With my March Madness bracket already busted just four days into tournament play and watching anymore games for the most part pointless (Syracuse in the Sweet 16, really?), combined with winter returning and getting out on the golf course also not an option, it seemed like a good time to sit down and compile my annual plug of regional one-day GIS conferences and meetings around the Empire State over the next 4-6 weeks.
Most of the Spring 2016 shows are held in locations accessible via a maximum 2-4 hour drive from all parts of the state, offer a wide range of geospatial topics and presentations, provide excellent networking opportunities among colleagues and industry representatives, and are generally light on the wallet. And for the GISP folks, most of the shows also provide certification credits.
Sounds pretty good, right? So consider the following options:
GIS-SIG 25rd Annual Conference, April 12th, Burgundy Basin, Pittsford, NY. Its unfortunate I cannot make GIS-SIG this year as it is one of my most favorite statewide one-day shows. GIS/SIG provides the premier geospatial professional forum in the Rochester/Genesee Finger Lakes/Western New York region for GIS practitioners focusing on trends and policies relating to new geospatial technologies and current projects. With a loyal membership and Board of Directors, the size and content of the GIS/SIG conference is broad enough to often substitute as an annual state conference for many GIS practitioners in the western half of the state. This year’s conference again includes vendor displays and an agenda covering topics such as drones, open source, and mobile apps among others as well as a keynote address by Steve Coast, Founder of OpenStreetMap. Corporate sponsorship keeps the price tag of an individual registration at under a $100 for the day which also includes lunch. Online registration is available and while you are at the GIS/SIG website you can also see the many resources and links GIS/SIG provides to its user community. This is a great show and if you have the opportunity to attend, I highly recommend it.
Long Island GIS (LIGIS) 2016 Spring User Conference, April 15th, SUNY Farmingdale, Farmingdale, NY. LIGIS meetings and conferences have grown in structure and content recently and this spring’s April 15th meeting is anticipated to illustrate these continued improvements. And the big plus for the Long Island GIS community is that the show is free. While the agenda is close to being finalized, already confirmed is a U.S. Census Bureau “Map Tab Lab” workshop, plans for a user-submitted map session, and anticipated presentations from government, nonprofits, and industry. Those interested in attending can monitor conference specifics at the LIGIS homepage. Located in central Long Island on the SUNY Farmingdale campus, this is a not-to-miss conference for the extended GIS/geospatial community on “the Island” with limited travel budgets. Make plans to attend.
Northeast Arc User Group (NEARC) Meeting, May 9th, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Though not in New York State, the 2016 Spring NEARC meeting is conveniently located in Amherst, MA which is easily accessible to the Albany Capital District and GIS professionals in eastern New York State. Once considered the smaller venue of the NEARC suite of meetings, Spring NEARC grew too large at its original site and moved to the conference center at the University of Massachusetts which actually hosted the annual NEARC conference in the early 1990s. Unlike the GIS/SIG conference which is software vendor independent, this show is very much ESRI centric though is packed with high quality user presentations. Even though only one day, the show has grown to be so popular that it now competes with the larger multi-day GIS shows and conferences across New England. Price tag for attending: $65 which includes lunch. If you can afford an overnight, activities the evening before downtown Amherst and a hotel room at the UMass conference center make it even more worth your while. (As of the day of this blog post, the May 9th agenda was still in development.) If your organization is an ESRI shop – this is a Spring show not to miss.
Westchester GIS User Group Meeting, May 12th, Purchase College, Purchase New York. As one of the largest geospatial meetings in New York State, the Westchester GIS User Group Meeting is a free one-day conference held at Purchase College. Made possible by financial support from exhibiting vendors and conference facilities provided by the college, the 2016 agenda tentatively includes user presentations from a geospatial start-up company, Westchester County municipalities, nonprofits, and industry representatives. There is also a student project contest and post conference training in building Story Maps led by Westchester County GIS staff and a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) workshop with instructor Austin Fisher. The Purchase College location provides easy one-day access across the metropolitan NYC area, as well as the broader lower Hudson River Valley and southeastern Connecticut. Agenda and other meeting specifics – including registration – is available from the Westchester County GIS website.
So, if travel expenses are once again limited and/or at a premium, no problemo. The entire Empire State GIS community is fortunate enough to be close enough to a range of regional geospatial meetings and conferences which are accessible from most areas of the state and provide many of the same benefits of larger shows.