Esri UC through Aussie Young Scholar’s eyes

As the winner of the Esri Young Scholars Award for Australia, Grace Lin, won an all-expenses paid trip to present her research project at the 2014 Esri International User Conference in San Diego. Here, Grace reflects on the whirlwind week – where she rubbed shoulders with some of the best GIS minds from around the world.

Day One

Today we arrived in San Diego and it is such beautiful city, this is my first time to be here.

The San Diego Convention Centre – where they will hold the UC – is so huge, it really is amazing.

And you can see Esri symbols everywhere!

After we settled in, I met up with some of the other Young Scholars organized through the Facebook Esri Young Scholar group. We had drink and dinner together and talked about our projects. It is so great to meet those guys here.

Day two

This was the first day of Education Conference.

There were computer labs, technical workshops and plenary sessions throughout the day.

I especially enjoyed the plenary session this morning which talked about how GIS technology is helping to improve high school education.

I also loved the workshop in the afternoon – which is just related to my research project – spatial relationship modeling. I learned a lot from this workshop. I was particularly interested to learn how other people are using the same tools. My partner during the tutorial – we shared the computer – told me she used relationship modeling to explore the relationship between the student study environment and their final score. It is cool to see how other people apply the same technology.

I also went to the technical support corner to see the new features of ArcGIS. I am really interested in ArcGIS Pro, which I learned is a new component of ArcGIS 10.3 and is faster and easier than ArcGIS Desktop. Esri staff there demonstrated how to use the group editing template to create a polygon, a polyline and a centroid point at the same time using ArcGIS Pro. It is very efficient. I am looking forward to using it.

Day Three

Today is the second the day of Education conference.

The plenary this morning was also very fantastic and attractive. Yesterday, the plenary focused on K12 education, this morning they talked about higher education.

I was impressed by the presentation of Professor Anthony Robinson, who is the pioneer of MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). He demonstrated a spatial analysis on the results from the attendances of his MOOC program. The results were quite interesting. For example, he found the attendance rate of this course in France is little lower than other countries. He joked that French didn’t like attend the English lessons.

I was also exited as I saw Dawn Wright, who is Esri’s Chief Scientist. I’ve seen her name many times in the LinkedIn Esri GIS group, so it was great to meet her here, although I didn’t got a chance to have a photo with her.

During the afternoon I attended some Lab and Technical workshops that I am interested in. I sat in on the “Getting started with ArcGIS Pro” workshop, which gave me a general idea of what ArcGIS Pro is, what it looks like and what functions it provides. I also attended the spatial pattern analysis lab.

I’m really grateful to be able to take part in these workshops and labs. What I am learning will help me avoid unnecessary work in my project, and provides me the opportunities to talk directly to the guys who can answer my questions.

In the evening, I attended the transportation exchange meeting which gathered the people from the transportation industry, I enjoyed it.

Day FourGrace Lin ExhibitionSmall

This is what I had been waiting for, today was the first day of User Conference. The atmosphere there made the adrenalin pump as I entered the exhibition hall.

As I expected, Jack’s presentation was the greatest.

He talked about GIS in every industry. I really liked his statement that ‘GIS is a frame, GIS is creating the future’.

I was impressed by the demonstrations in the plenary like ArcGIS Pro, online web builder and 3D viewer. I was also impressed by the many excellent application showcases. GISers around the world have done great jobs, which make our life better and make us smarter.

Do you believe you can speak to your watch and let it find the best route for you? It is true. That’s really a brilliant idea. will.i.am – who created it – must love kids, because I am sure kids will love it.Grace Lin PosterSmall

I was excited to find my project poster was also displayed in the sail pavilion. The Young Scholars gathered in the afternoon to explain our project to those who were interested in them.

There were also other enormous, excellent work and maps there. Even after one day, it has been a good opportunity to learn.

Day Five

‘Solution day’! This is what I’ve called today.

I brought several questions about my project with me this conference. Therefore one of my trip’s aims was to talk with the right technical experts to find the solutions for my questions. And today I did it.

I directly went to Technical Island to find the experts to answer my questions.

I found Brett Rose, who was my workshop instructor during the education conference two days ago. Brett is also an expert in spatial statistics. So, I talked with him about my project. He showed me the potential tools I could to use and also helped me to schedule my user conference plan to fit my interests. The workshops he suggested are so great and I really appreciated his input.

Later I also went to see Jay Sandhu, who is the lead product engineer in network analysis. He was just the right person I was looking for. He answered all my questions about the location-allocation analysis.

I also talked with TomTom guys who provided the historical traffic data in my project.

The Esri User Conference is the place that gathers the smartest GISers, the most powerful GIS related products, the best GIS companies and also the best services. It is a one-stop solution center as my experience here demonstrates.

Day Six

Today we attended the Special Achievement in GIS Award Ceremony.Grace Lin AwardSmall

All of the Young Scholars went to accept our awards and have a group photo with Jack. It was the most exciting day, actually.

Having a photo taken with Jack will be one of the most unforgettable moments of my life.

Day Seven

To finish my Grace Lin Balboa ParkSmallweek in San Diego, the most exciting moment was the party in Balboa Park. The party showed the warmest greetings to all Esri guests. There were all kinds of food, music, and performances. There were museums around the whole park. And of course, it had the most beautiful scene there. It is the party that I recommend all the attendees of the UC go to, lots of fun!

The other interesting event today was that I met Jack in the Emergency Management showcase this morning. We were all listening to the presentation of the emergency and security system in Balboa Park which uses, of course, ArcGIS technology.

A great end to a great week.

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