Ready, Set – GO! Time to Register for the Annual Conference
By Sally Wakefield, 2006 Conference Chair
You know that fall is in the air when registration opens for the annual Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium Conference and Workshops! As the conference chair, I would like to welcome all of you who have already registered for the conference, and extend a warm invitation to any of you who haven’t yet. The Conference Planning Committee is excited about this year’s event. In addition to a wide variety of high quality workshops, a robust slate of sessions and a full exhibit hall, some new entertainment ideas have also been put into place. This year’s conference continues in Minnesota’s tradition of “excellence in GIS.”
We’re back in St. Cloud for one more year on October 4-6, returning to a Wednesday through Friday schedule. The event begins Wednesday, October 4 with workshops held on the St. CloudStateUniversity campus. Come to the St. CloudCivicCenter to register and receive your packets in the morning. The Consortium will provide transportation to and from the campus. With a broad offering of hands-on and lecture-style workshops on a variety of topics, we hope that everyone will find something of interest. That evening, be sure to stop by the Red Carpet, located just one block west of the CivicCenter. The Consortium will again host a social hour that evening with complimentary appetizers and comedy! Comedy Sportz, a fun and interactive improvisational comedy troupe, will perform a customized show for conference and workshop participants. It should be a good time – please try to join us for this fun and free entertainment option.
The conference itself opens on Thursday, October 5. Registration opens at and we lead things off with a great plenary session. A true GIS pioneer, Dr. Jerome Dobson, President of the American Geographic Society, will address the conference and speak about the prevalence of geospatial technology advances and the related societal implications. Concurrent sessions begin immediately following the keynote. Seven tracks of concurrent sessions run throughout the conference schedule, providing information on a vast array of GIS/LIS-related topics. Learn how others have implemented solutions to issues you might be having, find out about new technology advances and listen to recent research in a field of interest. Again this year, outstanding students from across the state will be competing for cash prizes in a dedicated scholarship track. Watch for the competition entries among the student track presentations and in the poster gallery. Thursday’s lunch will spotlight the annual Polaris and Lifetime Achievement awards, given each year by the GIS/LIS Consortium.
The Vendor’s Hall, open throughout the show, will be the site of the Vendor’s Reception, following the concurrent sessions. Over 30 vendors, many new to our conference, will be on hand to share their latest technologies and services. Sample the hors d’oeuvres as you make your way through the hall and the poster gallery, where you can meet and talk with the poster presenters and exhibitors. Finally, after the close of the poster gallery and the exhibit hall, join us across the hall for MN 3B Night(Beer, Bids and Bluegrass), an expanded entertainment event that includes the annual beer tasting in addition to a silent and live auction, and live bluegrass music. Home brewers are welcome to bring some samples to share and conference attendees are encouraged to contribute to the silent auction and bid on auction items (see accompanying article) as all proceeds from this event benefit the Consortium’s scholarship fund. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the registration desk or at the door. So, bring your Visa card and your dancing shoes for a fun night of dancing, brew tasting and maybe a bidding war or two. Remember, all proceeds from this event support activities to foster and recognize exceptional up-and-coming GIS professionals.
The conference concludes on Friday, October 6 with concurrent sessions in the morning followed by lunch and the closing plenary session. Our closing lunch will include an awards presentation to this year’s student scholars and recipients of the Minnesota Governor’s Commendation for outstanding GIS/LIS projects. Closing the conference, a real on-the-ground K-12 GIS project will be highlighted. Dan Hackbarth, a grade 12 teacher, and his students will present information on how they have participated in Firewise, GIS in the Classroom. Firewise allows students hands-on experience building datasets that contribute directly to safety and security in Minnesota. Through Firewise, students learn not only GIS, but how to present this information to citizens and local officials. We are excited to highlight this very practical and effective partnership and learn more about how the students are benefiting from the experience. Following the lunch will be the Consortium’s brief annual member meeting and awesome door prizes.
We are excited about the conference and related events and hope you are too! It should be a great conference with quality workshops, engaging sessions, full exhibit hall, quality entertainment and of course an excellent opportunity to network and reconnect with friends and acquaintances. Please let others know about the conference who might not get our materials directly.
To register, visit our newly designed website at: www.mngislis.org. While there, you can learn more about the conference, contribute to the silent auction and see our new logo! Thanks to each and every one of you who support the Consortium, and we hope to see you all in October!