I suddenly realized I was having a déjà vu moment while standing on the exhibition floor in Houston at IMAGE 2022. I was in the main aisle trying to remember where I wanted to go next when I was suddenly transported back to the AAPG annual meetings we had in the 1980s. Shockingly, the excitement and energy I could see in the large crowd ahead of me mentally jerked me back to all of those great AAPG annual conventions we had before COVID. As an old codger, I have an excuse for this kind of mental lapse, but I don’t think I was the only one who felt this way. Many other attendees expressed similar feelings to me about IMAGE ‘22.
As most members should know by now, IMAGE – the International Meeting for Applied Geoscience and Energy – is now AAPG’s annual meeting. It is organized and presented jointly by both AAPG and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. The Organizing Committee for the meeting includes volunteers from both societies and logistics for the meeting are handled by a Joint Events Team comprised of staff from both organizations. The meeting is now completely integrated with a combined technical program and exhibition floor.
Personally, I am now comfortable attending face-to-face meetings myself and I plan to attend a large number … this year. My assessment is that AAPG should continue to plan and organize in-person conventions and exhibitions into the future.
Our convention and exhibition this year in Houston was highly successful. My congratulations and thanks for an outstanding meeting are extended to all of the attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, volunteers and staff who made the meeting possible.
Nothing Beats In-Person Events
The marvelous technical program was reason enough to be at the meeting in Houston, but being able to meet face-to-face with each other was a huge bonus. The experience of seeing old friends and meeting new ones cannot be overstated, and being able to talk to speakers, authors and exhibitors to clarify new ideas and techniques they presented was extremely helpful. I was invigorated and energized by all of the young professionals I met at the meeting, and the shindig Tuesday night after the awards ceremony was a real hoot!
Our online meetings of the recent past were a great way to see us through the pandemic, but I do not think there is a better format for promoting our science and industry than meeting face-to-face. To me, it’s more fun and interesting to see people in person rather than virtually.
The question is, will we be able to continue to have in-person meetings?
As far as the pandemic is concerned, every situation and country has different rules and requirements for in-person meetings. In the United States right now, the Center for Disease Control has determined that 95 percent of the population now has some immunity to COVID. This immunity originates either through vaccinations or from having had the disease in the past. Consequently, the CDC has lifted all of their pandemic restrictions for face-to-face meetings. Their website is no longer reporting state-by-state COVID infection levels because the rate of infection has dropped so low that the majority of states are no longer compiling infection and hospital admittance rates.
Despite this, I know each individual will need to assess their own comfort level for attending specific in-person meetings going forward.
So, can we attend in-person meetings now?
Personally, I am now comfortable attending face-to-face meetings myself and I plan to attend a large number of international, regional and local association meetings this year. My assessment is that AAPG should continue to plan and organize in-person conventions and exhibitions into the future. In the meantime, AAPG will continue to have some online events and webinars for those who want to attend such events. (See AAPG.org/career/training/online/virtual-events.)
So, hurray! I feel great about attending AAPG’s future meetings! If you feel the same way and you missed this year’s, AAPG and SEG will another IMAGE meeting on Aug. 27-Sept. 1, 2023, in Houston. Put it on your calendar now.
If that is too far in the future for you to wait, AAPG will sponsor a large number of other meetings in the coming year. These include the Mid-Continent 2022 Field Conference in Rolla, Mo., and the Eastern Section Annual Meeting in Champaign, Ill., this month. In addition, the AAPG website currently lists a whole series of meetings before next year’s IMAGE. (See AAPG.org/events/event-listings.)
I don’t know about everyone else, but I have found the online AAPG meetings and conferences I have attended in the last couple of years to be very helpful and informative. However, it is like a breath of fresh air to step out and see old friends and colleagues again. So, I hope to see you soon.
It’s like I can be wild and free again! Wait – that was the 1960s for me, not the 1980s …