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Esri Launches Climate Resilience App Challenge

Last June, President Obama released a comprehensive Climate Action Plan. The plan is an aggressive approach to reduce Americans’ reliance on oil, cut carbon emissions and create sustainable communities.

But the efforts aren’t only about preserving and protecting America’s beautiful natural resources – they’re also about improving public health. The administration’s Climate Action Plan reminds us that the impacts of climate change are already being felt today:

“The 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15 years. Asthma rates have doubled in the past 30 years and our children will suffer more asthma attacks, as air pollution gets worse. And increasing floods, heat waves, and droughts have put farmers out of business, which is already raising food prices dramatically”

Though we’re already feeling the effects of climate change, there are solutions out there being created. Technology in particular can serve as a way to educate, inform and identify smarter policies to prepare communities and proactively deal with the challenges of climate change.

Esri, the global leader in GIS technology, is uniquely suited to help the administration meet their climate goals. GIS technology allows leaders to forecast trends, conduct spatial analysis and provide leaders the ability to make stronger data-driven decisions.

That’s why Esri has launched their Climate Resilience App Challenge. This app contest is asking participants to use the Esri Platform to create innovative applications that will not only help bring awareness to communities about protecting our environment, but also help build sustainable communities.

Esri provides additional context on their Challenge homepage, where you can also view resources, judging criteria and all the information needed to enter the contest. The winning apps will be featured at the Esri International User Conference on July 14 – what better spot to highlight the innovative work than in front of 15,000 public sector professionals?

Esri also shared the prize breakdowns for winners:

  • First Place: $10,000 or software equivalent
  • Second Place: $5,000 or software equivalent
  • Third Place: $2,000 or software equivalent

The competition closes on June 2, and on June 16, winners are announced. In a press release announcing the initiative, Esri president Jack Dangermond said, “We want to support President Obama’s Climate Data Initiative, encouraging tech innovators to use data about climate change risks and impacts in compelling ways to help citizens, businesses, and communities makes smart choices in the face of climate change.”

“We encourage developers to explore the hurdles of climate resilience—from tools to manage drought, wildfires, and hurricanes, to safer communities, intelligent transportation, sustainable infrastructure, smart cities, and more energy-efficient buildings,” added Dangermond.

I was intrigued when I saw this app challenge, and am excited to see what kind of tools are developed. In so many ways, GIS has become an integrative technology, connecting mobile, GIS, cloud and open data projects.

With this Esri challenge, the power of GIS comes through again, showing how the technology has the ability to help communities understand the impact of policy decisions; prepare for natural disasters; recover from events; and, most importantly, plan effectively to create sustainable communities.

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Esri was founded in 1969, it realized even then that geographic information system (GIS) technology could make a difference in society. GIS helps people to solve problems at local, regional, national, and global scales. Access maps and apps at ArcGIS.com. Be sure to check out all the
 GIS resources produced by Esri and GovLoop.
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