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2017 Esri UC:

Applying The Science of Where Everywhere

2017 Esri International User Conference was triumphantly concluded at 14 July 2017 in San Diego. This year, near 18,000 attendees from commercial, government and non-profit sectors all around the world came together to make the world’s largest GIS event another huge success.



Jack Dangermond believes by embracing The Science of Where, organizations and users can bring the application of GIS to a whole new level.



The theme of 2017 Esri User Conference (2017 UC) is ‘The Science of Where’. The five-day conference covered numerous topics regarding smart communities, alongside location strategies which will allow users to enable more comprehensive usage of their data.


The Science of Where for Understanding and Managing the World

In his opening Keynote, Jack Dangermond, Founder and President of Esri, pointed out that the world is undergoing a digital transformation and The Science of Where is the fundamental digital language for understanding and managing the world. As Jack explained, the phrase ‘The Science of Where’ is about applying a data-driven approach that uses geography to unlock understanding.


Jack challenged the audience to apply The Science of Where at a new scale by collaboration and communication. He believed that collaboration of people and interconnected systems can create a system of systems, leading to a whole new scale of GIS.


Spatial Analysis for Boston Bike Share System


Lauren Bennett was demonstrating the power of spatial analysis



Lauren Bennett, Spatial Analysis Product Engineer at Esri, demonstrated the use of spatial analysis to help expanding the bike share system of Boston by 50% in just 2 years. She showed the attendees the utilization of powerful network analysis and sophisticated geostatistical surface models to understand how people are using the system and predict future usage.


Unleashing the Power of GIS services for Economy Reboot

Oakland County, Michigan revitalized its economy by branching out its GIS services to municipalities, business, and citizens. To date, Oakland County has attracted 400 new businesses and grown the economy by 3.9 billion dollars.


ArcGIS Hub for Community Engagement

There was also a demonstration on the newly launched ArcGIS Hub, which can support government community engagement initiatives by encapsulating them in maps and apps. The City South Bend, Indiana has been using the ArcGIS Hub to support the Vacant to Value initiative that turning vacant lots into community gardens. By now, South Bend has empowered its 100,000 residents to collaborate alongside government.


“Zootopia” powered by CityEngine

Walt Disney Animation Studios showed how they used Esri’s CityEngine software to create a believable world for the film Zootopia, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature 2017.



Brandon Jarrett, General Technical Director at Walt Disney Animation Studios, was explaining the process of creating the believable world in Zootopia by CityEngine.


Smart Dubai

H.E. Dr. Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, explained the Smart Dubai program and the role of GIS in it. Through one of the applications, the Dubai Pulse, details of the parts and activities of the city can be seen, including feedback from social media and it helps the Government to measure the happiness of citizens. Evidence-based decision making, with anonymized mobile phone data, allows the city to launch alleviating measures for traffic congestion base on the commute patterns of citizens.


Jack was amazed by the achievements of Smart Dubai.


During the conference, Jack also presented four crucial awards:

  • Best Story Map — Ice Age Floods, Washington Geological Survey
  • The GIS Digital Transformation Award— Abu Dhabi
  • The Enterprise GIS Award — US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
  • The President’s Award — United Parcel Service (UPS)


Jack Dangermond presented the Enterprise GIS Award to the team of NGA.


In summary, The Science of Where is taking GIS to a whole new scale for solving problems and understanding our world. GIS professionals now have many opportunities to contribute to their organizations and society and make a difference in the world.

To re-experience the 2017 UC, please view the compilation of videos here.