2021 Annual Conference

Plan to attend the 34th WLIA Annual Conference, which will now take place virtually during the week of February 15-19, 2021

As we are experiencing an unprecedented year, WLIA is planning an exceptional annual conference experience — an event that will provide workshop learning opportunities, exceptional educational content, networking opportunities, a focus on sponsors and exhibitors, special interest group gatherings, the map contest, words from expert keynote speakers, and much more.

The “home page” for the conference is on Eventsquid, so go here, log-in, customize your itinerary to easily get to the zoom links you need, and get ready to learn and network with your favorite people!

Introducing our keynote speakers!

Este Geraghty

Dr. Este Geraghty, MD, MS, MPH, CPH, GISP is the Chief Medical Officer at Esri, developer of the world’s most powerful mapping and analytics platform. She heads Esri’s worldwide health and human services practice and is passionate about transforming health organizations through a geographic approach. Previously, she was the deputy director of the Center for Health Statistics and Informatics at the California Department of Public Health. There she engaged in statewide initiatives in meaningful use, health information exchange, open data and interoperability. While serving as an associate professor of clinical internal medicine at the University of California (UC) Davis she conducted research on geographic approaches to influencing health policy and advancing community development programs. Geraghty is the author of numerous health and GIS peer reviewed papers and book chapters. She has lectured extensively around the world on a broad range of topics that include social determinants of health, open data, climate change, homelessness, access to care, opioid addiction, privacy issues and public health preparedness. She received her medical degree, master’s degree in health informatics, and master’s degree in public health from UC Davis. She is board certified in public health (CPH) and is also a geographic information system professional (GISP).

How does a doctor end up in GIS? What value does GIS bring to the Health and Human Services sector? These questions and more will be answered as Dr. Geraghty shares her personal journey to becoming the ‘top doc’ at Esri as their Chief Medical Officer. Her observations and insights on health GIS will focus on common patterns of use which have never been more relevant than during the COVID-19 pandemic. Maps, dashboards, information hubs and spatial analysis are delivering greater understanding across geographies and increasing awareness of impacted populations, where resources are needed most, and improved communication to community stakeholders and the public.

Kevin Ehrman-Solberg

Kevin is one of the co-founders of the Mapping Prejudice Project at the University of Minnesota, which is identifying and mapping racially restrictive housing covenants in the 20th century. Combining GIS, optical character recognition, and crowd-sourcing, Mapping Prejudice weaves traditional research methodologies with cutting-edge digital tools to build comprehensive spatial databases of racial covenants for cities across the United States. An active proponent of the digital humanities, Kevin’s work focuses on the intersection of race, historical narrative, and contested space.

In addition to his geospatial research, Kevin is also the lead web developer for the Historyapolis Project. He holds a Masters in Geographic Information Science, and has developed multiple online mapping applications for the University of Minnesota, Prologue DC, and Visible City. You can find some of his cartographic work in the Star Tribune, Open Rivers, and the Middle West Review.

Kevin will discuss the Mapping Prejudice Project, which is a team of activists and scholars who show how contemporary urban geography has been shaped by historic restrictions on property ownership. Using digital technology, they are assembling the first-ever spatial database of racial covenants for an American city. Their project maps restrictive deed covenants–agreements made during home purchases–that enforced racial segregation until the Fair Housing Act of 1968 outlawed such covenants. Despite this landmark legislation, to this day the vast majority of the nation’s neighborhoods remain deeply segregated. Racial covenants help explain why.

Robert Young Pelton

Robert’s career started in marketing and product design with clients that included Marvel, Disney, Mattel and was brought on by Steve Jobs to help launch both the Lisa and the Mac for Apple Computers. However, in his forties, Pelton retired from his marketing career to focus on going inside dirty wars, conflicts and dangerous remote regions of the world to gain a greater understanding for the human condition. The unique access he has gained in these regions and independent point of view, outside media coverage, gained him the interest of the world. He has been a popular guest on Oprah, Conan, Late Night, Dennis Miller, Geraldo, Real Time with Bill Maher, Fox, CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, TED, al Jazeera and many, many other programs. Pelton has worked as a journalist for CBS 60 Minutes, ABC Investigative Division, CNN, National Geographic, Discovery, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Vice, Foreign Policy and many more.

Many of his experiences became the subject of the Discovery Channel series Robert Young Pelton’s – The World’s Most Dangerous Places that ran from 1996 until 2003. Robert has documented parts of his two and half decades of immersion into war; some include the siege of Grozny with Chechen rebels, interviewing American jihadi John Walker Lindh at the battle of Qala-i-Jangi in Afghanistan, being kidnapped by right wing death squads in Colombia, doing missions with Green Berets, running Route Irish with Blackwater every day for a month in Iraq, tracking down the Vice President of South Sudan after an assassination attempt and living with an elusive retired Special Forces colonel training Karin rebels deep inside the jungles of Burma.

It is not all just adventure, Robert has created innovative ground networks of local reporters during the height of conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Libya to provide information on solving conflict, stability, kidnapping, piracy, human trafficking and local insight. He has served as an unpaid advisor to Four Star commanders in Afghanistan and heads of state and spent two years advising MOAS, the Migrant Offshore Aid Station in Malta. These days he finds himself in Libya and Sudan. Robert is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and has been a FRGS for twenty five years.

Robert will discuss many conflicts and wars, with an emphasis on how they begin and how the solution lies in understanding people. While these explanations are rarely focused on in our 15-minute news segments, this presentation will focus on the human geography that’s at the root of it all.

We hope to see you at the 34th Annual Conference!

Student Rate:


Member Rate:


Non-Member Rate:


For the conference rate listed, attendees will get full access to the week-long conference event, including workshop training!

  • Over 80 hours of training
  • Over 50 educational sessions
  • 13 technical workshops
  • Three expert keynote plenaries
  • Eight special interest group meetings
  • Virtual exhibit hall (in Remo!)
  • Map contest highlights
  • Awards, scholarships, Town Hall Forum
  • Silent Auction supporting WLIA Foundation
  • Interactive games to keep you learning
  • Many professional and social networking opportunities!