I became a card-carrying member of a professional organization today, and I’m pretty excited about it. That organization is USGIF.
Until recently, the Foundation’s individual membership category had remained largely unchanged since 2004, when it was established for independent consultants who sought access to our programs. It was priced accordingly but did not appeal to the broader cross-section of GEOINT practitioners—especially because no one quite understood exactly who or what a GEOINT practitioner was back then.
As USGIF and the GEOINT discipline enter a second decade, we recognize a need for a new approach to USGIF membership. At the GEOINT 2015 Symposium we will officially unveil a more streamlined organizational membership structure that continues to improve the already clear returns on investment for corporate, academic, and government organizations and institutions. Additionally, a revamped individual membership offering immediately establishes the ability for individuals to join at a reasonable cost, and thus become part of something larger than themselves—part of our professional society.
This is all simply part of the natural evolution of the GEOINT profession, which USGIF has proudly shepherded along for its first 10 years. We began this journey awarding scholarships to students pursuing degrees in GEOINT and related fields and accrediting academic institutions to grant GEOINT Certificates. Today, the Foundation has awarded almost $800,000 in scholarships and accredited 12 colleges and universities that have produced nearly 500 GEOINT Certificate holders.
These educational and professional development endeavors are critical to our members, and we continually expand our efforts. Along with individual membership, those who seek to distinguish themselves as superior practitioners of our craft will soon be able to obtain USGIF’s Universal GEOINT Certification. Managing Editor Kristin Quinn writes about your certification program in this issue’s cover story.
But membership isn’t just about professional development. By becoming members of USGIF, we will collectively raise the level of discourse, support networking opportunities, and weave the fabric of our community, while sustaining USGIF as the convening authority for all things GEOINT.
Individuals will now have an increased opportunity to self-select in and contribute to leaving our community stronger and more capable for the next generation. Individual members, more than ever before, will have a voice in the direction our organization is headed and can actively engage in further actualizing one or more of our three pillars: Build the Community | Advance the Tradecraft | Accelerate Innovation.
We are in the midst of a GEOINT revolution, which is chronicled in the pages of this magazine and across all of our media outlets. Those who sit idle will be left behind by this remarkable change in our profession. Those who actively engage will have the opportunity to shape the future. If you are ready to help USGIF and our community, contact us now by phone or email or stop by our booth at GEOINT 2015, and become an individual member of the only organization dedicated to GEOINT professionals and the tradecraft we practice.