The Alberta Chapter
URISA Alberta was formed in 1987 as a provincial chapter of URISA International, one of the longest-running Information Systems organizations in the world. The Alberta Chapter is separate from the international organization and has its own membership and fees.
URISA Alberta members represent many areas within the ever-expanding Geographic Information Systems (GIS) field. Members represent provincial and municipal governments, the private sector (large and small businesses) and academia.
Executive officers are elected and normally serve a two-year term. Along with the President, URISA Alberta has two Vice Presidents (VP North and VP South), who oversee the planning and execution of the annual conference (now a collaboration of agencies called GeoAlberta), a Program Chair who coordinates and delivers the yearly program, a Publicity Chair who is responsible for advertising and promoting the chapter and maintaining the URISA Alberta website, a Treasurer and a Secretary. URISA Alberta also has a Member-at-Large and an Academic Liaison to assist with chapter activities and outreach.
The Alberta Chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association is the longest continual operating professional association serving the needs of geographic information systems users in Western Canada.
In 1986, a group of like minded individuals gathered to create a non-partisan society for practitioners with the idea to form an association where the ideas of land information systems and geographic information systems could be shared and promoted in Alberta. The first executive was:
|President||Leslie J. Cooke – Alberta Forestry Lands & Wildlife|
|Vice President||John Harrower – Alberta Forestry Lands & Wildlife|
|Secretary||Dennis Thompson – Alberta Forestry Lands & Wildlife|
|Treasurer||Harvey Popik – City of Edmonton|
|Chairman||Pat Drake – City of Calgary|
|Vice-Chairman||R.G. Madziya – Edmonton Metro Planning Commission|
In a letter to Leslie Cooke, dated July 13, 1987, Thomas M. Parmalee, the President of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, served formal notification of the sanctioning of the Alberta Chapter of URISA.
The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association – Alberta Chapter (URISA) was formally incorporated as an Alberta Society on July 15, 1987.
The objects of the society were declared as:
(a) To provide for the recreation of the members and to promote and afford opportunity for friendly and social activities
(b) To provide a means for the exchange of information among members
(c) To provide a means for members to develop skills and knowledge relating to land information systems (LIS) and geographic information systems (GIS)
(d) To promote the development of land information systems and geographic information systems
Membership qualifications were simple; “requires an interest in the field of urban and regional information systems.”
The first bylaws of the Alberta Chapter of URISA, filed with the application to form a Society with the Corporate Registry of Alberta Consumer and Corporate Affairs, put forth the creation of a seven member executive: President, Vice-President North, Vice-President South, Secretary, Treasurer, Programs Chairperson and Immediate Past-President. That first complete executive consisted of:
|President||John Harrower – Alberta Forestry Lands & Wildlife|
|Vice-President North||R.G. Madziya – Edmonton Metro Planning Commission|
|Vice-President South||Don Evans – City of Calgary|
|Secretary||Neville Ferguson – Alberta Forestry Lands & Wildlife|
|Treasurer||Harvey Popik – City of Edmonton|
|Programs Chairman||Dennis Thompson – Alberta Forestry Lands & Wildlife|
|Immediate Past-President||Leslie J. Cooke – Alberta Forestry Lands & Wildlife|
The bylaws prescribed that the geographic dividing line between “North” and “South” would be the top of Township 34.
The bylaws set forth that each member of the executive served a one year term, with the exception of the first two years of existence to bring some stability to the fledgling organization.
The bylaws created a cycle for the members of the executive in such a way that every member of the executive was voted upon each fiscal year with the exception of the President, who would be promoted from the positions of Vice-President North and Vice-President South in alternating years, thus creating a shadow position of “President Elect”.
The Alberta Chapter continued to operate with this executive format until 1991 when the bylaws were amended to create a new executive position: “Publicity Chair”. The amendment also changed the duration of the time each member sat on the executive from one year to two years. The first new eight person executive was comprised of:
|President||Dr. Ian Crain – University of Calgary|
|Vice-President North||James B.K. Guthrie – City of Edmonton|
|Vice-President South||Pat McIlhargy – Alberta Agriculture|
|Secretary||Tim Toth – Alberta Forestry Lands & Wildlife (LRIS)|
|Treasurer||Dianne Haley – The City of Calgary|
|Programs Chairman||Gregg Gellman – Hayward & Partners Ltd.|
|Publicity Chairman||Gail Sokolan – Calgary Regional Planning Commission|
|Immediate Past-President||(W.M.) Liam Barry – Alberta Dept. of Energy|
In 2004, the executive approved the creation of two more positions; Academic Liaison and Member-at-Large, bringing the total number to ten. The role of the Academic Liaison was to enhance the outreach of the Alberta Chapter to pre and post-secondary institutions within the province. It is the only position on the executive that has a condition on who may fill it – a person employed by a pre or post-secondary institution. The Member-at-Large position was created to allow a person interested in becoming involved in the Chapter Executive to do so in a more gradual way.
The first full executive was elected in 2006;
|President||Nigel Forster – City of Medicine Hat|
|Vice-President North||Stuart Gerber – ESRI Canada|
|Vice-President South||Richard Andrews – City of Lethbridge|
|Secretary||Dennis Chao – ERCB, Alberta Geological Survey|
|Treasurer||Randy Williamson – Strathcona County|
|Programs Chairman||Ann Hollifield – Sierra Systems|
|Publicity Chairman||Dianne Haley – ERCB, BIS-ISS|
|Immediate Past-President||Cindy Post – GISMo Solutions Ltd.|
In 2009 the Chapter bylaws we reviewed, updated adopted to include these new positions.