University of Wisconsin–Madison

Wisconsin Geospatial News

The pandemic is hitting popular geospatial conferences hard, but learning and networking opportunities are still out there

Earlier today I got word that the 2020 Esri Wisconsin User Group is cancelled for 2020; a disappointing but completely understandable addition to a long list of cancelled events for 2020. Note: as I write this the EWUG website has not yet been updated with this info.

I understand the 2021 Wisconsin Society of Land Surveyors Annual Institute that was scheduled to happen in the Dells in January is now going 100% virtual.  No word yet on the 2021 Wisconsin Land Information Association Annual Conference, also scheduled for the Dells this coming February.

I was personally planning to make my first-ever trip to the international “Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial” (FOSS4G) conference in Calgary, Alberta, CA this past August.  I was really looking forward to that one… thanks COVID!

But there are some positive examples of coping with the pandemic, and more coming.

While I didn’t make the time to attend the online Esri International Users Conference this past summer, I’ve heard fantastic things about that event.  Ditto for the WLIA Spring 2020 Regional. And from what I see, the WLIA Fall 2020Regional is shaping up to be a great event, and even has some cool virtual social events scheduled as well!

While it’s of course true the pandemic has negatively affected us all, both professional and personally, perhaps there is a sliver lining to all of this.  2020 is teaching us all how to better work (and network) with each other through a host of technologies.  While I look forward to seeing my friends and colleagues again in person, maybe the lessons we learn now will open up new and more frequent training opportunities in the future?  I have no data to prove this, but I wonder if we’ll see more frequent, smaller online events supplement less-frequent, larger “in-person” events in the future.

No matter how you measure it, I think the winter of 2020-2021 is going to be a long one! See you next summer???