First the positive:
- There was a great turnout. I did not get a number from MGUG, but there must have been 350 people at the conference. This is the best turnout we have seen for a Manitoba GIS conference. This is a credit to all of the hard work and organization of the current MGUG board. The current board should also pay tribute to those who established MGUG – the first sponsors, workshop attendees and board members who created MGUG out of nothing, nursed it along through the early years and helped create the MGUG brand. The current organizers have taken it to a new level and ensured that MGUG is THE GIS organization in Manitoba and the MGUG conference is the place to be for a GIS event.
- The exhibitor’s floor was amazing. I could not believe how many organizations and vendors had booths and exhibits. I have to admit that I skipped out of a couple of the presentations so that I could get some one-on-one time with the exhibitors.
- Another surprise was the great prizes that were given out – although I was disappointed not to win one.
- Although some may not agree with me I consider the entrance fee a positive. The amount was reasonable and should not have restricted access. Charging delegates gave MGUG added freedom to host at an interesting venue and run it like a “real” conference.
- I had a discussion with a few people at the end and the topic of how short the presentations were came up. This was seen as positive by all who discussed. In a conference like this where there are no alternative tracks, having presentations of 30 minutes or less is a good thing.
What could be Improved:
- I was pretty impressed with the conference, so my suggestions for improvements are pretty minor.
- The Lightning Talks almost all went over 10 minutes. Since the afternoon presentations were only 20 minutes, having 15 minutes presentations did not seem like “lightning”. There was also too long an intro for these short talks. Reading the biography (which is already written in the program) for two minutes before a short talk was excessive. These talks needed to be shorter with a shorter intro.
- When I was in the consulting world and working at conferences, we wanted to maximize the number of people who came by our booth. The best events had the food and refreshment service near or at the exhibitor floor. The MGUG event had quite a separation between breakfast, lunch and the exhibitors’ floor.
- Now that MGUG is established in the big time, is it time for a major league keynote speaker to open the conferences?