The 2011 North Dakota GIS Users Conference is now history. The state’s largest GIS gathering was a successful event with a lot of positive comments being heard. Not all of the information has been tabulated, though we can say that attendance was down compared to the last conference held in 2009. There are several reasons why this is including cities impacted by flooding not being able to send people, federal budget restrictions eliminated travel for some, conferences before and after the ND GIS Conference, and not having RGIS (National Consortium for Rural Geospatial Innovations in America) in attendance this year. Considering the number of people impacted by these reasons, the attendance was strong.
We do the best we can when it comes to scheduling these conferences, trying to be aware of state, regional, and local conferences, hunting seasons, proximity to winter weather, and venue availability. If you are reading this and couldn’t make it to the ND GIS Conference due to a scheduling conflict, I’d really like to hear what the conflict was to help guide future planning.
A large part of a conference like this is networking followed closely by learning. At the conference and since that time some ideas have been thrown around on the benefits of trying to get people together more frequently. One concept is to have GIS user group meetings (2-4 hours) with possible workshops held around the state at various locations and maybe twice a year. Another concept is to integrate GIS meetings/workshops into existing North Dakota conferences. If you have some thoughts please let me know!
We should soon have the post-conference GIS web page up and running. There you will find links to the presentations and other information. Once it is available we’ll get the word out via the Listserv and Twitter.
The next ND GIS Users Conference is planned for September 10-12, 2013. It will be held once again at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. Mark your calendars!