Saturday, September 30, 2006

Here I Am

I'm seated at a desk in a room at the Peabody Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas, getting ready for the 2006 Annual Meeting of the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), which gets started tomorrow at about 9:00 a.m.

The NSGIC conference is an important part of my professional life. It is the annual gathering of people who try to do what I try to do for Delaware's state government: coordinating the use and sharing of geospatial data among local, state, and federal agencies, along with the academic and private sectors.

There will be state GIS coordinators from probably 40 of the 50 states (maybe more), with lots of private sector folks, USGS staff, Census Bureau staff, and federal Homeland Security people. We'll meet from early morning until late at night Sunday through Thursday and finish up with a Board Meeting on Friday morning. I have the honor to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of NSGIC.

There will be breaks, and members of the group will be out late drinking beer every night. Likely without me. Lots will get done and by the end of the week I will be a wrag (even without too much partying). It's all worth it, though. This is an active, directed, and valuable group.

Riding in from the airport this afternoon, I shared the hotel shuttle with several USGS staff and , as it turned out, several folks who are in town for the annual meeting of COSLA, the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies.

One, I think, was Gary Nichols, the State Librarian of the State of Maine, with one of his staff. I think Mr. Nichols is the President of COSLA. A nice man, and interested, as I am, in the possible cross-overs between our two organizations. We are both, after all, in the business of enabling public access to information.

I was, as a graduate of Colby College in Maine, interested in talking with the Maine State Librarian. In addition, his staff member is a fellow Colby Grad, though she notes that when she was there, in the 1960's, they still had to wear skirts or coats and ties to class.

I'll have to keep an eye out for Anne Norman, the Delaware State librarian, and see if we can have a Delaware Caucus here in Arkansas.

If I can figure out how to get wireless access in the State Convention Center, next door, I plan to try to live-blog much of the NSGIC Conference on the NSGIC Blog. One of my goals for this week is to try to turn the NSGIC Blog into a group blog, recruiting and, if needed, training a few of my colleagues to add content.

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