The 2012 Esri International User Conference took place in San Diego, Calif., from July 23-27. The audience of more than 14,000 attendees came from 126 countries, with a full third from outside the United States, and a full third there for their first time. This year’s theme, “Opening Our World,” was meant to address the rapid changes that are facing our world, and the power of geographic thinking to understand and deal with the challenges. The rapid evolution of GIS is rising to the challenge, becoming more multidimensional, easier to use, with better data management and usability, and more mobile and real-time.
Jack Dangermond, founder and president of Esri, addressed the broad use of GIS technology as well as the impact of the technology. We live on a little planet, we breathe the same air, we’re increasingly concerned about the future. Our world is changing rapidly, with challenges that are increasing. We’re also living at a time where scientific discovery and advancement are happening very rapidly. We’re creating big data, but clearly we need more integrated knowledge, and need better outcomes where we better manage our footprints.
Geography is our platform for understanding our world. Geography and maps helps us to share and apply our knowledge. We need to learn how to make maps more pervasive to make better outcomes.
GIS is advancing and leveraging many trends, becoming Cloud GIS to share deep kinds of knowledge. It is leveraging more measurement, more day and more computing, and it’s evolving with science itself. The convergence of all of this will enable us to reimagine our world. It will allow us to integrate geographic knowledge into everything we do.
Today we have pervasive access and 2.5 billion people connected. The pervasive use of applications makes our knowledge abundant. It provides geography as a platform that integrates maps, imagery, social media, sensor networks, services. This model changes the discussion as it breaks down barriers between workflows, disciplines and cultures.
This is a new agile and flexible environment, a realization of the vision of databases that didn’t succeed. Organizations are rapidly adopting this pattern, such as the European Environmental Agency, and other agencies are doing the same thing – opening up their data such as the Eye on Earth Network. This is about creating geography as a platform to open up our world.
The event spoke to the enabling technology that is here to do this, and about the culture of collaboration and sharing that is naturally emerging. This whole move is helping us re-imagine the role of GIS in our organizations, and will help us to realize our work as we build a more open world.
Imagery processing is a continued focus with native support within ArcGIS for imagery processing templates, including pansharpen, mensuration, and color balancing. You can now manage collections of imagery and create web services to share these images.
Esri’s partnership with ITT Visual Information Solutions has led to the direct integration of ENVI image processing within ArcGIS desktop and server. The aim is for this integration to be seamless to the user, with integrated toolbars that hide any complexity and open up the power of imagery to a wider audience. Imagery is quickly becoming an integral and dynamic input into GIS analysis, hastened by this partnership that is making it simple and quick to use and to share.
Imagery providers GeoEye and DigitalGlobe announced plans to combine in conjunction with this event. Adding new levels of integration within the ArcGIS toolset as well, with announcements of major imagery integration from both companies archives into ArcGIS Online. Through software support, and imagery partnerships, imagery adds the visual information needed to make critical decisions.
GIS is changing rapidly and co-evolving along with measurement technologies, whole new levels of data volumes, computing and the cloud, networks, and science that is becoming more quantitative and analytic. Esri’s cloud offerings are providing the impetus for whole new levels of adoption, and with online repositories for organizations, we’ll see whole new levels of data sharing and collaboration both inside and outside large government operations.
NOTE: There are full length videos of the plenary session available here.