That’s why the annual Esri Education GIS Conference, running this year from July 6 through 9 in San Diego, Calif., is so important. The plenary sessions, user presentations, hands-on workshops, and more informal discussions and interactions among educators and students of all levels as well as organizations and companies in the industry help shape and direct GIS education. Not only will there be presentations from professionals in the field, but for the first time, Esri has invited submissions from students.
There are literally dozens of topic sessions available to attendees. Many are on applications of GIS in such industry verticals as architecture, utilities, emergency services, petroleum and energy, real estate, homeland and national security, retail, financial services, and government. There are also two other major session areas.
One is science and modeling. Covering such topics as archeology, climate change, mining and geosciences, water resources, and national mapping, these sessions cover the connection of GIS with basic sciences and how researchers can make use of GIS in their work.
The other session area is technology. Whether 3D GIS, cartography and map production, database design and management, geographic data, mapping, imagery, online services, enterprise GIS, and more, there is ample coverage of the technologies on which GIS depends. The technology sessions include free workshops in which people can avail themselves of hands-on training on GIS skills, “from creating a basic web map to advanced spatial analysis.”
A smart addition is the online agenda search (be sure to choose the Education GIS Conference tab). One of the frustrations of an expansive schedule for a conference is trying to decide what sessions would be of the greatest interest. The agenda search function lets you provide keywords and search across particular event types, topics, and even whether the topic should be slanted for a beginner, intermediate, or advanced level.
Outside of formal presentations and sessions, there are also some that are called “unconference sessions.” These are opportunities to join conversations about “emerging best practices and challenges yet to be addressed in GIS education.”
In addition to the sessions is the GIS Solutions Expo, a chance to see what vendors are offering on the cutting edge of technology as well as to speak with representatives of educational institutions. American Sentinel University is proud to be the gold level sponsor for the entire event and will be in booth E109. If you attend, please stop by and say hello!