ESRI User Conference: Dangermond Opens Conference

By Directions Staff

San Diego, July 27 -- Anyone interested in mapping or GIS should contrive, once in their life, to attend the opening address that Jack Dangermond delivers at ESRI's Annual Users Conference.Just reading the transcript would not do the trick.

A transcript of yesterday's 100-minute talk would, indeed, demonstrate Dangermond's exceptionally detailed grasp of the many-pronged development efforts underway at ESRI.But it is the interplay between Dangermond and his extraordinary audience -- the largest gathering of GIS professionals to ever take place -- which is so memorable.Although most Directions readers (including this reporter) are not GIS professionals, it is nevertheless a bit breathtaking to be in the same room with thousands of the men and women who on the one hand create most of the geographic data we use; and on the other hand are developing the advanced mapping technologies which will soon enough turn up as tools on our desktops and in our browsers.

The audience is bigger than we estimated yesterday.400 ESRI employees have joined 8,600 end-users to put conference attendance over 9,000.This represents more than a tripling of conference size in just the past six years.Nearly 40% come from outside of the United States, from a total of 85 countries.

The conference opened with Dangermond's address; a wide-ranging review of developments in ESRI's product line.Three elements were heavily emphasized:

  • ArcInfo 8, the new release of the company's flagship product,
  • GIS on the internet, including ESRI's new ArcIMS offering, and
  • Putting spatial databases inside large Database Management Systems (DBMS's) such as Oracle SQL Server, and DB2.
Keeping in mind that Mr.Dangermond has a well-known tendency to exaggerate (no doubt founded upon his equally well-known enthusiasm), here are some interesting figures he presented yesterday:
  • ArcInfo 8 is the result of three-year development effort encompassing 400 man-years.
  • There are 150,000 licensed ArcInfo seats, 500,000 ArcView users, and 1 million users of ESRI's viewer product, ArcExplorer.
  • Internet mapping has tripled in the past year; and intranet mapping has grown ten-fold over the same period.
  • Over the past year, ESRI sales are up 23% and staff size has grown by 16%.
Dangermond's address was followed by a more detailed look at the ESRI product line, led by Director of Products, David Maguire.

All of Monday was conducted in plenary session.The day concluded with presentations by:

  • Allen Carroll, Chief Cartographer of the 8-million member National Geographic Society.
  • Dr.Waldo Tobler, Emeritus Professor at the University of Santa Barbara, and
  • Keynote speaker Sylvia Earle, Explorer-in-Residence at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).

Day 1: World's Biggest GIS Conference
Day 3: Vendor Fair Opens; New Products Announced


Published Wednesday, July 28th, 1999

Written by Directions Staff



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