Meat & Potatoes (Public Blog)

Feeling Lucky?
Welcome to the new world of networking! This is the inaugural blog post for the TNGIC community. A wise person once told me something that I have taken to heart over the years. This person said, “Sam – never bet against Tom Brady.” Well as many of you know, this person is still right to this day as evidenced by the results of the Super Bowl. One other thing I can say with certainty is that TNGIC will always win! After its humble beginnings in 1990, a small group of people formed the Tennessee Natural Resources GIS Users Group to foster discussion, education and networking opportunities. That group soon blossomed into the TNGIC we know today. With a broad reach across each region of our state and an open-door policy for ideas, TNGIC has served its membership well over the last 28 years! Our goal then remains the same today – to improve the connection between GIS users across local, state, federal and commercial entities. This basically means increasing the knowledge and ability of GIS users in Tennessee, promoting the exchange of data and information, and hopefully inspiring future generations. Additional objectives are training classes, webinars, conferences, committees and mentorships – just about anything and everything is available for people to get involved, facilitate and stay connected to their peers.

In the fall of 2020 and after an exhaustive search, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to sign a contract with Memberclick, a membership-based software company. This company builds websites that are first and foremost a robust communication platform for our membership. This allows for a public facing and members-only list serv, monthly blogs and webinars. Memberclicks allows us to combine our previous third-party apps and our membership database software into one platform. As an added benefit, we are using this opportunity to refresh our brand, our image and our website to meet the current needs of members. This is laying the foundation for sustaining the progress and growth that we have seen in the Tennessee geospatial community.

One of the bigger initiatives in making this a reality is training future generations in our craft. Currently, there is a Program of Study Agreement set up with Roane State Community College. This involves dual enrollment courses that allow high school level students to get college level credits for entry-level GIS classes they take. With the passion of a few high school teachers, the vision of the Tennessee Geographic Alliance and a little luck, we may be able to get some traction and be ready to go live with this in the 2021-2022 school year.

I think everyone will agree that we are happy that 2020 is behind us. However, let’s not overlook our successes. TNGIC is based on networking and collaboration, and for the last 12 months, this has been accomplished in a virtual environment. Ironically, the Board of Directors has had more meetings in this time period and accomplished more goals than in any other year that I can remember. We are poised to make 2021 a defining year within the TN GIS community and we look forward to working with each of you to make this happen.

Thanks to our sponsors and members! Without your support and enthusiasm, we would not be where we are today. If you are not a member, please join us, join the community and take advantage of all the great benefits TNGIC has to offer.

Sam Moffat
TNGIC President
[email protected]