November 20th 2014 - SLUG Meeting DiGISt

The 22nd quarterly Salt Lake GIS Users Group (SLUG) meeting was held on November 20, 2014, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at the U of U in the Orson Spencer Hall building. There were about 125 in attendance.

This meeting’s lunch was pizza and veggies, provided by the U of U Digit Lab. Our sincere thanks to the U for sponsoring!  If you have any business contacts that would like to ‘sponsor’ a lunch by providing food and drinks in exchange for their advertising at the meeting, please contact Tom Toronto, SLUG Board member.



Tom Toronto, SLUG Board

·         Welcome to all, thanks to the Digit Lab for both providing the venue and sponsoring the lunch.

·         The next SLUG meeting willl be at Sandy City on Feb. 11th, 2015. Hope you will be able to attend!

·         We are always in need of presenters. If you would like to present, or suggest someone who you’d like to see present, please contact Neal Fraser, SLUG Board member.

Nick Kryger, UGIC Board

·         Nick announced the 2015 UGIC (Utah Geographic Information Council) Conference, “UGIC-GeCo of the West”.  (Every 5 years, it’s Utah’s turn to host the Regional user group conference (now GeCo West) in conjunction with the UGIC conference. So Utah GIS people will attend as well as people from Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.)  This conference will be held May 11-15, 2015 at Snowbird Resort.  Check out the special conference activities and learn more HERERegistration is now open.



How GIS is used in Utah’s water resources  

Aaron Austin, lead GIS Analyst, Utah Division of Water Resouces

The Utah Division of Water Resources (DWRe) plans, conserves, develops and protects Utah's water resources.  GIS is an important tool to help fulfill this mission. Aaron explained some of the ways that GIS is used in this mission.  This includes collecting land use data and maintaining data about wate resources and consumption. He described the potential reservoirs GIS tool and demonstrated the ArcGIS Online maps DWRe has available. One quite interesting part was showing the difference in the land around Delta, Utah by comparing data and aerial photography from 2 time periods. See Aaron’s materials HERE.


GIS in Emergency Response and Management

Josh Groeneveld, GIS Coordiator, Utah Division of Emergency Management

Josh discussed the current status of the State’s use of GIS in emergency management. During an emergency, GIS is a critical tool for incident response and emergency management.  Josh covered some of the current GIS tools used in this arena, what is being done in Utah and how you can get involved. One of his slides was quite humorous. It’s one by FEMA that incomprehensibly tries to show the multitude of various agencies involved and their inter-relationships.  As was commented, the diagram looks like the ‘Death Star”.

See Josh’s presentation materials HERE.


Geography Humor Segment 

Ray Montgomery, SLUG Board

Ray showed 2 short videos. One was a clip from a TV newscast about a large semi-trailer truck stuck on a narrow pedestrian bridge due to a GPS error.  The second was a clip mocking Apple maps, in the form of a fake “newscast” in which Apple was going to correct their mapping problems by simply editing the Earth to fit what their maps show.  Or you can check out our Geography Humor page where most of the humor videos we have shown at SLUG meetings can be accessed.


Enhancing the Social Vulnerability Index with artificial neural networks

Ryan Hile, U of U graduate Geography student

Ryan won an award from the Hazards, Risk & Disasters Specialty Group of the AAG (American Association of Geographers) for this work.  See Ryan's presentation HERE.


Species specific drought monitoring in Southern California

Austin Coates, U of U student

Austin showed work he is doing with research into how cetain species are affected by drought.


Mapping wildland firefighter safety zones using LiDAR

Mickey Campbell, U of U student

Mickey showed a project he’s working on that uses detailed elevation data from LiDAR; vegetation; and distance buffers from active fire areas to show what pockets would be safe in the event of fire change.  This relates to the deaths of firefighters a couple of years ago who were trapped when a wildfire changed direction.  It’s still a work in progress.  See Mickey's presentation HERE.


Thank you to our presenters, sponsor, and our venue. If you have any ideas for a presentation or any other matter, please contact a SLUG board member.  And thanks for your interest and support!