Tag Archives: Dawn Wright

Students! Tell Your Story as Part of the International Year of Global Understanding

These days we could all use a little more understanding. As noted by Lord Anthony Giddens, former Director of the London School of Economics: “We live in the most interconnected world in history. Yet at the same time, the world is driven by conflicts, dislocations and uncertainties – an unsettling and disturbing mixture of huge opportunities and existential risks.” It is for this reason that the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences (CIPSH) jointly established 2016 as the International Year of Global Understanding (IYGU).

The aim of IYGU has been to promote better understanding of how tangible, local actions can have truly global impacts in tackling such critical challenges as climate change, food security and migration. Although human actions have created these global challenges, human actions can also provide the best solutions. One of the founders and architects of the IYGU, Prof. Benno Werlen of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany explains: “We want to build bridges between global thinking and local action. Only when we truly understand the effects of our personal choices – for example in eating, drinking and producing – on the planet, can we make appropriate and effective changes.” Indeed, if individuals know what their day-to-day routines actually mean for the entire planet, they can take appropriate action.

So how can young people get involved? One great way is to enter the IYGU Story Maps Competition to tell their own stories of how local, everyday actions can help us all understand how to work together to solve the problems of our increasingly globalized world.

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Esri and the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting

I am pleased to share the lineup of oral talks and posters that will be presented this December at the 2016 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco. Many know of AGU as among the world’s most well-respected Earth science scholarly organizations, and its annual fall meeting dwarfs our UC by over 10,000 attendees. AGU 2016 expects 24,000 attendees, making it the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world.

You’ll see in the list below of papers, posters and sessions that Esri is leading or contributing on a wide variety of interesting and important projects, many with our federal partners at NASA, NOAA, and the USGS, as well as several universities. This showcases how we are an organization that not only enables great understanding of the world with our products and services, but also performs good science, and contributes well as a member of the scientific community. In addition, we will have a 20′ x 20′ exhibit booth presence, #623 (led by Research & Sciences Industry Manager Drew Stephens) with messaging and demos on multidimensional scientific data and analysis, imagery, big data geoanalytics, The Living Atlas, ArcGIS Pro, Ecological Land Units, Ecological Marine Units, GeoPlanner, Insights, story maps, the web GIS pattern, our commitment to open/interoperable, and more.

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Announcing the Winners of Esri’s New Global Content Challenge

Esri’s new Global Content Challenge contest, engaging students all over the world, is proud to announce the winners! With the power of Esri content at their disposal, students told their own compelling scientific stories using the Esri Story Map Journal app. Entrants used their own geographic analyses, visualizations, predictive models, and more to explore a variety of scientific themes.

The contest was open from August to November and Esri was happy to receive ~550 registrations from students in nearly 60 countries, with 70 actual submissions. A distinguished international panel of judges chose projects that best exemplified the spirit of the contest: unleashing the power of Esri’s Living Atlas of the World content.

Winners were judged in the three categories of Land, Ocean, and Population:

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Esri Among Leaders Exploring Future at White House Frontiers Conference

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Last week President Obama hosted the first-ever White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh, an event co-hosted by the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. Esri was among many of America’s leading innovators invited to come together to discuss how … Continue reading

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Esri Teams up with XPRIZE to Advance Sea Floor Mapping

by Jyotika I. Virmani, Senior Director of Energy and Environment for XPRIZE and Dawn Wright, Esri Chief Scientist

Over 60% of the Earth’s surface has not yet been mapped. The ocean covers 70% of our planet’s landmass, and of that, less than 15% of the sea floor has been mapped at a resolution greater than 5 km. In fact, we have higher resolution maps of the entire surface of the Moon, Venus, and Mars than we do of our own Earth. But this situation can be changed. We are in the midst of a Technological Revolution and with the advent of exponential technologies such as 3D printing, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality, we now have smaller and cheaper tools and greater access to information.

Mapping the sea floor has, historically, been a challenge. Seawater is obviously opaque, which prevents us from using visible, remote surveying techniques to get maps of the sea floor. Seawater is a harsh and corrosive medium and, with a viscosity greater than air, it has additional engineering challenges such as high friction resulting in rapid power drain for any device that is used to map the bathymetry underwater. It is also expensive to access because the technology of today requires ships to sail to the area being mapped before the mapping technology is deployed. At an average cost of $60,000 a day, it can easily cost a few hundred thousand dollars before mapping can even begin.

The Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, a 3-year competition launched last December, is incentivizing innovators to develop the autonomous underwater robots we need to map the sea floor at 5m or higher resolution and take high-definition images of the deep sea. Within this is a $1 million National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Bonus Prize, for teams who can develop an underwater tracking device that can autonomously track a biological or chemical to its source. The devices will be shore-based or aerial deployments, removing the massive costs associated with ships.  The competition will conclude in December 2018 and, like all other XPRIZE competitions, there will be a number of technical solutions that emerge to provide underwater cartographers the tools they need to survey the sea floor.

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GIS Makes the Picture Clearer on Climate Change

The Arctic environment is a leading indicator of climate change. The shifts that will eventually affect the entire globe are among the most visible there. A comprehensive understanding of the shifts occurring in this area are crucial now more than ever.

Traditional imagery of the Arctic was collected via aircraft, but is very limited due to the inhospitable and remote nature of the polar region. Now 3-D digital elevation models (DEMs) of the entire Arctic are scheduled for release by 2017. With a resolution of 2 m, these new DEMs are over one hundred times higher resolution than what has previously been available for the entire Arctic. This has been made possible through a unique public private partnership between Esri, the White House and several important partners by way of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery.

Today the first of these rich elevation models covering the State of Alaska is being released. They are the first deliverable of the ArcticDEM project, created after a January 2015 Presidential Executive Order calling for enhanced coordination of national efforts in the Arctic. Climate Change is one of the biggest threats we face, it is being driven by human activity, and it is disrupting Americans’ lives right now. President Barack Obama spoke about the project at an Arctic conference in Kotzebue, Alaska on September 3, 2015 and called for action to reverse the trend of climate change, an exponentially growing problem for the entire planet.

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Inaugural Esri Science Symposium Crystallizes Community

Scientists Gather to Discuss the Impact of GIS in Future and Present Challenges

Esri has always embraced the intellectual domain. So when it became evident that User Conference attendees beyond traditional geographers and GIScientists could benefit from domain science targeted discussions, ideas for a special event began to form. Further deliberation produced a theme for the event — Advancing Science through GIS: Today’s Challenges and Preparing for the Future — and the foundation for Esri’s inaugural Science Symposium was laid.

Esri Chief Scientist Dawn Wright served as the Science Symposium’s organizer.

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Announcing the 2016 Esri Science Symposium

Special keynote address, discussion panel, and reception to engage and enlighten scientists

A special Science Symposium will be held in conjunction with the 2016 Esri Education GIS Conference (EdUC) and Esri User Conference (UC). The Science Symposium will include:

  • keynote address by Margaret Leinen, Director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, current president of the American Geophysical Union, and a US State Department Science Envoy.

Margaret Leinen, Director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, will deliver the keynote address at the 2016 Esri Science Symposium.

  • conversational reaction panel of GIScientists moderated by Mike Goodchild (UCSB Geography emeritus) with John Wilson (USC Spatial Sciences Institute), Marco Painho (U. Nova de Lisboa Geography), Ming Tsou (San Diego State Geography), and Cyrus Shahabi (USC Computer Science).
  • Audience Q/A and discussion.
  • Networking reception: Enjoy stunning views of the San Diego Harbor, delicious appetizers, and a hosted bar of beer, wine, soft drinks, and bottled water.

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New Map Sets Framework for Describing Ocean Ecology in Unprecedented Detail

As a follow on to a comprehensive global Ecological Land Units map that Esri and the USGS released in December 2014, a new global Ecological Marine Units (EMU) map will be available in the coming months. To better understand the significance of the new global EMU map and the data behind it, I recently met with Dr. Dawn Wright, Esri’s chief scientist, to find out more about why this map was created and how it will be used.


What is the
Ecological Marine Units map?

The Ecological Marine Units (EMU) map seeks to portray a systematic division and classification of physiographic and ecological information about features in the ocean. The project is a new undertaking of Esri in collaboration with Dr. Roger Sayre of the USGS, the Marine Conservation Institute, NatureServe, the University of Auckland, GRID-Arendal, NOAA, Duke University, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and many other partners.

EMUs rendered at the bottom of the water column.

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Women at the Forefront of Innovation at Esri

Lots of companies talk about changing the world. At Esri, we’re certainly one of them. But when we talk about changing the world, it’s usually in the context of the technology we create. In recognition of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8, we wanted to share one of the other ways we’re changing the world.

Esri has had the good fortune and persistence to foster, maintain, and grow a diverse workforce. We enjoy a rich diversity in gender, in race, and even in age. This diversity is intentional, but it’s not an end in itself. Just as our core technology brings together disparate information in a common context to make better decisions, we’ve taken the same approach with our staff. We strongly believe that different perspectives and varied backgrounds can help us build a more competitive, more knowledgeable, and more successful organization. Continue reading

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