From IMAGIN President, Thomas Van Bruggen October 27, 2020
Unprecedented… the word we have all come to hear far too many times this year, but it does describe almost everything in 2020. This year was shaping up to be a great year for IMAGIN, with the conference planning coming together and a great facility in Kalamazoo. Members and non-members alike gained valuable networking connections through the well-attended meetups. The board was really looking forward to connecting with all of you at our annual gathering. Then the world as we know it came to a screeching halt! COVID-19 started sweeping the world and in March it hit the US. The IMAGIN Board tried to take a wait and see approach as so much was unknown early in this pandemic, but in late April we had to make a decision that impacted our organization greatly… we had to cancel the conference. We were not prepared to bring the presenters, keynotes, technology and other aspects of our conference together into a virtual environment. The annual conference is the largest event IMAGIN hosts and is vital to our organization. Cancelling the conference was an extremely difficult decision, but was necessary to keep our membership safe.
It has now been several months since the pandemic started, and the GIS community has been and is rallying. The IMAGIN Board has transitioned to virtual meetings and is working hard to bring together new ways to connect for our membership. We are launching the IMAGIN Webinar Series in November (check the Webinar Series page for details) and we are moving forward with plans to hold the 2021 Annual Conference on Mackinac Island in June if possible. Alternative plans are being made also, but we are all hoping to be able to meet, network and learn together in the near future.
Membership renewals are being emailed and we ask for your continued support of YOUR professional GIS organization. Please feel free to reach out to the Board of Directors or me with any questions. Also, consider getting involved by volunteering on a team to help our organization grow even in these challenging times.