Category Archives: Vision
Climate change and its effects are fundamentally geographic challenges that require a geographic approach, where we endeavor to understand the constraints a changing climate imposes upon the terrestrial and aquatic systems we depend.
Geography is a powerful multidimensional framework enabling scientists to explore data layers, discover emergent new patterns, and test alternative scenarios; so we can understand the risks, develop proactive adaptation strategies, and increase society’s long-term resilience to climate change through policy modification. Esri is committed to providing tools to accelerate the global community’s ability to access content, do analyses and share results. Continue reading
In an earlier post, I had mentioned Esri’s involvement in the large National Science Foundation-funded project known as CyberGIS, which aims to establish a fundamentally new software framework via a seamless integration of cyberinfrastructure, GIS, and spatial analysis/modeling capabilities. The … Continue reading
To everyone who attended the 2013 Esri User Conference, I want to thank you for helping to make this year’s User Conference such a great success. For those who could not attend, let me take a few minutes to give you an overview of my opening remarks on Monday morning.
The theme of this year’s User Conference was “GIS: Transforming Our World.” When I first started looking into this magical word transformation, I found something really profound. It basically means change. Changing in two ways–physical change as well as the perception of what we see. And GIS has a lot of relevance to both of these kinds of change. Your work as GIS professionals is physically changing the world through all kinds of activities. But it’s also changing how we see things, and how we communicate them, which is driving changes in the way we understand and interact with our world. Continue reading
Story maps are very popular. They combine web maps, text, and rich media content to create compelling applications that inform, educate, entertain, and inspire people about a variety of topics. Many story maps can be lumped into the “fun” category–stories about personal journeys, vacations, adventures, and sightseeing across the globe. Here’s an example: Skiing the Haute Route: Touring from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland:
At Esri we are concerned with supporting basic and applied science, but we also recognize that there are many major themes of compelling interest to society that will drive scientific research for the next two decades. And thus we view science as helping us to understand much more than solely how the Earth works, but how the Earth should look (e.g., by way of geodesign), and how we should look at the Earth (i.e., by way of Earth observation in varying forms and the accompanying data science issues of analysis, modeling, developing and documenting useful datasets for science, interoperating between these datasets and between various approaches). Continue reading
Atlases have long been used by people to help navigate and understand our world. A traditional atlas consists of a collection of static maps portraying various aspects of geography, bound together in book form and updated with new information at long intervals. The geography covered, in terms of both themes and extent, is set in stone for any given atlas, and the thematic information is typically created and authored by a select few authoritative sources.
These traditional atlases have served us well for many hundreds of years. But today, the world is changing rapidly, and it’s difficult for traditional atlases to keep up with the pace of that change. To help us keep pace with our evolving planet, our concept of what exactly constitutes an atlas must also evolve. Continue reading
We’re fortunate to be engaged as GIS professionals today. Never before has there been so much potential to transform the work we do and the organizations we serve geospatially. What do we need for this transformation? We need authoritative data at … Continue reading
“We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.”
Thus spoke President Barack Obama in his 2nd inaugural address, to the delight of many, if not most in the scientific community. Indeed, there are many societal problems across the world that increasingly revolve around science. These include pollution and waste management, pandemics and biosecurity, access to clean air and clean drinking water, response to and recovery from natural disasters, choices among energy resources (oil and gas versus nuclear versus “alternative”), and the loss of open space in urban areas, as well as biodiversity in rural areas. And yet, there is a tension between the world of science, which is focused on discovery, and the world of policy making, which is focused on decisions.
Ferren, the chief creative officer of Applied Minds LLC, returned to Esri in January to keynote at the fourth Geodesign Summit and reiterate his first call to action and deliver another: Develop a 250-year plan for the planet enabled by geodesign to create a vision of the future.
“Geodesign combines geography and data with modeling, simulation, and visualization to tell stories and (show) the consequences of your actions,” Ferren told more than 260 architects, urban and transportation planners, GIS and design professionals, educators, and others at the most well-attended Geodesign Summit to date. He sees great potential for geodesign to ultimately help find solutions to complex problems. “It is still in the shiny object stage but it will be very important,” he said.
At the foundation of Esri’s work are the belief and vision that geography is a science that creates a better understanding of our world. Using GIS, geography has also become a unifying framework for integrating many forms of digital information. GIS has now become an important technology in almost every field, improving efficiency, communication, and decision making. Our users have made GIS come alive in countless applications across thousands of organizations. I would like to both acknowledge and thank our users and partners for supporting Esri’s mission of evolving our GIS technology.
Over the last four decades, Esri has evolved both its business model and technology offerings through four distinct phases always focused on GIS software services and support.