Point of Beginning

GLIS Separates From NSPS

November 19, 2011

The Geographic and Land Information Society (GLIS) Board last week voted for GLIS to continue as a separate organization at least through 2012. According to a statement issued by the board, the move was made “in conjunction with our mission and in order to preserve its value and to best serve the interests of our membership.” The GLIS will be sending out dues notices independently and will handle its own affairs beginning January 2012. The organization is currently in the development stage of a new website at www.g-lis.org.

“As we launch into a new era for GLIS, we ask for your continued support in building an even better organization, worthy of your membership,” said the statement.

The statement further explained the rationale for the move:

The difficult decision to continue as a separate organization came after members of the GLIS Board had worked diligently and in good faith for over 1 1/2 years on various ACSM Realignment Committees and a Strategic Planning Committee and participated in several teleconference meetings amongst the presidents of the three ACSM Member Organization (MOs), all of which failed to result in a satisfactory plan to realign ACSM into a "unified" organization that would benefit all of us in the geospatial community--one which would provide real value to our existing members and create an environment for future growth. In addition, many critical decisions for the new organization are being dictated by NSPS/ACSM leaders, leaving no room for negotiation on some critical concerns that the other two MOs have. There has been little “unity” in the decisions being made.

Some of GLIS’ concerns/issues regarding the proposed realigned organization are:
  • With the NSPS “take over” of ACSM, neither GLIS nor AAGS have had any input into the 2012 budget, or into many of the decisions being made for a so called "unified" organization. Without input there is no buy in.
  • Our vision is to build a strong, unified organization that is inclusive of all of the related disciplines of surveying, mapping and geospatial technologies. This means equal emphasis on attracting members from various disciplines of the geospatial community and in which all members are made to feel ‘equal’ in terms of their contributions to the goals of the organization and in terms of shaping those goals. Everything that we have seen proposed to date for the realigned organization attempts to perpetuate the NSPS status quo. There is no real change proposed and CHANGE is what we need!
  • The name of the unified organization is important to us. We have continually stated our concern that the realigned organization not be named NSPS since this name is not representative of all the disciplines the realigned organization was supposed to represent. We would likely entertain a name as suggested by the latest ACSM Realignment Committee (ARC) or retain the name ACSM.
  • We have not seen nor been part of the development of a plan to address the challenges outlined by the Oser reports.
  • We recognize the value in retaining both the Council of Sections and State Affiliates within the new organization, but we see the need to revise/enhance the role that the affiliates and sections have historically played in the organization and to the way that they contribute to and interact with those both inside and outside of the organization.
  • We envision the creation of a simplified, all inclusive membership structure with reasonably set dues to open the new organization up to all within the geospatial community. Anyone should be able to become a contributing, voting member at any point in their career! That’s what we believe is needed for a successful unified organization. We need new energetic members, partners and affiliates with fresh and forward thinking ideas.
During various meetings of the MO presidents, both AAGS and GLIS inquired about other ongoing committees and efforts - in order to help establish a business plan, a budget and a membership recruitment and retention plan for the new organization to move forward. We were told that NSPS had various committees working on these matters but that no reports were available. Both GLIS & AAGS requested that representatives of all the MOs be invited to participate in any and all of the committees/task forces that are dealing with strategic/financial planning for the new organization as well as conference planning. To date, GLIS has not been included in any committees/task forces set up to deal with these matters, despite our well known desire to help plan the “new” organization.

The official announcement that GLIS would handle its own affairs for 2012 came during a November 10, 2011 teleconference meeting amongst the three MO presidents. During that meeting, both AAGS and GLIS expressed an interest in becoming affiliates of NSPS/ACSM. We certainly hope that NSPS/ACSM will accept our application for affiliation and so improve collaboration in creating an organization that works for all in the geospatial community and one that will put us on the path to a bright future. In the meantime, we ask for your support in continuing to sustain and hopefully grow GLIS to be the organization we envisioned.

Comments can be directed to president@g-lis.org.