AGI Scotland 21 event logo

AGI Scotland Annual Conference 23-24 February 2021

AGI Scotland held its virtual annual event over the 23rd and 24th of February and ran a social Pub Quiz & Prize Raffle on the evening of the 23rd.

The theme for the event was ‘Working Better Together’ and the event brought an excellent series of talks which linked brilliantly together.

The AGI Committee extends its thanks to all our speakers and our session Chairs (inevitably with a live event there was a lot of stress going on behind the scenes!).  A special thanks to Claire Hadley for standing into the breach with no warning to cover our talk on the Government Geography Profession.  As the Chair noted – “no-one would have realised it wasn’t her talk”.

The event , aside from giving ample opportunity for the 200+ delegates to network over the two days, explored how working together in difficult times, nationally and internationally, between public and private sector, has proved a great success and allows us all to achieve much more than we could have done otherwise.

Whether it was witnessing how the benefits of geospatial data and technology in helping local people in real danger from volcanoes in Guatemala (Neil Stuart and Nick McWilliam), or how innovation in Earth Observation applied to land cover and sustainability in Scotland (Murray Collins) and its importance to climate change focused by COP26, through to the international and global relevance of geospatial (James Norris & Olivia Powell), the event served to highlight the vital role that geography and location play in addressing fundamental societal challenges.

We also saw how new and important initiatives such as Location Data Scotland (previously the Geospatial Integrator) (Ashley Stewart) and ScotlandIS (David Ferguson) are working with AGI to build the sector – so everyone can benefit and truly find ways for ‘Working Better Together’.

We also saw the importance of collaboration (working together again!)  for the purposes of accessing, reusing and extracting value from archival and historical sources (including old maps) which deepens the richness and value of the information we can analyse and present (Amelia Baptie; Chris Fleet).  Polly Hudson and Katie McDonough, continued this theme by explaining the importance of releasing public data to understand and using historical data whether it be examining housing stock over time or creeping industrialization and industrial change.  The Chair was also pleased to see gazetteers and their use for data linking as another cross-cutting theme (Ron Wilkinson &  Roger Garbett, along with Katie, Chris and others)-  a drum he’s been beating for 20 years!!.

Scottish Government (Alan Corbett) are taking a lead with a Roadmap but are also funding the Location Data Scotland Initiative, with Scottish Enterprise and the Geospatial Commission.  Both of these are crucial initiatives – a Roadmap that brings more data and services to the public, research and commercial sectors, together with a degree of much needed coordination.  Location Data Scotland, aims to make Scotland a key player in terms of the geospatial industry internationally, grow our industry as a sector of the Scottish economy, create jobs and foster new opportunities.  A more pressing and immediate focus was given by Bruce Jackson who enlightened us on the  hard work that Scottish Government has been doing to get us through the pandemic.

Theo McCaie reminded us of the exciting possibilities with very large datasets, which are becoming the norm in many of the domains in which we operate – lidar, remote sensing etc, leading to the explosion in petabyte datasets. Stephen Milne reinforced the message of growing data acquisition possibilities in ‘spatialising’ the Internet of Things.

Since our last event the world has changed in ways we couldn’t imagine but we’ve seen how this brought geospatial analysis and locational data to the fore – a much broader community now understands the value of what we do.  As the world hopefully returns to a new normal, lets ensure we can captialise on these gains.

If you are an AGI member and you missed the event, you can sign in and click here to view the recordings.

AGI Scotland  looks forward to seeing you next year, hopefully in person, but in the meantime thanks again to all of our sponsors: thinkWhere, Ordnance Survey, Geomni, Cadcorp, Esri UK, 1Spatial and Informed Solutions. If you didn’t get a chance you can still donate to Map Action by clicking here.