The Ecopia AI team had a blast at Esri UC 2023! We enjoyed meeting up with customers, partners, and the geospatial community at the world’s largest GIS conference. As proud bronze sponsors of the event, it was great to hear what everyone is up to by attending some thought leadership sessions, meeting geospatial professionals at our booth, and hosting our customers and partners at our rooftop party.
We heard a few key themes on repeat throughout our week in San Diego. In this blog post, we break down our key takeaways in case you weren’t able to make it.
Key takeaways from Esri UC 2023
1. Geoenablement & geospatial literacy
This year’s hot topic was geoenablement, the concept of making geospatial insights accessible and usable to all who need them - not just trained GIS professionals. Every session we attended touched on geoenablement in some way, and it was also top of mind for many of our booth visitors. For some organizations, geoenablement means increasing geospatial literacy in industries where mapping and location intelligence are only beginning to emerge. For others, it means expanding the use of geospatial analysis to other departments and creating collaborative networks to share data and insights.
2. Data-driven insights > anecdotal evidence
Another theme we heard frequently from different industry stakeholders was the need for data-driven insights instead of relying on anecdotal evidence for decision-making. While analyzing data to derive important information is not a new concept, many organizations still lack comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date geospatial data for this process. Many of the folks we spoke with shared that their organizations leverage anecdotes or best guesses to power some of their most critical decision-making workflows, but are seeing the negative impacts of this and seeking solutions to the issue. Advancements in sustainable data creation are helping organizations move beyond anecdotal analysis, enabling them to leverage up-to-date insights in a rapidly changing world that are not represented through one-time data creation.
3. Data sharing & collaboration
Across the many industries present at UC this year, we heard a common thread of challenges in data sharing across entire organizations. In both the public and private sectors, organizations are struggling to develop efficient and secure ways to make data accessible to the users who need it. Those who have figured it out have been able to not only expand geospatial literacy by geoenabling different groups, but also facilitate data-driven decision-making.
Geoenabling industry professionals with access to accurate data
These three themes are all related to each other, but look a little different in each industry. Here’s what these themes look like in different industries based on the sessions we attended and conversations we had.
Climate change and the role mapping and geospatial data play in building community resilience was top of mind for many attending UC. During the NOAA user group meeting, federal, state, and community leaders met to discuss how diverse data layers can be combined for critical climate analysis, but they must be high quality and accessible for all stakeholder organizations in order to be useful in decision-making. Ecopia touched on our work with NOAA during our own presentation about building climate resiliency strategies. In addition to demonstrating how data can reveal insights into critical issues like climate inequality, Brandon Palin and Briana Brown from the Ecopia team highlighted how NOAA is providing open access to 1.3M+ square miles of high-precision land cover data, further geoenabling coastal communities with the insights needed to build a climate resilience strategy.