GIS-Forum 2017. Margin notes


Geography Department of Kharkiv National University recently held GIS-Forum, perhaps the most important and the most anticipated annual event in Ukrainian GIS industry.

For the sixth year in a row GIS-Forum gathers specialists in different fields: scientists, teachers and students. GIS-wizards and those, who are only studying, gather for three days to share their experience, to present the results of their work, to learn, to teach, to get the latest GIS news and to talk with each other.

GIS-Forum-2017 was held on 22-24 February.


GIS-Forum brought together almost 200 participants

Traditionally all activities held within the frames of the forum (including section sessions, workshops, equipment exhibition, presentations, meetings, student’s research contest etc.) are divided into three themes: “production”, “science” and “education”.

Every theme was presented on a different day and, I think, this created a special diverse mood and caused interesting results on each day of GIS-Forum.

Speaking about the general impression, GIS-Forum can be presented as e-map with three levels which differ in their informational and emotional content. Together they give overall bright picture of the forum. But every participant could choose, according to their wish, the activities that are more appropriate to the actual needs.


Day 1 – “Production”. The most intense and active day. Day of practical experience, business networking and promotional offers.

Day 2 – “Science”. Day of deep theoretical generalizations, considerations, analysis and research experience.

Day 3 – “Education”. The most calm, comfortable and ‘homy’ day. Experience and problems of using GIS in the classroom.

A little more about each of the directions.



The motto of “Production” Day of GIS-Forum can summed up as a triad of “drones, agriculture and data processing.” Half of the ideas were dedicated to the different aspects of using UAVs – from the technical details of the processing and use of data from drones to legal issues.

During the first day of the Forum multicopters were presented at the equipment exhibition. Quadcopter of DroneUA with multispectral sensor Micasense Red Edge


and Aibotix Aibot X6, brought by the representatives of the Navigation geodesic center.



DroneUA held a demonstration flight of their quadcopter for the forum participants.


As it always happens, some speeches of producers looked like promotion of different program products and services and as for me somewhat inappropriate, because the forum participants didn’t look like their target audience.

Agriculture is one of the most prospective and rapidly growing direction of development and advancement of GIS services in Ukraine. Maybe next year it would be appropriate to hold a round table discussions about practical aspects of GIS services and UAVs in agricultural production for agribusiness representatives.





Interesting reports caused many questions


Actually, the scientific program of GIS-Forum lasted not one, but one and half days. Topics of the reports were very diverse. From the local studies defining the boundaries of family areas of European badger in “Slobozhansky” Park to the spatial analysis of the climate change impact on prairie ecosystems of Northern Eurasia. From Sustainable Urban Development and investment attractiveness analysis to the problems of protected territories.

The report of Oleksander Mkrtchian from L’viv stood out with the depth of theoretical analysis of the use of spatial statistical analysis of raster data. And the report by Dаriya Svidzynska from Kyiv was traditionally rich and informative. She spoke of the analysis of open data concerning the structure of natural reserve fund of Ukraine.

The Forum was attended by representatives of classical and specialized universities from different parts of Ukraine as well as scientists: geographers, surveyors, biologists, foresters, soil scientists and others. Moreover, some reports by foreign participants from Russia, the US and Slovakia had also been presented.


Natalia Telnova from Institute of Geography



Many current professionals of GIS industry got acquainted with it when they were students. The “Education” day was devoted to discussions on how to get the students interested in Geoinformatics, encourage them to use GIS in their future professional activity, and what employment prospects GIS students have.

Student’s research contest, which took place within GIS-Forum, was at the intersection of science and education. 15 works in different areas were considered. Eight Ukrainian teams came from Kharkiv, Kyiv, Rivne and Shatsk to present their works. They presented their works personally on the 23rd of February on the day of “Science”, awarding of participants, including the online voting results, took place on the day of “Education.” And it looked very symbolic.

According the audience and experts the presentation winner was Polina Berezina with a work ‘Development of the geoportal concept “Geological Tourism in Ukraine”’; Victor Shudruk and Alexander Voytovych from Rivne became winners of the online voting with work “Using of augmented reality technologies in museum exhibitions”.


The student of KNU Alexander Samoylov presents his work (2nd place in the competition)

And it is worth mentioning the workshops. There were 5 of them. As they say, for various tastes. Working with NextGIS from Anton Biatov, data validation and fight against vandalism in OSM from Andrey Golovin (“Mapbox”), orthophotomaps creation in Agisoft “Photoscan” from Sergei Gurmana (of “Kailas-K”), FREEWAT tools for water resources management from Darya Svidzinsky, GIS ToolKit Active classes from Darya Lunchenko (“HISINFO”) and 3D modeling of buildings using records from drones from Oleksiy Borodulin (“Intetics”).

Apart from that, some events took place within Forum: meeting of the SmartFarming  company representatives with students, work meeting in the development of the project Secondary Cities in Kharkiv and a round table “The role of GIS in research of the park infrastructure (for example, the Youth Park)”.


And last but not least.

Such an event as GIS-Forum is not only presentations, roundtables and workshops. This is dialogues behind the scenes, personal encounters and networking. Especially actively, this happens on the first day. During coffee breaks the university lobby was full, it contained an exhibition of geodetic equipment from Trimble company, presented by the GEOCOM, and Leica Geosystems, which was represented by National geodesic center, and an exhibition of the Forum partners PreAgri and DroneUA companies. The area resembled a sort of beehive. Producers communicated with scientists, where was an exchange of views, plans and business cards. And it was not easy for organizers to start all meetings on time and adhere to the schedule.


During a coffee break work of the Forum does not stop


However, we should give proper respect to the organizing committee because organization was excellent and everything was clear and according to plan.


Secret of success of the organizers – in coordinated teamwork


In addition, another appealing feature of the GIS Forum is the possibility of remote participation in webinar format. Five of forty reports on the Forum were made remotely, participants from USA, Slovakia, Russia and Ukraine had an opportunity to present results of their researchers and their software products without coming to Kharkiv.

At the same time online streaming become a good opportunity for the listeners that were not able to come. As for students from Estonia and Belarus, or me, for example. Because my little sun could not stay without mother’s attention for three days. That is why we watched together the third day online. And my son not only learn what is GIS, but also decided that “ArcGIS” is a great name for a future cat. It will be very easy to call it “GIS-GIS-GIS-GIS…”

Therefore, GIS Forum is a great event that covers and captures the audience from respectable venerable professors to very young future GIS-specialists.

See you next year at the new GIS-Forum!

Photos for the article taken from GIS-Forum fb page.