California, US: Jack Dangermond, President, Esri, introduced the concept of Geography as a Platform (GaaP) at the Esri User Conference. The GaaP aims to deliver geospatial technology to anyone, anywhere, on any type of device. One component of GaaP is that Esri has made ArcGIS Online a fundamental part of ArcGIS enterprise integration, thereby opening interoperability with core systems. Moreover, ArcGIS Online can be configured for your own organisation.
Location analytics is improving business practices. Esri provides SaaS as a business model that works in the ArcGIS Online environment wherein users can find content and workflows laid out for them. Business systems such as IBM Cognos and Microsoft Office are now geo-enabled to provide geographic insight within other types of business intelligence.
During the plenary session, Chief scientist Dawn Wright explained Esri’s ocean GIS initiative. The initiative will equip ocean resource managers and scientists with knowledge and tools for implementing sustainable ocean practices. The initiative includes expansion of the Ocean Basemap, the launch of the Esri Ocean Resource Center, and the development of marine application tools such as the University of Santa Barbara SeaSketch tool for geodesign planning.
Esri announced a strategic alliance with Microsoft to assist public and private agencies and communities around the world during disasters. Microsoft will display Esri public information maps on its cloud-based Disaster Response Incident Portal, as well as point citizens to the maps via its online outlets, such as MSN and Bing. Esri’s ArcGIS integration within a number of Microsoft’s disaster response management solutions will provide governments and leading aid organizations with a more comprehensive set of tools to address key challenges.
During the Esri technology sessions, Esri experts and users showed the capabilities of ArcGIS 10.1 and new tools, work processes, and workflows. The overriding theme was how GIS creates a common operating picture that is interactive via web applications and platform sharing. The Utah Department of Transportation director John Thomas described how its GIS platform UPLAN incorporates and applies ArcGIS as a complete system for various state services. The GIS manager of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, described how the templates in the ArcGIS for Local Government Resource Center had saved him hundreds of hours in development time.
This year’s keynote speaker, Julia Marton-Lefevre, director-general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), addressed the problem of species loss. “With each species’ extinction, the beauty of our planet diminishes,” she said. She sees GIS as an important technology for locating species and preserving their habitats. Vineet Katryna showed how the newly launched IUCN Red List of Threatened Species map service, built on ArcGIS 10.1, accesses data for 30,000 species, showing their location and habitat.
Around 15,000 people attended the Esri User Conference. The theme of the conference is ‘GIS—Opening Our World’.