July 2018

236 237 abilities of geospatial practitioners and awards successful candidates with the GISP (GIS Profes- sional) certification. GITA also serves as a lobbying agency for our members. Over the past two years, the hotly debated “Geospatial Data Act of 2017” and similar state efforts have consumed a large portion of the association’s efforts. The proposed legislation and similar bills in the various state legislatures would place the work of GIS practitioners and GPS users under the auspices of professional en- gineers and licensed surveyors. As of this writing, GITA has been successful in conjunction with our industry allies to stymie these efforts, at both the federal, and for the most part, at state levels. Protecting the dynamic geospatial industry and our members’ ability to provide innovative, inde- pendent solutions and services to their clients is a primary goal of GITA! Current Business Model: As the industry has changed and matured so has GITA. By 2011, in response to industry challenges, GITA was in need of a reboot. The association restructured itself as a volunteer- based organization. Rather than overseeing a large in-house management staff, the board collaborates and works with our contractor SharedGeo (https://www.sharedgeo. org/) of St. Paul, Minnesota. SharedGeo functions as the “back office” for the association providing, IT, membership, and event planning services for the association. Relieved of the burden of maintaining a full-time staff has allowed GITA to provide services to our members in a highly cost-effective format. Membership in the organization is still very rea- sonable compared to other industry associations or trade associations; individual memberships start at $150 and corporate affiliations may be purchased for as low as $500. Involvement: As with any volunteer organiza- tion, GITA is in need of active and involved pro- GEOSPATIAL INFORMATION & TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION fessionals who want to make a difference in the industry. Volunteers are needed to help promote the association via social media, assist with con- ference planning, and recruit new members and affiliates. One of the greatest challenges I’ve faced as President is recruiting younger practi- tioners, especially those with five to ten years’ experience to get involved with association ac- tivities. Unfortunately, any organization cannot only rely on the senior veterans to keep things going. I’d encourage younger professionals to get involved; your insights, passion, and energy are needed! It seems today everyone has an excuse. Well, you’re busy, I’m busy, my Board of Directors is busy, we are all busy! Young profes- sionals, it’s time to step it up. Non-involvement also has a lost benefit cost, especially in a lack of networking and speaking skills. Involvement with GITA reflects well, not only on yourself and your professional skills, but also reflects well on your employer and their contributions to the geospatial industry. Please consider joining our efforts to keep GITA relevant and growing - not only for your career but for the good of the geospatial industry. Mark E. Limbruner, GISP has over 36 years of mapping, CAD and geospatial experience within the petroleum exploration, environmental engineering, GIS consult- ing, and coal mining industries. Since 2008 Mark has been employed as the GIS Manager for Range Re- sources Corporation’s Appalachian Division. He has served as a director of the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) since 2013, and it’s President since 2015. Feel free to reach him at president@gita.org