March 30

From 30 degrees to 70, from eastern time to mountain time, from magnetic locators, total stations and laser scanners, we have arrived at the 2003 ACSM-APLS Conference and Technology Exhibition in Phoenix.

The adobe facades, cactus and mountains form a welcome backdrop for exhibitors and attendees of this conference. Product demonstrations were performed outdoors while networking filled every corner indoors. The exhibit hall went from mess to magnificance in hours as exhibitors scurried to ready their displays. The exhibit hall reception was held tonight, where strollers observed the results of the hardworking manufacturers and other exhibiting companies and organizations while munching on raw vegetables and mini chicken wraps.

For us at POB, our Second Annual Gathering of was a thrill. In attendance were 20-25 posters and lurkers, most of whom admitted their presence by signing the "attendance sheet." Fellas from all parts of the country, including Richard Abbott of Adelaide, Australia, met to share stories, old and new, partake in a few complimentary drinks and talk behind the backs of those not in attendance (just kidding). A good time was had by all and compliments flew of the great friendships that have been established from Mark Deal's creation. A toast was also made in Mark's honor.

Earlier in the day, attendees filled rooms to learn about GIS, GPS-Derived Heights, professionalism and ethics, and inland water boundaries. Tommy Brooks shared his knowledge of how to teach the surveying merit badge and said the classroom was not filled to capacity but that each participant was eager and passionate about the topic.

Tomorrow promises to be another big day with a morning discussion on the "New ACSM," future directions of mapping and the ACSM Awards Ceremony. Stay tuned!

The anticipation of my first "big show" ended today when I arrived here in Phoenix. I knew I would be impressed with the exhibits and the show floor and my expectations were not let down. The booths I had the chance to stop at this evening were very inviting and eye-catching. To see what I mean, check out the booths highlighted in the virtual road show.

While the booth visuals and equipment displays were very interesting to see, the best part of gatherings like this is the people. It is always a pleasure to put faces with people that I work with via phone and, of course and probably most often, E-mail. The exhibit hall was a place to do this as I got to meet manufacturers' representatives that I work with as well as others who may have written stories for POB or may have stories in the works (or just in their heads' right now). But the really fun place to do the face-name matching game was the gathering.

Christian Clausen of El Paso, Texas, attended the gathering and commented that as soon as he heard the names of most of the people in attendance, he could see how their appearance fit the images he had created in his head through reading their various posts. Others echoed his comment.

All in all, it was a fun, exciting and exhausting day here in AZ, as I write this it is after 2 a.m. eastern time! Time to hit the hay so I am rested and ready for Day Two! Until tomorrow....