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This was a well liked (but not hugely rated) question in the beta, so here goes.

Please provide a brief synopsis and links if possible. I'd also like to hear about things that are in the planning stage.

What group or association do you belong to? What are you working towards? Why?

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please be more specific.. Do you just want to hear companies that use GIS? – Aug 3 '10 at 19:38
No. Professional and Industry Associations, like the title says. – dmbrubac Aug 3 '10 at 19:45
Thanks for adding tags Adam - you need 150 to add new tags so I had to go bare bones. – dmbrubac Aug 3 '10 at 20:20
Now a Community Wiki since there won't be a single correct answer – dmbrubac Aug 5 '10 at 13:30

A very comprehensive list ("GIS Organizations/Groups") can be found at

It includes:

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I'll actually start things out with the Professional Association I belong to. Please don't take this as a self-serving attempt on my part to get more members in my Association. It's merely an interest on my part and something I think the industry needs.

The Association of Ontario Land Surveyors has a GIM desgnation (Geographic Information Management - follow this link to the full description) that gives GIS practitioners a home. We have a code of ethics, practice standards, peer review, group liability insurance, etc. I've found that a true professional designation (as opposed to belonging to an industry or related association or having a certificate) has enabled me to hold myself out as being held accountable by my peers and my Association. This in turn has helped me and my company land projects of a high regulatory interest - E911 mapping, for instance, where mistakes can cause injury or death.

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Geographers and GIS techies belong to a association in Brazil called CREA. The unfortunate issue is that CREA is also the same association for geologists, engineers, agronomers, architects and others!

It's all very segmented and it's a nation-wide association, but still does not represent well the needs of GIS industry workers.

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Urban and Regional Information Systems Association is a non-profit org (USA). URISA

Update: Open Source Geospatial Foundation: which changes its conference location every year (in case you are tired of San Diego).

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Also home to the controversial GIS Certification Institute – Jay Cummins Aug 3 '10 at 19:38

I think it also depends on your interests. I belong to the AAG, though I do find that a lot of the content is focused pretty narrowly, it's good to keep up with the field in general. There are regional Arc User groups that can be quite active, and occasionally, some government entity will sponsor a seminar series, like this from MassGIS/MGIC. I know these aren't associations in the strict sense, but they all contribute to being an active part of the GIS community.

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ACM has a SIGSPATIAL focusing on research and conferences of spatial systems, including (but not limited to - topics sucs as indoor positioning, etc. are also covered) GIS.

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