InfoLink was there...were you?

Dave Reinke
InfoLink Project Manager
APWA Washington Office

This year's APWA Congress and Exposition in Kansas City was a resounding success on many fronts, particularly from an InfoLink perspective. The site was particularly meaningful for InfoLink, as it was the Kansas City Metro Chapter that gave birth to the project over three years ago, and we were able to touch base with many of the individuals so important to its development. If you weren't able to make it to Kansas City, you can read about some of the events below and elsewhere in this issue, but make it a point to experience Congress in person next year in San Diego.

InfoLink had an exhibit booth on the show floor, where we showed the latest site changes and demonstrated the Right-of-Way application. It was a great opportunity to be able to talk to many current users, as well as register new users right on the spot. As much as I've written about and discussed InfoLink with APWA members, there is nothing comparable to being able to sit in front of the computer and demonstrate applications, explain different areas of the site, and answer any questions they had.

The exhibit floor was the largest of any Congress to date, and hosted many varied manufacturers and vendors, including software. One of the new InfoLink initiatives is to identify third-party software that can be delivered through InfoLink, and GBA Master Series, one of the potential technology partners, showed their products in one section of the InfoLink booth, while another area showcased the Palmetto Damage Prevention System, which utilizes some of the same IZOIC technology used in InfoLink applications.

There were also two separate computer workshops in the APWA Central booth, where Terry Rehm from Edmonton covered some Internet basics in addition to providing an overview of InfoLink—helping members understand search engines, web browser settings, and e-mail using Outlook. One question that some members asked was the difference between InfoNOW and InfoLink, how each one works, which to use when, and understanding each. Again, the IZOIC booth was the perfect spot to be able to show them how InfoNOW works as an e-mail system, where users post questions and get e-mail answers back, compared to how InfoLink searches existing web pages to return specific information based on keyword searches.

For Canadian attendees, we were able to show new content, with provincial mapping and address elements, as well as links to CPWA websites, Canadian chapter websites, and information specifically for Canadian municipalities such as the National Guide to Sustainable Municipal Infrastructure, and developing standards and specifications.

InfoLink was involved with two educational sessions, one on Sunday and one on Wednesday. The first session on Sunday reviewed the status of InfoLink, current application development, and future plans. The Wednesday session was on Infrastructure Protection in a New Environment, which was presented by Mark Kingston, CEO of IZOIC, and Dr. David Overskei, CEO of Polexis, Inc. IZOIC is negotiating with Polexis to include their proprietary technology on real-time Internet collaboration, which is just at the point of commercialization after being developed for the Department of Defense. Their technology creates an entirely new level of management capability in any emergency situation. Both of the presentations for these sessions are available online at www.apwa.net/Meetings/Congress/2002/Handouts/.

In addition to Congress exhibits and educational sessions, many APWA business meetings take place in conjunction with Congress, and we had the opportunity to meet with the Board of Directors, many chapter officers and delegates during the show. The Technical Committees all had meetings on Saturday. They usually meet via conference call, but this is one of two times a year they are able to meet face-to-face, and both the Engineering and Technology (E&T) and Utility and Public Right-of-Way (UPROW) Committees discussed many issues that relate to InfoLink and Internet technology in general, particularly involving the electronic delivery of services.

APWA and IZOIC also took advantage of the Congress to hold two Focus Groups, consisting of invited members from various-sized communities. These small groups met to discuss their needs and requirements, and similarities between cities and communities in different parts of the country. The feedback they provided will greatly assist in the continued development of InfoLink, and I'd like to express my thanks to those who participated.

From the Opening General Session on Sunday, to the Banquet on Wednesday night, this year's Congress was a whirlwind of sessions, meetings, exhibits, dinners, networking opportunities, and more, all pulled off with tremendous assistance of the Heart of America Chapter volunteers and showcasing the finest hospitality of Kansas City itself. Make sure that you don't miss any of the action in 2003.

To reach Dave Reinke, call 202-408-9541 or send e-mail to dreinke@apwa.net.