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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Esri UC 2014 Plenary Session

July 16th, 2014 by Susan Smith

The U.S. Department of Commerce will announce the hire of the first Chief Data Officer, responsible for developing and implementing their diverse databases. This initiative will pull together a platform for all datasets and unlock more government data.

Dr Kathryn Sullivan, astronaut and Under Secretary of Commerce, NOAA

Dr Kathryn Sullivan, astronaut and Under Secretary of Commerce, NOAA

Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, PH D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, spoke on the topic, “Bring Science to Life.”

Dr. Sullivan said that she wanted to find a way to bring science to life in communities, and maps were a way to do it. “Maps are what made me the explorer I eventually became.” She was an astronaut aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger 30 years ago.

From the space ship, she said her view of the globe was such that she wanted to bring that inquiring perspective down to earth, to decisions faced on earth.

“NOAA is a place I could ply my trade,” she said. “NOAA is America’s environmental intelligence agency. Our purpose is to take the pulse of the planet, through scientific analysis we can transform data into addressing decisions people are making daily.”

“GIS tools provide insight and perspective we can’t gain otherwise, and can also provide foresight, so we can look ahead to decisions we might make,” said Dr. Sullivan. “Hurricane Sandy is an example for NOAA. We’re who show where the storm is now, we provide a visual understanding of where the storm is, the wind cones speeds and at what level, the storm surge information. When you’re living in a hurricane, most damage caused by the water, not by the winds.”

Dr. Sullivan said the job of NOAA is to provide authoritative, timely data that is intuitive and interoperable, delivered in a seamless and instantaneous, usable format.


As usual, the entire day’s Plenary was chock full of more than can possibly be covered here, so more coverage will emerge over the next days. The recurring themes, apps and data, are woven through the fabric of the talks and the sessions. Although neither is something new, they are new in terms of approach, in terms of a search for the common platform.

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Categories: cloud, Esri, Esri UC 2014, field GIS, geocoding, geospatial, GIS

2 Responses to “Esri UC 2014 Plenary Session”

  1. Ali Al-Ghamdi says:

    I wish that Mr Dangermond, stops talking about such heart-attracting speeches regarding how earth is dying, etc.. It is time for ESRI to have look into the homeless people scattered all over San Diego and probably start some human projects.
    I have said that to them (ESRI) and of course they did not reply.

  2. Susan Smith says:

    I think the messages about global warming and climate change are valuable, however, it would be good to also mention some of the more human projects that are taking place in GIS, around the globe. To their credit Esri did have keynote speaker last year who really seemed to represent the inner city poverty mindset (Los Angeles), and how to rise out of it. He also did a video clip at this year’s. Thanks for writing!

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