Great Lakes Regional Data Exchange Conference, Oct. 26-28 in Detroit

The acquisition and exchange of science-based data and information is the lifeblood of sound decisionmaking. To promote advancements in this area, the Great Lakes Commission is hosting a major regional data exchange conference Oct. 26-28, 2004, at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center.

“There’s a strong demand for information and education on the rapidly evolving data management tools we now have available for environmental protection and natural resource management,” said Dr. Mike Donahue, president/CEO of the Great Lakes Commission. “Events such as this help us build the partnerships we need to coordinate our efforts and collaborate on decision support tools for regional policy and decisionmaking.”

The conference and accompanying exhibition will offer attendees valuable insights into the potential of advanced Internet and geospatial technologies as tools to provide instant access to information, increased efficiency and improved decisionmaking abilities. Goals include improved coordination of regional data holdings and information systems, and increased compatibility among computer models and decision support tools.

The requested registration deadline is Oct. 13. Conference themes are:

  • Binational consistency in data acquisition analysis and availability
  • Case Studies: Great Lakes environment and economy
  • Data exchange, standards and policy issues
  • Decision support systems
  • Distributed IS/IT web mapping applications and technologies
  • Ecosystem monitoring and observing systems
  • Federal, state and provincial web portals
  • Regional education and information clearinghouses

A series of eight training seminars will take place Tuesday, Oct. 26. Topics include Internet security and spam control, Flash applications, solutions to web mapping, public access to data, web/video conferencing, Internet2 and E-Learning, XML/GML, and metadata. Pre-registration is required.

The conference will appeal to a broad spectrum of participants who are interested in regional data and information sharing, and Internet-based and Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies, including:

  • Federal, state and provincial governments; academic institutions; and nonprofit organizations that engage in data collection, development, storage and management, and wish to explore new ways to coordinate regional information
  • State, provincial and municipal information managers who oversee web and GIS technologies and are looking for new ideas and techniques
  • Great Lakes stakeholders interested in web and GIS tools for improved decisionmaking

The conference had its origins in an April 2003 resolution the Commission adopted to encourage data exchange partnerships and standardization of decisionmaking tools. These ideas were reaffirmed at an August 2003 retreat at Wingspread in Racine, Wis., to plan the future of the Commission-managed Great Lakes Information Network (GLIN).

For more details, visit the conference web site or contact: Kevin Yam,

Conference sponsors include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, International Joint Commission, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing.

For immediate release: October 8, 2004
Contact: Kevin Yam,, office: 734-971-9135


The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Thomas Huntley (Minn.), is a nonpartisan, binational compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of state legislators, agency officials, and governors’ appointees from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.