URISA Announces GIS-Pro 2013 Virtual Conference
I actually received several notices of this. I am a member of this organization so I received the registration information a couple days ago. I have seen an increasing presence of GIS conferences online. The ESRI conference had a lot of free content on their website this year. I think it is actually a pretty cool idea. There are a lot of people who just cannot make certain conferences. Whether it is scheduling conflict, lack of funding, or other issues. The point of conferences though is to network with peers, learn new techniques, see academically rigorous presentations, and drink. Having portions of a conference available online helps those people get information that they would normally not have access too.
This got me thinking about archaeological conferences. My educational and professional background is rooted in archaeology. I have been to a few archaeology conferences as an attendee and a presenter. I have even sneaked into a couple. GIS certainly has ego issues and people who dismiss certain practices or conferences, but I think that archaeology is worse. Among the higher ups that I know in archaeology, they can be quite dismissive of the regional conferences. They say that these conferences do not have the academic rigor, that they are not operating at the same level as the 'good' conferences. I think that this is short sighted and a little elitist. Now, I know what you are thinking. I totally railed against the presentation I recently saw on fractal math in Chacoan Pueblos. I still want people to show up though. He had info and he presented it. I thought it was utter nonsense, but having information presented and available for interpretation is one of the core tenants of science. Providing limited access to conferences online is keeping with that. Unfortunately I think that archaeology will resist this idea. I think that the 'acceptable' conference ego will it back for a few more years. I is really too bad because there are a lot of students who could learn valuable career and life skills by being able to see them.
What do other archaeologists think?