Urban and Regional Information Systems Association

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Urban and Regional Information Systems Association
Headquarters Des Plaines, IL

The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) is a nonprofit association of professionals using geographic information systems (GIS) and other information technologies to solve challenges at all levels of government.[1] URISA promotes the effective and ethical use of spatial information and technology for the understanding and management of urban and regional systems.[2]


URISA was formed in 1966, evolving from a loosely associated group of professionals with a common interest in urban planning information systems. The organization emanated from annual conferences held from 1963 through 1966, known then as the Annual Conference on Urban Planning Information Systems and Programs. URISA has since evolved into an international organization supporting professionals with interests in a variety of topics related to development and effective management of geographic information systems (GIS).[3][4] URISA is currently headquartered in Des Plaines, Illinois, where professional staff handle the administrative functions of the association.


URISA is the founding member of the GIS Certification Institute, which administers professional certification for the field.[5] [6][7][8] URISA is also a founding member of the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO), a coalition of organizations concerned with U.S. national geospatial issues.[9] GISCorps is a URISA program that provides volunteer GIS services for underdeveloped countries worldwide.[10][11] URISA's proposed GIS Capability Maturity Model (GIS CMM) provides the means for local governments to gauge their progress in achieving GIS operational maturity against a variety of standards and measures.[12][13]

URISA promotes data sharing by government organizations, and has approved policy to reflect those values.[14][15]

URISA hosts a number of conferences[16] each year including GIS-Pro: URISA’s Annual Conference for GIS Professionals; the GIS/CAMA Technologies Conference, co-sponsored by the International Association of Assessing Officers;[17] the URISA/NENA Addressing Conference, co-sponsored by the National Emergency Number Association;[18] a biennial GIS in Public Health Conference; Caribbean GIS Conference; and the URISA Leadership Academy, a five-day GIS leadership program.

URISA supports more than two-dozen chapters, primarily across the United States and Canada, with recent expansion into the Caribbean and the United Arab Emirates.[19]

The URISA Journal[20] is a quarterly, peer-reviewed, scholarly publication of the organization.[21] It has a history of open access. URISA additionally maintains a growing publications library.[22][23][24] Through an annual competition URISA encourages students to submit a paper for a special section of the URISA Journal.[25]

URISA also recognizes achievements in the industry through a variety of awards, including Exemplary Systems in Government Awards (ESIG)[26] the URISA GIS Hall of Fame,[27] and the Horwood Distinguished Service Award.[28][29]


Position Name
President Mr. Greg Babinski, GISP
President-Elect Mr. Al Butler, GISP
Past President Mr. Cy Smith, GISP
Treasurer Mr. Carl Anderson, GISP
Secretary Mr. Thomas Conry


URISA members are professionals in the spatial data industry working in local, regional, state/provincial, tribal and federal government, academia, the private sector, and non-profit organizations.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Geospatial Refarata Wiki Urban and Regional Information Systems (URISA)
  2. ^ Morrison, J. L. The Organizational Home for GIS in the Scientific Professional Community
  3. ^ Mark, Chrisman, Frank, McHaffie, Pickles The GIS History Project
  4. ^ URISA History
  5. ^ Directions Magazine, Dec. 12, 2001 The State of Certification - An Open Letter from William Huxhold, Chair, URISA Certification Committee
  6. ^ Professional Surveyor Magazine, July 2007 GIS - The Greater Extent: GIS Professional Certification
  7. ^ Obermeyer, Nancy J. Certification and Accreditation: An idea whose time has come
  8. ^ USGS Digital Mapping Techniques 2001 - Workshop Proceedings The Growing Issue of GIS Certification and Its Possible Ramificationjournals to Geological Mapping Science
  9. ^ Coalition of Geospatial Organizations
  10. ^ GISCafe.com, March 21, 2012 “URISA's GISCorps Recognized by White House for Volunteer Service”
  11. ^ GISProfessional Ethics Project, November 9, 2009 Case study: Proprietary Software in an Emergency
  12. ^ URISA Local Agency GIS Capability Maturity Model
  13. ^ ArcNews, Winter 2010 URISA Proposes a Local Government GIS Capability Maturity Model
  14. ^ "URISA Data Policy and Amicus Brief" SDI Magazine, March 16, 2012
  15. ^ A Letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell The Census Project
  16. ^ URISA Conferences
  17. ^ IAAO
  18. ^ NENA
  19. ^ URISA Chapters
  20. ^ URISA Journal
  21. ^ Coppock, J.T.. and Rhind, D.W. The History of GIS, p. 33
  22. ^ URISA Publications
  23. ^ Bibliography on urban and regional information systems
  24. ^ NCSU GIS and Related Technologies
  25. ^ University of Southern California Spatial Sciences Institute, April 21, 2011 "URISA announces student competition"
  26. ^ ESIG Award,
  27. ^ University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, September 15, 2009 "Will Craig to be Inducted into URISA’s GIS Hall of Fame"
  28. ^ BusinessWire, December 16, 2004 URISA Awards Tele Atlas' Don Cooke the Horwood Distinguished Service Award; Award Recognizes Excellence in GIS & Digital Mapping
  29. ^ Directions Magazine, October 27, 2005 Lyna Wiggins Receives URISA Horwood Distinguished Service Award

External links[edit]