The (New) National Conference

Publisher’s Note: Two of our organizational partners, NSPS and MAPPS, announced the launch of a national geospatial conference this spring. We invited the incoming NSPS president to tell us what to expect and why we should all participate.

Everything starts somewhere, or—in the case of a national surveying/geospatial conference—it must be reborn somewhere. So, why not now? Prime opportunities to rethink, redesign, and reboot a truly national surveying, mapping, and geospatial conference is at hand: opportunities we should not pass up.

The future is starting to look brighter, for the economy, markets, our professions, and The Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS) and the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS). (NSPS’s “All in” membership campaign has been a great success, with 47 states and more than 15,000 members participating). High on the list of action items for NSPS is to build a new, national conference.

Great timing. MAPPS and NSPS have announced they will jointly host a national surveying, mapping, and geospatial conference, titled Collaboration: The Map to the Future, April 13-16, 2015 at the Hilton Hotel in Crystal City (Arlington), Virginia: 

This is only a few short months away, but already an agenda has been developed to include educational sessions, co-located meetings for the respective professional organizations, visits to Capitol Hill, the NGS Geospatial Summit, and high-profile speakers from the private and public sectors, including the federal agencies with which many of our members interact.

The greatest opportunity for this new conference is to put down a firm footing as the new National Surveying and Mapping Conference. There is a vacuum, particularly for the surveying and mapping profession, that needs filling with a new national conference. 

There are similar conversations happening within the geomatics communities in Canada. Who knows: maybe this could someday serve all of North America. It is time to think big! 

If you’ve ever had a chance to attend an Intergeo conference and exhibition (held in the fall of each year in Germany), you’ll know it is an outstanding example of a big (maybe the world’s biggest) surveying and geospatial conference, but that one is more about industry than professions. While attending Intergeo this past fall I spoke with some of their organizing team and heard a genuine interest in exploring perhaps a stateside version of Intergeo. 

Maybe a national conference could attract co-location. The possibilities are limitless: a solid, nationally and potentially internationally recognized conference could attract many co-located events from national and international professional associations; the 2002 ACSM conference at Washington D.C. was also an FIG conference.

Why bundle or co-locate various professional associations and societies? Bundling would foster great content by featuring business, technology, and a direct connection by allowing key educators, practitioners, vendors, and attendees to optimize travel and logistics resources to attract cross-discipline constituencies.

The national conference starts now, in 2015. If our professional societies, state societies, and respective growing membership will step up, we truly can Map the Future.


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