With COVID-19 concerns impacting travel around the world, large and small events alike have rescheduled to protect their participants. Some events move on the calendar; others, like GeoAmericas 2020, are keeping their dates but moving online.
The Brazil Chapter of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS Brasil) has announced that the 4th Pan-American Regional Conference on Geosynthetics will be held 26 – 29 October 2020 in an exclusively digital environment. This marks the first major geosynthetics conference from IGS to be held entirely online.
GO ONLINE VS. A MOVE ON THE CALENDAR
“To ensure that everyone (and even more people) can participate,” write the organizers, “we will be bringing together the most modern technologies in terms of digital resources and online platforms to make it a great event.”
Registration is open for the online conference and fees have been reduced to extend the reach of the technical program. (Editor’s note: The registration rate is amazing! Also, the early bird rate is available through 1 October 2020.)
The move marks the second major shift from the GeoAmericas 2020 organizing committee. The conference, which was originally to have been held in April, was one of the first geotechnical events to find new dates later in the year–only to find Covid uncertainty still disrupting travel. Their colleagues at two other major regional geosynthetics events, EuroGeo 7 and GeoAsia 7, have also moved events on the calendar. EuroGeo changed dates for its in-person conference from September 2020 to May 2021. GeoAsia 7 moved from March to November 2021.
GeoAmericas now follows the path that the Canadian Geotechnical Society has taken with its 2020 annual conference. With an in-person event not possible in September, the CGS renamed its event GeoVirtual 2020 and is keeping its original dates. Like GeoAmericas 2020, the CGS conference will represent a first major move into digital events for the organization.
For GeoAmericas, moving an in-person gathering again was an extremely disruptive idea. The 2021 calendar is already quite crowded with so many adjustments. With a strong program firmly in place and in a field that is quite versed with webinars and digital communication, hosting this first major online geosynthetics conference was a sound idea.
There is every reason to believe that GeoAmericas will succeed with this endeavor. Geosynthetica commends the organizers on orchestrating the digital structure so quickly and encourages all in the geosynthetics engineering community to maintain their support for the event.