GIS Enables a Smarter World
- The 37th Esri User Conference
The 37th Esri User Conference (Esri UC) held in San Diego, California, in end June hosted more than 16,000 users, managers and developers from 138 countries. The 5-day event also included 300 technical sessions, 450 hours of technical training and 365 exhibitors displaying their tech goods and services.
Founder and President of Esri Mr. Jack Dangermond presented in plenary session on the first day of Esri User Conference.
The main Esri UC started with a plenary session, where the Founder and President of Esri Mr. Jack Dangermond presented his keynote to all of the 16,000 participants. The theme of the keynote was “GIS – Enabling a Smarter World”.
Mr. Dangermond started the conference by addressing challenges to business and society like climate change, loss of natural habitat and biodiversity, and social conflict. GIS is a language for us to better understand and co-ordinate knowledge from various fields after integration and visualisation of data. It has been used in a wide range of applications including environmental monitoring, management for operating renewable energy and smart grids. Green infrastructure plans and corridors for wildlife can also be drafted by using information of land use and urban design. GIS can be used in the field of transportation (smart routing reduce environmental impacts and increase efficiency), engineering and public work, utilities and telecommunication, business analytics, public safety, as well as humanitarian support activities.
While the world is undergoing an extensive digital transformation, GIS is getting smarter with the abilities to connect more information simultaneously. Real-time data, from Internet of Things (IoT) to remote sensing enable us to measure changes in both built and natural environment. Spatial data and records with Systems of Engagement can be integrated instantaneously through Web GIS pattern.
The 2016 Esri User Conference hosted more than 16,000 users from 138 countries.
GIS can also connect people and their organizations and thus assisting communities to understand what they are doing. Using geodesign to design and plan for the future, we can turn information into action. For example, the U.S. Geological Survey has developed an app called Earthquake Alert which sends notifications to subscribers’ mobile phone so that people can get prepared for natural disaster, and also flood analytics.
Smarter GIS also means “Community GIS” that government data and datasets are available on an open platform for literally everybody in the community to use, integrate and do analytics to obtain insights.
Ms Lilian Coral, Chief Data Officer of the City of Los Angeles, shared with the audience the City’s GeoHub portal which allows the general public to access government data in a live and continuously updated manner.
A leading example of this change is that the City of Los Angeles has recently unveiled GeoHub giving city council staff, businesses, app developers, non-profit organizations, and the public access to the city's location-based data through an online portal. The GeoHub combines the city's geographic data into a location-as-a-service platform, allowing users to access live, continuously updated data of the city directly. Street Wize, for example, a web mapping app allows residents to track current and upcoming road opening permits and construction activities around the city so they can plan accordingly to avoid delays. Vision Zero, another app, uses a data-driven approach to reduce traffic-related injuries and deaths.
On the other side of the globe, the project of Auckland Council Open Data in New Zealand allows users to access via online platform its data and information. Data, updated on an ongoing basis, includes assets, aerial photography, property, planning, regulatory, district plan and social activities, etc.
By making the data available to everyone, it is believed that not only city operations will become more efficient; partnerships among the city, academia, non-governmental organizations, businesses and startups can also be stimulated. At the same time residents are given a greater control on their government activities. This is the foundation of building smart cities.