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2019 Esri Mid-Atlantic User Group Conference: Five Major Takeaways from our GIS Team

Blue Raster was a proud sponsor of the Esri Mid-Atlantic User Group Conference in Philadelphia, PA. In addition to showcasing our work and connecting with Esri users, members of the Blue Raster GIS Team attended technical sessions and workshops. The two-day event brought together over 400 Esri users and GIS professions from around the region seeking to advance their organizations and workflows with the latest GIS technology offerings.

Esri Mid-Atlantic User Group Conference

The Plenary featured presentations by Esri’s cartographer and user experience designer, John Nelson, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, and technology presentations by Esri staff. This year’s conference theme was titled “GIS - The Intelligent Nervous System,” a reference to the intricate communication system in the human body responsible for detecting, transmitting, and communicating vital information across complex network of nerves.

Esri Mid-Atlantic User Group Conference
Esri's cartographer and user experience designer, John Nelson, led the plenary session.

5 Takeways from the Esri Mid-Atlantic Conference

The Esri Mid-Atlantic conference helped provide answers to these questions: What is new? What has been improved and updated? What can we anticipate in the future?

1. GIS technologies are constantly advancing.

As an industry leader in GIS software, Esri’s applications and tools are constantly evolving to suit the needs of an increasingly diverse range of customers. From education to AEC (architecture, engineering and construction), Esri is at the forefront of product development for an increasing number of GIS users. It is important for Blue Raster to attend Esri’s conferences to ensure we remain informed about the latest developments in the field. As a result, this allows us to build capacity in our team and our clients when it comes to GIS workflows.

2. Building connections face-to-face improves our understanding of what GIS users need.

Throughout the conference, we had the opportunity to meet and speak with GIS users from around the region. These face-to-face interactions allowed us to gain a more nuanced understanding of how organizations are using GIS to address problems at a variety of scales. This only reinforces the importance of stepping away from our desks and attending these conferences. The importance of face-to-face discussions in a constantly evolving industry is just as important as the work we do from our computers.

Esri Mid-Atlantic User Conference

3. For local and state governments, GIS happens at the smallest scales.

From water utilities to curbside maintenance, city governments are eager to leverage GIS workflows to track and manage their assets and workforce. Unique to this scale is the need for precision and accuracy. As a result, government GIS users must have a deep and intimate understanding of their cities. Esri products cater to these needs through a large selection of highly customizable field and web applications.

4. For small municipalities and city governments, Emergency Management Preparedness and Mitigation is happening right now.

Adjusting and preparing for a changing global climate can often seem like an overwhelming task, but for local governments and municipalities being prepared to face this change is happening right now. Furthermore, small municipalities are keenly aware of the specific risks and needs of their communities and are eager to leverage whatever technology is available to manage assets and personal in times of crisis. This desire to be ready and up to date on the newest uses of GIS for Emergency Management was evident in the high attendance of all three Emergency Management focused session of the conference.

5. GIS technology isn’t just for the GIS industry.

Throughout the two day Esri Mid-Atlantic Conference the Blue Raster team had the chance to talk to attendees, other sponsors, and Esri professionals. An overarching theme was that GIS is involved in countless sectors of business and professional industries, from architects to civil engineers and city planners, GIS professionals, non-profit community development groups, educators and students, and local and county government employees. We are excited to see how The Science of Where continues to expand.

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