Making a Huge Difference
For the 26th year, GIS professionals from around the world met to share knowledge and experience and build relationships at the 2006 Esri International User Conference in San Diego, California, held August 711.
In his address during the conference's Plenary Session, Esri president Jack Dangermond stressed the need for collaboration and a sense of shared responsibility for the planet. Geography and GIS can help meet the challenges to sustainability that the earth currently faces by, in the words of the conference theme, Communicating Our World. Dangermond had "a special message for you as GIS practitioners. I think GIS provides a framework personally, and in our organizations and in society in general, to make a huge difference."
As more geospatial data is captured and shared, the planet will be "wired up" and the Web will expand its functionality to become a distributed platform for GIS or the GeoWeb. This will promote widespread collaboration and change the way people interact with geographic information. Dangermond also observed that GIS on the Web will provide many additional possibilities for sharing, integrating, and leveraging the full stack of geographic knowledgemaps and data, models, analysis, globes, and metadatathat will create "a whole new way of thinking about GIS at all scales." Through modeling the physical and cultural knowledge of the world, GIS will provide a new medium for understanding. It will foster a broad perspective and a sense of engagement.
|Dr. Vanessa Lawrence|
The Ordnance Survey of Great Britain was honored for one of the world's largest and most successful GIS implemen-tations received the Presidential award and its director general and CEO, Dr. Vanessa Lawrence, accepted the award.
Dangermond described the innovations in Esri software that will enhance the development of the GeoWeb. More than 1,000 person-hours were devoted to the latest release of ArcGIS 9.2. It is one of the largest and most productive software releases in Esri history. It strongly supports interoperability and standards through adherence not only to IT and Web services standards but also to the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), ISO, and industry standards. In response to user input, ArcGIS 9.2 introduces many new tools that make its use easier and more intuitive. This release also includes a complete cadastral workflow. Later in the Plenary Session, Esri staff demonstrated new functionality that will be available in ArcGIS 9.2.
In addition to sharing Esri's vision for the future of GIS, much of the Plenary Session was devoted to honoring individuals and organizations for work that has advanced GIS specifically or benefited society generally. The Presidential, Lifetime Achievement, and Making a Difference awards were presented by Dangermond. The Ordnance Survey of Great Britain was honored for one of the world's largest and most successful GIS implementations. Director general and CEO Dr. Vanessa Lawrence accepted the Presidential award.
|Dr. Larry Smarr, a principal in the super-computer movement and the director of the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology at the University of California, San Diego, received the Lifetime Achievement award.|
Dr. Larry Smarr, a principal in the supercomputer movement and the director of the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology at the University of California, San Diego, received the Lifetime Achievement award. In presenting this award, Dangermond said Smarr has inspired him. "He is a very special guy for me because he can see the future," said Dangermond. Smarr's profound understanding of both science and technology was illustrated by a presentation he made that showed how geographic imagery and optical networking could help scientists better understand intricate ecologies and move society closer to the reality of a Web-based worldwide nervous system.
Two Making a Difference awards were given in 2006. The first went to Drs. N. Vijayaditya and Vandana Sharma. Through their work with the National Informatics Centre of India, they built a national geospatial information infrastructure that assists with rural development in India. Lt. General James R. Clapper, Jr., U.S. Air Force (retired) and former director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, received the second Making a Difference award for his leadership at the agency and his crucial contributions to the Hurricane Katrina disaster relief efforts.
|Dr. N. Vijayaditya accepting the Making a Difference award he shared with Dr. Vandana Sharma.|
The 175 Esri Special Achievement in GIS award winners from 85 countries were introduced in a ceremony on August 9. This award celebrates the contributions these innovative GIS users have made to their communities. Visit www.esri.com/sag to see a list of the 2006 winners and learn more about their contributions to GIS.
The Plenary Session kicked off a week that included hundreds of presentations and workshops and numerous briefings, forums, meetings, and demonstrations. In both formal and informal settings, attendees had opportunities to meet or become reacquainted with others in the field. Two accompanying articles in this section describe two user events held in conjunction with the Esri International User Conference: the Esri Education User Conference and the Survey and GIS Summit.
June Dates for 2007 Conferences
Next year's user conference will be held approximately two months earlier. The 27th Annual Esri International User Conference will be held June 1822, 2007, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. As has been the case in previous years, the Esri Education User Conference and the Survey and GIS Summit will take place in conjunction with the Esri International User Conference. Both events will be held June 1619 at the San Diego Convention Center and adjacent Marriott Hotel and Marina.
View the most current information on the 2007 Esri International User Conference by visiting www.esri.com/uc or calling 909-793-2853, extension 1-1363.