Professional Groups and Conferences

Northeast Arc Users Group (NEARC)

Formed in 1986, NEARC is one of several independent regional organizations that represent users of Geographic Information System (GIS) software developed by Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) of Redlands, California. (While NEARC works closely with Esri in a variety of ways, it is not affiliated with the company.) The geographic area encompassed by the group includes New England and New York. One of NEARC’s primary functions has been to host an annual conferences in the Spring and Fall in one of the NEARC states, at which Vassar students and faculty have presented as recently as Fall 2020.

NEARC also has discussion list hosted by the University of Connecticut, Cooperative Extension System, the purpose of the list is to facilitate communication among NEARC members (though you do not have to be a member of NEARC to join the email list). The list is used to post announcements about meetings, seminars and conferences, raising questions about data availability, finding GIS applications, etc.

NYS GIS Association

The NYS GIS Association represents the interests of the entire geospatial community within New York and is the premier statewide professional organization for GIS and related industries. The group provides training opportunities and webinars, a produces and distributes a monthly newsletter, provides a clearinghouse of GIS job listings throughout the state, and coordinates an annual conference (NY GeoCon).

Society for Conservation GIS (SCGIS)

The mission of SCGIS is to support and grow an inclusive global community using geospatial technology for conservation of biodiversity, natural environments, and cultural heritage. SCGIS hosts a national listserv, an annual conference, training, lists job opportunities in conservation GIS, and other resources to its members. Membership in SCGIS is required to join the national email list, but local chapters like the Hudson Valley SCGIS have open communications, and anyone interested can be involved.

The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA)

URISA is a nonprofit association that provides education and training, a vibrant and connected community, advocacy for geospatial challenges and issues, and essential resources for GIS professionals throughout their careers. Like other professional groups, URISA provides professional education and training, hosts conferences and provides other resources to members.

Discussion Lists

  • GIS List (GISNY-L) – An open, unmoderated list developed to promote discussion of GIS-related subjects, particularly GIS issues or projects in New York. Job opportunities are often circulated on this listserv.


  • Directions Magazine – Produces articles, webinars, and social media about the latest developments in solving global challenges with geospatial technology.
  • ArcUser Online – Esri’s trade magazine for Esri software users. Features case studies and examples of their products used in various settings. Articles are often submitted by the GIS professionals who performed the projects described in them.