The keynote speaker for the UC, Julia Marton-Lefèvre, director-general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), addressed the problem of species loss. She sees GIS as an important technology for locating species and preserving their habitats.
Young people see the problems the Earth faces and want to be involved in providing solutions. Believing that geospatial technologies bring people together, Eduardo Dias of Geodan presented EarthWatchers, a program that empowers global citizens to monitor global problems.
Chief scientist Dawn Wright spent some time during the plenary session to explain 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.
The following 2012 Esri awards were presented at the UC plenary:
- Esri Lifetime Achievement Award—Stephen Ervin
- Esri’s President’s Award—U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, received by Malcom Jackson
- Esri Making a Difference Award—The Trust for Public Land, received by Breece Robertson and Will Rogers
- Esri Making a Difference Award—Peter Carlisle, City of Honolulu
An Esri UC plenary tradition is the presentation of the top 10 advancements in ArcGIS. This year, Esri’s Ismael Chivite shared developers’ favorites at ArcGIS 10.1.
Staff from the City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida showed how Esri’s ArcGIS for Local Government helped them save the city money and provide information and tools to the city’s active citizens. ArcGIS for Local Government provides agencies with work specific resources. The Resource Center offers local government users a knowledge center, community forum, maps, applications, and templates that are easy to use and will help them save time.
Landsat imagery is essential for studying land use change over time. Esri’s Peter Becker explained how the Esri Landsat imagery service showed changes in Dubai, UAE, from the sleepy village in 1975, to the mega-modern metropolis of 2012. Vinay Viswambharan demonstrated ArcGIS imagery tools that analyze data at the neighborhood level.
Every year, Esri highlights students who use GIS in the classroom. This year, four students and their teacher from the GIS and environment class at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia presented their senior projects.
Peter Carlisle, Mayor of Honolulu, Hawaii, described the role GIS has played for many years in the city’s government. Honolulu has the highest level of traffic congestion in the United States. The mayor sees rail as a plausible solution and GIS as the technology needed for planning the project. He looked to the city’s GIS department to perform analysis and geospatial modeling, and create visualizations of how different transit scenarios would affect development and urban sprawl. In recognition of his progressive thinking and use of goedesign in city planning, Mayor Carlisle was awarded Esri’s Making a Difference Award.