Live from Esri U…

My colleagues Kath, Peter and David

I’ve been fortunate enough to spend the last few days at Redlands Californina… home to some delicious BBQ ribs, lots of orange trees, and of course, Esri!

I’m over here with some colleagues attending Esri U, a global Esri training initiative aimed at getting staff across the world up-to-speed with the latest at Esri.

It’s been a fascinating experience and a great opportunity to connect with other Esri staff to hear about how organisations in their countries are using GIS. I’ve made friends with people from Kuwait, Italy, Spain, Canada, Kenya, India, Jamaica, Brazil – in fact I’m hard pressed thinking of a country that isn’t represented here!

In between classes (there’s lots to learn here!), I thought I’d share my top 3 highlights so far with you…

Esri President and Founder Jack Dangermond

1. Jack Dangermond on the future of GIS

Jack Dangermond opened the seminar discussing the evolution of Esri – and the future direction of GIS. Jack spoke with great passion of how Esri, and the entire world of GIS, is making a huge shift into an era of ‘self-serve’ GIS – or Cloud GIS – which manifests in ArcGIS Online.

He described ArcGIS Online as a GIS for all knowledge workers and something that would provide everyone in organisations with a means to access intelligent web maps and use GIS – without having to study the science.

I won’t go into too much more detail, except to say that there are big things to come with ArcGIS Online and some of these will be expanded on at the upcoming Technology Directions seminars.

2. Esri Campus

 I’ve been blown away by the Esri headquarters – or ‘campus’ as they call it.

David Gardiner, from our WA office, enjoying reading from Esri's giant book of geography.

It truly is a Mecca for anyone with a passion for GIS. Thousands of people work at Esri Redlands and the facilities are state-of-the-art. There is a library loaded with books and resources, a wall of maps representing ‘GIS as art’ and an auditorium for presentations.

My favourite room was the Technical Marketing centre – a seriously cool space loaded with the latest technology (think giant touchscreens) where Esri’s GIS gurus develop demos.

3. The global reach of GIS

Meeting Esri colleagues from around the world has highlighted for me personally the increasingly pervasive role of GIS. We’ve had the opportunity to share with each other the great work that users in our countries are achieving with GIS – and despite the geography and language differences, we are all dealing with similar challenges and successes – whether it’s using GIS to aid conservation, enable government, or streamline business workflows.

Interestingly our colleagues from around the world have all heard about the Queensland Flood and Cyclone crisis of 2011 and were keen to learn more about how many of our users leveraged GIS to respond to and manage this situation.

Anyway, that’s enough from me! Signing off, live from Redlands..

– Alicia S.

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