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#1
Derek Tonn

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Hey everyone!

I've had this nagging idea in my head for the past few months that won't go away...so I finally thought I would share it and see if folks out there think it would be something of value to us as a commercial mapping community.

One of my favorite things about the NACIS conferences is learning new things from others "in the business," as well as hearing what other folks are up to, what challenges they are currently facing, what cool OS/online tools or ??? they are using to make their jobs easier, etc.

We don't get nearly enough "commercial cartography" content at those conferences IMHO (even with PCD) ...particularly content that isn't dominated by GIS (not sure how/when commercial cartography meant starting from GIS data sets 98% of the time, but I'll leave that for other discussions). At any rate, with that in mind, I was wondering if we might occasionally schedule discussions on GoToMeeting on different topics, with different presenters (or ideally even guest presenters who aren't commercial cartographers).

Nothing crazy! Maybe once a quarter to start...with us maybe bumping that up to around once every 4-6 weeks if it seems to be valuable/popular. But a chance for those of us in the business to get together virtually as a group, share ideas and information, etc.

I have a GoToMeeting account that I use for our business, which I would be happy to "donate" to the cause. Only one major problem: I have the basic version of the tool, which only allows up to 16 participants. There are versions of the tool that would allow up to 99 participants, but that's been $500 more than I've wanted/needed to commit from our budget. But if anyone else out there has the "bigger" version of GTM (GoToWebinar), or if we started out with no more than 15-16 participants, it might be kind of interesting.

What say ye?
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#2
rudy

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So basically you're looking to set up a virtual, mini-conference? Hmmmm . . . sounds like an interesting idea.

#3
Derek Tonn

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So basically you're looking to set up a virtual, mini-conference? Hmmmm . . . sounds like an interesting idea.


Hi Rudy!

Not a "mini-conference," per se. More of a chance for several of us who live hundreds/thousands of miles apart to periodically talk-shop as a group, have a little "show and tell" if people are new and/or folks aren't as familiar with them or the services they provide, update us on new things they might be up to, offer tips and a few tricks, etc. Maybe more of a mini, virtual "Practical Cartography Day?" They could even be recorded for people who couldn't participate to watch them later too.

Just a thought. If people think it's not a good idea, that's cool too! Just wanted to throw it out there and see if it sticks to any walls. :)
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#4
frax

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Sure, I am willing to give it a shot! Isn't this what Google Hangouts could be used for? (I have never used it, it is a part of Google+)

Time zones might cause some trouble though...
Hugo Ahlenius
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#5
frax

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I can see this more as a user group meeting/pub night rather than a 'conference'.
Hugo Ahlenius
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#6
Derek Tonn

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Hey Hugo!

A "user group meeting/pub night" is closer to what I had in mind too. As much friends, colleagues and associates shooting the bull about the mapping business while out at a restaurant or enjoying a tasty rum or two as it would be professionals trying to impress one another. I would hope to keep it on-task and focused on mapping-related topics! But it's just an idea. We'd all have a hand in figuring out how to make it happen.

It would be like Google Hangouts too. The only thought I had is that not a lot of people seem to be using that resource as of yet. That, and the fact that it might be nice to record sessions once in a while too (though Google Hangouts looks like it will do that in future releases/iterations). Google Hangouts only seems to allow for 10 participants in a Hangout at the moment too. Less than the 16 I have with my basic GTM account and FAR less than the 99 participants allowed in GoToWebinar.

GoToMeeting would also let us change Presenters (who can share their screens with the group) in a matter of seconds. One minute, Nat is showing us a project he's currently working on. The next minute, Dennis is running a 2012 NACIS workshop idea past us. A few minutes later, Hans is sharing some cool news about Avenza. Etc.
Derek Tonn
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mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#7
Hans van der Maarel

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I think it's a very interesting idea, might be worth pitching to NACIS. Timezones could be a hassle for us Europeans (then again, when it's evening over here, it's morning in the US), but if you record the meetings they can always be viewed later.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#8
Charles Syrett

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I think this is a great idea – I've been wondering for some time now why it hasn't been done already! I wouldn't necessarily push for a huge gathering, though. Having been on such online discussions before, I've found that even 16 participants can be a lot.

Charles Syrett
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#9
Gretchen Peterson

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Please count me in. Whether early AM or late PM I'll try to make it. Good idea!

#10
Dennis McClendon

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I certainly like the idea. I'm a little vague on GoToMeeting, though. Would we be typing, or talking via webcam?
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#11
David Medeiros

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I certainly like the idea. I'm a little vague on GoToMeeting, though. Would we be typing, or talking via webcam?


It's usually done as a computer based phone conference thing. You call in to a central number and enter a log-in code for that meeting which launches a desktop meeting app. You can also view other members desktops or share directly from yours (controlled by the mod). Not sure if it can be set up to use the computer mic & speakers, I always had to use my phone. With a lot of people on the line it can be hard to tell who is talking (even with the speakers name highlighted in the app). It works pretty well. I'll be interested to see how this goes, could be pretty cool.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#12
Derek Tonn

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I think it's a very interesting idea, might be worth pitching to NACIS. Timezones could be a hassle for us Europeans (then again, when it's evening over here, it's morning in the US), but if you record the meetings they can always be viewed later.


Hey Hans! If I'm participating, it could actually be EASIER for me to talk with people in Europe, the Middle East, and/or Asia than talking with people here in North America...since I'm essentially on "Honolulu time" most of the time anyway (up at the crack of 10am GMT -6, working until ~2am GMT -6 most nights). :) I'm a night-owl by nature, and I try and work at times where I can catch the largest number of current/prospective clients in their "9 to 5" as I possibly can. 9 to 5 here in Minnesota doesn't work, at all...when we need to do sales presentations or conference calls over in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, etc.

With that in mind, what's to stop us from doing smaller meetings/chats at multiple times...making them be time zone friendly to individuals around the planet? Folks in the EU or ??? could do something in their 9-5 that a few of us Americans could join if we're in the office, and vice versa. No need to make this Continent-centric...(U-S-A #1! Okay, okay...Canada too...hehe) B)
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#13
Derek Tonn

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I certainly like the idea. I'm a little vague on GoToMeeting, though. Would we be typing, or talking via webcam?


It's usually done as a computer based phone conference thing. You call in to a central number and enter a log-in code for that meeting which launches a desktop meeting app. You can also view other members desktops or share directly from yours (controlled by the mod). Not sure if it can be set up to use the computer mic & speakers, I always had to use my phone. With a lot of people on the line it can be hard to tell who is talking (even with the speakers name highlighted in the app). It works pretty well. I'll be interested to see how this goes, could be pretty cool.


Yep...it's the sharing of desktops (seeing whatever the presenter/moderator want us to see on their own computers, and the ability for us to re-assign presenter status to any/all attendees throughout the duration of the meeting) that makes it such a powerful resource. In my opinion. Or, if individuals are feeling brave, it's even a chance to remotely offer a little tech support as well...as you can give others access to your mouse/keyboard if you want to.

Say that I'm having trouble with a particular feature of Avenza. I could schedule a GoToMeeting with Hans, then let him drive *MY* computer...with us talking and me watching him work through the problem on my behalf. The possibilities extend far beyond any general sales work, and I'm having fun trying to get myself up to speed as quickly as I can.
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com




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