A Different Sort of User Conference: Schneider Corporation’s UC

By Directions Staff

The whole world of conferences, GIS conferences included, is changing with the down economy. Some software vendors are taking their conferences online, others are simplifying their offerings. Industry conferences are linking up to better serve their members. Potential attendees are counting their pennies and looking for the largest return on their time and money investments. One conference, now in its 12th year, isn't changing that much, though its theme of "Harvest More with GIS" is very timely. Directions Magazine spoke with Jeff Corns, vice president of GIS for The Schneider Corporation, a full-service professional services firm that provides engineering, technology and consulting solutions, about his company's upcoming events, the 2009 GIS Conferences and User Groups (press release).

Directions Magazine (DM): Are these events for existing Schneider users only?

Jeff Corns (JC):
The GIS Conference is open to both Schneider customers as well as others interested in our work. We have a GIS orientation section (outlined on our website) that is open to anyone who would like to attend and they do not have to be a customer. Several organizations find this a good way to explore GIS and network with other existing GIS users.Â

DM: There are many sessions on Beacon. What is Beacon?

Beacon is an interactive public access tool that allows users to view county and city information, public records and geographic information systems (GIS) via an online portal. Beacon combines both Web-based GIS and Web-based data reporting tools including CAMA, Tax, Permitting, Utility Maintenance, and Work Order Management into a single, user-friendly Web application.

DM: How is admission managed?

Existing clients that are engaged in an active project with The Schneider Corporation automatically get admission to the conference. After initial projects are complete, our clients can choose from a variety of support plans, from phone support to Schneider serving as their GIS coordinator, all of which include admission to our GIS Conferences.

DM: What is the goal of the conference?

The theme of the conference is to "Harvest More with GIS." Because most organizations are struggling with decreasing revenue streams, we want attendees to be equipped with ideas on how to identify additional revenue (i.e. identifying taxable property outlined in the example in the press release), how to help cut their costs (we save organizations an average of 25 man hours per day), and how using GIS overall will help them make better decisions. Â

DM: Schneider has done this before. What is new this year?

Schneider has hosted an annual GIS conference for the past 11 years. What's new this year is an emphasis on how GIS can help drive revenue and reduce costs because of the financial status of most of our client organizations. This is also the first year that we have designed the dedicated orientation session for attendees who are not Schneider clients. This year's conference will include 12 breakout sessions covering Land Records Management, Infrastructure Management, and Public Safety, as well as emerging issues such as the use of social media tools.

Published Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Written by Directions Staff

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