IMIA Mapping Leaders Forum

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This month, Steve Burry, Managing Director of Dennis Maps, headed to the US for an international mapping event. He attended the International Map Industry Association (IMIA) Mapping Leaders Forum in Denver, Colorado, with other leading figures from the industry. We catch up with Steve to find out what made the event so special.

Can you tell us more about the IMIA Mapping Leaders Forum?

The IMIA Mapping Leaders Forum is an annual conference that connects leaders, experts and innovators in the global mapping industry. It’s a two-day event and a golden opportunity to explore trends, new technology and challenges in mapping and geospatial technology. The Forum offers panel discussions, presentations and plenty of moments to network.

Why did you decide to attend the event?

I attended for the first time in June 2023 and for the second time this month. I originally heard good things about it from a colleague in the British Cartographic Society, who’d been in 2022, and one of our clients also recommended I attend. I thought I’d go and see what it was all about!

IMIA Mapping Leaders Forum

Who else attended this year?

There were predominantly US-based delegates but there were some representatives from elsewhere, including Canada, the UK and Austria.

The event was held in Denver, Colorado. What did you think of the city?

Denver is pretty impressive. It’s at a fairly high altitude and is called the ‘Mile High City’. The backdrop is the Rocky Mountains, and you can see the snow-capped peaks from the city, even in June, which is spectacular.

How did Dennis Maps contribute to the Mapping Leaders Forum?

We were a sponsor, I presented, and I did a lunchtime speech. The speech was a three-minute introduction to Dennis Maps – what we do and how we do it. I also covered our thoughts around the future of printed maps, and our place in relation to that. Later, I gave a presentation about how we’ve successfully built trust in our brand using our marketing channels, such as our website and social media accounts. I discussed how we’ve gone from having no real marketing presence to developing an effective marketing strategy.

What was the response to your speech and presentation?

My lunchtime speech was well received. It also made me familiar with the room and podium for my presentation later that day. The presentation went well too. Afterwards, a number of people said how much they enjoyed it. I included two bits of audience participation to keep everyone involved, so no one zoned out!

Did the event help promote Dennis Maps to the international mapping industry?

I think we’re certainly perceived as a major supporter of IMIA now, even though we’re relatively new to the space. Having the opportunity to present – it was my first year presenting there – also made people aware of Dennis Maps.

IMIA Mapping Leaders Forum

If you could describe the IMIA Mapping Leaders Forum in three words, what would they be?

Engaging, knowledgeable and positive.

What was your favourite part of the Forum?

It was having such a knowledgeable group of people from quite a diverse collection of organisations all coming together in one space, to share their understanding and experiences of the business of maps. There was a lot of positive energy in the room, and I had some really good discussions with a lot of different people. It was great that the event brought together companies and individuals who wouldn’t otherwise meet.

Are you planning to represent Dennis Maps at any more industry events?

There are a few other IMIA events coming up this year that we’re involved with too. I’ll be attending the IMIA Map Industry Summit in Toronto, Canada this August. It’ll be interesting to learn more about the Canadian map business. There’ll also be an IMIA presence at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest trade fair for books in the world. Dennis Maps is going to be one of IMIA’s co-exhibitors at the event. I always enjoy attending industry events. They’re a fantastic opportunity for conversation, knowledge sharing and connection.