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Transforming GIS
2009 Esri Middle East and North Africa User Conference

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More than 450 professionals from executives and managers to GIS and IT end users gathered in Manama, Bahrain, for the 2009 Esri Middle East and North Africa User Conference (MEAUC).

This event for Esri users in the Middle East and North Africa was held November 1012 at the Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel. MEAUC is a forum for learning about the newest developments in GIS and building relationships with other members of the international Esri user community.

The conference was held under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, Deputy Prime Minister for the Government of Bahrain. Khalifa deputized His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed Ateyatalla Al Khalifa, Minister of Cabinet Affairs for the Kingdom of Bahrain, to attend the conference in his stead.

"GIS is slowly transforming into a pervasive technology," said Dr. Ghulum Bakiri from MicroCenter, the Esri distributor in Bahrain. "And many countries in the region are embarking on a national NSDI [National Spatial Data Infrastructure] initiative to act as the platform of choice for integrating diverse islands of information that exist in various departments and government organizations. This conference gave GIS professionals and decision makers an outstanding opportunity to share their experiences and gain valuable insight into essential best practices in this challenging undertaking."

Attendees heard from Esri president Jack Dangermond during the Plenary Session. He discussed his vision for GIS, its impact on the world, and explained that now GIS is not only about providing maps and information but is also an indispensable tool for analysis and decision making for developing environmental policies and urban plans.

At conference sessions, users had questions answered and learned how to obtain results in their organizations and communities through using GIS. They saw the latest GIS tools and applications, heard about time-saving tips and tricks, and met with Esri staff and business partners. Technical workshops, led by Esri product managers and paper sessions on successful GIS applications showed attendees new ways to get solutions to technical issues and cost-saving ideas for specific markets.

For the region's next gathering, users in the Middle East and North Africa are invited to attend a combination European User Conference (EUC) October 2628, 2010, in Rome, Italy.

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