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Summer 2007
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Towson University Conference

In March 2007, Dr. Jay Morgan, the organizer of Towson University's annual Geographic Information Sciences Conference, acknowledged Esri. Jack Dangermond, Esri president, served as the keynote presenter for the university's 20th Annual GIS Conference (TUgis 2007). The title of Dangermond's presentation was Evolving GIS Methods and Technology.

Morgan, who credits Dangermond with providing his initial training in GIS-based spatial analysis when he served as the first systems analyst/programmer for the Maryland Automated Geographic Information System in the early 1970s, wrote a poem in Dangermond's honor. Esri was "selected to provide the first commercially developed Statewide GIS, entitled the Maryland Automated Geographic Information System, for the State of Maryland in 1973." Morgan wrote the following poem to honor his decades-long affiliation and friendship with Dangermond:

Before reading the poem at the plenary session, Morgan thanked Dangermond for his longstanding support of the Maryland GIS community. Morgan also indicated that a Part 2 to the poem is in the works. A record total of 620 people attended the two-day conference, which was held on the campus of Towson University, located approximately eight miles north of the Baltimore Inner Harbor.

Information About TUgis 2008

For information about the 21st Annual Towson University GIS Conference (TUgis 2008), which is scheduled for March 17 and 18, 2008, visit tugis.towson.edu. The theme of next year's conference is "Democratizing GIS: New Tools for Meeting the Public Demand for Geospatial Information."

Whither GIS? A Poem for Jack (Part 1)
By Jay Morgan

My layered world waits before me within,
Digital orthos, plan/topo, cadastral, and TIN.
Neither raster nor vector data my GIS lacks . . . thanks to Jack,
An onion-like mélange of geospatial features and facts.

Flashes of electrons dance on-screen making my map,
Points, lines, polygons-coordinates all-form in a snap.
Yet, digital geospatial data today is much more,
Features, their database'd attributes, and relations joined we can explore.

Cartographic visualization, we know, is both science and art,
If my map is to be my message, and tell a story, I must do my part.
A palette of a thousand colors for map features my color-blind eye struggles to peruse,
A legend, a scale bar, a north arrow, oh my! Which marginalia should my map include?

O database, my geodatabase . . . you are my system's heart and soul more or less,
If I torture you long enough with ArcGIS tools will you grudgingly confess?
I oft-ponder a question an answer for which I would pay a princely price,
Are the locations of my features you store, and their attributes, both accurate and precise?

Like Diogenes, I search for solutions to geospatial problems I face,
Wasn't Esri software developed primarily to help us analyze space?
Yet managing data and preparing maps is the labor of far too many and not just a few,
Is maintaining cadastral data and mapping street centerlines all some users can think of for their GIS to do?

Every morning at my flat screen altar of ArcGIS I pray,
Will my Esri-powered map machine awaken my geographer inner child again today?
My spatial psyche mouses about my virtual world with nascent glee,
In pursuit of physical and human patterns and processes that heretofore have gone unseen.

Whether wms or wfs served up by clients thin or thick,
Anyone can now view my maps, data, and models via Web browser and Internet click.
A global GeoWeb of interoperable services sharing knowledge about our Earth,
To help us understand, communicate, and collaborate . . . a "new medium" Esri has given birth.

Here's to Jack, Roger, and the late Ian . . . geo-pioneers three,
What they once envisioned, or perhaps may have dreamed, is our present reality.
Jack has sown the seeds of our subsequent software solutions in Queen Califa's magical lands of red,
I wonder where his vision of "Geography Connecting Our World" will lead us in the years ahead?

© 2007 John M. Morgan, III

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