I haven’t done a year in review in a while. To be honest I’m not entirely sure why I’m doing one now except I feel like writing about a great many things so I might as well.
2015 was the year of pulling back and re-organizing on several fronts. 2014 had personal and professional challenges beyond anything I had dealt with in a long time. 2015 wasn’t any better in some ways with a lot of personal issues cropping up. When New Years Day hit my first order of business was finding a heating pad for the small cat. Yes her ancient heating pad that never turned off did just that. In all of that driving around with one goal in mind I decided that (and of all things to think about) I was too scattered. So I decided to get less scattered.
I dropped everything that looked like a professional affiliation. I kept one active – Georgia URISA – because that has pretty much been my dysfunctional family in Atlanta. Yes – putting the fun in dysfunctional. I’ll always be a fan. Period. So that may be the one organizational relationship I keep. ASPRS dropped rather gloriously. URISA ran out sometime in 2014. In 2013 I had dropped OSM. Depending on timelines my GISP may drop before 2015 starts. What? You’re dropping it? Yeah that’s a whole other blog article….and it’s not going to be a typical bashing article. Technically I only dropped two orgs in 2015 – but I stopped worrying about renewing the memberships of the others. That was something that always ate at me – I just stopped even thinking about it.
So what am I a member of currently? Well if you held a water balloon on me and say “PICK ONE” I guess it would be OSGEO for now. I’ve been trying to kickstart a Southeast Chapter. Will I continue – yes. What will it look like? Hell if I know. Will I serve on the board if one actually forms – probably not.
If I had to really pick something that isn’t an org that I’m a part of – geohipster. That has been quite rewarding although I fell silent this summer. It’s a good group of people and it’s challenging, it’s fun, and there’s no central organization except for this Bike Riding/Sailing man named Atanas Entchev….. Who will no doubt refuse to be the center point…..but he sorta is.
I’m currently on one conference committee – that is the FOSS4GNA 2016 conference committee. I don’t really count committees as organizations although it sorta kinda is one. So I guess I belong to that until they throw me off for either A. Violently offending someone B. Being a Disruption. C. Both
Conferences? Three. That was two more than I planned on but all three were well worth the effort. North Carolina GIS put on a conference in a snow storm. I went. I drove close to 900 miles in 24 hours to make it. It was one of the best statewide conferences I’ve been to….and I’ve been to a lot of state conferences. I will never drive that far in a jeep again in one day. Two and a half tanks of gas. 4wd for 35% of the trip.
I went to FOSS4GNA in Burlingame CA. These are my people. It’s fun. There’s an energy to it. It’s different. I was shocked at how many people were there from State/Local Government this year. Open Source GIS is a thing and it’s not the “I don’t want to pay money for software because I’m cheap” thing. People recognize the professional aspect of it. These people are fired up about it. I was lucky enough to be provided a couch from Michael Terner from AppGeo. We even had a party when his mom left. It was good times all the way around. So much so that conference it headed to Raleigh in 2016. I also learned what Hoark is/was. Not that I hoarked.
I did one last conference this year and it was in NE Tennessee. TNGIC puts on three regional conferences and this year it fell again in the NetGIS Domain. So I drove up to Kingsport to learn about drones, preach the word on QGIS, and meet a lot of good people. I will always say that NE Corner of the State has some good things happening with GIS and the Community. You should go to anything they do in that corner.
The one oddball thing that was Part Conference/Part Workshop I did with Georgia URISA on the coast. We went to Jekyll Island and I did a four hour QGIS Class. How do you do a four hour QGIS Class? Quickly. 29 people learning about some non traditional software and the fun part on that one is I turned it into I guess the closest thing I’ve had to a vacation – I spent one day on the beach. Sitting. Being Quiet. We had several people deviate from the class. One guy in particualr started doing “work” in the back. He started working through all his projects in QGIS and I lost him as a student – but QGIS gained a new fan quickly.
I was busier than I had planned on being – but in general I felt like the word/work/outreach of North River Geographic Systems solidified a bit. For may of you in small business going “WELL I DO A, B, AND C AND IT WORKS”. I’ve always been a bit scattered in offerings and that hasn’t helped. Although I hate the word “reboot” maybe that’s what 2015 turned into – A “Randy Reboot”…a “NRGS reboot”. Am I now a company that offers a menu? No….BUT – I am a company that is getting more focused on clients and work and it’s showing with two more clients acquired the last half of this year. To quote the HVAC guy that came out to my rental a few months ago – “I’m a generalist – give me these tools and an hour and I can fix 90% of everything that is wrong with anything”.