March 14, 2005
GITA 28 Conference ReportGITA Conference News
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each GIS Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the GIS industry, GIS product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

Message from the Editor -

Welcome to GISWeekly! This year I wrote for the GITA Conference News, a daily paper distributed at the door of the conference each morning. That material is made available separately. Some parts of it, such as the Opening Session, Awards and Keynote, are summarized here, but other than that, today's newsletter contains new copy not seen before by the naked eye. Some highlights of this week's coverage include: Opening Session; "Power Panel -GIS: Is it a Profession, Niche or Tool?"; and GITA Vendor Roundup.

GISWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Acquisitions/Alliances/Agreements, Announcements, Appointments, New Products, Around the Web and Upcoming Events.

GISWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think. Send your comments to me at

Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

GITA 28 Conference Report

By Susan Smith

This year I wrote for the GITA Conference News, a daily paper distributed at the door of the conference each morning. That material is made available separately. Some parts of it, such as the Opening Session, is summarized here, but other than that, today's newsletter contains new copy not seen before by the naked eye.

Key topics of concern for attendees at this year's conference included ROI, integration, Homeland Security and mobile solutions, much as they have for the past couple of years.

Opening Session

GITA 28, the annual conference of the Geospatial Information & Technology Association, was held this year in Denver. The Opening Session kicked off with a message from Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, who was an exploration geologist before becoming mayor, and admits to being obsessed with maps. He noted that geospatial technology companies have converged on Colorado's Front Range and play a significant role in the region's economy.

GIS seems to be one of the mayor's pet projects: Denver is trying to hold all city agencies accountable with data collection, mapping technology, collated data sets and other geospatial tasks. "We 're excited about harnessing every aspect of geospatial technology-- it is a homegrown industry in many ways, we wouldn't mind if you decided to move your company here. The U.S. Department of Labor has identified the geospatial industry as one of the fastest growing sectors for hiring in the U.S."

Might I remind readers that since taking office, Hickenlooper has passed an initiative to modernize Denver's personnel system, overcome a $70 million deficit to balance the City budget while averting major cuts in services and massive layoffs, and implemented a huge set of police modernizations, among other achievements.

Bob Samborski, Executive Director of GITA, gave an update on recent projects: the ROI research project is near completion, the CIP project has spawned many strong relationships with many federal agencies, the GECCo program has received funding for a pilot in the state of Hawaii.

Samborski dedicated the conference to Hank Emery, who passed away at end of January, who made a tremendous contribution to the GITA organization and the industry.

GITA Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award Winner for this year is Sakura Shinoaki, of Otsuma Women's University, Tokyo, Japan. Shinoaki founded ROADIC in Japan and was responsible for the first successful implementation of GIS in Japan.

Pete Gomez, president of GITA, from Excel Energy, spoke about GITA's three year strategic plan to become the leading geospatial resource. In its second year of that plan, it is well on its way to meeting that goal.

With volunteerism at the heart of GITA, recognizing a candidate for the Distinguished Service Award must not be easy. This year it was awarded to Keith McDaniel, whose GITA accomplishments include serving on the association's Board of Directors, chair of the Executive Symposium, chair of the Education Committee, chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, and member of the Honorary Past Presidents' Advisory Council.

The Excellence Award recognizes companies that are known as leaders in the field of geospatial technology. This year that award goes to Enmax Power Corporation of Calgary, Alberta. The company has created an enterprise GIS that has enhanced operational efficiency providing safe, reliable power to customers. Brad Lawrence, Supervisor, Records, Survey and Land Management, accepted the award.

GITA Innovator Awards were bestowed upon JOEMC Jones-Onslow Electric Membership Corporation, Jacksonville, North Carolina, for the development of their own GIS over the last 10 years. The system is a seamless consumer information system, financial management, mapping facilities system. The award was received by Tommy Pritchard, Chief Utility Engineering Officer and Frankie Johnson. A word of warning from this small utility: Don't let your maps be older than 24 hours--especially in utility.

The second Innovator Award went to Mass GIS, Boston, Mass. one of earliest adopters of interoperability, who developed the MassGIS OpenGIS-based Web Mapping Services, which provides always on access to all the data contained in the MassGIS data repository via WFS, Gazeteer, and Geocoder interfaces. Credit goes to Christian Jacqz for implementing open standards.

Keynote Address

GITA tends to go for motivational speakers, and this year's keynote speaker was no exception.
Chip Eichelberger has spent 21 years in sales, 6 years of that training with best selling author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins, and before that, had an illustrious job selling earthquake bracing underneath mobile homes.

His focus is on getting people "switched on." "Successful people believe that anything worth doing is worth doing poorly - it's very necessary to do something poorly until you can do it well," Eichelberger pointed out. "There is trial and error. Frustration is good.
Out of great frustration come breakthroughs." It is also a good idea to go through life being fascinated, he said, but some people go through life disassociated.

A lifetime of little errors in judgment, financial, health, fitness, relationships, can have a snowballing effect in those areas, according to Eichelberger. "If you don't change the direction you're going you're going to wind up where you're headed," charged Eichelberger, who seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of funny adages and one-liners.

He talked about "raising the bar" for himself and for each one in the room. Expectations define everything, he noted, saying, "My goal is for you to make one decision today. You came here for a reason."

Power Panel - GIS: Is it a Profession, Niche or Tool?

This year GITA offered "Power Panels," bringing together industry experts to address some of the ongoing debates in the GIS industry.

Moderated by Vince Rosales of Idea Integration, this panel, GIS: Is it a Profession, Niche or Tool? generated an animated discussion that spanned a range of opinions and ideas, moving from the topics of GIS as a profession, niche or tool to certification to education. The panelists were: Peter Batty, Ten Sails; Ian Fitzgerald, Truckee-Donner PUD; Perry Harts, City of Frisco; Glenn Letham,; Brent Shelton, Paducah Power System.

One question asked by the audience was, How do you define a profession? The U.S. Department of Labor is now dubbing GIS as a profession, one participant said.

Peter: "It depends on the person you're talking to- is finance a profession? There are finance professionals, but it doesn't mean your bank teller is a professional. You need a banking professional to understand whole business aspect of it."

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-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.

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