Ozri 2014

Ozri 2014 day one plenary:

It feels great to be down in Adelaide for Ozri 2014. It’s the first time the event has been held in these parts in roughly a decade, and the excitement of all delegates – local, interstate and international – has been tangible since the welcome function yesterday afternoon.

Plenary sign

This morning’s plenary featured speakers at the forefront of GIS technology – and their passion was contagious. Esri Australia’s Managing Director Brett Bundock kicked things off – providing some context to what the conference theme of ‘Pure GIS’ is all about.

It’s not so much what Pure GIS is, said Brett, but rather what it does. In particular, Brett spoke of how Pure GIS: solves real-world problems; ensures a sustainable future and improves our quality of life; reconfigures the way we work, making us more productive and more effective; connects us; and changes the way we look at the world.

He gave us some fascinating examples of how Pure GIS is making a difference across these areas right around the world – from Port of Rotterdam’s massive asset management system to local organisations, including the Department of Planning’s impressive cadastral boundary alignment solution.

With the room suitably warmed, Esri Australia’s Ebony Wickramanayake and Josh Venman – showed off some great new developments across the ArcGIS platform, then it was time for our first special guest speaker.


Raymond De Lai, who’s visiting us from Far North Queensland, took to the stage to provide some insight into how GIS technology is making workflows smoother and profits sweeter for the sugar industry in the region.

The Herbert Resource Information Centre manager really captured the ‘organic’ ideals of Ozri 2014 – especially his cool little video which showcased the entire sugar supply chain (the music was so catchy Raymond even had the audience clapping along at one point). It was a thoroughly fascinating presentation and really did show why the ArcGIS platform – and in particular the Cloud and tools like Collector app – is causing such a stir across the Australian agribusiness industry.

Warm applause welcomed Lauren Bennett, a globally recognised GIS expert visiting from the home of Esri – Redlands, California. She made the most of her time on stage, shining a bright spotlight on spatial analysis – and showing us a very cool demo of 3D temporal analysis using some Brisbane crime statistics. She used ArcGIS Pro for the demo – and it’s a seriously impressive platform… We overheard numerous people talking in the morning tea break about how excited they are about its imminent release.

Finally – before the break – Gordon Sumerling rounded out the first session by putting the mobile data capture live demonstration into full swing with ‘operation organic Ozri’. This was a fun session. Gordon was basically doing a live demo – which involved having members of the Esri Australia team around the country doing a live search-and-update of animal sightings, using Collector for ArcGIS. This was just the set up – with updates being provided to us later on in the morning.

Fruit market stand

Things got even more freestyle immediately after morning tea, with Josh Venman and Simon Jackson sounding the bell on an engaging debate, the pair taking ArcGIS into the ring for a ten-minute exchange, rating the platform’s greatest developments over the past decade. By the end, even we were worn out!

Another unique presentation came from NASA Achievement Award-winner, Dr Paulo de Souza, who showed us that bees can do a lot more things than simply make honey. An army of bees equipped with micro-sensors flying through the sky – we don’t even need to contact Hollywood with that script, it could be a reality soon!

Ebony returned to the stage to give Australia its first look at the forthcoming release of ArcGIS for Desktop before hanging around a little longer to join an all-star GIS cast – including Steve Snow from Esri US – and provide a sneak peek into some of the technical streams happening later today.

In between all this, Gary Johnson and Kate Levy hosted parts two and three of ‘operation organic Ozri’, with the various missions unfolding in front of us. We really enjoyed these sessions – they showed us just how responsive and instantaneous ArcGIS for Collector is. It was amazing to see live updates from around the country feed onto the map in real-time.

Plenary overview

Again, the ABC’s Beverly O’Connor – a familiar face at Ozri – was back to look after MC duties. She kept the plenary in motion between the various talks, while charming us effortlessly with her banter (thanks Beverly for the status updates on the James Hird saga as it unfolded). As always, it was great to have her on board.

Now, with decisions to be made about our afternoon conference schedule, and a tasty lunch to finish off (multitasking is alive and well people), we best sign off. Have a great day, and night – you’re going to be singing Holy Grail with Mark Seymour this evening! We’ll check in tomorrow with our plenary wrap-up from day two.

Alicia K & Ben D

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