14 Moments from the Esri UC Plenary You Shouldn’t Forget

The first day! Esri UC kicks off with so much energy—new technology, inspirational user stories, big-name speakers, and clear direction for the future.

The 2014 Esri UC plenary session rocked!

Here’s a list of 14 moments from the 2014 Esri UC Plenary you’ll want to remember. Plenary videos will be online too because there are more great moments. (We couldn’t mention them all here.)

1. Your Challenge! Creating Our Future
Jack talked about how we can all imagine and create a better future, “an extraordinary world.” Geography, he said, is now more important than ever. He challenges all GIS users to “be the architects of the future.” And when Jack challenges you to do something, well, you probably should do it.

2. #BadDogMap and More
MapIT Minneapolis showed all the maps its city staff (even GIS newbies) made by tapping into GIS. Highlights included solar suitability, urban tree canopy, snow emergency parking, downtown public art, and the Twitter-famous #BadDogMap. The Minnesotans urged everyone to “cast a wider net” by teaching GIS, converting more users, and feeding good data/maps to higher-ups.

3. Three Clicks for All
Every six minutes a ship sails into the Port of Rotterdam. This major port needs to grow at the pace of commerce, but it has no physical space for expansion. GIS to the rescue! The project staff created a web GIS portal so that maps are just three clicks away. Team members brought in their own children to test the three-clicks usability. And… it worked! Three cheers for three clicks!

4. Your Maps Rule
Your maps—the fruits of your labor—played on the big screens for all to see. Esri President Jack Dangermond gave special shout outs to all GIS users for impressive and innovative work. Royal Dutch Shell received the Enterprise GIS Award, and the City of Rancho Cucamonga earned the Esri President’s Award. Congratulations, and nice job.

5. Major Coffee Klatch
Your favorite cup of joe doesn’t happen by luck. Starbucks execs flew in from Seattle to show how they’re using GIS maps to open one new store every day in China. Decisions are made locally to ensure responsible growth. Oh, and the thing that got the Esri UC crowd excited? Starbucks will soon serve beer and wine in select locations. By “select locations” we mean locations carefully selected with GIS.

6. Go Pro
It’s new. It’s here. It’s impressive. And everyone loves it. They love the 3D workflows, the multiple layouts, the analytical possibilities, the 64-bit processing … we could go on and on. One Tweeter called it a “real SIM City.” Most memorable line: Tasks are the next big thing.

7. She’s Been to Space!
Former NASA astronaut (she’s been to space!) and NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan said the Esri UC made her feel like a kid who has just discovered the coolest candy store. She talked about how when she was a child, she loved maps and pored over issues of National Geographic magazine. She thinks maps are “vehicles of exploration” and “storytelling tools.” Did we mention she’s been to space!?

8. We Can Wipe Out Polio
If you ever start to feel the world is a callous place, think about Dr. Bruce Aylward and Dr. Vincent Seaman, part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Aylward told the Esri UC crowd about polio’s devastating history and the miracle vaccine. Seaman showed how GIS maps help locate and immunize children in Nigeria. The people and places affected by polio—and stories about the work to rid the world of this disease—brought tears to many eyes.

9. Data is Really, Really Important. Really
It’s not every day the US Secretary of Commerce thanks you personally for bringing new innovation to the global economy. Secretary Penny Pritzker spoke at Esri UC about how good data saves lives, how open data can unlock $3 trillion in the world economy, and how her office will appoint the first ever US Chief Data Officer. Wow.

10. Wear Your Where
When he isn’t touring and recording, popstar and STEM advocate will.i.am is investing in the most coveted GIS gadget of the decade: a smart watch with Esri maps. He joined Esri UC via Skype from Australia to talk about the watch and why he is still committed to spreading the GIS message.

11. From the Heart of Africa
Ever been greeted in the language of a chimpanzee? Jane Goodall joined Esri UC via video from Tanzania to tell everyone how much she appreciates GIS as a major tool in helping protect animal habitats. She started her talk with the neatest sound—the chimpanzee greeting from afar.

12. Great App (and Tie), Bro
Well, first of all, he was wearing the coolest map tie ever. What’s more? Dr. Nagaraja Rao Harshadeep, Senior Environmental Specialist for the World Bank, showed the new Spatial Agent App. Everyone in the audience downloaded it simultaneously. Lots of excitement!

13. GIS Kids are Just Perfect
Two fourth graders pretty much stole the show. Kylie Miller and Rikki Vaughn from Sonora Elementary in Springdale, Arkansas showed how they used GIS to help veterans, track a weather balloon, and deliver books to students with a mobile library. Then they cartwheeled and back-flipped across the stage.

14. A Tribute to Roger Tomlinson
It’s only right that the Plenary finished with a tribute to The Father of GIS. Roger Tomlinson once said he was “never happier than when surrounded by GIS people.” In a room filled with 16,000 GIS people, Tomlinson’s spirit was profoundly felt, and his legacy grows stronger each day.

Check for plenary videos to relive the glory, esri.com/uc.

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