The Association of Geographic Information Laboratories for Europe (AGILE) was established in 1998, with a mission to promote teaching and research on geographic information systems (GIS) and geographic information science at the European level and to ensure the continuation of the networking activities that emerged as a result of the European GIS (EGIS) Conferences and the European Science Foundation GISDATA Scientific Programmes.
AGILE seeks to ensure that the views of the geographic information teaching and research community are represented in the discussions that take place on future European research agenda, and it also provides a permanent scientific forum where geographic information researchers can meet and exchange ideas and experiences at the European level.
The founders of AGILE believed that membership should be at the laboratory level, as opposed to the U.S. University Consortium on Geographic Information Science (UCGIS), for which membership is at the university level. As of this writing, AGILE consists of 91 member laboratories, mostly from universities but also from government organizations, such as the COGIT lab of the French Institut Géographique National, or the European Commission Joint Research Centre. Member labs come from nearly all European nations and also from Turkey and Israel. In addition,AGILE invites affiliate membership from the geographic information and related industries and has signed memoranda of understanding (MOU) with several industrial partners. Furthermore, AGILE has established fruitful collaboration with other sister associations, such as the GEOIDE research network in Canada, the Euro Spatial Data Research (EuroSDR), UCGIS, and the Open Geospatial Consortium.
AGILE members are expected to contribute to one or more of the six active working groups: data policy, interoperability, education, environmental modeling, usability, and urban and regional modeling. These working groups undertake specific tasks, including organizing subconferences, such as the European GIS Education Seminars (EUGISES), holding workshops previous to the main conference, publishing special issues of journals, and running their own dissemination portals and mailing lists. Recently, working groups have also produced and published (as a green paper) a geographic information systems and science research agenda (currently being revised); participated in European projects, such as ETEMII; and participated in the European dialogue on the formation of the European Research Area.
Activities of AGILE are managed by an eightperson management council elected by its members. The council’s main tasks are to develop an organizational structure to realize the goals stated above, to further develop with the help of the members a European research agenda, to initiate and stimulate working groups, and to organize the annual conference. The 10th conference site (2007) is Aalborg, Denmark; in 2008, Girona, Spain, will host the event. The composition of conference attendees, with approximately 20% coming from outside Europe, reflects the notion that it 10———Association of Geographic Information Laboratories for Europe (AGILE) is meant to be a conference of all geographic information researchers, held in Europe.