The 26th Annual ESRI International User Conference began Monday in San Diego, California with 14,000 in attendance. The conference is the largest GIS conference in the world and nearly 200 countries are represented.The conference began with President and CEO of ESRI, Jack Dangermond emerging from the shadows of the San Diego Convention Center to a main room with 3 large display screens with sound and images filling the air.
Many in the audience were intrigued from the start wondering what Dangermond would speak about given that the company's main product - ArcGIS 9.2 - was presented last year at this time and had not been released since, although it will be later this fall. From the moment Dangermond began, something was different. I sensed it and I think others did too, because it was quiet for a crowd this size. Their attention was grasped from the get-go as Dangermond began on the topic of real-time weather modelling and moved quickly to 'emergency planning' and 'human impacts and footprints' on the planet Earth."Cartography is a tool to tell stories," he said. And that to me was the signal that this delivery would be different, because he was angling toward the expression of GIS,
before stating "we are using GIS in business to do business in a different way." He was indirectly pointing out that GIS can cause changes - big ones - positive ones. He pointed out the complexity of the Lithuania land record system, how improvements in safety operations were taking place and how human health was the fastest growing area and one that excited him most.Having seen Jack Dangermond speak more than a few times, I think his delivery today, supported by many slides that described ArcGIS, the GeoWeb and ArcGIS Server's, it was apparent that all the pieces of the company's transition to the ArcGIS system were in place. Through the numerous examples, the message being delivered was "ready for business and ready to advance to the next stage." In fact, even the documentation in the next ArcGIS 9.2 version will not only explain how to do tasks, but also explain why one might want to use them. Bottomline: The system has been refined. From surveyor's needs to image analysis to real-ime geovisualisation and animation - ArcGIS is ready to deliver. I found myself wondering how many in the audience were going to grasp the concepts and functionality being presented as example now, and what we might expect to see next year and the year after. Dangermond has been alluding to this system and the ArcGIS environment for a number of years. But this year one could tell by the tone of his voice, in addition to the presentation, that the products are lined up and ready-to-go. My thought today is that users will need to advance their expectations, raise their wishes and buckle down to creation mode and begin the work of not only solving the world's problems; but to really start to begin to see them in new ways.It's all about...Jack Dangermond says.1) Technology2) Methods3) Organisations4) Data5) ProcessesGIS is being driven by the dynamics of:1) Population growth2) Resource Consumption3) Development and Globalisation4) Political and Social Controversy5) Technological ChangeThe 'Making a Difference Award'
Dr. N. Vijayaditya - National Information Center of India"His work affects world health care and opinion"
James R. Clapper - U.S. Air Force (retired)"Former Director of the NGA, for his contribution through the NGA" Presidents Award
Vanessa Lawrence - Director of the Ordnance Survey Great Britain"for transforming the OS into a complete geospatial organisation"
Author: Jeff Thurston
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