/ Event Coverage / Geodesign Provides a Means to Address the Urgency of Planning a Sustainable Future

Geodesign Provides a Means to Address the Urgency of Planning a Sustainable Future

Matt Ball on January 22, 2015 - in Event Coverage, Featured, Modeling

Jack Dangermond, founder and president of Esri, opened the sixth annual Geodesign Summit at Esri headquarters in Redlands, Calif. this morning. The goal of the event is to advance methods and the science behind geodesign. Geography as the science, and geodesign as a method that employs it, provide the context and content to implement change. 

Jack brought up Paul Ehrlich the author of Population Bomb in the 1960s who said recently that there is a 10 percent chance that humans will continue on our planet. Paul’s point is that we need to scale humanity back dramatically, because we’re consuming the resources of our Earth at too fast a pace. Geodesign is a means and method to understand our impact.

Geographic information is being employed to make things more efficient, improve communication and planning. We can increase how we leverage this tool for smarter cities and conserving nature and the ecological infrastructure that sustains us.

The notion of GIS is changing with a new pattern emerging with a big GIS in the sky that unifies distributed services and makes them usable in many forms. The architecture is based on interconnected machines with new standards and services. The servers that measure and manage things are connected, with new generations of apps that take the open data content and make maps portable for such applications as field data collection, crowdsourcing and other citizen engagement. Esri is bringing together all the data and pieces into a Web GIS with data of all types, imagery, sensors, analytics, big data processes, science, etc.


GeoPlanner is a cloud-based tool that helps apply geographic knowledge to planning.

GIS is all about integration, organizing around the common language of geography. The new portal approach greatly speeds the ability to find the data that you want. We don’t have to spend our budgets on collecting the data any more. This pattern will change our approach to science and design, because we now have the data at our finger tips, a dial tone of data that also changes our methods because content is rapidly available.

There are 3 million datasets available with 5,000 more each day added to the Living Atlas. These are authoritative maps that form the fabric behind geodesign.

Web mapping allows us to visually integrate, to dynamically combine content and ideas on the fly. This open platform allows anyone to dial in to write their own code or create their own maps and plans.

Esri’s GeoPlanner for ArcGIS and ArcGIS Pro have greatly improved in terms of visualization and speed. Esri is also making advancements in analytics (3D, space-time, demographic, etc.) and 3D visualization.

We are also in the midst of an app revolution that is empowering people with the power of geographic knowledge, and fitting into the trend that each individual will have five connected devices by 2020. Apps are proliferating, like the analysis of the spread of Ebola, and making an impact quickly.

Jack closed with a call for urgency that we have to get conscious and have a plan for our planet. The attendees have a sense of design, and we need to equip our colleagues to embrace the technologies to look at our future carefully, and geodesign is at the heart of creating the future sustainably.

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About Matt Ball

Matt Ball is a former editor and publisher of V1 Media.

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