Top geospatial professionals from around the world will soon convene in Huntsville for a unique event geared toward both members and the general public.
The Open Geospatial Consortium’s (OGC) 126th Member Meeting, hosted by Mayor Tommy Battle’s initiative, GEO Huntsville, will kick off June 5-9 at the Huntsville Botanical Garden. With registrants coming from multiple countries, the conference is significant for our community and region.
To learn more about the event, we caught up with OGC Technical/Planning Committee Representative Stan Tillman, also an executive manager at Hexagon.
Here’s what Tillman had to say:
Why is landing the OGC a big win for Huntsville?
First of all, any time we can gather experts of a given field from around the world to our city, it is a big deal. We have attendees registered from all over the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and we even have a couple attending from South Africa. OGC’s membership form a global forum of experts and communities that use location to connect people with technology and improve decision-making at all levels. Within Huntsville, we have several organizations and companies that perform innovative research and development every day. And just about all of these companies would tell you there is some form of location in the work they do. Whether it is going to the moon and Mars, missile targeting, tracking a pandemic, or even finding the right product on a store shelf, geospatial and location are everywhere.
Since COVID, the in-person OGC Member Meetings have been in Madrid, Singapore and Rome. This meeting puts Huntsville in some good company as far as well-known cities around the world. While those of us who live in Huntsville understand the importance of the innovation and technology found here, this meeting gives us the ability to shine on a global stage and show the world what the City of Huntsville has become.
What programming will be covered during the meeting? Can you provide some examples of topics or solutions that may come from this event?
Although this is considered the OGC Member Meeting, there is a lot for the general public to attend. There are several public sessions that include graphic portrayal (dealing with visualizing geospatial data), connected systems (dealing with communication between IoT sensors), and defense and intelligence (with several speakers from different areas of the world giving their insights).
Outside of these meetings, OGC has other public sessions that include innovation, startup companies and plenary keynotes. Then, as part of their member sessions, a group of domain-specific meetings that are open to the public will occur on topics like metaverse, urban digital twins, point clouds, climate resilience, marine, emergency management, earth observation, geospatial AI, space standards and others. You don’t often get a chance to network with such a variety of experts in such a variety of fields, so you should really take advantage of the week.
Why is it important for Huntsville to host events like the OGC to stay on the cutting-edge of geospatial solutions and technology?
I think Mayor Battle is to be commended for his insight in understanding the importance of geospatial in not only growing our city, but growing it right. What many people fail to realize is how much of our daily lives revolve around geospatial and location. Even though Huntsville is known for its innovation, it is usually impossible to accomplish great things alone.
Hosting events like this allows the City to learn how other cities have become smarter using data and analytics. And it helps the City and its various companies have insight into the international community and the standards being developed, while also creating an environment that allows collaboration in a larger community.
How does having the OGC in Huntsville tie in to GEO Huntsville’s mission?
GEO Huntsville is a collaborative effort among businesses, academia and government entities within this region, which is very complimentary to the membership of OGC. The OGC is made up of over 500 businesses, government agencies, research organizations and universities from around the world. When we set out to host the OGC in Huntsville, we had two major goals: introduce Huntsville to OGC and the world as a major corridor for geospatial excellence and introduce OGC and its work to GEO Huntsville and the city as a whole. I believe we have already accomplished a lot simply through the communications we have had in preparing for these meetings. But I expect to see much more collaboration during the meetings and GEO Huntsville is planning to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with OGC to establish a long-term partnership for the future.
How would you encourage GIS professionals or those interested in the field to register for this event?
OGC has provided a web link that describes the meeting and tells you about some of the keynotes, presents the entire agenda and points you to the registration page. The link is located here: OGC’s 126th Member Meeting. You will need to create an account on the OGC site as part of the registration, but this will only simplify the process when you register next time for either in-person or remote attendance. Once registered, you can select the agenda items you want to attend and create calendar appointments for each meeting.