NSGIC Ramps Up for 14th Annual Meeting

By Nora Parker

The National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) holds its annual meeting in Austin, TX, Sunday, Sept.12 through Thursday, Sept.16. The NSGIC session format for the 2004 Annual Conference will highlight state activities in particular theme areas.Each theme will be tied to federal or private activities.The themes include imagery, elevation models, road centerlines, cadastre, OGC web services, portal projects, state coordination, CAP grant projects and Homeland Security.Each of these theme sessions will start with two or three presentations by states with innovative programs or new information to share in these areas, followed by the appropriate federal agencies speaking to federal/state coordination and integration issues.Innovative programs include the use of new technology, new production techniques or cost saving measures, among other things.

Directions Magazine had the opportunity last week to speak to Rick Memmel, GIS Coordinator for the State of Wyoming, and this year's NSGIC conference chair.While the agenda amounts to a fairly impressive group of topics, we asked Memmel what he expected to be the hot topics this year.He pointed to two that he expects people to be talking about during breaks, at lunch and during the evening at Austin-area bars.It seems like the common theme is that states are grappling with data at a larger scale than many state projects have previously required:

1.The FEMA Multi-Hazard Map Modernization Program
2.The US Census Bureau's TIGER Modernization Program

"There are four sessions on the FEMA Multi-Hazard Map Modernization Program, which focuses not only on having good flood maps, but also good street centerlines, water bodies, etc.," said Memmel."States have to have good centerlines because of the E-911 and homeland security programs," he continued.In most states, the state agencies are coordinating with local governments to get at this kind of data, which of course involves a series of coordination issues.

Memmel expects this to be the biggest annual meeting to date in terms of both delegates and sponsorship. It has a central location that is accessible to many, and with the growing importance of NSGIC as an organization, it will probably draw more people than any previous meeting.Memmel expects more than 250 people to attend. "We are trying to get all 50 states there, and we have awarded a number of scholarships to make that happen - in the past the most we've ever had was 43 or 44 states," said Memmel.

Directions Magazine's Joe Francica will attend the meeting, so look for conference coverage in the September 15th issue of the Directions Wednesday Digest.

Published Saturday, August 7th, 2004

Written by Nora Parker

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