Over the course of the past year, several people have called to ask me more about GeoAlliance. They generally want to know who, what, when, where and why: specifically, who is involved, what GeoAlliance is, when action will begin, where they can help, and how we plan to enact positive change in our community.
Questions of what and when are easy to answer. What, of course, is GeoAlliance Canada, a registered non-profit representing the interests of our Canadian geo community. When is now. (And not “someday, when the time is right and the stars align…”) Our work has already begun, and we are looking forward to advancing further together at our next community meeting in Calgary on March 15-16 on this year.
The Who, Where and How
So what about Who? Who needs to be involved to make this all work? GeoAlliance Canada is an umbrella of geomatics, geospatial and geography groups, organizations, and associations from throughout Canada and beyond. Our current membership encompasses government, education, not-for-profits, and private sector companies. Some are big and some small, but they all have one thing in common: a passion for ‘geo’. GeoAlliance was created by these groups and for them, to support their work and help good ideas grow into great projects and initiatives. Their passion drives our purpose, and their strength will be what brings the umbrella to life. This is not a job for two, four, six, or twelve people – lifting this umbrella, defining its role, and making it work for all of us will take the whole village.
Thankfully, over the past several months, I have received many calls from our members and those interested in GeoAlliance Canada asking where they can help. This passion to help and get to work has allowed us to connect with a tremendous network of people that know how important this work is to the continued success of our community. They want to get to work, and so do we! This drive and ambition is what will give us the strength to accomplish the many actions planned over the next few years. With that being said, we have chosen to spend some time now with a firm specializing in organization design to set ourselves up for future success. This process will be wrapped up with your input at the upcoming Map to the Future conference, and that’s when we’ll be asking for our members to take on specific tasks or roles.
Finally, I’ve been asked how we will get it all done. Over the past 5 years, we have built a master list of ideas, actions, and proposed initiatives that we as a community believe are important. We simply do not have the resources (financial or human) to take on each and every one successfully. That is why GeoAlliance Canada has contracted an outside firm (Design Cofounders) to work with the Board of Directors and the community to try and establish a framework for effective decision making and action. We are committed to putting our resources – including funding contributions, grants, sponsorships, and membership dues – into making Canada a place where great ideas and initiatives do not have to go unsupported.
GeoAlliance Canada is the vehicle - the what - but the drive and passion lives in you, the who. We need a strong show of support from the community – the more people are at the table, the more great ideas are generated, and the more we can all accomplish. As Chair of our volunteer Interim Board of Directors, I’m excited about how far we’ve come and even more excited to see what happens next. I hope that your organization will consider joining me in ‘the who’.
Interim Board of Directors