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2003 Was a Productive Year for the GIS Community
Esri at Thirty-Four
With its 34th year of business drawing to a close, the opportunity to reflect on Esri's accomplishments during 2003 and consider directions for the future is again at hand.
While economic growth throughout the world continues to stagnate, Esri has posted modest gains during 2003. The company continues to grow its facilities by expanding the New York City satellite office into full regional office status and by constructing a new office facility on the Redlands campus. Esri Sweden also established a direct Esri company in Finland, taking over the distributorship of the NOVO Group. Esri staff grew by about 5 percent, including several new directors, among them David Leonard, director of strategic business partners, and Jim Geringer (former governor of Wyoming), director of the public affairs sector.
Sales were up with many major contracts in the insurance, financial, and other business sectors, as well as significant growth in the utility and federal, state, and local government areas.
Esri released a plethora of new software offerings during 2003. Heading the list is ArcGIS 8.3, which includes ArcReader, ArcView, ArcEditor, ArcInfo, ArcSDE, ArcGIS Survey Analyst, ArcGIS Tracking Analyst, and ArcScan for ArcGIS.
Other releases included ArcIMS 4.0.1, ArcWeb USA, ArcWeb for Developers, ArcExplorer 4.0.1, ArcExplorer Web, Map-ObjectsJava Edition 2, ArcPad 6.0.1 and 6.0.2, ArcPad Application Builder 6.0.1, ArcPad StreetMap 6.0.1, ArcGIS Schematics 2.2.3, Districting for ArcGIS, BusinessMAP 3.5, MapShop 2, and MapShop for Media 3.
Esri shipped ArcGIS Business Analyst 8.3, which combines Esri's leading GIS technology with extensive business, demographic, and consumer household data to assist users with mission critical business decisions. A new version of ArcGIS Military Analyst also shipped, which incorporates a suite of tools tailored to meet the special needs of the defense user and significantly enhances the effectiveness of core ArcGIS as a tool set foundation for the military planner and intelligence analyst.
Job Tracking for ArcGIS, a solution-based extension to ArcGIS that provides an integration framework for ArcGIS multiuser geodatabase environments, was also released. This enterprise work flow management application simplifies and automates many aspects of job management and tracking and streamlines the work flow, resulting in improved efficiency and a significant savings of time for any enterprise GIS project.
Esri also released a series of Production Line Tool Set (PLTS) applications during 2003. PLTS is a collection of software applications built on top of ArcGIS for high-volume database production, maintenance, quality control, and cartographic product generation. Released products include PLTS GIS Data ReViewer 4.2, PLTS Foundation, PLTS Defense Solution, PLTS Nautical Charting Solution, and PLTS Mapping Agency Solution.
During 2003, Esri Business Information Solutions (Esri BIS) released a number of data sets, publications, software, and Web services products. Data products included 2003/2008 demographic data updates and forecasts, the Community Tapestry segmentation system, Consumer Expenditure Survey data update, Retail MarketPlace database, and Mediamark Research Inc. data update.
In 2003, Esri Professional Services helped a wide range of users design, develop, and maintain GIS systems to fit many unique needs. "Our consultants and technical support staff have helped implement solutions for many agencies and organizations," explains Don Chambers, manager, Esri Consulting Services Department, "including the City/County of Honolulu, Hawaii; Connecticut Department of Public Health; Consumers Energy in Michigan; New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Reliance Infocomm in Bombay, India; and San Bernardino County, California."
In 2003, Professional Services staff continued providing database and system design and development support to agencies in the U.S. federal government including the Bureau of Land Management, Census Bureau, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, Office of Management and Budget, and U.S. Armed Forces. Professional Services staff also banded together to assist the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Columbia space shuttle recovery effort and to help the U.S. Forest Service fight the fires that swept through Southern California in fall 2003.
News Around the World
Large-scale cadastral systems are beginning to be implemented in countries around the world, including Belgium, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Slovenia, and Vietnam, as well as the city of Beijing, China. Utility sales were strong with Gaz de France expanding its commercial information system and Transco UK implementing a GIS for its gas network. Telecom giant Ericsson Brazil implemented an enterprise GIS, and Orange Slovensko implemented a system for location-based services in Slovakia. GIS-based transportation information systems were implemented at Danish Railways, Danzas in Sweden, and Klang Valley Integrated Transport Information Systems in Malaysia. The municipality of Lisbon and Esri Portugal (Sistemas e Informacao Geografica, S.A.) signed a cooperation agreement, and Esri China (Hong Kong) Limited built a mapping Web site to track and analyze the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in the region in 2003.
Esri President Jack Dangermond continued his worldwide travels, discussing Thailand's national GIS policy with Thai Prime Minister Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra; cooperative mapping efforts with India's President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam; and national geographic information system technology with Dr. Jorge Batlle Ibáñez, president of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay. Dangermond was also named the Honorary Chair of World Standards Day 2003.
Business Partner Program
In 2003, Esri's worldwide partner community continued to grow and provide added value to users and organizations investing in GIS. Esri partners include more than 2,000 organizations that are focused on different aspects of GIS and offer professional GIS expertise in areas such as custom application development, industry solutions, targeted applications, consulting, training, software resale, and other value-added services.
Esri also continues to build and enhance relationships with strategic partners such as CH2M HILL, IBM, Lockheed Martin, SAS, and Tele Atlas/TomTom. Expanded support for these major relationships demonstrates Esri's recognition of the value of Esri partners at all levels.
Esri's Virtual Campus continued to be a focus for GIS education and training in 2003. Enrollments grew to more than 220,000 members, representing 186 countries. In addition, 10,000 participants from 61 countries attended free technical seminars that are broadcast live from the education department each month.
Twenty new courses and workshops brought the total number of online offerings available to 75. New Esri courses include Creating and Editing Geodatabase Topology, Creating and Editing Geodatabase Features, and Creating, Editing, and Managing Geodatabases. New workshops include ArcGIS Annotation: Tips and Tricks, Working with Geodatabase Subtypes and Domains, and Understanding Branching and Looping in VBA.
More than 70,000 GIS professionals worldwide enrolled in Esri's instructor-led software classes in 2003. Esri software training is more accessible than ever with classes available at regional offices, client sites, and international distributors around the world. Third party instructors of Esri software now number more than 1,000 throughout the world. Several new instructor-led courses were developed and taught during 2003 for ArcGIS, ArcIMS, and ArcSDE, and more new courses and course updates are planned to support software releases in 2004 including ArcGIS 9.
Esri Press added nine new titles in 2003 to its impressive list of books, which now totals 50. The new books are GIS for Everyone: Third Edition, Mapping the News: Case Studies in GIS and Journalism, Community Geography: GIS in Action, Community Geography: GIS in Action Teacher's Guide, Advanced Spatial Analysis, Thinking About GIS: Geographic Information System Planning for Managers, Connecting Our World: GIS Web Services, Getting to Know ArcObjects, and Making Community Connections. Thinking About GIS was written by Roger Tomlinson, commonly referred to as the "father of GIS."
Annual International User Conference
In his opening speech for Esri's 23rd Annual International User Conference, Jack Dangermond said the primary purpose of the conference was to bring together GIS professionals so they could share experiences, ideas, information, values, and approachesin short, to build relationships and learn from each other. Indeed, more than 12,000 GIS professionals attended.
Dangermond observed that while in the past natural forces shaped and controlled the evolution of the earth and its inhabitants, today the human species has the capability to control not only the future of the planet, but subsequently its own destiny.
"Geographic change is accelerating," declared Dangermond. And, because GIS has the capability to help us better understand the processes leading to those changes and assimilate that information into the decision making process, he says, "GIS can help us take greater, more considered actions in directing those changes and promoting smart growth."
Fourth Annual EdUC Highlights
The conference theme of the year's Esri Education User Conference (EdUC) was "Making Community Connections," which was emphasized throughout the 200 presentations to approximately 500 conference attendees. These presentations included a wide variety of sessions on teacher education, instructional research, administrative use, using GIS in libraries and museums, and the traditionally rich sessions on teaching with and about GIS in K-12 and higher education programs.
This year's EdUC attendees also participated in the opening sessions of the Esri User Conference and the Education Fair.
Expanding Grant Programs
In February 2003, Esri and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat) entered into an agreement whereby Esri will support UN Habitat's Global Urban Observatory (GUO) Programme by providing GIS software grants to hundreds of cities in developing countries around the world. These grants, totaling more than $15 million, will enable small- to medium-size cities to actively participate in GUO by collecting and disseminating data on local urban indicators that reflect the quality of life in those areas. This will help support local decision makers in creating more sustainable communities.
The International Federation of Surveyors grant program was further expanded during 2003. The program was developed to foster and support the integration of GIS technology in engineering and surveying colleges and universities worldwide. The final number of grants awarded totaled 49. Up to 25 copies of ArcGISincluding ArcView, ArcGIS Survey Analyst, ArcGIS Spatial Analyst, ArcGIS 3D Analyst, and ArcGIS Geostatistical Analystare installed in each university's computer lab.
Eighteen GIS professionals from 10 African nations gathered for a two-week training class on Building a National Basemap in Nairobi, Kenya, in fall 2003. The training program was for the Global Map/Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI) grant and was designed to make the process of creating and publishing global map data easy to understand and accomplish. Training was delivered as a series of lectures and classroom exercises. Two Global Map/GSDI grant training sessions have also been conducted at Esri's corporate offices in Redlands, California, with 14 students from Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jordan, Hungary, Algeria, Kazakhstan, and Montserrat in attendance. HNIT-Baltic GeoInfoServisas, Esri's distributor in Lithuania, has also conducted two training sessions. To date, the Global Map/GSDI grant has been awarded to 105 countries.
Fifth Annual GIS Day
Approximately 1,000 events were conducted in nearly 100 countries around the world for the fifth annual International GIS Day on November 19. The day's events included several major activities. The largest was a federal multiagency exhibit in Washington, D.C., that demonstrated how geospatial technologies support agencies in achieving their goals. It also illustrated how multiple agencies are working together with partners, such as Geospatial One-Stop and the Federal Geographic Data Committee, toward a common National Spatial Data Infrastructure. In addition, the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition was celebrated at the event.
2004 and Beyond
Following another successful year for Esri software users and Esri itself, its commitment in 2004 to the GIS community is stronger than ever. Besides ArcGIS 9 and its great new extensions, as well as ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Engine, Esri has a number of exciting upcoming software releases, which will make the work of GIS professionals both easier and applicable in even more areas and organizations. Esri will also continue its investment of time and resources in initiatives to help users solve some of society's pressing problems through the practical application of GIS technology.