First International Geospatial Geocoding Conference a Huge Success

More than 200 attendees from around the world descended on the Esri campus in Redlands, California, for the First International Geospatial Geocoding Conference (IGGC) in December 2011. The event was sponsored by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Environmental Health; NAVTEQ; the University of Southern California Spatial Sciences Institute; and Esri.

Deliberations were far ranging, spanning from discussions on how to use reference data layers and algorithms to produce geocoded data to scientific studies for investigating such topics as disease propagation and health service delivery to how geocoding accuracy may impact policy making at all levels of government.

Dan Gibbons

Dan Gibbons

The conference opened with a keynote from Esri's Donald Cooke, who discussed the history of geocoding starting with the creation of the original Census DIME files—the predecessor of today's TIGER files.

Papers were presented in two tracks and can be found in the academic journals Transactions in GIS, edited by Dr. John P. Wilson of the University of Southern California, and Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology, edited by Dr. Andrew Larson of the Medical University of South Carolina. The former is composed of articles that present advances in the science, development, and engineering of geocoding approaches that are technical in nature, while the latter contains articles that describe advances in the use of geocoded data in the health sciences that are applied in nature.

The second day of the conference opened with a keynote by Mark Greninger, geographic information officer for Los Angeles (LA) County. Greninger impressed the audience with the scope and magnitude of the systems in place at LA County, discussing how geocoding technology serves civil society across its diverse population and the consequences of not producing accurate results, including the loss of life and property.

Next, Lightning Talks given by a diverse group of academics, government officials, and industry speakers led the way into two parallel tracks of breakout sessions. These sessions were working groups focused on address standardization, confidentiality and ethics, volunteered geographic information, and regional differences in geocoding. Each session produced and reported on a set of action items to drive research and development priorities across industry, academic, and government agendas.

A panel discussion ended the conference. Led by Esri's Christophe Charpentier, this panel represented the interests of federal agencies (Ama Danso—Census; Jon Sperling—US Department of Housing and Urban Development), local governments (Mark Greninger—LA County), data producers (Dan Gibbons—NAVTEQ), the health community (Dave Stinchcomb—Westat), and industry groups (Don Cooke—Esri).

For more information and to keep current with activities, visit The IGGC was supported in part by Cooperative Agreement Number 1H13EH000793-01 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The contents of this article do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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