April 26, 2004
Behind the Scenes at GITA Annual Conference 27
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Message from the Editor -

Welcome to GISWeekly! In the case of GITA's Annual Conference 27 in Seattle this coming week (April 25-28), Doug Leibbrandt, this year's GITA conference chair and manager of geospatial solutions at GE, brings to the conference his expertise of many years of providing geospatial services to utility customers at M.J. Harden. He has been an active member of GITA since 1989, and has served on the annual conference committee since 1998. Read more about Leibbrandt and how the conference is shaping up in this week's Industry News.

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, Alliances/Acquisitions, Announcements, Appointments/Resignations, New Products, Going on Around the Web, and Upcoming Events.

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Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Behind the Scenes at GITA Annual Conference 27

By Susan Smith

As attendees, we all know that a keynote address sets the tone for a conference, but we don't always know about all the experience, organizational perspectives and attention to detail that help to form the event until the day the conference kicks off.

Doug Leibbrandt
In the case of GITA's Annual Conference 27 in Seattle this coming week (April 25-28), Doug Leibbrandt, this year's GITA conference chair and manager of geospatial solutions at GE, brings to the conference his expertise of many years of providing geospatial services to utility customers at M.J. Harden. GE Energy is a company with an international presence, and by contrast, M.J. Harden focused primarily on regional electric, utility, gas, municipal and pipeline customers.

In August, 2003, M.J. Harden was acquired by Pipeline Integrity International (PPI), which is a division of GE Energy. GE Energy is one of several business units within the GE Company. Within GE Energy there is GE Oil & Gas, and PII, of which the Geospatial Solutions Group is part. For those of you who are wondering where GE Smallworld now named GE Network Reliability Products & Solutions (NRPS) fits in, it is part of GE Energy (Smallworld remains the name of the product suite). I could not help noticing that GE Network Reliability Products & Solutions has a nice ad on the GITA conference web page.

Leibbrandt's history with GITA is also long and illustrious. “After being an active member since 1989, I have had the pleasure of serving on the annual conference committee since 1998 as a track principal for various tracks and as the principal for the 2003 Seminars in San Antonio. I have also participated on GITA's Education committee and on the Industry Trends and Analysis Group (ITAG),”said Leibbrandt enthusiastically. “This year is going to be the highlight -- actually chairing the conference in Seattle.”

“My personal goals for chairing this year's conference are first, to deliver a top notch educational program for the geospatial industry; and secondly, to serve and give back to the industry and association who has given me so much over the past 25 years.”

This year's conference forum looks like it will live up to those goals. “As a manager for the Geospatial Solutions Group, I have had the opportunity to work with many customers across the country who are implementing geospatial solutions,” attested Leibbrandt. “This work includes everything from strategic planning, database development, data migration, application development and data hosting. These opportunities have provided me tremendous insight into what the industry is doing. Hopefully with this knowledge I can help guide my conference committee in the design and delivery of an outstanding program.”

What makes this GITA conference different from those of years past? “I think it's safe to say that no GITA Annual Conference is like a previous one, simply because the Annual Conference Committee really tries each year to create a program that addresses current technologies and trends in the geospatial industry,” said Leibbrandt. “The committee also challenges itself to include a perspective on new and developing technologies, so attendees get a well-rounded program of 'what is' as well as 'what could be.'”

Serving on GITA's committees and with the Industry Trends & Analysis Group (ITAG) has provided Leibbrandt with a very broad perspective on the technologies that will be in most demand. “Last year they met at San Antonio and each of the different vertical markets was represented and provided us feedback as to what the top ten technologies and applications are in their specific industries,” Leibbrandt observed. “Mobile technology is right up there at the top, whether it be for electric, gas, water, pipeline. Getting information into the field, being able to gather that information at the source. Web applications and web enabled applications are very important to all the end

Asset management and wireless technology are other areas where there is a lot of growth, according to Leibbrandt. “Not only are the early adopters implementing wireless technology but also now the municipal utilities and smaller organizations are adopting it as well.”

New additions to this year's conference program are numerous and reflect the changing needs of members: “First, we added three new tracks to address our members' changing needs: Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP), Federal Geospatial Strategies, and GIS in Telecommunications. We also have a complete educational program for the telecommunications industry, with seminars, a full track of paper presentations, a telco user forum, and two panel discussions,” Leibbrandt explained. “We'll be unveiling several new half-day seminars in Seattle. The 'Critical Infrastructure Protection' seminar will be an interactive workshop, with attendees developing best practices for
detecting and responding
to emergencies affecting their infrastructures. The 'GIS X01' seminar has been expanded and will provide participants with key strategies, an outline, and a list of issues to consider when creating a successful geospatial project. This seminar has been designed to appeal not only to the new GIS user but to those with some experience in the industry as well. “Conducting Government Business Online” is a new seminar that will address geospatial issues that specifically affect the government sector.”

A greatly expanded Wednesday schedule, with 53 educational sessions to choose from, plus three new panel discussions on some really hot topics: offshore outsourcing, GIS in public health, and homeland security are offered.

Leibbrandt also credited the many other committee members and staff who have contributed their time and energies to the developing of the GITA conference program. “It's the conference committee principals and their subcommittees who deserve all of the credit for making this year's program. All of these people have contributed numerous hours, along with the great staff from GITA, to make this year's conference one of the best.”


This year I will be at the conference, writing for the GITA Daily Newsletter and will be able to be reached during that time on
Email Contact. I look forward to seeing many of you in Seattle.


The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) announced the slate of panelists for its plenary panel discussion, “Homeland Security: Protecting Our Infrastructure,” scheduled for April 28, 2004, as part of GITA's 27th annual conference. Moderated by Scottie Barnes, editor in chief of GeoIntelligence and Geospatial Solutions magazines, the invited panelists include:

John L. Crowe, Acting Director, Geospatial Management Office, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Lt. Colonel Kevin Frisbie, USAF, Military Director, Project Alpha, U.S. Joint Forces Command/J9

Thomas Richardson, Captain, Seattle (Washington) Fire Department

Marc Riccio, Technical Executive, Office of the Americas, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Jim Schoonover, Preparedness Unit Manager, Washington State Emergency Management Division

Barney T. Yoshioka, IT Program Manager, Hawaiian Electric Company


Cherry LAN will incorporate UCLID's FLEX Index™ technology in its software products for county governments. FLEX Index automatically captures data, such as grantor, grantee, legal description, address and other important information, from unstructured county documents. Automated indexing saves time, allowing counties to stay current and record more documents faster and more accurately.

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