ESRI’s user conference highlights new developments in GIS
ESRI President Jack Dangermond set the tone for the company’s 26th annual international user conference by announcing in his introductory address that, “This week is all about GIS, geography, and sharing our knowledge. You are working on problems that are international in scope including population growth, global warming, urbanization, pollution, public safety, and many other critical issues.”
The imminent release of ArcGIS 9.2 attracted much interest among the 14,000 plus group of conference attendees. These enhanced features include improved tools and interfaces, support for sophisticated cartographic design, advanced modeling tools for image processing and analysis, and enhanced CAD support. Another new feature is geodatabase archiving, which allows the recording and display of changes over time that can be used with the new animation tools to create, play back, and export animations and animated graphics.
To demonstrate this new and powerful feature, information regarding the historical increase of children afflicted with asthma was displayed. Another dataset showed historical data about air quality in the areas where these children resided, and yet another dataset showed addresses of afflicted children in proximity to freeways. Bringing the datasets together in GIS to produce an animated historical map that showed changes in asthma cases, air quality, and freeway exhaust made correlations obvious.
Bob Kerrey, President of The New School and former U.S. Senator, delivered the keynote address. While in government, Kerrey spent some time examining the relationship between geography and public policy, which gave him insight into the effects of globalization with the relocation of people from agricultural communities to urban areas.
One of the many highlights of the conference was the awards ceremony honoring exemplary achievement in GIS application and implementation. The ESRI Presidential Award is one of the company’s most distinctive honors and is presented annually to an organization that has achieved a level of success that significantly expands its application of GIS technology. ESRI President Jack Dangermond personally selects the organization that receives the award. This year, the award was presented to The Ordnance Survey of Great Britain. Accepting the award on behalf of the organization was Dr. Vanessa Lawrence, the Ordnance Survey’s Director General and CEO. Observes Dangermond,