Why I belong to GITA
By Dr. Robert Austin, Past-President
My involvement with GITA began in 1984 when the organization was known by its former name: AM/FM International. For almost three decades, I have found GITA to be a major source of information about technological innovations, provided in a vendor-neutral context. Perhaps more importantly, I have found GITA's conferences, workshops and other educational forums to be an important source of information about the sociology of GIS. As GIS technology has evolved, the focus of the industry has shifted to enterprise adoption, user acceptance and related issues. My participation in GITA events and exposure to GITA communications have helped me learn about how others have faced these issues and resolved them. (Why make the same mistakes as others when you can learn from them… and then make new mistakes?!)
When I attended my first conference, I was a university professor on sabbatical. Since that time, I have worked in the private sector and more recently for local government. My work in each of these sectors of the economy has benefited from the networking and information sharing opportunities made possible by GITA. The broad reach of GITA into each of these sectors confirms its role as the preeminent professional organization for members of the GIS industry.
Since 2010, it has been my pleasure to represent GITA and our industry on the National Geospatial Advisory Committee. GITA's presence (which also includes former president Dave DiSera) on the NGAC has ensured that GITA's membership has a voice in federal government decision-making that affects us all. And GITA has communicated these concerns, including our positions on workforce development and best practices, to the highest levels of government.
These are some of the reasons that I belong to GITA and why I believe that you, too, should consider GITA membership.
Dr. Robert Austin is the Manager of Enterprise Applications Integration in the Department of Technology and Innovation at the City of Tampa, Fla.
Committee gears up for the 2012 GIS for Oil & Gas Conference
The 2012 GIS for Oil & Gas Conference Committee will meet in Houston on March 5-6 to begin developing the educational program for this year's conference and exhibition. The conference dates are Oct. 22-24. There are already some changes on tap for the conference: The committee will be discussing expansion of the program to include more exploration and production material, as well as presentations designed to attract utility pipeline distribution practitioners. In addition, the conference moves to a brand new venue, the Hotel Intercontinental near Houston's famous Galleria. Jay Smith, MJ Harden/Geoeye, who will serve as conference chair again this year, is optimistic about these changes.
"I'm very pleased with the selection of the Intercontinental as the venue for the 2012 Oil & Gas Conference. It's a great facility and will offer us more flexibility in exhibit space and meeting rooms," he said. "I think people attending the conference will really enjoy how all the parts of the event flow together. We're looking forward to building upon last year's educational program with an even stronger collection of key topics and presentations." More information about the 2012 conference will be made available in the near future.
Charlotte GECCo workshop venue announced
The Geospatially Enabling Community Collaboration (or GECCo) workshop scheduled for March 15-16 in Charlotte, N.C., will be hosted by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities at their Lee S. Dukes Water Treatment Plant in suburban Huntersville. Sincere thanks to Rob Bailey at CMU for arranging for the use of their excellent facility for the upcoming GECCo. The Charlotte GECCo workshop will feature presenters from the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C., as well as several local/regional speakers who will highlight their organizations' approach to leveraging geospatial technology for emergency response. Attendees will also participate in a tabletop exercise specially designed for the area by the GITA GECCo team. More information is available from the Charlotte GECCo website.
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