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Next Meeting: October 7, 2020


GIS Potpourri 4


Metro Transit Route Book Online (RBO)
Phil DeVault, Metro Transit
Metro publishes a 600-page transit route training manual twice a year. Phil will discuss the development of an online alternative.

Open Access COVID-19 Testing Locations Web Application
Toni Carpenter, King County GIS Center, Spatial Services
Public Health - Seattle & King County worked with the King County GIS center to create an online interactive map showing the locations of COVID-19 testing sites within King County. The locations provide testing for anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Pop-ups for each testing site include phone number, website, insurance requirements, language interpretation and appointment details. The data is gathered by Public Health and the sites are located and mapped by King County GIS Center Spatial Services. The data and map are updated frequently.

COVID-19 Testing Locations

Salmon SEEson Web Application
Fred Lott, King County GIS Center, Spatial Services
Salmon SEEson is a site for finding salmon viewing sites, either in-person or virtually. It was built with ArcGIS Experience Builder, and uses custom pop-ups for displaying dynamic site information.

Salmon SEEson

Local Food Finder Web Application
Fred Lott, King County GIS Center, Spatial Services
Local Food Finder is Web AppBuilder application for finding local farm products. Local farm businesses submit data via several Survey123 forms. A Python workflow combines the form data into a feature dataset for the web app.

Local Food Finder

Other Agenda Items

  • New data updates
  • New maps
  • Training
  • Announcements
About the KCGIS User Group

August 5, 2020 Meeting  

GIS Potpourri 3


Using GIS floor plans to help coordinate office changes at King Street Center
Patrick Sowers, Wastewater Treatment Division
With the reorganization of staff at King Street Center coming soon, King County Wastewater Treatment Division is working to leverage GIS to help plan and schedule the move. Patrick will describe his process for creating GIS-formatted floor-plan data from CAD files. He will also demonstrate a dashboard application which can be used to schedule staff presence to help limit the number of people on the floor at one time.

Patrick's slide presentation

Utilizing ArcGIS Enterprise Portal
Harkeerat Kang, King County GIS Center, Software Engineering Team
King County Water and Land Resources Division, River and Floodplain Management Section is piloting the use of ArcGIS Enterprise Portal to manage GIS data in the field and office. Harkeerat will give a quick overview of Portal and discuss project start-up, the pros and cons of using ArcGIS Online vs. Portal, and more.

Harkeerat's slide presentation

Sharing drone imagery data through ArcGIS Enterprise Portal
Peter Keum, Wastewater Treatment Division
Peter will describe a workflow for leveraging the Portal platform to share imagery to King County staff via a webmap.

Peter's slide presentation (

June 2020 Meeting

no meeting this month

April 1, 2020 Meeting  

GIS for COVID-19 Roundtable
This meeting was held via Skype with speakers from across the country.

A round-table discussion on issues related to using GIS to support agency response to the COVID-19 crisis in our communities.

Many agencies struggle with how best to leverage GIS as part of their COVID-19 response efforts. This roundtable brought together people from the Puget Sound region and across the U.S. They shared a snapshot of their approaches for using GIS for COVID-19 response, including such challenges and issues as balancing personal location privacy with the public's desire to know case locations. After the panel discussion, the audience had an opportunity to ask questions.

Moderator: Greg Babinski, assisted by Mary Ullrich and Patrick Jankanish


  • Introductions: Greg [5 minutes]
  • Speakers [9 speakers, 3-5 min each]
  • Speaker roundtable [15 minutes]
  • Open forum [20 minutes]
  • Adjournment: Greg [5 min]


  1. Stephen Beimborn: City of Seattle GIS Manager (Washington)
  2. Katie Miga, GISP, Fairfax County GIS Project Manager (Virginia) 
  3. Joanne Markert, Washington State GIS Coordinator
  4. Daniel Stoelb, GIS Program Coordinator, Oregon Office of Emergency Management (absent from call)
  5. Joseph Elfelt, (Redmond, Washington)
  6. Cheryl Wilder, Health GIS Professional (Houston,Texas)
  7. Dara Seidl, EthicalGEO Fellow (San Luis Obispo, California)
  8. Tamara Kamara, City of Detroit Enterprise Applications Manager (Michigan)
  9. George Horning: King County GIS Manager (Seattle, Washington)

Video (YouTube)

February 2020 Meeting  

King County Metro: Travel Options Web App

Adam Cabrera & Matt Kozleski, King County Information Technology

How do you deliver a simple and intuitive transit system app to a wide public audience? What if you combine the Layer List and Legend controls into a single control and take the GIS out of it? Or expand and modify the popup control and augment it with rich real-time information?

Adam and Matt will demonstrate King County Metro Transit's Travel Options app illustrating how they modified the standard UI/UX to deliver a user-friendly interface using the Web AppBuilder framework. This will include a deep dive into the interactive Legend control and modifications to the Popup control.

December 2019 Meeting  

GIS for ESJ Best Practices

Greg Babinski, King County GIS Center

Greg will present an effort he is leading to develop and publish best practices for using GIS for issues related to equity and social justice (ESJ), which is being supported by an Ethical GEO Fellowship awarded to him by the American Geographical Society. This subject has been accepted by the GIS&T Body of Knowledge editorial board as a future GIS&T topic. Greg will cover the background and scope of the effort, as well as the project plan and schedule. Greg will also describe how GIS users with an interest in ESJ can participate.

Slide Deck

October 2019 meeting  

Using GIS in King County Elections to map voters and voter turnout

Katrina Sroufe & Vance Julien, King County Elections GIS

The King County Department of Elections maps voter turnout to inspire the community to get involved in voting. Come learn how Elections uses ArcGIS Online and GIS to map voter registration and turnout data.

August 2019 Meeting

no meeting this month

June 2019 Meeting

GIS Potpourri 2


Connecting the Wastewater Treatment Division's facilities asset management system to GIS
Kim Vo, Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD)

Kim will describe the web application that WTD developed to locate and identify wastewater equipment assets. She will explain how she utilized the ArcGIS API for Python and ArcPy to integrate GIS with the not-GIS-friendly Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) that the WTD Asset Management team is using. She will demonstrate how tabular asset data from the CMMS is accessed through ArcGIS Online.

GeoPackages: Your friendly new geospatial format
Fred Lott, KCGIS Center

Geospatial data is everywhere now—not just in Esri products—and a modern, open-exchange format is needed. Enter GeoPackages! If you want the portability and flexibility of shapefiles without the technical limitations, these might just be the solution. Fred will provide an overview of the features and use cases for GeoPackages in the current geospatial landscape.

Slide Deck

Using GIS to manage King County Elections ballot drop-box collections
Toni Carpenter and Harkeerat Kang, KCGIS Center

The King County Department of Elections went paperless earlier this year for the April election—no, not for ballots, but for managing and tracking ballot retrievals from drop boxes. Come learn how GIS apps were used to create work assignments, complete driver surveys, and display progress live on a dashboard. You’ll see how GIS helps your ballot travel to the Department of Elections headquarters to be counted.

April 2019 Meeting

GIS Potpourri

KCGIS Center Staff

Turning dumb map-label text into smart interactive-map data

Patrick Jankanish

Patrick will demonstrate a methodology for using text objects in an Adobe Illustrator map drawing to produce a geospatial overlay of associated polygons which include feature attributes derived from the text. The polygons can then be layered with the Adobe Illustrator map image in an interactive web map which has the effect of making the text labels selectable, producing pop-ups that reveal links to bus route schedules and maps. The methodology relies on tools in the third-party Illustrator plug-in, MAPublisher, with additional processing in ArcGIS.

Using R/RStudio as a fast and flexible data exploration tool
Fred Lott

Fred will discuss how he’s been using R, and specifically the tidyverse  packages, as a data exploration and analysis tool for census, building footprint, and property data. R provides options for manipulating large datasets that might otherwise be unwieldy in Excel or ArcGIS. Starting with importing data from CSVs and database connections, several methods of data cleanup, filtering, and summarizing will be demonstrated.

Understanding King County Demographic Index and Demographic Base datasets
Mary Ullrich

King County provides a wealth of demographic information from the Census Bureau through its spatial data catalog, data download portal, and open data site. Two of these datasets take the heavy lifting out of data compilation: Demographic Base and Demographic Index. Mary will explain the differences between these datasets and the methodologies that produce them.

February 2019 Meeting

Ground-Truthing: GIS as a Community-Based and Anti-Racist Praxis
Veronica Velez, Western Washington University, Associate Professor and Founding Director of the Education and Social Justice Minor

Critical race spatial analysis (CRSA) is a recently developed methodological framework that extends GIS from its traditional use in geography and urban planning into new avenues and possibilities for examining educational interests concerned with the social, cultural, political, and historic role of space and place as it relates to schools and educational inopportunity. By re-imagining how socio-spatial relationships are explored, analyzed, and displayed, CRSA positions GIS as a critical research tool for addressing spatial inequities and furthering racial justice efforts within education and beyond.

This presentation explores the potential of CRSA as critical community-based and anti-racist praxis through a case study of Latina immigrant mothers who initiated a community-led GIS project to explore spatial indicators of educational inopportunity, drawing evidence from their own lives and the lives of their children. These mothers engaged GIS to tell counter-cartographic narratives about the racial divides, or “color lines,” defining uneven geographies of opportunity in their school district. By redefining GIS mapping as a community-based praxis, the mothers “ground-truthed” the maps, revealing spaces and spatial relationships that otherwise would go unnoticed. They transformed the power of the maps to rest not in their “gee-whiz” displays of data, but in the weaving of a spatial narrative that linked their current efforts to historical struggles for educational equity.

Methodologically, their efforts reveal the potential of GIS and CRSA to build spatial models of the world from the lived experiences of People of Color. Beyond the importance of GIS for critical race research, it also serves as an important pedagogical tool for teaching about race and racism. Through a CRSA framework, GIS maps function as teaching devices that highlight the importance of geographical and spatial features for maintaining racial divides in schools and society.

Slide Deck


December 2018 Meeting

Martin Luther King, William Bunge, URISA, and GIS for Equity and Social Justice

Greg Babinski, King County GIS Center, Marketing & Business Development Manager
Nicole Franklin, King County Information Technology, Diversity and Inclusion Manager

Beginning with the coincidence of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the precursor conference for the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) on Wednesday, August 28, 1963, we will survey the role of GIS in addressing issues of Equity and Social Justice (ESJ).

Professor William Bunge, who earned a doctorate in geography from the University of Washington in 1960, anticipated the development of GIS through his work in theoretical geography. Bunge also pioneered the use of quantitative spatial analysis and applied geography as tools to address community-based social issues. Bunge’s time at the UW coincided with the tenure there of Edgar Horwood who first applied computer technology to urban planning. Horwood also organized that August 1963 conference which led to the formation of URISA.

In this presentation we will survey research and publications related to Equity and Social Justice as reported in URISA conference proceedings and workshops, and in the URISA journal, during the past 55 years. We will also outline how GIS is applied to ESJ issues at King County, other local agencies, and academic institutions. King County, which was renamed in 2005 for Dr. King, is a leader in applying ESJ criteria in all of its priorities and programs. We will describe how King County GIS supports this work by creating a rich foundation of data and tools to put ESJ analysis into the hands of everyone within the county and communities that we serve.

Slide deck

October 2018 Meeting

Announcing the Sound to Summit Regional GIS Study
Greg Babinski, King County GIS Center, Marketing & Business Development Manager

In Washington, public agency operating budgets are restricted by a mandated 1% limit on annual increases in property tax revenue. Fortunately, regional collaboration could lower the need for increases in GIS budgets by reducing duplication of effort and expense among local GIS operations. Regional sharing could also effect a shift of costs away from data maintenance and administration toward greater provision of services.

Recently the Sound to Summit Regional GIS Steering Committee announced the launch of a project to explore ways to collaboratively organize and operate GIS data and services within the region. The goal is to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs of GIS for all regional agencies while ensuring sustainability. A key outcome will be low-cost access for medium and small agencies to state-of-the-art GIS applications.

This presentation will describe the factors that motivated the launch of this multi-year project, outline our work plan, and provide examples of other viable regional GIS enterprises in the US and Canada.

Slide deck.

August 2018 Meeting

Vector tiles and other GIS news
Peter Keum, King County Wastewater Treatment Division

You’ve heard about vector tiles. You’ve used vector tiles in a variety of online maps, perhaps without even realizing it. But have you created your own vector tile maps? King County GIS specialist Peter Keum works with a variety of open source tools to create powerful vector tile map layers and maps. He’ll show us how.

Peter will also summarize what he learned at this year’s Washington GIS Conference and at the Mapbox Locate conference , their “first event celebrating and exploring the connectedness of the world around us.” Come hear Peter’s perspective on what’s new in GIS technologies!

Slide deck.

June 2018 Meeting

Rats! A virtual GIS-based guided tour of rat activity in Seattle's sewer system
A demonstration of the use of Esri's Collector for ArcGIS in Public Health's sewer baiting program
Leah Helms, Public Health — Seattle & King County

Public Health’s Environmental Health Services Division provides sewer baiting services to control rat populations in sewer systems in Seattle. In 2017 the program began utilizing the Collector for ArcGIS application to track the status of sewer manhole baiting with real-time data capture and display.

So what is sewer baiting anyway? Sewer manholes are assessed for rodent activity by the insertion of non-toxic monitoring bait. If there is activity, the manhole will subsequently be re-baited with rodenticide. Areas of the city that have sewer rat activity will be re-assessed annually.

April 2018 Meeting

From AVL to My Commute: How hard can it be?
Jeffery Gregg, GIS Analyst, King County GIS Center

To further assist travelers in making informed decisions about road conditions throughout King County, KCDOT wanted to have a layer added to the existing My Commute web-map application to show which County-maintained roads have been plowed or sanded within the previous hour at any particular time during a snow event.

On-board devices spit out streams of data from snow plows—GPS* waypoints in an AVL feed. Waypoints and timestamps (in GMT) go into a database table every day. And… but I digress, just come to the User Group meeting to hear how we put the plows on the map. I'll cover the project objective, technical details, and project resolution. (But it probably won't be snowing.)

Slide deck.

*Global Positioning System
Automated Vehicle Location
Greenwich Mean Time

February 2018 Meeting

no meeting this month

December 2017 Meeting

no meeting this month

October 2017 Meeting

TIMS: Transit Information Mapping System
Matt Kozleski, GIS Programmer, King County GIS Center

This summer, “TIMS,” a new, comprehensive transit GIS data mapping application which was built for King County Metro Transit, launched for use by King County staff. TIMS is a locally hosted Web AppBuilder (WAB) application that includes a mix of customized standard WAB widgets and new developed-from-scratch widgets.

King County staff can check it out here: Whether you’re KC staff or not, please come to the User Group meeting for a guided tour and insights from the lead developer of TIMS. Hear about how TIMS was built, how it is being used, and plans for further development.

August 2017 Meeting

Machine learning for land cover and water efficiency
Chelsea Minton, Director of Water and Paul Canizaro, NW District Manager, EagleView Technologies

With EagleView’s recent acquisition of OmniEarth, a leader in the application of remote sensing and machine learning, they are now able to introduce machine-generated datasets to their GIS users. Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that uses verified truth data to generate highly accurate analyses at scale. The ability of a machine to understand context and logic removes manual human efforts to digitize and measure by hand—ensuring confidence and consistency in the insights provided.

In 2014, OmniEarth became the first company to specialize in automated water efficiency analysis, the cornerstone of which is OmniEarth’s patented water budgeting and automated land cover classification process.

The land cover generation process relies on a large library of manually verifiable objects in the desired classes, such as irrigated turf, shrubs, trees, and man-made objects, and irrigable area. Using this land cover as a foundational dataset, EagleView can then derive automated water budgets to identify the ideal water usage and potential savings of each home. This is particularly valuable for water resource management. However, the land cover also provides other critical information, like the amount of taxable impervious surface on each property, building footprints, size of each parcel, and changes in property landscape over time.

June 2017 Meeting

King Street Center, Conference Room 7044-45

Beyond pie charts—picking a successful chart for your data
Wendy Gable Collins, King County Department of Information Technology, Design & Civic Engagement

GIS users have been creating maps as their main visual means of presenting information from the earliest days of GIS. In fact, a stack of map layers is probably the most common visual metaphor for GIS. But with the ongoing evolution of tools for manipulating and displaying data, we have access to more and more kinds of data visualizations which we can use to enrich our map products. The challenge that presents for GIS professionals is that we need to become as well-versed in using appropriate methods for visualizing and displaying the non-spatial content of our datasets as we are in mapping points, lines, and polygons.

Wendy is a talented, experienced designer of information-rich visual products who can help us get started making good choices when our opportunities and needs for data visualization go beyond making a map.

Presentation Story Map: Data Visualization Resources

April 2017 Meeting

Esri Developer Summit review
King County GIS staff

Did you miss the Developer Summit in Palm Springs in March? Don't worry, we have you covered! Come get the skinny on important and cool takeaways from our intrepid King County GIS developers who ventured into the wilds of the California desert on a quest for GIS enlightenment.

Vector tile your way to better basemaps
Peter Keum, King County Wastewater Treatment Division

Peter will talk about using open-source tools to craft vector tile maps, and using a Mapbox Studio workflow to modify a basemap for use in ArcGIS Online.

February 2017 Meeting

ArcGIS Solutions—real-world maps and apps to jumpstart your work
Scott Wolter and Shane Clarke, Esri

ArcGIS Solutions consists of over 300 ready-to-use, industry-specific maps and apps that have been developed in collaboration with real customers to meet real needs. When introduced in 2011, most of the ArcGIS Solutions required the implementation of the Local Government Information Model, but this is no longer the case.

Scott will present the current design approach of ArcGIS Solutions, which uses common workflow patterns and multi-purpose apps to develop solutions for a wide variety of application needs. This presentation will also explain why ArcGIS Solutions should be your first resource for meeting the needs of your customers, and for delivering innovation and best practices to your organization.

PDF slides: Real-world maps and apps to jumpstart your work

December 2016 Meeting

King County mobile field data collection using Collector for ArcGIS
Harkeerat Kang, GIS Analyst and Developer, King County Water and Land Resources Division

Collector for ArcGIS is one of many solutions for capturing GIS data in the field with smartphones and tablets. For an organization with enterprise ArcGIS assets, such as King County, Collector is a logical extension of those assets. Harkeerat will discuss current mobile GIS data collection workflows which are used by more than 66 field staff in several King County programs and projects, such as Stormwater Management, Noxious Weed Control, and tree planting. Come see real-world examples of the integration of Collector with ArcGIS for Desktop, ArcGIS for Server, and ArcGIS Online resources and get a revealing look under the hood.

PowerPoint slides: GIS Data Collection Using Esri's Collector App

October 2016 Meeting

Open-sourcing accessibility data
Nick Bolten, intern for King County Department of Transportation/Transit - Paratransit/Rideshare Operations

Learn about a new project for gathering pedestrian accessibility data and contributing it to OpenStreetMap,* and hear about the OpenSidewalks* project.

Nick is a project leader for OpenSidewalks which is a Data Science for Social Good program sponsored by the University of Washington eScience Institute.* He has been leveraging OpenSidewalks and tying together OpenMapKit,* OpenDataKit,* and Portable Open Street Map* (POSM) to develop a GIS data standard for capturing accessibility pathway information for King County Metro Transit Accessible Services.

August 2016 Meeting

What I did on my summer vacation at my summer conference
King County GIS Center staff

Didn't make it to the Esri User Conference this year? Too busy keeping up with yardwork to attend State of the Map US right here in our own backyard? Game of Thrones keep you away from QGIS User's Group or Maptime Seattle meetings? No worries, our intrepid KCGIS Center staff has you covered. Come to the KCGIS User Group meeting for a recap of highlights from some of this summer's key events for the GIS community.

Here are the key web links mentioned by our presenters (all ).

State of the Map US

Esri User Conference

June 2016 Meeting

Short & Sweet: a brisk program of brief presentations by KCGIS Center staff

  • The King County GIS Center's new website launch
    Get a peak behind the curtain at our brand new website.
  • How do we rate?
    Learn about the GIS Management Institute's GIS Assessment Service while seeing how the KCGIS Center stacks up.
  • Web map & app roundup
    Three subjects covered by three new ArcGIS Online maps and apps.
    • Census Viewer provides language, income, and race/ethnicity information for various census geographies in King County.
    • ESJ iMap: Equity and Social Justice (ESJ) is a key King County initiative, and this internal map application has become an important tool for King County staff in support of ESJ efforts.
    • eHarvest Connector connects Puget Sound-area farmers to post-harvest resources.
  • What's happening around the Sound
    A quick review of links and contacts within the region that can help you stay current with our ever-changing GIS industry.

April 2016 Meeting

“State of the Map US” appetizer
Paul McCombs, King County GIS Center

You’ve heard about OpenStreetMap* data and QGIS*, the free and open source Geographic Information System. Come see what they’re about and get ready for State of the Map US 2016* to come to Seattle this summer! Early bird registration is underway.

February 2016 Meeting

Surveying and GIS
Michael Kulish, King County Department of Executive Services

Surveying and GIS have much in common and some significant differences. Share the perspective of a Professional Land Surveyor on how GIS and surveying have evolved over the last few decades, and explore how the GIS and surveying communities can find common ground, collaborate on challenges both are facing, and leverage the advantages of each.

December 2015 Meeting

The convergence of GIS and drone technology
Peter Keum, KCGIS Center
View the presentation slides here

Private and commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), or small drones, has exploded in recent years. Numerous industries are using sUAS technology to solve problems in new ways. This talk will focus on the integration of small drones in GIS workflows. It might not answer all your questions about the use of drones in GIS, but it will help you formulate many potential use cases. This will be a great opportunity to exercise your curiosity about drones in GIS. Come ready to pose questions and exchange ideas.

October 2015 Meeting

Your 2015 high-resolution King County imagery at work—an overview of data extraction, analysis, and display tools and techniques
Paul Canizaro and Scott Faust, Pictometry International Corp.

Did you know that King County's six data sets of Pictometry high-resolution, “intelligent imagery” can be used for data extraction projects? Eagleview Technologies, Pictometry’s parent company, specializes in innovative data extraction, such as building outline creation, change detection, impervious-surface detection, address point data creation, and street centerline creation; all from existing data. Come see what you can do with your image data that goes way beyond visual display.

Did you know that with multiple years of “intelligent imagery,” you can create and compare photo-derived surfaces? Skagit County’s GIS team has recently completed a pilot project for vegetation comparisons, and we regularly do damage assessment of disaster areas using this technique. Come see examples.

Did you know that Pictometry has new ways to view your imagery data using Esri's ArcGIS platform, PictometryConnect, and apps for iPad and Android tablets? Come hear an up-to-date overview of your options and have your questions on all of these topics answered.

August 2015 Meeting

Reimagine the Possible: How to Unlock Greater Value in Your Big Data
TJ Abbenhaus, Esri

The ArcGIS platform allows everyone to discover, use, make, analyze, and share data and maps from any device anywhere and at any time. It is so much more than ArcMap on your desktop, and it allows you to do so much more with your data. During this presentation, TJ will use various applications to highlight the diverse functionality of the ArcGIS platform, such as ArcGIS Open Data, Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS, Esri Maps for Office, and Esri Location Analytics. You're practically guaranteed to see ways of using and displaying spatial data that you didn't know were readily available to you.

June 2015 Meeting

University of Washington Interior Space GIS
Aaron Cheuvront, CAD/GIS Program Manager, Capital Projects Office, University of Washington

The University of Washington has been a leader in interior space GIS for more than a decade. The UW uses indoor GIS for space management and reporting as well as supporting departments with mapping tools for indoor asset management. The system contains data for 327 buildings, which include 1,588 floors and more than 71,000 rooms, all of which comprises more than 26 million gross square feet.

This presentation will cover the latest evolution of the interior space GIS including implementation of the Facilities Interior Spatial Data Model (FISDM), a new indoor navigation application, and some of the tools and templates used to support workflows for interior space management.

April 2015 Meeting

New iMap official launch
KCGIS Center iMap Development Team

King County iMap, which has been a workhorse web-based mapping application for King County’s citizens and government staff for more than a decade, has been rebuilt from the ground up. The iMap development team has used the latest web-mapping technology to craft a powerful map data display and search tool that is faster, more flexible, and more reliable than the original iMap.

The April User Group meeting coincides with the official launch of new iMap so we’re devoting the main program of the meeting to the iMap roll-out. The meeting will feature demos of iMap’s rich list of features. And it will be your chance for live Q-and-A with the development team. Come to learn, come to give us your feedback, and come to help us celebrate new iMap!

February 2015 Meeting

The Value of Coding for GIS
David Howes
View the presentation slides here

In early 2013, Madeline McSherry of the New America Foundation stated in an article  for Slate Magazine that “coding is the hottest skill on the job market, the modern-day language of creativity, and a powerful force in the economy.” Around the same time, Bill Dollins wrote a well-received post  entitled “Yes, You Need to Code” extolling the virtues of coding for the GIS analyst. David will build on these wise and pertinent comments to explain the many ways in which coding is increasingly valuable for the GIS professional. If you don’t have any coding experience, he’ll encourage you to start right away to enhance your capabilities and your employability. If you already have coding experience at any level, he’ll encourage you to help others and provide you with a set of points that you can use in that endeavor. For both groups, he’ll provide helpful recommendations that are applicable to any coding options of relevance to GIS professionals.

David runs his own GIS consulting business, David Howes, LLC , specializing in GIS tools and processes. With Jason Pardy of Voyager Search, he supports GIS professionals through their venture called .

December 2014 Meeting

Where will ArcGIS Pro take you?
Leah Saunders, Esri

ArcGIS Pro is a new application for ArcGIS for Desktop, which means it's complementary to ArcMap. ArcGIS Pro is fast, modern, familiar, and powerful—a productive application for answering questions and solving problems. Come get a head start on familiarizing yourself with ArcGIS Pro and learn what it can do for you. More about ArcGIS Pro .

October 2014 Meeting

Hot Topics from FOSS4G Portland
Peter Keum and others, King County GIS Center

Peter and several KCGIS Center colleagues will be freshly returned from the FOSS4G conference in Portland. "The annual FOSS4G conference is the largest global gathering focused on open source geospatial software. FOSS4G brings together developers, users, decision-makers and observers from a broad spectrum of organizations and fields of operation. Through six days of workshops, presentations, discussions, and cooperation, FOSS4G participants create effective and relevant geospatial products, standards, and protocols." More about FOSS4G ).

ArcGIS Online in King County: What's New
Patrick Jankanish and Mary Ullrich, King County GIS Center

Patrick will present an overview of the King County ArcGIS Online for Organizations content publishing standards. Mary will give a sneak peak of the latest addition to the King County GIS Training Program, "Putting ArcGIS Online to Work in King County," which has its inaugural offering on October 23rd.

August 2014 Meeting

3D Point Cloud Generation for Mapping
Bret Hazell and Marcus Glass, 3Di .

The presentation will focus on developments in photogrammetric point cloud technology in support of aerial mapping projects. Evolving hardware and software technology are creating a new breed of imagery-based terrain models with faster delivery time line and lower costs. For some projects this will replace standard photogrammetry and aerial lidar as the method of production.

June 2014 Meeting

Cooking With Open-Source Tools
Peter Keum, King County GIS Center
View the presentation slides here

Learn how to use open-source resources, tools, and ingredients to bake a web map that displays real-time data. This presentation will step through the process of using (all links ) GitHub, Python, GeoJSON,, OpenStreetMap, and Sublime Text 2 to create a real-time King County Wastewater combined sewer overflow (CSO) status viewer.

April 2014 Meeting

Pictometry Aerial Imagery for King County Update
Scott Faust, Pictometry

Pictometry provides integrated, measurable orthogonal and oblique aerial imagery collections to the geospatial industry for locations around the world. Pictometry's 2013 high-resolution image capture of King County produced 4-inch ground sample distance (GSD) ortho and four-way oblique views for much of the county. In addition, there are new and very economical ways to access the imagery under King County's Pictometry license. Scott discussed these and demonstrated ways in which county, city, utility, and other GIS professionals are integrating Pictometry imagery technology into their GIS and other platforms and operations. He also demonstrated how the technology enables the creation of 3D models with a high degree of photorealism.

February 2014 Meeting

Canceled, to be rescheduled.

Demonstration of Sedarū® for Connected Water Utility Management
Dave Harrington, IDModeling, Inc.

Sedarū® utility management software connects water professionals throughout the utility to anticipate water operations, understand impacts, and solve problems. Sedarū is a GIS-centric solution that lets your water utility make more proactive decisions by sharing current, relevant information from every department, including field operations and maintenance, to improve both short-term work and long-term system planning and investment.

December 2013 Meeting

Esri CityEngine
John Sharrard, Esri Office, Olympia, Washington

Esri CityEngine is a stand-alone desktop software application for the design, planning, and modeling of urban environments in 3D. CityEngine allows professional users in GIS, CAD, and 3D to:
  • Quickly generate 3D cities from existing 2D GIS data.
  • Do conceptual design in 3D, based on GIS data and procedural rules.
  • Efficiently model virtual 3D urban environments for simulation and entertainment.

CityEngine also provides advanced capabilities for the direct export of the generated 3D city models to other software tools, including data management/analysis packages (such as ArcGIS), 3D editing software (such as Autodesk Maya and 3ds Max), geo-visualization tools (such as ArcGlobe or Google Earth), game engines (such as Unity or Unreal), high-end rendering solutions (such as Pixar's RenderMan), or web-ready cloud rendering services (such as NVIDIA RealityServer).

October 2013 Meeting

Assessing the Impact of Coal Mining on the Land Environment in India
Lopamudra Dasgupta PhD, Presidency University, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Landscapes are often modified by humans in response to a specific requirement for the society. This presentation is on the impact of coal mining on the land environment (Land Use Land Cover pattern). The study has been done by interpreting time series Remote Sensing data and then analyzing the data sets in the GIS platform by applying Boolean Logic. Probable future trends have been predicted by applying Regression Equations.

August 2013 Meeting

STAR Community Rating System
Richard Gelb, Performance Measurement Manager, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks
download a PDF file of the presentation (3Mb)

King County and the City of Seattle have been invited to pilot the STAR Community Rating System—the nation's first voluntary, self-reporting framework for evaluating the sustainability of U.S. communities. This framework relies on spatial data to portray the status and trends in community conditions. This session will introduce the STAR framework, describe the measurement requirements, and present spatial data layers developed by King County for 'credit' in the STAR Community Rating System .

June 2013 Meeting

Mobile GIS: iRealProperty Field Application for iPad
Don Saxby, IT Project Manager, King County Department of Assessments

The King County Department of Assessments' iRealProperty field application for iPad allows appraisers to search for assigned parcels, navigate to them using GPS, input property data (including photos), and perform GIS analysis. GIS and property data are integrated real-time so that property attributes, such as view quality, building quality, topography, traffic noise, wetlands, and completed inspections can be displayed thematically on maps and compared with multiple GIS layers, such as aerial images, parcels, cadastral annotation, topographic contours, wetlands, etc.

This presentation included information about the development and implementation of the application, and it featured a live demonstration.

April 2013 Meeting

Asset Inventory Mobile Mapping System (AIMMS)
Jon Warren, P.L.S., and Tobin Guthrie, L.S.I.T., David Evans and Associates

Imagine a surveying vehicle equipped to capture 3D measurements and data in a single crossing of your project site. Through GeoAutomation® technology, mobile mapping solutions are cost effective, schedule-friendly, and more accurate than ever before. GeoAutomation® is an advanced photographic imaging and data reduction system that can be used for asset management, GIS data collection, pavement assessment, virtual facility management, inventory, engineering surveys, risk management, 3D modeling, and conventional surveying and mapping. All this with real-world, sub-foot accuracy feature location, measurements and mapping at your desktop, automated feature extraction, mobile web access and edit capability, and all with project-specific or subscription-based funding models.

February 2013 Meeting

Focus on Open-Source GIS Tools

Google’s Fusion Tables, TileMill
Peter Keum, King County GIS Center and DNRP Wastewater Treatment Division

Fusion Tables* is an experimental data visualization web application to gather, visualize, and share larger data tables” (Google). Peter talked about using Fusion Tables to display spatial data, and presented off-line, desktop, map tile caching using TileMill* technology.

A Custom Tool for Managing Field-Collected GPS Data
Matthew Kenny, RIDOLFI, Inc.*

Matthew talked about PntTrax, a simple GeoDjango*-based application that stores GPS data collected by engineers and scientists at his company. PntTrax attempts to address the need to provide a centralized and browsable repository for GPS datasets. Specifically, this internal tool is designed to assist staff members through the process of uploading GPS data (as shapefiles output from Trimble GPS Pathfinder Office*) to the company file system and associating these datasets with particular thematic groupings (clients, reports, etc.). The end result is the ability to explore datasets through a map/tabular interface. Ultimately, datasets can be exported as KML files for transmittal to a client.

December 2012 Meeting

A Wastewater Application Built With the ArcGIS for Server JavaScript API
Crystal Murphy, King County GIS Center and DNRP Wastewater Treatment Division

Crystal talked about using the JavaScript API to build a portal for accessing flow monitoring data and documentation from an internal file server.

Developing For and Using ArcGIS for Mobile
Harkeerat Kang, King County GIS Center and DNRP Water and Land Resources Division Mark Preszler and Paul Alley, Water and Land Resources Division

Topics covered included field data collection, integration with ArcGIS for Server and ArcGIS for Desktop, and the management and deployment of mobile GIS data, maps, tasks, and projects.

October 2012 Meeting

King County Parcel Viewer 2.0: What's Happening
Michael Jenkins, King County GIS Center

Parcel Viewer 2.0 is an ArcGIS Server web application which will eventually replace the 11-year-old, ArcIMS-based Parcel Viewer. This presentation was a brief demonstration of the new version and discussion of some of the lessons learned in development and deployment.

Design Factors for New Metro Transit System Maps
Patrick Jankanish, King County GIS Center

King County Metro Transit developed new system maps to publish in conjunction with its September 2012 service change. KCGIS Center Client Services worked with Metro on the design of the new maps and performed the map production. Patrick presented and discussed some of the key design considerations from both a visual, information-display perspective, and a GIS-data/map-production perspective.

August 2012 Meeting

TerraGo GeoPDF® Maps and Imagery (Online Demonstration)
Brian Buterbaugh, TerraGO Technologies

Interactive, portable, intelligent 2D and 3D GeoPDF maps and imagery allows users who do not have a sophisticated GIS or training the ability to access, update and share compact geospatial information from any source and roundtrip it back to the enterprise GIS.

TerraGo Technologies is an innovative provider of widely adopted geospatial solutions and looks forward to the opportunity to show what a GeoPDF is, how it can be used, and where TerraGo GIS applications can provide value to a workflow

June 2012 Meeting

ArcGIS Online Subscriptions—Mapping and GIS for Organizations
Leah Saunders, Solution Engineer, Esri

With an ArcGIS Online for organizations subscription, organizations will have the ability to store, manage, and host mapping services in Esri's cloud and easily publish geographic content using cloud services. This presentation covered what ArcGIS Online Subscriptions are, administering content and users, and hosting services, maps, and apps.

April 2012 Meeting

Nine Steps to a Highly Successful Geospatial Industry Career
Greg Babinski, GISP
download a PDF file of the presentation (726kb)

This presentation was an opportunity to learn about the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration's (USDOLETA) Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM) . The GTCM, published in 2010, represents the federal government's definition of the geospatial technology competencies required for a successful career in this high-growth field. Attendees could see where they fall among the nine tiers of the competency pyramid and learn the latest about the recently developed Tier Nine—the proposed geospatial management competency model (GMCM).

Greg Babinski is the King County GIS Center Finance and Marketing Manager, President of URISA, and co-organizer of the URISA GMCM task force.

NWGIS Community Connection
Kevin Armstrong

The Northwest GIS User Group, Inc. , is a non-profit organization that provides a forum for training, exchange of knowledge, techniques, and data among the users of Esri software and related GIS products and services. Kevin talked about upcoming activities and events in our region.

Kevin Armstrong is President of Rich Geographic Internet Applications of Des Moines, Washington, and a member of the board of directors of the Northwest GIS User Group.

February 2012 Meeting

Free Open Source Extensions for ArcGIS Desktop 9 and 10
Karsten Vennemann, Terra GIS Ltd.

Two powerful free extensions for ArcGIS were released in late 2011: "SpatialKit for ArcMap" and "SEXTANTE for ArcGIS." These extensions offer functionality that is not available at the ArcView level to ArcGIS license owners. This talk presented the extensions and demonstrated many of their tools.

SpatialKit for ArcMap enables users to use PostGIS data directly in ArcGIS. This means that ArcGIS users can employ the power of the first-class, open source spatial database PostGIS in the same way they use proprietary databases to store, edit and retrieve spatial features via ArcSDE. SpatialKit for ArcMap does not require ArcSDE, ArcInfo, the new Spatial Data Server (SDS) technology, or ArcGIS server.

SEXTANTE is a spatial data analysis library written in Java. The SEXTANTE for ArcGIS extension makes it possible to use SEXTANTE (and SAGA GIS) tools directly in ArcGIS, including Model Builder. Together SEXTANTE and SAGA comprise hundreds of spatial analysis functions, including many that are otherwise available in ArcGIS only through proprietary extensions that require additional licenses, such as Spatial Analyst.

See ():

December 2011 Meeting

Internal KCGIS ArcGIS Editors/Analysts Group Meeting

KCGIS Server and Software Migration
Debbie Bull, King County GIS Center

ArcGIS Server Silverlight Viewer
Adam Cabrera, King County GIS Center

November 2011 Special Meeting

Many thanks to special guests Steve Coast, founder of OpenStreetMap* and CloudMade,* and Henk Hoff, OpenStreetMap Foundation* board member.


October 2011 Meeting

Highlights from FOSS4G 2011, Free Open Source Software for Geospatial!
Peter Keum, King County GIS Center


August 2011 Meeting

Developing an interactive map to show the use of Transferable Development Rights in King County
Harkeerat Kang, King County GIS Center

Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Program seeks to shift the region’s development growth away from rural farms, forests and open space lands into designated urban areas. The program allows landowners of these properties to separate their rights to develop land from the bundle of other property rights. These transferable development rights, or TDRs, become a tradable commodity that can be sold to developers to create more building capacity than would otherwise be allowed in their urban building projects. When a landowner chooses to transfer development rights, their property (a "sending site") is permanently protected by a conservation easement.

TDR Program staff needed a simple way to illustrate to the public the locations of TDR sites, sending-receiving site relationships, and other data about the creation and use of TDRs in King County.

Harkeerat discussed the development process and technological challenges, and gave a real-time demonstration of the application showing how King County’s TDR program has protected more than 141,000 acres—more than any other TDR program nationally!


June 2011 Meeting

Geospatial PDF: There's an App for That
Patrick Jankanish, King County GIS Center
download a PDF file of the presentation, including notes (6.5Mb)

The ability to create and interact spatially with geo-referenced PDF maps has been around for a few years now. More recently, Avenza Systems, Inc., released PDF Maps, a geospatial reader for Apple iOS devices. Patrick presented a brief overview of products that can produce and consume geospatial PDF maps, and some map products that have been published as geospatial PDFs. He talked about his experience using both the geospatial PDF exporter that is part of the MAPublisher set of plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator, and the PDF Maps app, which allowed him to use his iPhone as a field tool to help locate and verify map features on the ground, and to collect and export point locations and field notes for the recently completed update to the U-District & North Capitol Hill Get Around guide maps.

Census Updates
Mary Ullrich, King County GIS Center

Mary gave a brief update on what's happening with Census data at the KCGIS Center.

About the KCGIS User Group

The KCGIS User Group is a bi-monthly forum that features information sharing among users of the King County Geographic Information System in the form of announcements, technical tips, and in-depth presentations. Users can find out first-hand what is happening across departments and disciplines, and glean timely information that will affect their day-to-day work.

The agenda is designed to be of interest to King County GIS staff, however other GIS users are welcome.

The user group meets in King Street Center in downtown Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood. Meetings are held on the seventh floor in conference room 7044-45. From the seventh-floor elevator lobby, enter via keycard or receptionist buzz-in.

KCGIS User Group meetings are scheduled for the first Wednesday of every other month from 11am to noon. Make sure you check here for the latest information before attending.

2020 Dates

  • February 5
  • April 1 
  • August 5
  • October 7
  • December 2