Building a GeoCommunity – my intro speech


For those of you who missed it or anyone not here, this was how I opened the conference (except for the ad libs)

Good morning everyone. It is my great pleasure to welcome you to this the 19th AGI Conference. Looking around and seeing over 400 people here in this hall and knowing that nearly 500 delegates will be attending over the two days, I cannot hide a little bit of pride on behalf of the fantastic conference working group and AGI team who have created this event for you.


When we finished last years conference there was a strong sense that we needed to do something different. Well this is it – a 2 day residential conference with 51 key notes, papers, workshops and debates plus 8 hands on training sessions. I know that you are going to have a stimulating and educational conference; hopefully it will also be fun. The challenge will be choosing which sessions to miss; you just can’t get to them all.

A word of thanks to all of our presenters, without your willingness to share your projects, ideas, opinions and skills with us there would be no conference. Please show them your appreciation by giving them and the AGI feedback using the forms that will be in each session.

The theme for this conference is “Building a GeoCommunity”. The idea for this conference came to me when I was attending last year’s Awards Dinner where AGI recognises achievements and contributions. I was struck by the interdependence and cooperation which characterises the way that we work together, AGI is a very special organisation representing all of the different interests within our industry.

A community is defined as

  • a group of people living in a particular place;
  • a group of people bonded together by a common religion, nationality or occupation
  • the word comes from the Latin communitas – fellowship

People, place, occupation and fellowship – I think that defines our GeoCommunity.

Attending this event are practioners from across the public sector, the insurance industry, utilities, engineering and environmental sectors, academics, students, policy makers plus the consultants and companies that together make up our GeoCommunity. Over the next two days I encourage you to celebrate our success as a profession and an industry and to learn and debate with each otherand perhaps most important of all at the end of a hard day’s work to party with each other. Together we can build our GeoCommunity.

Before I get out of your way and hand over to Alun Jones, the AGI Chair, who will introduce our opening keynote speakers I need to do a few brief thank yous. Without a conference working group of dedicated volunteers there would be no conference, I have been very fortunate to have had the commitment and humour of a fantastic group:

  • Sallie White, Ordnance Survey
  • Lee Braybrooke, Cadcorp
  • Alice Froggatt, English Heritage
  • Mark Percival, Coventry City Council
  • Muki Hacklay, University College London
  • Mike Tarrier, Infotech
  • Chris Holcroft, Alan Wilks and Claire Huppertz of AGI and until she left AGI Angela Baker

Thank you, all of you and also to your employers who allowed you to contribute to this event.

Thanks to Ordnance Survey for design and production assistance on the conference brochure and program.

Thanks to all of the staff at AGI who are up here making sure that everything runs smoothly.

The new format of this conference has been enabled by the support that we have received from our 21 sponsors and in particular the 3 Platinum Sponsors, ESRI, Ordnance Survey and Pitney Bowes MapInfo. I am particularly grateful for the promises of support that came from some of you well before the event was launched. The sponsors have exhibitions in the area at the back of this hall and adjacent to the main lounge and coffee point, please take time to visit them, I know that you will find their presentations a valuable part of your conference.

Enough of the thank yous, now it is time to get on with Building a GeoCommunity.