Successful BEGEO 2020

On 27 October 2020, AM/FM-GIS Belux participated in THE annual national GI event in Belgium, called ‘BEGEO: The Ultimate Connection’. In this troubled year, the base line was very relevant, people need to connect and when live encounters are difficult, the online events offer an appreciable alternative, although they can of course not replace the real life face-to-face experiences.

Despite the difficult conditions, we had a nice celebration of our annual GeoSpatial Awards, an event that AM/FM-GIS has run for many years now with its Flemish sister organization FLAGIS. About 600 persons took part in this ceremony, with a total of more than 700 individual participants in BEGEO. There was an award for the best project and the best thesis, as well as the award for the best presentation, judged by the public. The details are presented in French and Flemish on the website but with the online translation tools this should not be a problem for our other language readers.

The winners are respectively, the GI Department of the Region Brussels Capital City (Mobile and Indoor Mapping), Freke Caset from University Gent (Railway Stations Radar Tool) and Mathilde Debelle from University Liège (Precise Positioning with Dual Frequency Smartphones).

EUROGI President Hans Breemersch, who is also Secretary General of AM/FM-GIS Belux, had the occasion to chair the EUROGI track @ BEGEO. We chose to present one of our recent initiatives, namely, the Focus Group “Women in GI” (WiGI), part of the Policy Portfolio led by our Irish colleague, Bruce McCormack, Vice President of IRLOGI.

Hans insisted: “it was a very nice event, enabling us to have inspiring interacts. It could definitely be repeated in other member countries. AM/FM GIS Belux is very grateful to the main organizer the Belgian Mapping Agency IGN – NGI”. The WiGI group of EUROGI is led by Monica Sebillo, Professor at the University of Salerno, AM/FM Italia President, and member of EUROGI’s ExCom. Her takeaway from the very interesting sessions is that “it is important to pursue the principle of inclusiveness (of gender, skills and roles), which must always be taken into consideration in order to provoke a fundamental cultural and social change necessary for the goal of gender equality and women’s engagement”.

Although in recent years many women hold top positions, for instance in diverse NMCAs, Marion Murphy, Managing Director at Mallon Technology, noted that “women are underrepresented in decision making that shapes the workplace. To attract and retain women in the GI sector, there needs to be greater visibility and representation through leadership roles”.

For Annelies Van Alphen, from Geosotlutions, a “team’s ability to come up with new, creative solutions can be increased by adding skilled communicators, or people with a different viewpoint. I believe that a good mix of people with different background, gender, interest… can help in building a successful GIS team. A good mix might also help in building a strong network, which also leads to new and interesting opportunities”.

This was the first of a series of events and actions, all interested women and men are invited to join the Focus Group Women in GI, just contact Monica here.

Jean-Yves Pirlot
President AM/FM-GIS Belux