Plenary Session—Detailed Descriptions
Opening Keynote Address: GIS—Inspiring What's Next
Jack Dangermond—President, Esri
Everyone is interested in the future and what will come next. What will the future bring to you personally, your organizations, and the world?
One thing is for certain: GIS continues to evolve and increasingly plays a larger role in the digital transformation of society. The maturity of GIS helps users do their work better and helps organizations understand and communicate in many new ways. It breaks down organizational barriers and facilitates new forms of collaboration around shared geographic information. Today the new Web GIS pattern is rapidly growing—making a difference across organizations.
What does the future hold for you? Hear Jack Dangermond inspire you on your journey from what's now to what's next.
J.D. Irving, Limited: Seedling to Shelf—The Transformation of GIS Across a Vertically Integrated Forestry Supply Chain
Venture northeast to Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada and pay a visit to the team from J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI). Learn from their 34 years of experience with GIS, their methods for internationally award-winning sustainable resource management, and how to operate a vertically integrated supply chain from tree seedling to shelf. Through years of nurturing and cultivation, their GIS team has grown to deliver location and business intelligence across their vast and remote operations. Discover how GIS is woven into the fabric of J.D. Irving, Limited, providing the Atlantic Canadian region and the state of Maine with economic resiliency, responsible resource management, and community engagement.
Presenters: Heather Morrison and Jason Killam
Boston Planning & Development Agency: A New Revolution in Urban Planning
Founded in 1630, the City of Boston played a key role in the American Revolution. Almost four centuries later, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) and Esri are leading a new revolution in urban planning with the transformative solution—ArcGIS Urban. Witness how BPDA preserves wisely, enhances equitably, and grows inclusively through an exciting public-private partnership, lighting the path for new approaches in collaborative urban planning.
Presenters: Brooks Patrick, Esri; and Carolyn Bennett, BPDA
Cobb County Government: Inspiring a New Era of Problem Solvers with Location Intelligence
Located on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, Cobb County Government is built on a strong foundation of enterprise GIS. Discover how its efforts are powering its daily workflows and inspiring a new era of problem solvers that are discovering location intelligence through innovative experiences across economic development, transportation, community senior services, public safety, and more. Learn how it wins executive support, gains excitement, and communicates the value of GIS across a large organization, and then go behind the scenes of its new economic powerhouse—The Battery Atlanta at SunTrust Park—and meet the latest team benefiting from spatial analytics.
Presenters: Sharon Stanley, Jennifer Lana, Lynn Biggs, Felicia Alingu, and J.D. Lorens
Mott MacDonald: Restoring New York City's Lower Catskill Aqueduct with GIS & BIM
Delve into the world of GIS and building information modeling (BIM) as engineering leader Mott MacDonald works to bring New York City Department of Environmental Protection's 100-year-old Lower Catskill Aqueduct back to a state of good repair and long-term operational reliability. Through the combined power of Esri and Autodesk, explore how new capabilities to integrate engineering BIM workflows with GIS ensure a reliable water supply for more than 11 million customers. Discover a new digitally born inspection process that reduces engineering costs and keeps 550 million gallons of freshwater per day flowing into New York City.
Presenters: Cory Dippold and Anthony Renteria
University of Minnesota: U-Spatial–Advancing Spatial Science and the Workforce of Tomorrow
Within the halls of the University of Minnesota, thousands of researchers and students have joined U‑Spatial, a nationally recognized program that serves and drives a fast-growing need for expertise in GIS, remote sensing, and spatial computing. Learn about its innovative approaches to education, research, and community outreach that are creating a spatially aware and connected future workforce. Explore its research—from the creation of a digital elevation model for the Antarctic to mapping prejudice to what's next in visualizing maps in motion—and the development of lifelong skills at the university.
Presenters: Len Kne, Kevin Ehrman-Solberg, Coleman Shepard, Somayeh Dodge, and Tom Fisher
The Crowther Lab at ETH Zürich: Ecosystem Science for Effective Global Restoration
Global ecological restoration is one of the most effective weapons in the fight against climate change, biodiversity loss, and rural poverty, but successful restoration requires an intricate knowledge whereby forests can be restored and how that will impact the climate. Explore the biogeography of the planet with Tom Crowther, professor of global ecosystem ecology at ETH Zürich, to discover how carbon sequestration can be improved in existing forests, where new forests could be established, and how billions of hidden soil microorganisms can facilitate successful restoration across the globe.
Presenter: Tom Crowther
Plant-for-the-Planet Initiative: The Trillion Tree Campaign
Felix Finkbeiner was just nine years old when he had an idea to plant 1 million trees in every country on earth. The German primary school student was inspired by the late Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement with the mission to plant 30 million trees across Africa. But Finkbeiner was determined to do much more. On March 28, 2007, the first tree was planted at his school in Bavaria, marking the official launch of the Plant-for-the-Planet Initiative. In the decade since, children and organizations across the globe have planted more than 15 billion trees in 190 countries under the guidance of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Discover the inspiration of this children's initiative that tackles the climate crisis and global justice and is making a difference around the world. For his commitment to climate protection, the German Federal Cross of Merit was awarded to Finkbeiner by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on May 22, 2018.
Presenter: Felix Finkbeiner
Our Towns—A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America
A vivid, surprising portrait of the civic and economic reinvention taking place in America, town by town and generally out of view of the national media. A realistically positive and provocative view of the country between its coasts.
For the last five years, James and Deborah Fallows have been traveling across America in a single-engine prop airplane. Visiting dozens of towns, they have met hundreds of civic leaders, workers, immigrants, educators, environmentalists, artists, public servants, librarians, business people, city planners, students, and entrepreneurs to take the pulse and understand the prospects of places that usually draw notice only after a disaster or during a political campaign.
The America they saw is acutely conscious of its problems—from economic dislocation to the opioid scourge—but it is also crafting solutions, with a practical-minded determination at dramatic odds with the bitter paralysis of national politics. At times of dysfunction on a national level, reform possibilities have often arisen from the local level. The Fallowses describe America in the middle of one of these creative waves. Their view of the country is as complex and contradictory as America itself, but it also reflects the energy, the generosity and compassion, the dreams, and the determination of many who are in the midst of making things better. Our Towns is the story of their journey—and an account of a country busy remaking itself.
Presenters: James and Deborah Fallows
Keynote Address: Evolving Ourselves—Redesigning the Future of Humanity
Juan Enriquez—Managing Director, Excel Venture Management
In just 150 years, the human species has changed. We have redesigned our world and our bodies while at the same time becoming an ever more domesticated and smarter species, one that lives far longer. Alongside nature, we are now the fundamental driver of what lives and dies. Darwin’s natural selection no longer holds true in a world where little remains natural and free of the hand of man. There is now a second, parallel, large-scale determinant of evolution, one driven by two new rules: unnatural selection and nonrandom mutation. The future of humanity depends on the geographic choices we make to design our places and the genetic choices to design ourselves and how these two sciences intersect.
Juan Enriquez is Managing Director at Excel Venture Management. He is a business leader, author, and academic recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on the economic and political impacts of life sciences. He was the founding director of Harvard Business School's Life Sciences Project. He is an active investor in early-stage private companies in the biotechnology and information sciences sectors. Juan has published extensively on future trends, won a McKinsey Prize, and is author and co-author of various bestsellers including As the Future Catches You: How Genomics & Other Forces are Changing Your Life, Work, Health & Wealth (Random House, 2001); an analysis of the impact of genomics on business and society. His latest book is Evolving Ourselves: Redesigning the Future of Humanity - One Gene at a Time (Penguin, 2015). Juan serves on a number of for profit and non-profit boards including The Harvard Medical School Genetics Advisory Council, the President's Council National Academy of Sciences, The Boston Science Museum, WGBH, and Questbridge. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is an affiliate at MIT's Synthetic Neurobiology Group. He earned a BA and MBA from Harvard, with Honors.