August 04, 2008

2008 ESRI User Conference update From San Diego, CA

finally, some updates from the ESRI UC... From San Diego, CA (sorry but my wireless card is hosed, hence the lack of live notes) - Finally, an update, albeit a brief one, from the ESRI user conference. This morning at the San Diego Convention Center, Jack Dangermond took to the stage to welcome more than 14,000 attendees to this year’s event.

These GIS users came from more than 120 countries around the Globe to share and learn about what the millions of ESRI software users around the Globe are doing and how ArcGIS and related applications are helping to solve problems and make the World a better place.
As he does every year, Dangermond kicked things off by asking us all to meet our neighbors and ask how GIS plays a role in their lives – I met a woman from Calgary (in the petroleum industry) and a gentleman from Pennsylvania. We then heard about just a few innovative uses of ESRI solutions that got Dangermond’s attention. We saw brief examples of ArcGIS being used for suck applications as:Municipal mappingLaw enforcementEmergency responseBusiness geographicsEarth sciencesNatural resourcesHealth and medical geographyAnd more!
Always eager to show his appreciation for excellence in GIS, Dangermond then commented how some 160 agencies recently received SAG awards. Several other “special” awards were then pointed out:The President’s Award – The City of Philadelphia for an enterprise GIS application and supporting website.Making a Difference Award – To Rosario and Ramon Perez for their work on GIS in planning and poverty.
The second Making a difference award was presented to Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, Director of the USDA – recall the USDA is responsible for managing some 20% of lands, national parks, and more. Kempthorne made a point of thanking Dangermond for everything he and GIS has done for all of us. He also made a point of reminding us that yes, the government gets it and yes, they do indeed use GIS! An impressive graphic shared with us during the presentation revealed how imagery and analysis has shown the disappearance of the polar ice cover during the past 2 years… the lack of snow revealed from the study simply amazing!
Kempthorne then took the stage for about 10 minutes to share GIs tales from the DOI. Of interest, he noted that the USGS is now proudly making available, for free, the entire 35 year catalog of LandSAT imagery via the web… applause!
The rest of the morning was devoted to seeing GIS in action and hearing all about the 9.3 application suite, including details of what’s new in all the popular apps and extensions – more on this later.
Something I always enjoy is hearing John Caukins way cool Top 10 list and today he delivered once again. So, the following Top 10 ArcGIS 9.3 Time Savers that “you” asked for were presented as follows (in reverse order):Bookmarks and bookmark managerPause label redrawsKeyboard shortcutsClip a raster from a shape (sweet!)Transparent legendsAdvanced table sorting, aliases and joinsReverse geocoding (nice!)Convert graphics to featuresIdentify shortcuts and html popupsError reporting to help fix and report crashes
Numerous demos were presented by power users and all delivered as the crowd was lively in sharing their enthusiasm and applause. Interesting demos (live) presented included:Michael Parkin of MIT who shared how the campus is using 3D analysis to model and analyze various planning scenarios including how the campus will be affected by a proposed transportation route through the campus. A fun and useful app he also shared is how parking permits are better allocated to staff so that people are able to park closer to their offices.
One of my favorite demos came from Paul Ross of The City of Fort Collins. Ross shared a story of how the city uses Arc Logistics for fleet management and in the process has realized some amazing ROI, particularly with fuel consumption – they managed to reduce fuel usage by 30% by optimizing routes, enhanced scheduling, and navigation. His examples were definitely a worthy model for any utility of local government to look at, particularly while we have $4+ per gallon fuel at the pumps!
Some notable quotes (Dangermond) from the morning include:This is only the beginning of the geospatial eraSoon, everyone will be able to access and use GIS!
For a take away tip, those of you interested in getting help in describing the benefits of GIS, you might consider a new book from ESRI Press titled “The Business Benefits of GIS, by David MacGuire.
More on ArcGIS 9.3 and ArcGIS Server at 9.3 to come later
For some image from the morning plenary, see the GISuser Flickr -
For news announcements from the show see

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