While the event was much smaller than I remembered (circa 2000), it was indeed an excellent use of time.

The sessions I attended were useful and engaging.  Much to my enjoyment, the topic of data dominated the conference.  After all, data fuels all things GIS. So what more important topic is there?

But my favourite part of the conference included both the Introductory panel and the lunch hour guest speaker. Let me share some main points that I took away:

  • The need to focus on performing “detective intelligence” on all acquired GIS data, so that good decisions can be made.   The move to Open Data exasperates the issue of misusing data for purposes other than what it was intended for at the time of collection.
  • The irony of relying more on data from “trusted” sources (ie Government), and holding crowd sourcedVolunteered Geographic Information (VGI), and Citizen Science generated information with scepticism.  The irony lies within the detail that Government data does not always have a mandate (or funds) to update it, resulting in out-of-dateness and inaccuracies, whereas crowdsourced data is updated frequently, yielding more current information [as long as it is accurate!].  And as long as our checks are in place (metadata, qc/qa), this data can be more trustworthy!
  • Discussions on cloud computing and its natural evolution for the GIS industry. Key benefits include: data security, cost savings, time savings and equity (any person or organization can utilize it).
  • The future GIS job market. Specifically there appears to be a shortage of highly skilled computer scientists, “domain experts”, “data wranglers”, and technically savvy people who also possess interpersonal skills.  What a concept.
Looking forward to GeoTec 2012.