When Richard Saul Wurman published his first book in 1962 at age 26, he began the singular passion of his life: making difficult information easily understandable. Wurman, now a prolific author and creator of the TED (technology/entertainment/design) conferences, will speak at the 2010 ESRI International User Conference (ESRI UC) in July. He will discuss his latest project, called 19.20.21, and how geographic information system (GIS) technology plays a part in it.
Wurman's 19.20.21 project is an attempt to understand comparative data on 19 cities that will have 20 million or more inhabitants in the twenty-first century. With the majority of the earth's population now living in cities, Wurman saw there was a need to address an information gap about the urban supercenters driving modern culture.
"It's a unique calling to be able to elucidate the world's more complicated subject matter," said ESRI president Jack Dangermond. "We are extremely honored to have Richard Saul Wurman join us as a keynote speaker at the ESRI UC this year, and we look forward to hearing what he has to say about GIS and 19.20.21."
Wurman likes to say that all his work springs from the same place—his ignorance. Starting with his first book, which features models of 50 cities on a uniform scale, each of Wurman's 82 books focuses on a topic he'd had difficulty understanding. With driving curiosity, Wurman seeks ways to make the complex clear. He has written about subjects and ideas ranging from football to health care.
Wurman's achievements over the last half-century include his best-selling book Information Anxiety and his award-winning ACCESS city guides. Described by Fortune magazine as an "intellectual hedonist with a hummingbird mind," Wurman also launched the first TED conference in 1984; he brought together America's clearest thinkers in technology, entertainment, and design to enlist others in educating the public.
In addition to Wurman's address during the ESRI UC Plenary Session, the 19.20.21 project will be featured in the conference's special displays. The ESRI UC is the world's largest GIS event. The thirtieth annual conference will return to the San Diego Convention Center in California July 12–16. The gathering draws thousands of professionals from across the globe who want to learn, collaborate, and explore the latest developments in GIS. The theme this year is Geography—Opening the World to Everyone. To learn more about the ESRI UC and to register, visit http://www.esri.com/uc.
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