Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

August 01 2014

When Mapmakers Meet

By Michelle Russell

You might think that the MapInfo User Conference would be a relative newcomer to the conference world, the result of the explosion of GIS (geographic information system) and location-intelligence technologies available to every smartphone user. But MapInfo software has been around for more than three decades — and the user conference has been held for the past 29 years, hosted by Pitney Bowes since it acquired independent software company MapInfo in 2007.

MapInfo User Conference
June 11–13, 2014
The Peabody Memphis

Attendees ~200
Sessions 60+

Keynoter Silicon Valley author, speaker, investor, and special adviser to the Motorola business unit of Google, Guy Kawasaki laid out the strategic steps to creating new products and services, based on his experience as one of the Apple employees originally responsible for marketing the Macintosh in 1984, and on his book Rules for Revolutionaries.

Putting Big Data on the Map

In the past, GIS and location-intelligence analysts and software engineers who attended the MapInfo User Conference were “kind of walled off” from the rest of their organizations, according to Clarence W. Hempfield, director of product management for Pitney Bowes Location Intelligence. But they’ve gotten a higher profile now that organizations often require that geospatial intelligence links to other data they capture.

A bank, for example, might “provide to certain analysts within the organization access to where there is potentially a risk geospatially — where we have defaults on loans,” Hempfield said. “So typically in that environment, you’ll want to provide in conjunction with your business-intelligence system the ability to view this information and plot it over a map.”

On Location

The program kicks off with a two-day partner event — mostly sales training for MapInfo resellers. The conference itself is “dedicated toward the users of our technology,” Hempfield said, and has focused recently on having more hands-on sessions. This year, partners were invited to “help teach users how to use a new piece of functionality or something they may not have used before” in computer-lab-style sessions.
Attendees were able to access presentations, review the program grid, browse sessions, and build their conference itineraries on their mobile devices or tablets via Attendee Interactive’s responsive-design conference-management software. This made it easy for these location-intelligence professionals to find what they needed.

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