Few surveyors have likely given much thought to the Geomatics Industry Association of America (GIAA). Perhaps you’ve noticed the association name on articles such as POB’s “GIAA Mailbag,” or maybe you’ve attended a GIAA-sponsored seminar on surveying technology at an ACSM conference, but the association itself probably hasn’t seemed that important. After all, it’s primarily a manufacturers’ association with the express purpose of “addressing issues related to marketing and statistical information.” How does such an association benefit surveying and mapping professionals?
The truth is that this association does benefit you, but the benefits are largely hidden. Originally the surveying systems group of the Opto-Precision Instrument Association (OPIA), part of the Scientific Apparatus Manufacturer’s Association (SAMA), the group became the GIAA in the early part of the last decade. Still under SAMA, it began focusing on broad issues such as developing standards and specifications; establishing usage recommendations and guidelines; and working with government agencies on policy issues. In fact, the activity of the group became so broad-based, that it no longer seemed appropriate to be part of an association focused on scientific apparatus.
At a meeting on June 10, the senior executives of the three member companies of the GIAA passed a resolution calling for GIAA to disassociate itself from SAMA and become part of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). The GIAA will likely be renamed and is calling itself the Geomatics Industry Group (GIG) in the interim. According to geomatics consultant Joseph V.R. Paiva, PhD, PS, PE, who is facilitating the transition for the group, the move will allow it to more fully address the needs of the geomatics industry. "The principal reason for this action is to create an organization that is in an association environment more closely matched to collaborators and users of geomatics services and products," he said.
Under the AEM, the group will move forward with new elements of focus such as safety; technical issues facing manufacturers and customers; expanding statistical reporting to product groups not currently reported; expanding services to the customer chain and/or members of the group; and expanding, invigorating and improving on current activities. The group will be led by a steering committee composed of the senior executives of the full member companies.
Neither AEM nor SAMA have formally accepted the recommendation. However, the move by the senior executives of GIAA sets the wheels in motion to begin a positive change in how the group addresses the needs of both equipment manufacturers and users.
What do you think? Please share your comments on the resolution below.