WASHINGTON — The U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) has rescheduled its 10th annual Geoint Symposium for April 14-17 in Tampa, Fla., the organization said Oct. 11, raising the prospect of two such events being held next year.
The announcement comes three days after the organization pulled the plug on this year’s event, which had been scheduled for Oct. 13-16 in the same Tampa venue, due to the U.S. government shutdown. Traditionally held in the fall, the Geoint Symposium is the world’s largest forum for discussing government use of geospatial data.
It is unclear whether the organization still plans to hold its regularly scheduled event the following fall. The 11th Geoint Symposium is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 5-8 in a location has yet to be announced, according the USGIF’s website.
“We are still sorting through the exact plan for 2014, focusing on what is best for our members, exhibitors, and attendees,” USGIF Chief Executive Keith Masbach said in a written response to questions. “We’ll continue to do this interactively with our membership, as we always do. We plan to communicate clearly and often as the blur comes into focus.”
In announcing the decision to postpone this year’s Geoint Symposium, Masbach said the USGIF’s hand was forced by the government shutdown and related Pay Our Military Act, which has effectively halted all nonessential travel by Pentagon employees.
“Given the absence of government speakers from our program and the absence of government customers from our exhibit hall, we have no choice but to postpone the 10th Annual GEOINT Symposium to spring 2014,” Masbach said in an open letter to conference participants and USGIF members. “This is very difficult for everyone involved, and there are many immediate, second- and third-order effects.”
The Geoint Symposium is an important source of revenue for the USGIF, and the financial consequences of its postponement are unclear.
“Obviously, the last-minute nature of this unavoidable postponement means that there are a number of obligations which require our attention,” Masbach said in his response to SpaceNews questions. “USGIF entered into this event in a strong financial position, and we will readily manage the attendant challenges, in no small part because of our superb relationships with longstanding partners.”
In its Oct. 11 announcement, the organization said “it is our intent and hope to roll all contracts over for an April 14-17 GEOINT Symposium. We are presently working with the folks in Tampa on the viability of this intent.”