Building Narrative with Story Maps

Today we talk about creating narrative with examples from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  Peter Herrick and Bradley Dean discuss their efforts to combine the geospatial content, infographics, and regulatory requirements into a cohesive narrative.

Peter Herrick Jr. is a Data and Communications Specialist at FEMA, working on the Community Engagement and Risk Communication project in the Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning Program.

Bradley Dean is a Coastal Resilience Specialist and Story Maps designer supporting FEMA's risk communication efforts.  He also is part of Resilience Action Partners, a joint venture from Michael Baker Intl and Ogilvy.  

Show Topics

Narrative - Driving People to Action

Connecting through Plain Language

Visioning Sessions with the Whole Team:

Devon McGhee

Francie Israeli

Randy Talley

JD Humphreys

Pernille Buch-Pedersen

Krista Conner

Ashley Horne

Josh Williams

Relating to Users:  Learning from Lycoming

Contact Info for Peter, Brad and Kurt

More of Brad's great work can be found here:

UC Review with Geodorable

I am joined by the fun folks from the Geodorable podcast.  Chris Morris, Mark Thompson and I sat down in the map gallery.  These three podcasters talk about their conference experiences, opening plenary, new technology, a few buzzwords and conference fashion.

Check out for information.  Please subscribe on your favorite podcast apps.

Contact me for ideas and best places to look for hobbits.


Putting the User in User Conference

UC Photo.png

Show Notes:

Tim Nolan from Collin County and I discuss the upcoming Esri User Conference and his work at Collin County, Texas.  Thanks, Tim!


Collin County Texas

Organizational integration of GIS and IT and his career perspectives.

Foreclosure Application honored as best practice for counties in Texas

Esri UC  

Newbie planning for the conference.

Get the Agenda.

Getting Inspired at the Plenary

Find the tracks that are of interest.


Finding New Interests at the UC

GIS Manager Summit started by Adam Carnow

Lean Coffee -

Esri Showcase

Vendor Expo

Finding and Connecting with Your Peers

Startup Alley


Connect with Tim @PlotBoy

Kurt is around at, also on Twitter @speakingofgis

What's Your Job Title?


Listener Challenge:  Change Your Job Title

We all have titles, mine is GIS Supervisor.  No one uses that title.  They call me and ask for information products. No one asks me how I supervised today.  It's org chart language that is functional but doesn't really describe my role in the company.

Wade got me thinking (really, listen to the show).  Can you think of your job title in a way that reduces the technology names, removes geospatial, GIS and any other tech names?  What is the title you would give yourself if it truly represented the value you provide to the organization?

What am I now - Supervisor?  That is really not my role.  Again, they call me and ask for unique and special information products, mobile apps, and insight into company information.

  • Location Intelligence Officer
  • Business Intelligence Savant
  • Digital Facilities and Network Manager
  • Tool Builder for Tomorrow
  • Information Cataloger
  • Insight Manager (My ego likes this one but I hope there is more than one of us).

What is your new job title?  Let me know in the comments below.


Show Notes:

I'm joined by Wade Kloos who helps me understand a few things about Utah Dept of Natural Resources and aligning GIS to organizational objectives.  

Show Topics:

State of Utah Overall Mission vs. DNR Division Goals

Integration with Enterprise Platforms

  • Customer Surveys
  • Drone/UAS Programs
  • State Parks

GIS Manager Summit at Esri User Conference

Achieving Maximum Organizational Value


Contact Wade:

Contact Kurt:

Thanks, Wade!

Mapping Water Resources in Guam


Today I'm joined by Dr. Leroy Heitz, who is professor emeritus at the University of Guam.  We discuss all the different ways he has mapped water in Guam.  

Topics include:

  • Potable water and hydraulic engineering.
  • Waste water and septic tank mapping.
  • Modeling watershed runoff.
  • Erosion calculations using drones.
  • Salt water intrusion.

You can reach Leroy at

Reach out to me at


GITA - Advocating for the Modern GIS Professional


Mark Limbruner and Drew Fioranelli talk about what GITA does for it's members and and the larger geospatial community.

Show Notes:

What does GITA do for its members?

Webinars, conferences, position papers, GISP certification materials

EnerGIS Conference Highlights


  • Problems that drones are solving in oil and pipeline industry.
  • Creating authoritative data with drones.

GITA's position paper on the Geospatial Data Act of 2017

GIS as a disruptive technology and methodology.

Upcoming events - Upper Midwest Geospatial Conference 2018

Contact Mark and Drew to learn more!

Got an idea?  Find me here: or @SpeakingofGIS

Music by Lee Rosevere

Redistricting and the 2020 Census


I am joined by Dr. Megan Gall who is a senior researcher for the Thurgood Marshall Institute at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.  We talk about how GIS is used in redistricting, gerrymandering and how census data is used to draw maps.

Show Notes:

Supreme Court Weighs Claims That Texas Voting Maps Discriminate Against Minorities

Supreme Court, Again Weighing Map Warped by Politics, Shows No Consensus

A Case for Math, Not ‘Gobbledygook,’ in Judging Partisan Voting Maps

Current topics in redistricting:

  • Methods and thresholds
  • Entire map? Specific districts
  • Voting Rights Act

Essential guidelines used to draw district boundaries.

Methods:  People vs Algorithms - are they better/worse?

Puzzle Map for North Carolina

GIS software in play that makes this work possible.

Maptitude, Esri, QGIS

GIS datasets that are important.

Census - redistricting summary file, census block - building block of districts, counties, census tracks, other demographic data, prison populations, current districts and voting precincts.

Importance of Census data.

Changes to census in 2020 that affect redistricting.

Reach out to Megan at:

Kurt is usually at

Also here:  @SpeakingofGIS

Collecting Your Digital Twin in High Accuracy

Today I am joined by special guest, Jean-Yves Lauture, CTO for EOS Positioning Systems.  We talk about a huge shift in collecting high accuracy data using GPS and GNSS receivers.  Today we can collect better data at a lower cost which enables new forms of geospatial visualization.


Show Notes

GPS vs. GNSS - What’s the difference?

‘Bring Your Own Device’ is changing how we work.

Different GNSS receivers and their accuracy.

  • Consumer grade, Submeter and Centimeter

RTK and Base Stations

Digital Twin: New kinds of GIS unlocked with high accuracy.

  • Drone Imagery
  • 3D Elevations
  • Augmented Reality

EOS Learning Center about GNSS



Social Media as a Sensor to GIS

Special Guest this week is Zac Canders, CEO of DataCapable.  We talk about social media as a source for location information and ways organizations can think about the data.

Show Topics:

  • What is the deal with Facebook?
  • Location information on social media.
  • GIS centric uses for social data.
  • Non-traditional users
  • Curating Information from the river of content.

You can reach Zac at:

Find me on the twitter @speakingofgis