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#16
Charles Syrett

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Ha! I actually lived in Ottawa that year, and knew nothing about it. Interesting, too, that it was one of the few years when the meeting was nowhere near Canadian Thanksgiving. :rolleyes:

Charles Syrett
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Wonder how the Ottawa one went in 1994



#17
rudy

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Ha! I actually lived in Ottawa that year, and knew nothing about it. Interesting, too, that it was one of the few years when the meeting was nowhere near Canadian Thanksgiving. :rolleyes:

Charles Syrett
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http://www.mapgraphics.co


Mmmmmm . . . stuffing :P

#18
natcase

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I don't know the numbers exactly, but I recall hearing that Ottawa was a fiasco attendance-wise, and has made NACIS board leery of going outside the US. It's important in the long haul to make the schedule consistent—people with governmental and academic responsibilities, especially those with a heavy conference load, often need to know which conferences they are going to, a few years in advance. Having it always the same time helps maintain a steady flow of regulars. That said, the week after Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving does have its pluses and minuses—I have an annual morris-dance gathering over that weekend that I've managed to not get to for a decade and finally did this year as part of a loop trip... but it was quite a logistical production.

The big question is whether being in a cool location outweighs or at least balances out being in a location that's a little harder/more expensive to get to (and this is true not just for Canada but for locations not immediately adjacent to a major airport, like Duluth, where I'd love to see a conference). Missoula was kind of an experiment in this, and while attendance was fine, it wasn't as good as it was in Sacramento. Then again, attendance was down again this year, and it was in an easy, pleasant, and cheap place to get to. "Slashed budgets" was the best guess about the cause for this with everyone I talked with.

Maybe we could have a different sort of rotating schedule than the one we have (it's very informal, but NACIS tries to rotate around the East, Midwest and West). Maybe we could have one central location we go to every other year, alternating with one less-usual location (including Canada) and just count on a smaller conference on the alternate years that attracts attendees from outside the NACIS core.

The bigger challenge I see is with scheduling. Do we want to allow scheduling NACIS outside of the week after Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving? It will affect attendance, but maybe if we took seriously meeting in co-ordination with other groups, it would be worth it.

I guess I'm on the side of keeping it at the same time, just because knowing exactly when it's going to be helps me schedule other big-ticket things throughout the year. I think the ideal of linking with other organizations is a good one in theory, but in practice, especially in this world of internet blogs and forums and Cartographic Perspectives converting to an open web-based format, the real value to meeting in person is the personal connections. And those are very one-to-one-based, not necessarily helped by shoving "200 of us" and "200 of them" together in a room to listen to presentations. Not that the presentations aren't valuable, but it's the conversations and relationships between the sessions and in the Q&A, the slow building up of a sense of camraderie, one cartographer at a time, that makes NACIS work. IMHO.

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

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maphead.blogspot.com



#19
nonie3234

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Puerto Rico??!!??

#20
nonie3234

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From your list, there are several states that have had more than one Annual Meeting, and there are quite a few states that have never had one! Las Vegas, anyone???


State Count
CA 1
CO 1
FL 3
GA 1
IL 1
KY 1
MD 1
ME 1
MI 1
MN 1
MO 1
MT 1
NC 1
OH 1
ON 1
OR 2
PA 2
TN 2
TX 1
UT 1
VA 2
WI 6

#21
nonie3234

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Okay, I know this is probably TMI - but in case it's helpful:

State/Possession Abbreviation Count
Alabama AL
Alaska AK
Arizona AZ
Arkansas AR
California CA 1
Colorado CO 1
Connecticut CT
Delaware DE
District Of Columbia DC
Florida FL 3
Georgia GA 1
Hawaii HI
Idaho ID
Illinois IL 1
Indiana IN
Iowa IA
Kansas KS
Kentucky KY 1
Louisiana LA
Maine ME 1
Maryland MD 1
Massachusetts MA
Michigan MI 1
Minnesota MN 1
Mississippi MS
Missouri MO 1
Montana MT 1
Nebraska NE
Nevada NV
New Hampshire NH
New Jersey NJ
New Mexico NM
New York NY
North Carolina NC 1
North Dakota ND
Ohio OH 1
Oklahoma OK
Oregon OR 2
Pennsylvania PA 2
Puerto Rico PR
Rhode Island RI
South Carolina SC
South Dakota SD
Tennessee TN 2
Texas TX 1
Utah UT 1
Vermont VT
Virgin Islands VI
Virginia VA 2
Washington WA
West Virginia WV
Wisconsin WI 6
Wyoming WY

#22
David Medeiros

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Why has no one plotted the conference history list on a map yet? ;)

I know you said NACIS tries to balance east, mid and western states but I see a mostly mid and east schedule there. I'd be inclined to do a conference in any of major western states, most of which have never hosted NACIS - Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, heck even Utah!. By simple geographic extent and scale of economy California should have had at least two by now.

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#23
Matthew Hampton

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If we are going to lead ourselves toward spatial equity we'll end up in in Wapusk National Park in Northern Manitoba near Husdon's Bay. This happens to be is the centroid of the North American Continent.

Attached File  Untitled_1.jpg   74.48KB   31 downloads

Perhaps we should be considering a different model? B)

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#24
nonie3234

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If we are going to lead ourselves toward spatial equity we'll end up in in Wapusk National Park in Northern Manitoba near Husdon's Bay. This happens to be is the centroid of the North American Continent.

Attached File  Untitled_1.jpg   74.48KB   31 downloads

Perhaps we should be considering a different model? B)



Awesome ... :P
PS - I would totally go there!

#25
mlbostwick

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Some of the major considerations on where to have a conference are 1. ease of transport (major airport with easy connections), 2. Hotel availability and expense, and 3. a local person within NACIS willing to devote a huge amount of time to local arrangements. It's not just a matter of saying, "it would be cool to go here!".

It is also imperative that the conference be held in a location that is guaranteed a certain amount of attendance. If the conference isn't a success (as in Ottawa - about 50 attendees - the lowest ever) then it is a huge financial blow to the group. When you deal with a hotel for meeting space, you usually also have to guarantee them a certain number of room bookings, catering $$, equipment rentals, etc. If not enough people attend the conference to hit these goals, then the remainder of the fees all come out of NACIS's pocket - resulting in either skyrocketing fees for membership or the conference itself.

So you can see that while it might suck for those of us in out-of-the-way locations to get to the conference sometimes, for the overall sustainability of the group they need to schedule the conferences in places they know will work, and where they know they have members for volunteer help.

#26
Dennis McClendon

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Here's where NACIS has met so far:

Posted Image

The idea of meeting outside the US is discussed at virtually every board meeting. There are four hurdles:

  • For many years, NACIS thought it needed to have someone in the conference city to make local arrangements. That meant lots of college towns, which actually worked out well, but also made big chunks of the map inaccessible. When I was on the board, I tried to convince others that an exciting conference city that draws six additional attendees pays for a couple of site visit trips by someone from elsewhere to make local arrangements.
  • For many years, NACIS had a lot of federal government employees, who often had trouble getting permission to travel outside the country. Conferences withing driving distance of DC were always well attended.
  • The Ottawa conference had such low attendance.
  • Timing. CCA likes a summer conference, while NACIS (and its academic members) like a fall conference. We never could come to an agreement.
As president, I really had to twist arms to get NACIS to finally meet in California. At one point, I felt like Norma Rae standing on a table holding a sign that said "1 of 8 Nacites lives in California." Finally, when I mentioned Wine Country nearby, we got Sacramento on the table.

Now I'm not in the board meetings any more, but it looks to me like the group has gotten burned by some hotels (Sacramento, I think), and so staff is looking at proven conference cities that drew good attendance and where they had a good experience with the hotel. That's why Madison and Portland are back on the schedule.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#27
tanya

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A great discussion here!

To answer the question about the Ottawa meeting, there were 30 people who showed up, according to the Business Manager. A repeated showing like this, with the financial commitment that the organization has to make to the hotel, could be catastrophic, especially considering the amount of liability that hotels require now. Once we sign a contract with the hotel, we are on the hook to meet minimum requirements for sleeping rooms, and food/beverage purchases--tens of thousands of dollars. NACIS operates on a cost recovery basis--which requires a minimum number of people to attend the meeting.

It isn't the case that Canada hasn't been considered, there is just an overall nervousness due to the one time it was attempted.

There is one larger issue, we have a lot of members who are US Federal employees who have told us they would be unable to attend a meeting if it were held outside of the US. Do I hear Niagara Falls as a possibility?! How romantic.

Also, much like the program content, it is up to the members to propose locations. We are willing to consider a location that meets all of the NACIS requirements for a city, if there is an enthusiastic, organized Local Arrangement team on the ground to coordinate the night out event, field trips and get local participation (which plays a large role in the success of a meeting).

Some of things we take into consideration when determining a meeting location, once we have enthusiastic local arrangement crew:
1. Affordable hotel, for sleeping nights and conference rooms
2. Relatively easy (affordable) to get to
3. Walkable city

As far as collaboration with other organizations. I don't know much about the history of these attempts, but I would be interested in working with other groups for all sorts of things. We have to be careful how we approach some of these larger issues, such as sharing a conference, since NACIS is mostly a volunteer organization. Some of the coordination efforts could add levels of complexity on how to divide tasks and could add bureaucracy to an already very overworked volunteer team. Additionally, we have to make sure that we are making decisions that protect and support the NACIS members, not having to compromise our mission for another groups wishes who may have members with a different focus. This isn't to say we're not open to the ideas, just that we're watching out for the interests of our members. We're listening to you, let us know where you stand on these issues, and more.

I'd like to hear more, please comment here, or contact me directly: tanya@nacis.org.

Thanks!

#28
nonie3234

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So - someone could take a list of the cities the members live in (or "select by distance" to pick those near also), apply a "walkability score", add the cities near major air carrier destinations, then once that list is compiled - drill down to the hotel data.

Gee... if only we knew someone who knows GIS... Hmmm....

;)

Some of things we take into consideration when determining a meeting location, once we have enthusiastic local arrangement crew:
1. Affordable hotel, for sleeping nights and conference rooms
2. Relatively easy (affordable) to get to
3. Walkable city



#29
rudy

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This is not say that any future NACIS conference to be held in Canada would be poorly attended as well but it is clear that having NACIS meet in Canada poses insurmountable challenges to a number of attendees. I am surprised that there were only 30 attendees . . . I was not a cartographer back then (that's my excuse for not attending) but I wonder how much local (in this case national, across Canada) promotion is done to highlight the event. Other than word of month, postings on the Internet, newsletters, etc. how does word of these events get out?

So, to put it all in perspective, it might be helpful to know what conferences were well attended and why. Good economy at the time? Close to major mapping hubs? Great guest speaker / programs? Superb organization? A lack in any of these areas could explain the poor attendance in Ottawa but most likely it was the location outside of the US.

If you ever do plan on having it in Canada again, it might be worthwhile to hook up with some local/national related organizations.

By the way, how many people do turn out for these things? How many is a respectable amount?

#30
natcase

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I wonder about organizing specialized, smaller seminars or other events, in "marginal" annual-conference territory. Maybe even make the "big NACIS" a biennial event, with a couple smaller, more focused regional events in alternating years (e.g. a one-day mini-conference focused on relief mapping, or cadastral mapping, or thematic census mapping). Maybe instead of full joint meetings with related organizations, have a "tag-on" day to their conference—like a Practical Cartography Day for the ArcGIS Users conference or ACSM/CAGIS.

Just throwing ideas out there, creating more potential work for everyone else. :)

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com






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