Notice the red "!" denoting the conflicts so you can tweak your plan.
So many choices, so little time.
That’s how members can feel when perusing the program of the rapidly approaching AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition in Long Beach, Calif.
Itinerary planner navigation on left with roster including warnings.
Fortunately, there is an online tool that will help maximize convention time.
Located on the landing page for the Long Beach meeting, note the link to the “Itinerary Planner.” This tool is tied into the technical program abstracts and all scheduled events at the convention center.
It is invaluable to attendees.
Located in this single location are all details of the technical program sessions, luncheons, courses (both before and after the meeting) and special sessions and forums. It is designed to allow the user to browse, search and, ultimately, select the events of interest to them.
Once selections are made the itinerary will reveal the conflicts. Now you are empowered to tweak the schedule and then download it in several formats: PDF, .ics for your calendar, or Excel spreadsheet.
Try It – I Liked It!
When you first enter the Itinerary Planner you’ll have the option to use it as a guest or you may provide your email. I urge you to provide your email, as it creates a record that allows you to store your selections, empowering you to come back to your itinerary repeatedly until you have it finalized.
The first thing I did was to browse and discover the features.
For example, when I expanded Monday, I found the All-Convention luncheon listed, along with all papers. Likewise, on Sunday, all sessions including short courses and opening session were included.
It was pretty cool to discover the entire experience could be planned (with only a few exceptions – read on.
I went through each day and found those important luncheons and forums that I needed, then I explored the “search” feature.
The search feature was quite robust, allowing me to look only for presenters or to display session types or session topics in my results.
Once I saw a session I liked, I could select the whole session at once (on the right) to include in my itinerary, or I could select individual sessions.
Since I wanted to target a specific presenter, I also found their name and could select their specific presentation – poster and paper, alike.
I noticed a nice feature for attendees who are limited to one day – the “Itinerary Level.” When I used this it honed my view to the day(s) I selected.
Now, this was all from the default features of the site.
I took a break and left the site. Upon my return I entered my email address and everything I had completed to that point was there, so I decided to review my itinerary.
On the left is this small browsing menu, where I selected “view your itinerary.” It quickly became apparent that I had a lot of conflicts.
There was a red icon with an exclamation mark in it that showed my conflicts, so the weeding began and I started to deselect and prioritize the items critical to my experience.
It was nice to know I could leave it for a few hours and consult with my peers about their plans. Then I would return to finish the process. It became evident this tool would help stay coordinated with co-workers so we could maximize our attendance.
There also is an option to add the itinerary with abstracts to a calendar.
Clicking this option gives an .ics file to import into a calendar. Now the itinerary can be viewed on other electronic devices.
I chose to download my itinerary into all options just to see what the results would be.
I found I needed to edit the resulting Excel spreadsheet into cells that would wrap the text and change the formatting to something more readable – but any one with rudimentary Excel skills could do that.
The print option formatted the results into a very usable PDF, too.
I noticed also that if a paper was withdrawn that was graphically noted with a purple “w” icon. (We hope your itinerary won’t show very many of those.)
My final choice? I used the “add itinerary to calendar” and “print itinerary + abstracts” so I could review the abstracts on my trip to Long Beach and have my schedule handy throughout the meeting.
Committees and field trips were not included in this itinerary planner. This is because the focus of the planner is the convention center site.
At this time committee meeting assignments are still being made. Once completed these will be compiled into a PDF to download from the Long Beach website. Committee chairs will be notified when these are available.
If you are registered for a field trip or attending a committee meeting, you’ll simply make note of that and merge it into your spreadsheet or add to your calendar. Obviously the PDF would not accommodate that – but a good pen on a printed piece of paper is still a pretty handy tool.
It makes sense to get these details before you complete your itinerary. The itinerary planner will remain available at all times so you may make your plans today and then finalize them after you know about the exceptions that might apply to you.
I will not download my final itinerary until about one week before my departure so I can make one final review and confirm none of my selected papers are withdrawn, or any conflicts arise due to schedule changes.