2015 Conference Wrap-Up

Certificates of attendance – Launch this GIS Viewer, search for your name to obtain a copy of your certificate.

Maptionary (maps will be posted)

Slide Decks from Presentations (will be posted)


A “Thank You” to the 142 who registered and attended SCARC 2015, held at the Town of Lexington Municipal Complex and Conference Center on March 24.

You might note the abbreviated one day event was a bit different – we encourage you to engage the board with feedback. Why one day events on Odd-numbered years? It’s not due to competition between the NC GIS conference, which is one of the biggest in the nation with 10 concurrent sessions, 1000 attendees (mostly from NC) and 46 exhibitors – that is also held on the odd numbered years.  You really need to make plans to experience NC GIS in 2017.

Instead, the board made a point this year to pause and to focus on you – the GIS Community in SC.  We have had conversations about succession planning which will help bring in new energy, ideas and volunteers.  In the next few months, you should hear more about a SCARC membership, which will support the GIS efforts in the community and help you with GISP certification.
Having a 2 day event takes a great deal of effort and takes away from the volunteer energy required to properly have additional activities throughout the year.

Led by Scott Davis once we close out the event today, SCARC will be making plans for a 2 day event in 2016.  Please, volunteer your skills and energy to help Scott and the board make this happen.

I had the opportunity to meet the attendees of our March 9 Enterprise GIS Basics workshop and realized SCARC and the Geospatial industry here in south Carolina are both growing.  There are some in the audience who are new to the GIS community here and may need some context to understand SCARC.

Last year, with our 25 anniversary,  we floated the idea of going back to a model offered in our first 10 years.  When Lyn Shirley was cleaning out his office last summer he sent me some newsletters from the late 1990’s.  (Here are some snapshots)

Here are a few takeaways from what I learned about the early days of SCARC –

  • The NC and SC arc users groups combined events for a couple years and that Jack Dangermond visited.  (What are your thoughts if we planned this again for 2017?)
  • There was a focus on recruiting and electing officers every year with business meetings held during events
  • The funds in the SCARC account were only used for the mailed newsletter.
  • Informal, short field trips were scheduled to visit user sites and share interesting uses of GIS
  • The program consisted of moderated discussions, hot topics were submitted in advance by mailing back your newsletter with your interests.

Isn’t it interesting to see some things change and others constant all these years?

Recently, as we thought about where to hold a SCARC event, we started looking at the relationship between attendees and  the location of the event.  We have a story map showing how attendance and location of the conference event is related.  It makes sense to move the event around the state to engage more of the GIS community, hopefully we can do that with these one day events.

Today, our mailing list is over 800.  Attendees number 300 at our two day events.  So the days of being a small group are long gone.  We need to be creative in how we organize activities.

This one day event in odd numbered years, two days on even years aligns with the mission of SCARC and our vision for community building.   The one day event can take place at various locations across the state and showcase GIS in your community.  We hope it will offer more opportunity for networking and exchange of knowledge.

Its been a pleasure to serve along with the other board members and volunteers.  Please thank them for their efforts and ask about their experience.

I would like to encourage you to volunteer with SCARC.  Please consider serving on a committee, these Committees serve as a laboratory allowing you to try out new skills and ideas and learn about working with SCARC.  Just like the maptionary activity, event planning is also a team building activity.  Everyone has something to contribute.

When you volunteer with SCARC or any professional organization, you build a skill-set in ways different from your day job, you can apply these skills back to your day job.  Maybe you want to learn how to convey the benefit of GIS in your organization – you could start by serving on the communications committee to learn some best practices there and exercise or expand your skills by collaborating with others around the state.

So if you think you are too busy and have too much going on to participate.  If you are curious and don’t yet know how you fit in with SCARC – that’s perfect, we need you to volunteer – that means you have the energy and ideas we need.

Thanks to our sponsors and to the attendees for supporting SCARC and the Geospatial community.

Bryan Townsend, SCARC President, 2014-2015

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