Since 1983 the Computer Oriented Geological Society has been providing information, software, camaraderie and communication for people interested in using computers in the geosciences. I am writing to you as a co-founder, former president, secretary and newsletter editor of COGS to tell you about some changes in the organization and to solicit your help.
For the last several years Carol Petersen has been the executive director of the organization. Carol is stepping down from that position, and the operation of COGS is being taken over on a temporary volunteer basis by Tom Bresnahan, Betty Gibbs, and me. Like me, Tom and Betty have been very active in COGS in the past, and care about the organization. Our desire is to restore some of the services of the organization which have fallen by the wayside, and to open up a discussion of the value of COGS in the future.
When COGS was formed in December of 1983 in Gerry Forney's living room (over spiced wine and soft music). Geologists were, for the most part, not using computers in their work and did not know much about how to do so. The board of directors of COGS for the first several years was composed of people who knew something about computers, especially personal computers, and wanted to facilitate dissemination of that knowledge to others. By having regular meetings, educational sessions, publications and a bulletin board as well as by distributing public domain and shareware software, COGS helped spread the word about the values of using computers in the earth sciences to a skeptical world.
The geocomputing landscape has changed radically in the last 11 years. Most earth scientists have one or more computers. (I have four. Don't ask why.) They use them on a regular basis. The original message of COGS has been received and acted upon in spades. So what is left? Is there still a value to what COGS can do? Is there still a place for a non-profit organization to spread information on geocomputing? Are there folks around willing to help it do so?
Since near its inception COGS has been an international organization. I have old newsletters with a whole page of local sections and section contacts around the US and around the world. But most of the volunteer effort to keep it running has come from Denver where COGS started. With the downturn in the petroleum and mining industries in Denver (as elsewhere), the amount of talent to draw from has diminished, and with some exceptions, has not been replaced from outside the area. Much of COGS's "asset base", such as library and inventory of old publications, has decreased in value as times have changed. If COGS is to proceed as a viable organization. its niche will need to change. If we believe the popular press that the "information age" is here, then there must be some part of that which will impact the geosciences. The COGSnet bulletin board remains popular. and has recently added an Internet connection. Perhaps COGS has a place as a clearing house for geoinformation.
So where does this leave us? Some of us (me, Betty and Tom for starters, along with the current president Rick McCosh) are willing to put in the effort to restore communication to COGS members. COGS has some money to be used in this effort. We are now soliciting your help in determining whether the interest level exists to expand to our former level of activity, or if some other route exists which will benefit geologic computer users. Please let us know what you think.
We can be reached at:
President, F.D. McCosh, 15 Templemont Dr. NE, Calgary T1Y 4A5 CANADA. 403-280-2053.
Tom Bresnahan e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Fax: c/o Golden Software: 303-279-0909. 23666 Genesee Village Road. Golden, CO 80401 USA
Dave Rich e-mail: email@example.com; Gibbs Associates, P.O. Box 706, Boulder, CO 80302 USA
Meanwhile we will continue to work on restoring the basic services of the organization while its future is being determined. The first part is up to us. The second is up to you. Thank you.
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