ESRI’s International User Conference Continues to Inspire

Aug 2007 | Comments Off on ESRI’s International User Conference Continues to Inspire

IN his opening address at ESRI’s 27th annual International User Conference, staged this June in the expansive San Diego Convention Center, company president Jack Dangermond set the tone for the weeklong event by announcing that the conference theme, The Geographic Approach, emphasized the unique perspective for analysis and understanding offered through geography and GIS technology.
“Today, the world has many pressing problems for which we must fi nd solutions including an ever-increasing population, global warming, social confl ict, natural resource shortages, loss of biodiversity, and security concerns,” said Dangermond. “GIS provides both the framework for a comprehensive situational view of these challenges and the analytical capabilities required to develop sustainable solutions to resolve them. GIS equips the user with the tools, methods, and workfl ows to support collaboration and action,” he declared.
Environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai treated the 13,000-plus attendees to an impassioned talk about the criticality of environmental awareness and action in her Keynote Address. As founder of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, her group has planted over 40 million trees in the past 30 years. They recently adopted GIS technology, which Maathai called “an extremely valuable tool. GIS helps in planning, marking, and monitoring the trees. It makes our work easier and more effi cient.”
Conference attendees always eagerly anticipate ESRI’s new software announcements, and were not disappointed.
Among the announcements, David Maguire, director, products and international, discussed the improved geoprocessing capabilities in ArcGIS 9.3, its support for advanced statistical analysis and geographic visualization, and how it can be applied to scientifi c computation. Clint Brown, director of software products, detailed the development of ArcWeb Services, which is leading the evolution of GIS to an Internetbased system that is interconnected, interoperable, integrated, and dynamic.
Recognition for exceptional contributions is an important aspect of the conference. This year, the President’s Award was presented to the Nature Conservancy, while the Lifetime Achievement Award went to Don Cooke, founder of Geographic Data Technology. The Saudi Aramco Corporation was recognized for making a difference in the lives of others with the Distinguished Service in GIS Award. 165 companies received Special Achievement in GIS Awards.
Another highlight of the annual user conference is the Map Gallery exhibition, where ESRI’s user community can display their mapmaking techniques and creativity. This year, more than 1,000 maps were entered into the 15-category competition.
In addition, a number of users hosted pavilions in the map gallery to display their work including GIS Aids Recovery of Post-Tsunami Indonesia; North American Zoos, Aquariums, and Botanical Gardens; the United Nations System; National Geographic Society; Service at Sea; National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency (NGA) Palanterra Interactive Island; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) / Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) GIS Applications for Space-Based Operations; and San Diego Host ommittee GIS. The Green Belt Movement detailed the environmental work of Wangari Maathai.
The conference included more than 300 technical workshops, 900 user presentations, 100 user group meetings, and 1,000 business partners offering a variety of solutions and services.
Concurrent conferences included the ESRI Education User Conference; the ESRI Survey & Engineering GIS Summit; and the inaugural National HAZUS User Conference, hosted by the Federal Emergency anagement Agency (FEMA).
Summarizing the event, Dr. Petra Zimmermann, assistant professor at Ball State University, said, “As a fi rsttime attendee of the ESRI International User Conference and Education User Conference, I have defi nitely been wowed! I’ve had the pleasure of attending thought-provoking paper sessions, excellent workshops and labs, and inspiring Plenary Sessions at both the EdUC and ESRI UC. I’ve met so many wonderful people and have received many tips and ideas, both for my research and my classes, and I look forward to implementing them.”
Jim Baumann,

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