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Live Blog from the Esri International User Conference

This week I am attending the Esri User International Conferencein the beautiful City of San Diego. Esri was founded in 1969 by current Esri President Jack Dangermond and his wife, Laura. Esri is an acronym for Environment Systems Research Institute. The Esri website states, “Esri’s early mission was to organize and analyze geographic information to help land planners and land resource managers make well-informed environmental decisions. These studies resulted in maps that showed constraints and opportunities for development.” Today, Esri has over 350,000 clients, 2,900 employees, 10 US offices, 80 distributors worldwide and over 1,600 business partners. Jack Dangermond spoke on Monday at the plenary session, you can check out the video here.

The first session I attended was called, Improving Operational Efficiency. The abstract for this session reads, This session looks at various techniques used by jurisdictions to get more from their GIS. Examples look at the benefits of integrating GIS throughout an organization, employing analytics to predict what will likely happen, and automating routine operations to reduce manual input.”

The session had two interesting presentations, Jorge Morteo, City of Las Vegas and Greg Babinski, King County GIS Center. Below are abstracts from their presentations.

Automate Planning Department’s GIS Processes with Model Builder
Jorge Morteo, City of Las vegas

The purpose of this presentation is to show the use of Model Builder as a planning tool to automate Zoning and Land Use Geodatabases weekly updates. The City of Las Vegas maintains a Parcel by Parcel Zoning and Land Use feature dataset. The primary reason for this is to maintain planning case history for each parcel. This allows for easy and fast parcel case history research by City Planners. In the past, ArcIfno AMLs were used to update both GIS datasets. The use of Model builder has made this process easy to perform and learn. Both layers are updated once a week, it takes about 30 minutes and with minimal manual input. The zoning and Land Use feature datasets are critical components of any Planning Department. Planners, local officials and most importantly the public, depend on the accuracy and constant update of both GIS layers to make critical planning decisions.

A Proposal for the URISA GIS Management Institute
Greg Babinski, King County GIS Center

Enterprise GIS is expensive to develop, maintain, and operate. Many small to medium sized cities and counties have invested more than $1 million to develop their GIS, with annual operating budgets in excess of $250,000. However, the return on investment (ROI) for these agencies is variable – depending on the maturity of their GIS operation and management. This paper will describe a proposed methodology to assess the capability and process maturity of GIS operations and to certify the knowledge, skills, and abilities of GIS managers. The role of GIS management best practices and standards will be outlined. A proposal to institutionalize GIS related process maturity and management capability assessment will be described. This presentation will be of value to those interested in GIS operational best practices and in the development of GIS management professional standards.

Both presentations were fascinating, and I learned a lot about GIS. In particular, Greg provided some great resources to learn more about GIS. Some articles to check out:

When 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. Check out the Communications & Citizen Engagement Sub-Community of which they are a council member.

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