Iain Langlands is the GIS Manager for Glasgow City Council. Last month he attended the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) GeoCommunity’13 conference along with colleague Paul Georgie, a Geospatial Technologist. The conference was held during Maptember. Their paper was awarded a prestigious prize. Iain shares his experience of the event.

Spreading the word: creating a buzz

How do you get the GeoCommunity to hear about the fabulously innovative and diverse work that you are doing for a once-in-a-decade project opportunity? Accept an invitation to present to the AGI GeoCommunity’13 conference. This was the second time I had attended this yearly event (the previous occasion being fifteen years ago) and the first time presenting. It was encouraging to arrive at the conference centre and find a venue full of enthusiastic geographic information practitioners eager to hear about Future City | Glasgow.

As stated in the presentation paper, the Future Cities Demonstrator Project is the start of a new way of working and a new way of thinking. It requires strategic vision and partnership working. It also requires bold thinking and innovative solutions. It will deliver tangible benefits for Glasgow’s services, businesses, citizens and its visitors. It is an idea of its time and it will lead Glasgow into a new field of public sector service delivery: not isolated, but together; not top-down, but all-inclusive; not “for the citizen” but “by the citizen”. It uses ‘data-driven service reform’, enabling effective prioritisation of resources. The possibilities are endless.

That said, I was more than surprised to learn within 10 minutes of arriving that the level of interest in Future City | Glasgow was quite so significant. “I’m really interested in what you’re doing in Glasgow”, “I’m sure your presentation will be really interesting” – no pressure there then.

The time arrived to present the paper. I looked at the audience. It was 100 people: standing-room only. It is clear that Glasgow is doing something special, and many people want to know more.

Then followed 30 minutes on what the Technology Strategy Board competition was about, why Glasgow won it and what we intend to deliver. I included details of the pilot runs and how we are already successfully engaging with our citizens and I spoke about the aspirations of the project. Then my colleague Paul described the technical back-office solutions that we are considering. A few questions followed; end of presentation. Time up – thanks to everyone. So I moved to another room to listen to another presentation. Someone sits next to me – “loved your presentation, we must talk”.

See the presentation slides on Slideshare here.

Final accolade – Winner AGI GeoCommunity Best Overall Paper.