Friday, 26 August 2011

MGUG Considers Changing its Name

According to the MGUG newsletter and web-site,, MGUG is thinking of changing its name.  Don’t worry, it will still be called MGUG (yes it rolls off of the tongue) - but the initials could have a slightly different meaning.   Currently MGUG is an acronym for Manitoba GIS Users Group.

At its heart, the discussion is about what the first “G” in MGUG should stand for.  Is it Geomatics, GIS or Geospatial?  There is a poll on the web-site for you to vote on your favourite option.  The three choices under consideration are:
  • Manitoba Geomatics User Group
  • Manitoba Geospatial User Group
  • Manitoba GIS User Group
Currently if you browse the MGUG web-site you will see that the words “Geomatics” and “GIS” are both used liberally.  The word “Geospatial” is a little rarer.  The home page tells us we are at the “Meeting Place for the GIS Community”.  The newsletter is “Connecting Manitoba’s Geomatics Community”.

So what is prompting this decision to change the name?  Is the GIS in MGUG too exclusive?  Are GPS practitioners and surveyors feeling left out?  Maybe MGUG should become like IBM and ESRI and never spell its name out.  When was the last time you saw IBM spelled out as International Business Machines? Or ESRI as Environmental Sciences Research Institute, Inc.?

At the time of writing this blog, voting was slightly in favor of keeping the old name, with “GIS” taking 46% of the vote, while 42% want to change to “Geomatics” and 12% voted for “Geospatial”.

In the grand scheme of things this may not be the most crucial decision to make.  Perhaps the most interesting part of this survey is the level of participation.  The GIS / Geomatics community is not that big, yet there are more than 125 votes (and counting) on this survey already.   Have you registered your vote yet and taken the opportunity to have your say?  Remember to vote early and vote often.

Bonus points - If you are really sharp you noticed the inconsistent use of the singular and plural “User” and “Users” in this blog when referring to MGUG’s full name.  This is a deliberate reflection of the MGUG web-site which also uses both the singular and plural versions.  The MGUG logo and most references on the web-site use the singular “User”.  The MGUG constitution, which defines the official name, uses the plural “Users”.

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