·         West Virginia state agencies such as the Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Protection, and the Geological and Economic Survey

·         Local and regional governments from as far away as Jefferson County

·         Private industry

·         Non-profit groups and organizations such as The Nature Conservancy and the West Virginia Society of Professional Surveyors

Manchin is scheduled to speak at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 8. He will be followed by other state officials.

The keynote on Tuesday will be given by Jeff Lovin, CP, who is Vice President of the Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Division of Woolpert, Inc., in Dayton, Ohio. Lovin has spent his entire 23-year career in the geospatial profession at Woolpert where he has developed a varied technical background in flight operations, surveying, and photogrammetry. He served as a project manager for many local, state, and federal clients before assuming his current role within the firm in 2001.

Lovin will speak sometime between noon and 1:30 p.m. during lunch in the Don Morris Room, according to Simental.

For further information, contact:  Office of University Communications
Marshall University | 213 Old Main | Huntington, WV 25755-1090
Fax: (304) 696-3197