NYS GIS Association President Tareen Ushers in 2022 with the Annual President’s Message
19 January 2022
Dear Members, Sponsors, and Colleagues,
Happy New Year, and thank you for taking the time to read this year’s President’s Message.
Throughout the past couple of years, I found that our roles as GIS practitioners have never been more relevant and important for our companies, communities, and agencies as they are today. The past couple of years have rocked our foundations of ‘normal’ and forced all of us to live and work in this strange new world, which has surpassed even the worst-case duration estimates. I am, as I’m sure many of you are, a little ‘over-it.’
Many of you had to work long hours building and maintaining new apps to support the pandemic in addition to your always ever-increasing workloads. Some of you may have been recognized for stepping up to support, but many of you have not. So, thank you, for all you did the past two years. Thank you for finding a way to make those datasets happen, even when you were struggling to find toilet paper and bread for your home. Thank you for putting together that map or app, even when you had a kid (or two) playing Minecraft instead of logging into their Zoom class. Your contributions have had a HUGE impact on the realization that Geospatial Technology and professionals are indeed relevant, specialized, innovative, and essential. We are needed, not only to internally support the management of our communities, agencies, and companies but also to support our residents and customers with timely and accurate information. Geospatial information.
To quote Chris Badurek, our past-President, “The pandemic response has shown a light on the value of GIS and GIS professionals whose problem-solving skills, technical innovation, and commitment to accurate, actional information provide a service to the people of New York State.”
So, what is the ‘New Normal?” We know that we’ll never go back to the ‘way things were,’ but where will that pendulum find its center? I certainly don’t know yet, but I will share with you some ways that our incredible teams within the Association are adapting.
Our Association provides abundant opportunities to learn, teach, mentor, and share top-quality GIS resources. While the pandemic has greatly impacted our ability to have in-person meetings and conferences, we have done our best to provide virtual resources. An example of our training resources, anything from how to get your GISP certification to GIS tips and tricks, can be found here: https://www.nysgis.net/
Our rock-star Professional Development Committee continues to put together relevant, informative, and free webinars for our members. Our GeoSpatial Summit Committee is working on a new concept for this year’s summit; please keep an eye out for news on that in the next few months.
Speaking of news, the newsletter and social media posts are quick reads and continue to be our main communication mechanisms with you. Please take a glance at the emails and posts, and please feel free to share your success stories with us. We’d love to feature you (and your team) and all the hard work you’ve done.
As I lead the Association through this (hopefully) final year of the pandemic, we have set in motion a few priorities for the Association.
First, we will continue working with our committees to provide increased value to our membership, both inside and outside of a pandemic.
Second, the Officers and Board Members are working on updating and upgrading several Association processes. We hope that these changes will reduce the work that a few of our volunteers put in every month, and provide more transparency to the Board and Association in the long term. This includes long-needed documentation to support the Association functions, especially through transitions to new people.
Third, it came to all of our attention how poorly our communications between the Health Departments and ‘the rest of us’ tend to be. In the GIS world, there is so much that we can do, or do better, with enhanced access to data in conjunction with better communication procedures and protocols. We will continue supporting the changes that need to be made between Local, State, and National Health Agencies to provide a mechanism for us to better support our communities.
This is where you come in; we need your help. The old saying still rings true that many hands make light work. We need your support to keep our Association relevant and helpful. Please consider offering an hour, or two, a month to one of our Committees. Your participation is greatly needed and, as a bonus, will earn you a bunch of GISP points, along with being an excellent networking opportunity. You can reach out to the Committee that interests you, or to me directly, and we’ll get you introduced.
In closing, Happy New Year! Here’s to 2022 ending significantly better than 2021! With your help and support, I’m confident we can make this happen.
Karyn Senneff Tareen, GISP
President, NYS GIS Association