On March 18th, I will be attending the 27th annual TUgis Conference, which is hosted by Towson University’s College of Liberal Arts and organized cooperatively with the Maryland State Geographic Information Committee (MSGIC) and the State of Maryland Department of IT (DoIT).  The TUgis Advisory Committee has done a fantastic job organizing the conference.  I look forward to attending Ms. Anne Miglarese’s Plenary Presentation, participating in a panel discussion titled “The Next Generation of Maryland’s Enterprise GIS MDiMap 2.0”, discovering and discussing map design / map application development strategies by checking out the Map-App Competition and catching up with current and former GIS colleagues.

I also look forward to interacting with the undergraduate and graduate students attending TUgis.  Many of the TUgis volunteers are current undergraduate or graduate college students who trade in a day of Spring Break for the chance to explore the GIS world through the TUgis conference.  For some students, TUgis is their first chance to interact with GIS professionals, discover existing trends in the GIS industry, and develop a better understanding of how their research and professional interests best fit in the GIS industry.  The best way to encourage and cultivate that interest is by making sure the students feel that TUgis is as much for them as it is for the established GIS professionals.

Eleven years ago, I attended my first TUgis conference as a prospective graduate student and as a volunteer.  At that time, my GIS experience was limited to a handful of GIS and Remote Sensing courses and a developing appreciation of how GIS can be employed in various professions.  What I remember most about that TUgis conference was the attention the GIS professionals paid to my questions regarding GIS, how GIS can be used in hazards research (my primary interest at the time), and how best to prepare for a career that utilizes GIS technology.  Keeping that positive and encouraging experience in mind, I look forward to sharing my knowledge, experiences, and suggestions with the attending volunteers and students.  I encourage all attending GIS professionals to do the same.

For more information on TUgis 2014, check out the conference website.