Another Great Year of Niagara Socials
GoGeomatics Canada is looking back on another successful year in socials. To help us out, we caught up with Darren Platakis, Group leader in Niagara, to get his thoughts on the year in socials and the Niagara geomatics community. Darren is a passionate supporter of geo-literacy, and has been our Niagara group leader since November 2011.
The next Niagara Social is taking place Saturday, June 28 at 6:30. Join our Niagara Meetup Group to get updates on our future socials, and check out our upcoming social dates here. We would like to thank everyone who has participated in our social events, and remind everyone else that newcomers are always welcome!
What’s your favourite part of being a social group leader?
Darren: My favourite part of being a social leader is engaging the new students that enter the Niagara College GIS program in September and seeing them grow in their abilities from then until June when they make their final thesis presentations. It seems no one is more surprised in their abilities than they are.
I take the opportunity to discuss the benefits of them knowing about GoGeomatics Canada, how they can utilize the job board and contribute to the magazine, as well as offer insights to the Niagara GIS/GSM program and Geospatial Niagara.
I also enjoy connecting people from all different disciplines.
Has anything surprised you about being a social group leader?
Darren: I wouldn’t say anything has surprised me. Being in Niagara, we have a number of challenges but nothing I’m not prepared to tackle. Sometimes it seems like pulling teeth to get people out. Other times, for no apparent reason, we’ll get 10-15 attendees.
What was the most memorable moment of the year?
Darren: The most memorable social for me was the November 2013 Social. It ended up being like a Christmas party. The college term was winding down so a lot of the students came out. It was interesting to find out more about their projects. That was also the Social where we had a lot of Environmental Studies students out who were curious about GIS.
What types of people usually come to the socials in your city?
Darren: The usual people are past or current students of the Niagara College GIS/GSM program or Brock University. We even have attendees that come in from the GTA. We’ve had members of businesses that are interested in utilizing Geospatial Technologies/Information, so they come out to learn more.
Why are these monthly socials important?
Darren: Not only are they important for networking, they also act as an icebreaker for new students, giving them a chance to hang out with each other (which can be hard to do in a demanding program). It also gives them a chance to relax. The socials provide me with the opportunity to promote GoGeomatics Canada, and also to attract potential volunteers for Geospatial Niagara.
What have you learned from attending monthly socials?
Darren: I’ve learned that there is a ton of work that still needs to be done in attracting more participants. I believe that a lot of the work happening with the Economic Scan and CGCRT will assist me in finding those participants.
What are you looking forward to the most in the upcoming socials?
Darren: Summers are traditionally slower, but I always look forward to the first social of the school year after I get a chance to engage with the students.