Thursday, April 10, 2008

GIS Summit to Feature University of Redlands Education Program

ESRI and the University of Redlands, a leader in geographic information system (GIS) education, are offering a new, two-day education program at this year's ESRI Business GIS Summit being held April 27–30, 2008, in Chicago, Illinois. The education program, partially funded by a University of Redlands grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), will include two specific tracks—the first focuses on small businesses, and the second is a more traditional education track designed for an academic audience.

The Small Business Track, a half-day forum on Tuesday, April 29, is catered to small businesses looking to better understand the benefits and value of GIS software and data for improved marketing, customer and market analysis, trade area analysis, and operations. Sessions will include case studies, best practices, and successful approaches to integrating GIS into existing business processes for more effective and efficient planning and decision making.

During the all-day Academic Track on Wednesday, April 30, paper presentations, panel discussions, and featured speakers will cover the breadth of GIS in the business curriculum including new ideas for GIS applications in finance, insurance, real estate, and retail. All research papers will be published as proceedings. There will also be discussion about the University of Redlands GIS education initiative, which, in collaboration with ESRI, is leading the way for other universities and academic professionals looking to develop or expand GIS education in traditional curricula. A special session will explore the potential creation of a national business certificate in GIS program.

Seventeen universities and six business or government organizations will be represented among the speakers during the education program. Keynote speakers include Brady Foust, a professor in the department of geography at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire who has nearly 40 years of theoretical and applied research in the areas of retail site location, insurance and tax geospatial solutions, and the design and implementation of large spatial databases; Grant Thrall, a professor in the department of geography at the University of Florida who serves on the board of the American Real Estate Society and is coeditor of the Journal of Real Estate Literature; and Susan Wachter, the Richard B. Worley professor of financial management and professor of real estate at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

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