Last week two CGIS employees, Tom Earp (Project Manager) and Melanie Bruce (GIS Specialist), attended ESRI’s 2013 International User Conference in San Diego, California.  I recently sat down with Melanie Bruce to discuss her experience at the annual GIS event.

Q: How many ESRI UC conferences have you attended?

A:  This was my second ESRI conference, the first time CGIS sent me.   This year there were over 12,000 people from 130 countries gathered to talk and learn about GIS.  The enormity of it is still a bit confounding.

Image credit: Kris Krüg

Image credit: Kris Krüg

Q: Many ESRI UC attendees I’ve talked to have mentioned that there are so many exhibits, presentations, and workshops they want to see but they have too little time.  Did you find that to be a challenge as well?

A: Yes, I can relate.  The event is enormous and it is impossible for a single person to see it all or even get close to seeing it all.  I received some good advice from Tom Earp who suggested focusing on one concentration or track.   We both focused mainly on Technical Workshops.  We made sure we did not overlap so that we could cover the most ground, take good notes, and disseminate the information back at the office.  I think it was a good strategy.

Q: Out of the presentations you attended, which did you enjoy the most?

A: From the Plenary, it was really inspiring to see Will.i.am speaking with students from the i.am.angel Foundation.  The presentation by Sam Pitroda, who is an advisor to the prime minister of India, also caught my attention.  What this guy is tasked with will boggle anyone’s mind: planning for the public information infrastructure of over 1 BILLION PEOPLE, of which 30% are living in poverty.

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will.i.am speaking with high school students at the Esri UC. Image credit Esri.

Q: Did you attend any workshops this year?

A: Nearly everything I attended was considered a technical workshop.  I focused on workshops concerning using and optimizing ArcGIS Server, various application development topics (e.g. creating .Net Add-ins for ArcGIS Desktop, development with the ArcGIS JavaScript API, etc.), and spatial analytics.

Q: Is there anything you learned from ESRI UC that you expect to apply in your everyday activities at CGIS?

A: In the next few months, I am excited about and hope to touch on 1) the web version of The Operations Dashboard, 2) the GeoEvent Processor Extension, and 3) ArcGIS Professional – Version 11.  I can’t wait!