Sunday, January 10, 2010

Things are About to get Interesting

The new year is about to kick into very high gear for me, professionally. As we rise from the wreckage of the holiday season, a number of strands are starting to come together in the related areas of GIS and data management, the 2010 census, land-use planning, and state government management over-all. It should be an interesting start to 2010.

The Delaware GIS Conference is now one month away. One my my jobs in Delaware state government is the coordination of the use and sharing of geospatial data and tools. I run an organization called the Delaware Geographic Data Committee (DGDC) and we mount a statewide GIS conference every few years.

This time around, I am the chair of the Conference Planning Subcommittee and so am sweating through the run-up and wondering if enough people will register and attend for me to not be terribly embarrassed. Our conference is not expensive, but finding any money to spend these days is a challenge.

I spend a fair amount of time promoting the event. I have initiated a series of posts on the DGDC News blog based on the abstracts of the 24 presentations that will be offered. Meanwhile, I work with a great group of subcommittee members who have all taken on the different tasks needed to make a conference happen. I have absolute faith in these folks, but need to stay connected and try to understand what they are up to to coordinate the whole thing.

Meanwhile, I'm working with another group on a strategic plan for statewide GIS coordination under a federal grant. We plan to release a draft at the GIS Conference, so there's plenty of review and comment work to be done.

And, while we're in coordination mode, the 2010 US Census is just ahead. The decennial count will be taken on April 1 and promoting and preparing for that is part of my job responsibilities.  I'm working now to organize a statewide "Complete Count Committee" to add some oomph to census preparation.

At the same time, I'm deep into the City of Lewes zoning ordinance as chair of the Lewes Planning Commission. We've spent many months on this update and the process has proven more complex and challenging than I would have thought. But we're rounding the final turn and almost ready to take it public.

That task dovetails with the overall land use planning coordination that is the center of the mission of the Office of State Planning Coordination, where I am housed. It is an ongoing challenge for which I provide technical support -- GIS, demographic data, etc. -- and for which I help track news sites and on-line discussion.

Never a dull moment.

And looming over all of this is the return of the Delaware General Assembly on Tuesday. They face another session of trying to balance the state budget in a time of fiscal crisis. There's a chilling story about this in today's News Journal -- Delaware lawmakers return, once again facing tough choices with budget shortfall. It discusses the likelihood that we'll not get back the 2.5% pay cut we took last year. I can live with that. What's more interesting is the start of discussions about what services, programs, offices, and maybe people will need to be cut.

As I said above: "interesting."

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