Community Development

The Planner’s Guide to the 2024 Esri User Conference

We are a week away from the 2024 Esri User Conference in San Diego! This is always one of the most challenging and rewarding weeks as a staff member at Esri. I cannot remember a time when I have left this conference and not been inspired about the work that is being done by our users.

2024 UC Attendance

This year, with a 7% increase in attendance, we’re likely to exceed 21,000 total in-person attendees. As the Director of Planning and Community Development Markets at Esri, this is the stat that gives me the biggest smile: Over 1,000 attendees identify their field as planning, housing, or economic development…and that number grows every year. The role of GIS in planning and community development continues to accelerate at a rapid rate, not just in terms of overall users, but in scope of use in daily tasks and projects. From updating comprehensive plans, to providing a more transparent planning department, to site selection, to modernizing housing policy and zoning ordinances, our users have grown GIS into nothing short of a mission-critical application in the offices of planning, housing, and economic development departments across the world.

Here’s Your UC Checklist

Every year, between 33% and 40% of our UC attendees are first-time attendees. This year is no exception. There is no doubt that a conference of this size can be overwhelming, so here are some things to make sure you take care of before arriving in San Diego.

Your Success is Our Goal

The Esri UC is exactly what the name says…for our users. Our goal is to make sure that our users get the answers, the tools, and the plan in place to be successful in their current and future projects with GIS. If you’re not sure how to make that happen, reach out to your Esri account team or to me directly at We’ll work with you to make sure you get what you need from the 2024 Esri UC. Looking forward to seeing you come by the Community Development Island in the Expo and at some of the sessions listed above.

See you in San Diego!

About the author

Keith Cooke is the Director of Planning & Community Development Markets at Esri. A graduate of Auburn University, he has been a GIS professional since 1994 and has worked for planning and community development agencies at the regional and municipal level. Prior to this role, he was an account executive at Esri for 15 years working with over 100 local governments. He is a frequent speaker at GIS, community planning, and economic development events and is an active member in the American Planning Association, where he has conducted nearly 100 hands-on GIS workshops for planners since 2004 at the National Planning Conference and state chapter conferences.


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