Recap of Townsville Directions 2014

Last Thursday was my first Directions as a member of the Esri Australia team, and I am pleased to say it was a highlight! It was really satisfying to share the day with the Townsville GIS community. We kicked off with a welcome from Doug Van Gelder, and then straight into a series of presentations from the rest of the Esri Australia team.

directionsJosh set the scene for the technical presentations with an overarching discussion of how ArcGIS is the key location platform to support your entire organisation. The way we all work is fundamentally changing. People want to be able to access spatial content on multiple devices and locations – the ArcGIS platform enables us to leverage “location” as a core part of business.

Ebony’s presentation on the role of the “data curator” reinforced the importance of an organisation’s authoritative content, and how getting information to the right people at the right time to support decision making, is key to deriving value from GIS. ArcGIS gives us the ability to collaborate and be more social within our workplaces, through sharing and giving our colleagues access to authoritative content by creating useful and focused web maps and apps.

townsvilleNext, we launched into John’s session on working with 3D and real-time data. We were lucky enough to have students from The Cathedral School join us for this session.  We’ve certainly seen some incredibly exciting developments in the way organisations are leveraging the ArcGIS platform and the new types of data that are out there, so hopefully we’ve been able to pique the interest of some of the students enough to pursue their own career in the spatial industry!

johnWhile we’re telling you to get your content out there to support your organisations, we’re not going to let you start from scratch each time!  Both John and I gave quick demos on how to configure your own focused web mapping applications to meet a particular business need.  John looked at Story Maps, and I demonstrated how simple it can be to configure your own application based on a template from the Esri Solutions Centre.

Raymond De Lai from Herbert Resource Information Centre (HRIC) presented on the application of real-time GIS in the agriculture supply chain.  I really enjoyed this presentation, by simply being able to visualise and analyse real time data, the relationship between harvesting techniques and production volumes was identified.  And the best bit? By making this information available and easy to understand by using ArcGIS, a real change in behaviour has been observed.

Although the presentations focused on a different part of the technology – either drawing our attention to new advancements, or rethinking the ways in which we use our old favourite tools – it was all brought together through the consistent theme of the ArcGIS platform enabling us to share, use and discover data on any device, at any time. As GIS professionals, we need to be social and collaborative within our organisation to get the most out of our investments in data and technology.

While we’re on the topic of being social, the day concluded with a networking session.   It was a chance for the Esri Australia team to put names to the friendly Townsville faces, discuss any of the presentations in a more relaxed setting, or even answer an on the spot technical question. This also gave our attendees a chance to connect with each other, and to share insights.  It affirms my passion for GIS technology when I hear about the innovative ways that it is being applied in industry to derive real business value.

Alex G.

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