I am taking time in this installment to respond to the majority of the comments from the Membership and Salary Survey. If you would like to review the first part or missed it you can find it here: Membership Salary and Satisfaction Survey Results Part 1 of 3 . The survey results summary is also available.
First of all, many of you offered nice thoughts and sentiments. Comments telling us to keep up the hard work such as, “keep up the hard work during Covid.” We thank you for the encouragement and will continue to strive to do our best under the circumstances. Here are additional comments that I have selected to elaborate upon with comments of my own at this time.
“As a recent member, I love the idea of attending the annual conference to learn new things, however, as an introvert, I tend to find it overwhelming. I would like to see a few more socials, or special interest groups like Young Professionals in Land Information/GIS to be developed for those of us who have a hard time getting to know the organization and begin building contacts and friendships for the next generation.”
We have had a well-received session for new members and I believe that you will see something offered like that again this year. Also, if there are enough people interested, we could have a special interest group (SIG) offering along the lines of what you speak of. Alternatively, if you are interested in building contacts, I would suggest joining an existing SIG that interests you, or consider volunteering your time on a WLIA Committee. We are always looking for additional help, especially the Annual Conference Committee during in-person events. SIGs are a great way to get to know others, young and old alike, who share your interests.
“You all are doing great and I wish I could give everyone a hug. It would also be pretty cool if you all could post more job openings or resources. I know SCO posts a bunch, but it seems like a lot don’t make it to their website. Thanks!”
Thank you for the kudos. We miss you too! It would be cool to post more job openings, but maintaining that information can potentially be time consuming, especially when links break. I believe as a matter of practice we have avoided linking to commercial sites, aside from those of our sponsors, exhibitors, and vendors. Because our site is operated by volunteers we are content to link to the State Cartographers Office, whom I believe provides a nice service of posting jobs available.
“I think WLIA is a great community! Sometimes my interests are not always aligned. GIS is a small part of my job and I am more interested in open source, such as R and Leaflet.”
We have had an open source SIG in the past, but my understanding is attendance has been a bit low. Stay tuned to see if that remains an offering this year. We know that there are people out there working with open source software. If they continue to submit abstracts for sessions and workshops, we will try to bring that unique content to you, as long as there remains an audience for it.
“I’d like to see some sort of mentor program that can put students in touch with GIS Professionals. Maybe some sort of social media platform.”
I would suggest you investigate becoming a GeoMentor. There is also a, Esri GeoNet community devoted to geomentoring here. I would also note that you might want to get in touch with our new Special Interest Group, Educators in GIS Network, as it may open some doors to those opportunities.
“If we want future WLIA to have more diversity (in race, ethnicity, ability, etc) – we gotta put in the work at the K-12 realm. We also have to promote recruitment strategies and strategies to RETAIN underrepresented people in our work places.”
I agree with your sentiments, and have said as much, when reviewing the responses in the first installment. To quote myself, “we are very pale and very male.” If you want to make a difference, I suggest joining Equity Advocates, and consider being a GeoMentor, as noted in a prior comment.
“I am not a GIS professional. My connection is through engineering integration with GIS data. I have attended a few meetings and conferences and I just wanted to say that these are some of the best run events I’ve ever attended. I’ve learned a lot in the sessions offered and I’ve met a lot of very helpful people and had a great time. If I was at a different point in my career, I would imagine myself switching careers and moving into the GIS field. Well done!”
Wow! Thank you for the ringing endorsement! Hopefully your integration with GIS data continues, and who knows, perhaps a new tailor-made work opportunity will arise as GIS continues to expand and integrate into additional facets of related fields.
“Overall I think WLIA does a great job. The area I see as needing the most attention is in student outreach. The number of students that attend the conferences is fairly low and I believe an outreach program to the universities could have a great impact on WLIA going into the future. Maybe even compiling a resource of currently offered programs in the universities and tech schools pertaining to land information. I also see a need for outreach to high schools to find ways to implement GIS into the classroom. Just thinking of the expanding nature of GIS.”
I agree with your concerns with student attendance. We would love to see more students. Our fall meeting saw an influx of students, an interest that we don’t ordinarily see during a non-annual meeting. So, I hope we can continue that momentum for this annual meeting, which will be as accessible as any annual has to students. We do maintain a list of academic contacts for Universities offering degrees in land information-related fields, and we market our conferences to them. Colleen Hermans, our Membership and Outreach chair, has been working hard to make inroads with universities this year, and it appears to be paying off.
“The conferences need more interesting and educational presentations. There needs to be increased focus on the technology and how others have deployed it.”
Keep an eye out for our sessions and workshops this year at the Annual Conference. I have a feeling that there will be plenty of technical offerings. We sometimes feel we might be going too technical and try to offer some soft skills and non-technical discussions as well, but your comment will be noted as we review what is offered during our Annual Conference.
“More reporting on NG911 activities of WLIA would be very much welcomed within the community.”
You will definitely be hearing more on NG911 activities in the near future. There has been a lot of effort put forth by WLIA’s NextGen911 Task Force, over summer and fall, working on standards for the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) NG911 data gap analysis. You will be most certainly hearing about those efforts during the Annual Conference.
“I’m very interested to see the results of this survey for how GIS salaries of WLIA members vary across the state and how the salaries break-down between demographics, education, and even GISP.”
I will try my best to lay this information out, where relevant, in a subsequent article.
“This has been a great organization to be a part of. Good people, good intentions, and a passion for solving real world problems with GIS.”
Comments like this one are a testament to this organization and its place in the Wisconsin Community.
Stay posted for the third in this three part series, where I attempt to take a deeper dive into salary comparison, as well as a bonus article, where I address one other comment from the survey that deserves its own discussion and perhaps some debate.