Welcome Guide for Newcomers

GIS in the Rockies is the Rocky Mountain West’s premier geospatial information and technology conference. The conference offers opportunities for industry professionals to learn more about geospatial technology issues and business-centric strategies supporting every vertical market touched by the geospatial industry. Historically, attendees have included representatives from local, state, and federal government, the utilities industry, environmental services, land surveying professionals, the oil and gas industry, students, educational practitioners, and retail and business marketing professionals. Whether you are a seasoned GIS professional or are new to the industry, GIS in the Rockies Conference will offer industry insights and opportunities for everyone.

Download the Newcomers Guide (PDF)

General Tips

Manage your schedule. You’ll find no shortage of activities that reflect your interests at GIS in the Rockies. Consider making a daily agenda to print or transfer to a smartphone and keep your conference program handy to confirm session details.

Prioritize your activities. Search the online or printed conference program to identify topics, speakers, and sessions of interest. High-profile activities include the keynote addresses and session tracks organized around the featured themes of each conference.

Be flexible. Don’t schedule your time so rigidly that you miss out on unexpected opportunities, such as a last-minute opening for an exciting field trip or a spontaneous conversation with a new contact.

Pace yourself! Rest up so you can fully appreciate the conference’s offerings. Be sure to set aside time to explore Denver and the region, make new contacts, and reconnect with friends and acquaintances as these can be valuable learning and professional development experiences.

Dress for success. “Business casual” attire is appropriate for all conference events. Indoor temperatures can vary; consider wearing layers or carry a light sweater or jacket. Comfortable footwear is recommended.

Session and Event Types

Presentations: Each presenter speaks for 15-45 minutes including Q&A.

Panel Q&A sessions: After preliminary comments, the panelists engage in a discussion with Q&A from the audience.

Poster sessions: Posters are available for viewing in the pavilion where food is served. Presenters are available to discuss their posters for the duration of their specific poster session.

Keynotes and Plenary Sessions: Several plenary sessions featuring highly distinguished speakers are hosted by the GIS in the Rockies.

Social Events: Be sure to meet your colleagues and make new friends over lunch or the other social events during the conference. The main social event is Wednesday evening from 5-7 pm.

Exhibitor Hall: The Exhibit Hall is a good place to mingle while browsing the booths of exhibitors and vendors. Some exhibitors conduct demonstrations, informal classes, and book receptions at various times during the conference. See the conference program and watch for announcements with further details.

Field trips and workshops: The program lists numerous opportunities to explore the city and surrounding regions with knowledgeable guides and to participate in workshops on a variety of topics. Advance registration and a fee are required for most field trips and workshops. Sign up early; these fill quickly. To inquire about availability or to register, visit the On-Site Registration booth.

If you are a shy or introverted person, try a field trip to meet new people in a smaller group and a more relaxed, informal setting.

Session Participation Tips

Leave and enter quietly if you come or go during a session. If the room is full, find a seat on the floor or stand in the back.

Be sure to silence your cell phone during a presentation.

Check out the room before you present, if you can.

Bring your presentation in two formats in case a computer can’t read your file.

Introducing yourself to your co-presenters is a good way to network and make connections.

Be respectful of time limits and come well-prepared, having thoroughly rehearsed your presentation. You never know who might be in the audience, so be sure to put your best foot forward!

Consider taking some “time off” before your session to maintain your focus and steady any last-minute jitters.

Bring a few printed copies of your paper or presentation notes to share with audience members or new contacts.

As a presenter, it is polite to stay for the entire session.

Session Tracks

Session Tracks – the topics that organize a session – change from year to year. A track is thematically linked but can include a variety of subtopics that may interest you. Some popular recent tracks include:

FOSS4G: Free and Open Source Software For GIS: Learn about latest open source software and data. Talks feature how to implement the software in organizations, tips and tricks, and the latest trends.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV): Talks often include the latest techniques for capturing data through UAVs and analyzing the data.

GIS in Government: From local city planners to state agencies to federal data standards and uses, this track includes all governmental-related GIS use.

GIS in Education:  From K-12 through Higher Education, this track addresses the use of GIS for students, teachers, and researchers.

Events for Newcomers

Lunches: Lunch is a great opportunity to network and meet people in the industry and education.

Career Development Academy: Seats are limited, but for early and establishing professionals, this is a good opportunity to have feedback on your resume and interview skills.

Geography Quiz and Social Event: Test your knowledge in geography while meeting the GIS Rocky Mountain community.

Getting Started in GIS Panel: Discuss the current career paths in GIS with academics and professional GISers.

Networking Tips

Carry business cards to give to new contacts.

Conference badges include participants’ affiliations, so keep an eye out for representatives of organizations of interest to you. Badge ribbons will alert you to attendees’ roles at the meeting and within the association.

If you attend an excellent talk, or if you must miss a session of interest, consider following up with the presenter(s) after the meeting by email. Many presenters are willing to share a copy of their presentation or paper upon request.

Wireless Networking access is available – ask the information desk for connection details.