GITA and GISCI Partner for a Successful Outing at the 2019 SCAUG Annual Conference

Posted: Oct. 3, 2019

Two members of the GITA Board of Directors help represent both GITA and GISCI at the 29th Annual SCAUG Conference which took place this year in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Troy Bumgardner and Shelia McGinty were among a group of 6 GISPs who served at the event presenting and manning a booth April 23 and 24, 2019.

It began when an email from Mr. Bill Hodge, the current Executive Director of the GISCI, sent out an email to GISPs who were likely to attend the South Central Arc Users Group’s annual regional event. He was looking for someone who could give a presentation with a GISP update. The goal was to provide an update to conference attendees who may already be GISPs, but more importantly may be seeking the certification. The GISP is one of over 1,600 professional certifications that are held by approximately 17% of all workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2016. Growth of the certification has been exponential since its inception in 2003 to over 8,000 world wide. Since the exam requirement was launched in 2015, over 14,000 potential GISPs have registered and started a profile and application on the GISCI website. Does this mean we could see over 20,000 GISPs by 2020? It certainly is possible.

GITA and GISCI have a strategic alliance, in which 2 GITA board members also sit on the GISCI Board of Directors. We communicate and report on status of our respective organizations often. Troy, who few would consider shy or reserved, responded to Mr. Hodge’s request to deliver the address and saw a unique opportunity to contribute further to the GIS profession and land him some GISP recertification points. Troy saw a unique opportunity for both organizations to exercise that partnership in front of an audience which is new to GITA.

With that in mind, he sought others to assist with this endeavor. After all, volunteering at an event like this can earn someone 3 points for participating/moderating in a booth, and a presentation is worth 3 points. In all, Troy earned 9 valuable recertification points by delivering 2 presentations and volunteering in the shared booth. Sheila also presented the topic of “Pipeline and Changing Data Needs”, on behalf of the Williams Companies, in the technical sessions. Shelia volunteered in the booth earning a total of 6 recertification points. These fall under contributions to the profession, and aren’t something many would consider easy to obtain.

The exhibition floor did not even open until after both of Troy’s presentations. Once the floor opened for a social at 5pm on Tuesday, many started coming by asking questions, making it immediately obvious that there is an interest and hunger for the GISP certification. Troy advised booth volunteers to encourage people to start a profile on the GISCI website ( It’s free, and they have 6 years to complete a certification once they have either an approved profile highlighting their work and contributions, or a successfully passed exam. Troy felt that people should see what their work and contributions add up to so they can set a goal of what they need to do next in order to complete the cert. Volunteering and giving presentations aren’t items that are easy options for people, or easy feats. Some just don’t like getting around or in front of that many people! But they can contribute in other ways. Someone could have organized this booth, but never sat in it. Someone could be on a conference committee, but never be in front of a crowd. Someone could write an article – like this one – for 3 points! Another contribution for someone could be to create a poster or other submittal that is meant to be shared with the greater community.

Our volunteers for the booth, all earning 3 GISP “other contributions” points, were:

  • Dr. Kelly Allen, GISP, of Tulsa Community College
  • Barbara Gibson, GISP, of INCOG in Tulsa, OK
  • Carrie Landgraf, GISP, of Williams in Tulsa, OK
  • Ty Simmons, GISP, of INCOG in Tulsa, OK

In closing, who is SCAUG ( They are an ArcGIS user community, who provides its members from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi with resources and tools for Geographic Information Systems through participating in monthly meetings and taking advantage of free training. They also organize some paid training along side their regional and chapter-level annual events. The OKSCAUG chapter also has a conference in the fall, where Mr. Hodge will be able to attend and represent himself. The OKSCAUG chapter, among others in the organization, are alive and well. It takes a great volunteer base to make it all work. That same volunteer base is needed for GITA. All volunteers mentioned in this article are SCAUG members, and GISPs, but only Troy and Sheila are part of GITA.

The exhibitor session of SCAUG 2019 ended with a prize giveaway. We gave away an Atomi Qi Wireless Charge Pad to Helen Agnew of INCOG in Tulsa, OK. GITA funded this prize and hopes to have an opportunity to interact with the SCAUG community again at a future event. Until then!

This content contributed by Troy Bumgardner, GISP