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July 8th, 2013
Dangermond Discusses How GIS is Becoming a Living Atlas

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Jack Dangermond, CEO and president of Esri, addressed the Esri International User Conference. He started by talking about the word transformation, and its definition of changing both physical reality and our perception of what we see. GIS is an enabling technology that effects transformation. Given today’s challenges, we need to leverage our best talent and science to create a more sustainable future.

GIS is analytic, visual, built on the science of geography, which is comprehensive, and it changes how we think and act, it also integrates geographic science in how we measure, plan, design, evaluate and manage activities. We need to scale it up beyond projects and single systems to make it pervasive.

What GPS did as a technology to transform us as human beings, so that we’re no longer lost any more. Think about what it would mean if businesses and organizations were never lost. GIS can deliver that.

GIS is being transformed into a Web GIS, integrating new measurement, 3D, pervasive information, and what’s emerging is a new pattern of apps with analytics and greater collaboration. GIS is getting easier and more accessible, and it’s becoming social.

GIS is integrative, bringing in big data and business intelligence, as well as sensor data. The Web GIS provides a new pattern for integration. Instead of database integration, the pattern of the past, we integrate dynamically with web services, with a more flexible and agile approach. The integration is through dynamic linking, distributed spatial analysis, and map mashups with visual overlay. Web GIS breaks barriers within organizations to fluidly integrate activities and departments, without having to agree on one thing.

This Web GIS framework is scaling up and transforming everything that we do. Web GIS supports the whole enterprise, making mapping and GIS available to everyone (knowledge workers, executives, public engagement, working anywhere on any device, and IT integration). ArcGIS is now a Web GIS, doing the same things that GIS has always done, but making it easier. WebGIS is powered by services, it helps organize content while managing access, and together the pieces are a platform both on the cloud and on-premise on servers.

The content that is an essential part of understanding our world provides the underpinning for this Web GIS is becoming global, with base maps of imagery and vector data. It includes vector and tabular data on people, housing, money and behavior with more than 7,000 variables. Landscape content includes physical and cultural geography (more than 500 variables). This data comes together to form a living atlas of the world, with content and applications for analysis, planning and geoawareness.


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