By Allyson Lawson, Esri Writer
More than 14,000 GIS people from more than 120 countries will attend the 2008 Esri International User Conference (Esri UC), August 4-8 at the San Diego Convention Center in California. Visitors will experience the largest GIS conference in the world and hear from keynote speaker Dr. Peter Raven, a National Geographic Society trustee, chairman of the society's Committee for Research and Exploration, and president of the prestigious Missouri Botanical Garden.
During his Keynote Address on August 4, Raven will discuss the importance of plant life as well as the threats ecosystems face today. Described by Time magazine as a "Hero for the Planet," Raven champions research to preserve endangered plants and animals and build a sustainable environment.
Whatever a person's industry or level of GIS experience, all are encouraged to attend this global and comprehensive forum designed around the theme GIS: Geography in Action. During the conference, attendees can learn more about GIS or share their knowledge by hearing firsthand from their peers, meeting directly with Esri staff, and learning how to fully leverage GIS in their organizations and communities.
"If you attend only one conference the entire year, this is a must," says recurring attendee Dale Giles, GIS manager for the City of Claremont, New Hampshire. "You will get more out of the User Conference than any 10 conferences combined. The technical sessions are well presented and thought out. The people you meet and network with are some of the best acquaintances you will make; they are rich with ideas and knowledge. And most of us will never have an opportunity to work [such as in the Exhibit Hall] with this many industry vendors all under one roofever."
At the EdUC, Dr. Anne Knowles, professor of geography at Middlebury College, will address GIS use in historical scholarship and teaching history. Speaking at the Survey & Engineering GIS Summit will be Air Force Colonel David Madden, commander of the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) Wing at the Space Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, and Timothy McCormick, senior vice president of Dewberry's Hazard Engineering and Geospatial Services Group.
Other 2008 Esri UC highlights include the Map Gallery, which will now showcase digital entries and feature special displays by the National Geographic Society and the United Nations. There will also be more than double the number of preconference seminars than last year. Other events will include a new, two-day Census Summit that will focus on the use of GIS in the upcoming 2010 Census, an inaugural GIS and Remote Sensing Summit, and a Climate Change GIS program. The Climate Change GIS program will delve into how GIS and other technologies such as satellite image analysis can be being used in climate change research.