ESRI UC 2019 Day 1 Highlights - The Plenary Sessions
The morning session as usual was a flood of high-level vision about GIS (this year’s catchphrase is “see what others can’t”); as well as key shout-outs of new tech wizardry we can expect in the next software update. Jack spent some time discussing the concept of the human nervous system as an analogy for GIS: an intelligent nervous system to respond to, analyze, and use complex spatial data. The goals of this network remind me of the goals of cooperative extension: Learning, Sharing, Collaborating, and Engaging Communities. We also heard about the new NatureServe biodiversity/imperiled species database. This gathers field work from biologists on critical imperiled species and fills in the gaps using predictive species modeling (RF) on jupyter notebooks. The maps are validated via a network of scientists. Seems like they should connect with iNaturalist.org stat.
Lunch was kick-ass fish tacos, FYI.
New Tools in ArcGIS Pro 2.4 include some coooooool stuff. What I am excited about:
Story Maps updates are rad. Gotta get after it. Already available.
I can customize my basemaps using the Vector Tile Editor;
Calendar heat maps are now provided;
YAY! Through the “History” tab we can capture analysis workflow and turn into processing model automatically;
Pixel editor – OMFG. What new devilry is this. I want in.
Slice multipath tool to cut, clip and visualize 3d objects;
Viz of real material properties in 3D (e.g. light reflection, waves in water, etc.);
Parcel fabric: cadaster parcel processing: topology, editing, COGO measurements; helpful for deed changes and deed edits;
ArcGIS Monitor: This is like a dashboard for administrators of ArcGIS Enterprise to monitor web performance times, diagnostics, and utilization analytics, plus others.
The afternoon session usually packs in important examples of groups using GIS internationally. 2019 was no exception. The speakers included Ambassador Stefano Toscano and Olivier Cottray from the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining. They showed the Mine Action program, that uses GIS to find and destroy mines. This involves using community input from Survey123 to target searches for mines and mine destruction. Olivier Cottray says “webapps and webmaps have been game-changers for us”. He closed with this critical example: modern warfare – such as in Mosul and elsewhere - has led to mass-scale urban destruction and mines being left not only in the ground, but in buildings, above ground. Imagine what this means for search and destroy: it is now a 3D problem. We heard from Naftali Honig, Evan Trotzuk, Geoff Clinning who work in the Garamba National Park in the Congo basin about their Conservation Intelligence framework to combat illegal poaching. In the last panel, we heard from Jane Goodall and E. O. Wilson on an informal panel moderated by Jack. Wilson laid out his top three challenges for human kind: climate change, fresh water shortages, and mass extinctions. He talked about his HalfEarth program, and also gave us a primer on biodiversity from global to microbial scales. We need to discover, characterize, and map all remaining species on earth, creating a true science of ecosystem organization in aid of conservation and earth sustainability. Finally, we got to hear from Jane Goodall. Her work is so inspiring. At the heart of all her conservation and science work, are the importance of empowering women, the role of traditional knowledge in biodiversity conservation, using local decision making, and supporting education. She offered us passion, humor, hope, while frankly discussing the stark realities of a changing climate and the rise of the political right and widespread corruption. Her work and voice still instructs us on the power of the human intellect and indomitable human spirit to make positive change.