Ozri 2013: Maps for All

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I am back from my first Ozri bursting with new ideas and enthusiasm. I thought I would share some of it with everyone here on the blog!

Ozri 2013 started off with a bang at this year’s plenary sessions with engaging talks by professionals across a variety of disciplines showing different mapping applications. During the plenary we were lucky enough to hear from one of the curators from the National Library of Australia, Dr. Martin Wood, who spoke about the role and evolution of maps throughout history. Ron Allum mesmerised us with his fascinating tales of explorations to the deepest seas on earth and the technology he developed to make it happen. Bern Szukalski from Esri also spoke about how Esri is leading the transformation of the way we think about maps using the ArcGIS Online platform.

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After the plenary and throughout the rest of Ozri 2013 the ArcGIS Online platform played an integral part of the conference. Using ArcGIS Online as a method to easily connect people to  maps allows users to gain information in a completely revolutionary fashion through smart phones, tablets and the internet. The addition, these technologies provide an unprecedented level of connectivity between people and information. I couldn’t wait to attend sessions on using the online platform.

Although I was not able to attend every session (I wish!) I was lucky enough to attend quite a few sessions including “Story Maps: Using ArcGIS as a Communications Method” and “The Ruggerdised Workforce”.

During “Story Maps: Using ArcGIS as a Communications Method”,  Bern Szukalski spoke  about the role that GIS users have traditionally played as the single party that produced maps and managed spatial data. With the arrival of ArcGIS Online, as spatial professionals, he feels that GIS professionals should become agents to give people the ability to use and make maps.

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Bern Szulaski spoke about using story maps to give people spatial information in a different format. Story maps give users the ability to pair a spatial and narrative story together in a visual package.  Readers click on specific points activating  a pop-up or a sidebar with photos, information and stories. Bern walked us through building and publishing a story map all through ArcGIS Online. I was amazed at how simple the entire process can be. I am really looking forward to working on building my own story maps.

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On Friday I attended “The Ruggerdised Workforce” – another session that showcased the use of the ArcGIS Online platform by a variety of different users.

Len Olyott and Kym Jackway of Esri Australia led us through the workflows used by the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service during Tropical Cyclone Oswald. They showcased how the ArcGIS platform gave responders improved live situational visibility using ArcGIS Collector Application on mobile devices. They also showed how first responders were able to view a situation-wide live picture in order to make decisions. It was impressive to see the infrastructure that was built and used by a variety of different people.

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When I wasn’t off enjoying the sessions at Ozri 2013, I had the opportunity to speak with delegates and provide face-to-face technical support at the ArcBar. It was so much fun to get to meet some of the clients that I have worked with during my time in technical support. I was also able to enjoy the views from the Brisbane Convention Centre!

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I thoroughly enjoyed each moment attending my first Ozri.  I am already looking forward to next year, hope to see you there!

Pia K

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