David Hayes, the Deputy Secretary for the U. S. Department of the Interior (DOI) was the keynote speaker for the Esri Federal GIS Conference this year calling GIS the most important tool in the federal government.
"Geospatial technology is finally front and center," said Hayes. "The reason I'm so excited about geospatial technology is that it provides us with a much needed mechanism to break down the silos." Hayes discussed how GIS is enabling better management of natural resources that is giving citizens the opportunity to explore open spaces and "America's great outdoors."
Hayes also mentioned how DOI Secretary Ken Salazar is taking on a new tourism initiative to support ecotourism in the U.S. In addition, the DOI hopes to stand up a new Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA), similar to Geoplatform.gov, for the Arctic this summer.