UCGIS External Relations Committee

Purpose (as stated in the Bylaws)

The purpose of this committee is to foster and maintain relationships on behalf of UCGIS with academic, federal, state, private, and non-governmental partners in the national and international geospatial community in support of the goals set forth in Article I. In this role, the committee will provide interpretation and communication to UCGIS membership about federal, state, and non-governmental policy and legislation initiatives; assist the Executive Committee and Board in providing feedback and communication to entities regarding ongoing national and international geospatial policy and legislation development initiatives; advocate on behalf of the UCGIS membership for UCGIS developed policy positions or other positions UCGIS supports; and develop and advance UCGIS-derived policy on geospatial research and education. (from the Bylaws). 

History & Context

The External Relations Committee is one of the three Standing Committees identified in the Bylaws. Its name was changed from the Policy & Legislation Committee in December 2014. 


The following activities fall under the auspices of the External Relations Committee: 

  1. Inform the UCGIS membership about emerging federal, state, and non-governmental policy and legislation initiatives;
  2. Assist the Executive Committee and Board in communicating and advocating for relevant policies UCGIS supports;
  3. Identify national and international organizations, agencies, businesses, and other entities with which UCGIS may wish to engage on matters of mutual interest. Share this knowledge with the Executive Committee.
  4. Identify and nurture relationships with companies and non-profit organizations who are potential Symposium sponsors. Assist Symposium Organizing Committee to acquire sponsors. 
  5. Contribute to developing and remaining current with the existing Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) that UCGIS maintains with its partner organizations and support the Executive Committee in the actions stated there within.  
  6. Selected members of the committee serve as appointed representatives of UCGIS on other organization’s committees and boards. 
    1. Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) - one UCGIS representative who serves on a one-year, which can be repeated.
    2. Geographic Information Systems Certification Institute (GISCI) - two UCGIS representatives sit on the GISCI Board for two-year terms; terms can be repeated. 

The following activities are not the responsibility of the External Relations Committee:

  1. Developing contracts with Symposium sponsors;
  2. Taking executive actions with respect to suggested policy initiatives.


The External Relations Committee is an advisory committee to the Board and the Executive Director. All actions proposed by the Committee must be reviewed and acted upon by the Board and Executive Director, when approved. 

Composition of the Committee

  1. The Committee is led by a Chair who is appointed by the UCGIS Board of Directors for a period of three years. Volunteers for the Chair appointment are encouraged. The Vice-chair is selected annually by the Chair from among the committee members.
  2. Each year, the President invites Delegates to select a committee on which they would like to serve as a member. Other, non-Delegate individuals from UCGIS member institutions or units are invited to become active members of this Committee, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors.

Meeting arrangements and Expectations

  1. The Committee should meet electronically once a month. The Chair will prepare and distribute a meeting agenda in advance of each meeting and work with the Executive Director and Executive Committee to follow up on any recommended actions. 
  2. The Chair is encouraged to organize a face-to-face meeting of the Committee at the annual Symposium. 
  3. All meetings of this Committee will be organized to be agenda-driven, focused, and efficient in their time.


  1. The Chair or Vice Chair of this Committee is expected to attend monthly meetings of the Board of Directors. He or she will be provided with an opportunity to make a brief oral report on activities (5 minutes or less). If the Chair knows that she or he will want more time to discuss an idea with the Board or seek their input, at least 10 days prior to the meeting the Chair can request of the President and Exec Director that their item be added to the Agenda.    

  2. Twice annually, the Chair will produce a brief written report (2-3 pages) prior to each Symposium and December Council Meeting that will be shared with the Delegates for review and discussion. 

Resources and budget

  1. GoToMeeting can be used to host any meetings of the Committee.

  2. Work space for the Committee is available in TeamWorkPM and on the UCGIS website. 

  3. Money (up to $100) is available to a Committee Chair to defray costs incurred during an in-person Committee meeting while at the Symposium (a breakfast/lunch meeting, a happy hour, etc.)

  4. The Chair of the Committee is eligible for reimbursement to defray personal expenses incurred to attend the annual Symposium. The amount/year is determined by the Treasurer and the Executive Director and the Treasurer, and has been $500/person in recent years. 


  1. As needed, contributions to organizational documents such as white papers and reports may be requested of this Committee