GIS makes geography alive
|“Geography is our platform for understanding the world,” said Esri president Jack Dangermond in his opening remarks at the 2012 Esri International User Conference, held July 23–27 in San Diego, California, “and GIS makes geography come alive by condensing down data and knowledge into a kind of language that we can easily understand.”
Dangermond went on to talk about Geography as a Platform (GaaP), a GIS-based environment he envisions that will deliver enabling technology to anyone, anywhere, on any type of device. He indicated that ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud service, is a fundamental component of the GaaP concept because it promotes platform interoperability.
During the technology workshops, Esri’s technical support team demonstrated new tools, workfl ows, and applications available in ArcGIS 10.1. A key benefi t is the creation of an interactive common operating picture, which incorporates web applications created on ArcGIS for Server, and Software/Data as a Service provided by ArcGIS Online.
The more than 15,500 attendees had a number of opportunities to share their work, including the User Software Applications Fair, Map Gallery, Lightning Talks, and moderated paper sessions. At the GIS Solutions EXPO, many users joined the Handson Learning Lab and watched product and application demonstrations.
Esri staged fi ve concurrent conventions this year in conjunction with its User Conference: the Esri Business Summit, Survey Summit (jointly with the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping Annual Conference), Esri Homeland Security Summit, Global Marketing and Sales Summit, and Esri Education GIS Conference.
Juliana Rotich, cofounder and executive director of Ushahidi, spoke on crowd mapping, citizen science, and participatory learning during a special presentation at the education conference. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Ushahidi— which means “testimony” in Swahili—supports map-based, crowdsourced data collection for the democratization of information. Esri is a longtime supporter of Ushahidi and recently released the ArcGIS Add-in for Ushahidi.
While the User Conference is now concluded, it is still possible to learn about the latest trends and GIS technologies that were discussed. The conference website, esri.com/uc, is a valuable resource for viewing the plenary talks, listening to technical session podcasts, and reading conference proceedings such as user presentations.
The 2013 Esri International User Conference will be held at the San Diego Convention Center July 8–12.
– Jim Baumann, Esri Writer