Facilities User Group Steps it Up

The use of GIS for campus operations and facilities management is growing. This is clear as its presence at 2013 Esri User Conference spanned more than two days of user presentations, special interest meetings and technical workshops, as well as a solid exhibit hall presence. Another manifestation of the growth of facilities GIS is that the number of conference attendees who listed “facilities” as their area of interest was up by 25% over last year!

Welcome Leadership Team!

In keeping with this growth, this year Esri kicked off a new Facilities User Group and introduced a leadership team consisting of a select group of highly-engaged geospatial innovators from a range of industries. The leadership team currently is made up of the following members:

  • Brad Ball, NASA Langley, Virginia
  • Aaron Cheuvront, University of Washington
  • Michelle Ellington, GISP, University of Kentucky
  • Professor Petr Glos, Masaryk University, Institute of Computer Science in the Czech Republic
  • Scott Sires, Brookhaven College, Texas
  • Chris Smith, Architect of the Capitol, Washington, DC
  • Alexander Stepanov, University of Massachusetts – Amherst

The team is chaired by Scott Sires of Brookhaven College. Besides leading his college’s GIS program and its emerging campus mapping efforts, Scott had a strong hand in launching and growing the South Central Arc User (SCAUG) and the Health User (HUG) Groups into the effective organizations that they are now, and is looking forward to helping develop this new group.

A Successful First UG Meeting

The Facilities User Group meeting and reception was held on Wednesday evening (July 10, 2013) and was attended by approximately 180 people, an increase of about 80% over last year’s SIG.

The Facilities User Group is more than just a fun place to network. The group’s purpose is to learn more about what Esri campus and facilities users as a whole need from Esri software to help guide development, Esri Professional Services offerings, and partner solutions. Understanding how Esri can help facilities users from an educational standpoint (including webcasts, training etc.) is also important, as is gaining an understanding for the kinds of other business software most widely used in the facilities world.  The group also discusses which partners or potential partners are important to their work to ensure that Esri is aligned with them to create the best solutions possible.

Meeting Take-aways

The group was clear that ongoing communication is vital to supporting current and future members and advancing what is becoming a critical area for geospatial technology across campuses and inside buildings. Options for users to join the User Group were considered and the group recommended that interested users should sign-up for the Facilities GIS e-newsletter online.

The group also discussed using Twitter hashtags and other social media. The idea of starting a blog and/or listserv were also brought up and members thought it would be important to include a map showing where posts originate.

Lastly, the group decided to collectively work on the following efforts in the future: fostering the development of true 3D tools; Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to model including dashboard functionality (charts, graphs, etc.); support for digital project delivery; additional DIY templates; capital planning resources; community feedback mechanisms on new technologies including how they benefit facilities users; and finally fostering and growing options for Facilities GIS education.

And a Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

Esri would like to thank the Facilities User Group sponsors: Dewberry, PenBay, R&K Solutions, T3W, and TMA Systems.

If you are interested in learning more about how GIS is used on campuses and facilities in a number of industries, visit esri.com/facilities.

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