Event Report: ESRI 2006

20 Aug, 2006 By: Cyrena Respini-Irwin

Company reveals plans for increased GIS/CAD interoperability at recent user conference in San Diego.

The theme "Geography and GIS: Communicating Our World" was repeated throughout the 26th Annual ESRI International User Conference, appearing on attendees' tote bags and in ESRI President Jack Dangermond's plenary session address. On the opening day of the event, held August 7-11 in San Diego, Dangermond discussed the role of GIS in solving political, social and environmental problems. He stressed the importance of bringing geography into the mainstream, revitalizing educational programs and battling the geographic illiteracy plaguing American schoolchildren today. A presentation by 4H members showcased the projects students can undertake when empowered with GIS, from mapping the spread of wildfires and invasive weeds to changing school policy with a spatial analysis of crimes committed near middle schools.

The plenary session audience also watched a demonstration of ESRI's ArcGIS 9.2, scheduled for release this fall. ESRI is expanding CAD interoperability in ArcGIS: Version 9.2 is being developed with expanded CAD property support, adding CAD elevation, entity rotation, CAD layer symbology attributes and others; improved default CAD feature rendering; and new CAD feature dataset organization. A georeferencing toolbar allows users to move, rotate and scale CAD files using the mouse. Additional features include full support for TrueType fonts, CAD integration with Survey Analyst, and improved annotation and style matching and support for standard CAD annotation. ArcGIS Server - which is a complete server-based GIS within ArcGIS 9.2 - improves collaboration between CAD and GIS, easing tasks such as sharing geodatabases with AutoCAD.

Communication between CAD and GIS proved to be a popular topic during the conference, providing the focus of paper sessions such as "CAD Mapping to GIS: Lakehaven, Washington's Long and Winding Road," by Rick Lortz of the Lakehaven Utility District. This presentation detailed the numerous steps the district took when migrating CAD data into a geodatabase, ensuring that crucial data made the cut and unnecessary point functions were excluded.

Attendees chose from paper presentations in 40 discrete tracks, including Application Development; Education; Environmental Management; and Architecture, Engineering and Construction. Meetings were conducted for regional and special-interest user groups, and technical workshops offered users training in all aspects of ESRI software. More than 300 companies distributed information about their data, hardware, solutions and services in the exhibit hall.

The 26th Annual ESRI International User Conference drew a crowd to the San Diego Convention Center earlier this month.

Among the firms on the exhibit floor was GlobeXplorer, which develops ImageConnect Web extensions that allow GIS and CAD users to import georeferenced images from the company's online archive directly into ESRI's ArcGIS and MapInfo solutions as well as georeferenced AutoCAD projects. Users can download aerial, satellite and map images, which are automatically reprojected to a desired map projection.

The Map Gallery enthralled conference-goers with hundreds of maps from around the world, showcasing the diversity of information that can be communicated through GIS. Projects represented in the gallery included spatial analysis of auto thefts in San Diego, post-Katrina environmental testing for mold and endotoxins, and selecting sites to colocate wind power and ethanol production in Kansas.

In 2007, the conference will be held June 18-22 in San Diego. For more information about ESRI user conferences, visit the company Web site.

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