00:03Welcome back, everybody. Thank you.
00:07We’re going to start this afternoon with something very special.
00:11In the last several decades, we’ve given a lifetime achievement award in GIS.
00:17This has gone to people like Roger Tomlinson, Duane Marble, Ian McCarg, Don Cook, Michael Goodchild...
00:28...many interesting people who’ve laid the footprints down for us to follow and build.
00:34They also not only led their particular field but they were interesting people, and we let them talk a little bit.
00:41Today, I’m very pleased to be able to honor an old friend of mine, Carlos Salman, with this honor.
00:49Carlos is an interesting guy, as you will see, one of the most creative people I have ever met on the planet.
00:56He went to school at ITC as a photogrammetrist and mapping person from his native country, Mexico...
01:04...came back and went to work for the government...
01:09...and had a passion for bringing modern mapping tools to Mexico in the ’70s.
01:14And he worked hard. And he got into bureaucracy and got fed up, and he left after contributing a lot...
01:25...started his own mapping company to map Mexico because he couldn’t get it done in government.
01:31He now owns the largest mapping company in South America.
01:35On his own, he mapped all of Mexico with his own topographic maps and provided them to everyone there.
01:44He also is a curious fellow, married to a wonderful architect and he’s creative.
01:51So he came across talavera. This is a kind of mosaic, originally brought from the Middle East to Mexico...
02:01...and it was a dying art, and he found a little factory, a few leftover artisans, and started it up again.
02:09And then, as some of you might remember, made maps of tiles and brought them here from Mexico...
02:16...huge displays of all the ancient maps of the world.
02:20And then he noticed that there wasn’t enough trees in cities in Mexico, so he started a nursery...
02:27...something I love, and planted millions and millions of trees across Mexico, and many, many other stories.
02:35I love this man. Please join me in welcoming and honoring Carlos Salman.
02:51You give it to me before the speech?
02:53Before the speech? Okay, I’ll give it to you later.
02:56Later. Okay, later! My cues are wrong. Carlos.
03:00Yeah. I am very happy to be here.
03:04What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday. Our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow.
03:12Our life is a creation of our mind. I am just a mapmaker from Mexico.
03:18I don’t have great theories. I only have dreams.
03:22But my dreams are long-lasting. I am a persistent dreamer.
03:28I started in mechanical engineering at the MIT, not the one in Boston, the Madero Institute of Technology in Mexico.
03:38After graduating in 1971, I had the good fortune to get a job at the National Mapping Agency of Mexico.
03:47It was called Cetinal. The mission of Cetinal was to build a resource inventory of Mexico...
03:55...so the Mexican society could become aware how rich our territory was.
04:01Two million square kilometers, 11,000 kilometers of coast, everything that you want, you have it there, biodiversity.
04:13Engineer Juan [unintelligible] de la Para, the founder of Cetinal, used to tell us that we need to apply...
04:22...la visión de águila y la sabiduría del serpiente to get our job done; the vision of the eagle and the wisdom of the snake.
04:32I was impressed by his passion.
04:35The ambitious Cetinal program project involved topographic, geological land use, potential land use...
04:43...and sold maps at 1 to 50,000 scales and maps for the soil aptitude for urban development.
04:52Photogrammetry means to measure with light.
04:57In the ancient Mexican cultures, the spirit of the eagle...the eagle is the representation of the spirit of the sun.
05:05And it was the light of the sun that imprinted the vision of Mexico that we were capturing with the aerial photography at Cetinal.
05:15I was so happy to become a photogrammetrist.
05:18In 1974, my boss sent me to the ITC in the Netherlands to study a postgraduate diploma.
05:26I visited the Dutch cadastre and learned how important for the development of my country...
05:32...is to have a good and accurate and updated cadastral system and land registration.
05:38I thought we needed to apply that concepts in Mexico.
05:42Back in Mexico, I draw a diagram that shows the integration between the resource inventory we were doing and the cadastral.
05:54I was...I asked my bosses to be sent to the states to try to apply this knowledge. They sent me to Zacatecas.
06:04In Zacatecas, we did field surveys to complete the cadastral.
06:10And then we overlaid the cadastral map and the potential land-use map.
06:16What I saw was terrible.
06:19The land for these farmers were very small parcels, the soil was very poor...
06:25...so we were condemning them to poverty for generations to come.
06:31Also, they didn’t understand maps. But they were in such a terrible condition that I was enraged.
06:38I was very rebellious, so I told to my mentors how disenchanted I was with that situation.
06:48I had very good mentors.
06:50They listened to me very careful and told me, “Carlos, you put about your life to try to change the conditions...
06:59...that make Mexico so unfair and so poor, even if we have a lot of resources, but it will be a long journey.
07:08It will take you 40 to 50 years, and you will have many defeats and some successes.”
07:22And to address the issue that the farmers don’t understand our maps, you need to understand.
07:29Maps are like messages.
07:33With messages, not only matters what you say but what the other people understand...
07:40...and what the other people understand...
07:42...it depends on who he is and what filters he has built in his conscience, in his possible conscience.
07:50Our mission is not...it involves maps understood, not maps produced. Maps could be useless.
08:02They told me that 34 years ago. My mentors also advised me to get a real life, not just a work life.
08:15So they sent me to the university to give lectures to the students of the urban planning master course.
08:23And they encouraged me, try to get a girlfriend there. You know?
08:30The worst sin a man can commit is not to be happy.
08:35So I have always been obedient to my mentors, so nine months later, I married Gloria...
08:45...a student of that training course, nine months later, my daughter Paula was born.
08:53This girl came very fast. Then two years later, I had...Fabiola arrives.
09:01I became a family man.
09:03And I know that women of any age are wiser and stronger and smarter than men.
09:17In 1977, I wrote a paper proposing the transfer of Cetinal technology to state governments.
09:24I believe it that if we build state information systems at a provincial level...
09:31...we were going to make better part to help, to have better policies for water and land management.
09:40The paper was very well received by my bosses, but something terrible was about to happen with the Cetinal mapping agency.
09:49There were political changes at the minister level.
09:53A new minister, ill advised by international monetary fund economists, started to ask questions.
10:02How much do you spend on these maps? At what price do you sell it? What is the profit?
10:08We tried to explain to him that a national resource inventory is like an x-ray of your lungs or your brain.
10:19You will not make a fast-cash profit from it, but it could save your life.
10:27They didn’t listen, and they decided to stop the resource inventory.
10:34International monetary fund economists’ favorite song is downsize.
10:40Downsizing is like losing weight; it could be good if you apply it to the fat...
10:46...but it’s terrible if you try to lose weight taking out your eyes or your brains.
11:00Mapping and GIS are like the eyes and the brains of a country. You need both to have a shared vision.
11:10A shared vision with the resources can be used not to produce the richest map in the planet like in Mexico...
11:18...but to share all the resources such that the children could have enough nutrition.
11:24I faced a hard choice. I liked to work for the government.
11:29But then I needed to stop dreaming or go to the private sector and hope for the best.
11:34I decided to embrace hope, and in 1980 we founded a company with two employees, my wife and me...
11:43...that with a mission to implement land information system in the state governments.
11:48We grew in eight years from 2 to 200 employees and I thought we were going to be able to do something in 20 years...
11:59...not 40 or 50 like my mentors had told me.
12:03But then, in 1988, I met Jack Dangermond in Baltimore, and all my problems started.
12:12Esri was showing ArcInfo 3.x in 1988, and they were showing how to do geographic analysis with computers.
12:21We didn’t use computers. We just overlaid the maps.
12:27I listened to Jack very passionately speaking about landscape planning with GIS.
12:34I stopped to talk with him about the difference in mapping and urban systems in Mexico and the United States.
12:42In United States, you first make the streets, put the utilities, networks and then put the houses.
12:49In Mexico, we put the houses, and then later maybe we will put the streets and the utilities.
12:57So, in United States, you make maps of what is there.
13:02In Mexico, we need to make maps of what is not there but it should be, maps of the needs of the people.
13:09Then Jack told me, “Don’t worry. Next version of ArcInfo, we’ll make the maps of what is not there.”
13:21In the user conference, I found a group of people that thought that they could change the world with GIS.
13:30They appeared, it appears that they don’t know that changing, making dreams happen, is the most difficult task a man can undertake.
13:39So, like I am a experienced demon, I say I should join them.
13:45I decided to join them and since I became the Mexican distributor of Esri 22 years ago...
13:53...I have made many friends from every continent, including the small pueblito, or town, of Tierras Rojas, California.
14:06I have been a witness of the evolution of the most powerful GIS platform in the world.
14:13Many years of suggestion, insight, and complaint from all of this network are put into ArcGIS 10.
14:26So in 1999, many rivers flooded Mexico as almost every year.
14:34Flooding is good because it makes the soil more fertile, but it was a problem that we put the cities too close to the rivers.
14:44So the clean water, the rains, it was polluted with sewage and flood the cities...
14:52...setting back the lives of many people because they have to pay again all the commodities they had.
15:00So this makes me desperate. I am a desperate man because this is a disaster of our own making.
15:10We could not blame the river. Don’t blame the water. We did it wrong.
15:16Mexico deviates, is between, is dry or is flooded.
15:22You know, and these fields flooded, so if we keep the water, we shouldn’t be dry.
15:28But we are very crazy to manage the water, so we need to learn from the Dutch.
15:35To change the situation, we need 16 of these.
15:39One is large-scale, accurate maps. Accurate maps and updated. Then the cadastral layer.
15:50Then the public record should be tied to the cadastral layer, and then we need the resource inventory that we stopped 30 years ago.
16:00That is the reason I am desperate. But even these four things are useless if the community doesn’t use it.
16:08We are not making maps for ourselves. We need to transfer this information.
16:12We need maps in the brains of the people. So we need the community using the maps.
16:19And another thing, you know, another thing we need is a consensus building engine.
16:26Because the cities fought for this party or this party, for the rich, for the poor, for the old, for the young.
16:34So we should not discuss the data, we should discuss the solution.
16:41Since the maps were not available, six have decided to map old Mexico 20,000 scale in vector formats and at 10,000 in orthophotos and to 5,000 and 1,000.
16:57We call it Proyecto Mexico.
17:00We did a cartographic structure, sent the surveyors to establish a rock-solid network, take aerial photography.
17:09We didn’t have any contract to do it. We didn’t know how we were going to finance it or sell it.
17:19We didn’t even know if we were going to complete it.
17:22We just started to do it with no other light, no guide except the one burning in our hearts.
17:32Ten years later, maps of old Mexico at 20,000 scale have been completed and are already been updated.
17:40With maps, you always need updating.
17:44And we have produced thousands and thousands of maps at different scales, from 1,000 to 5,000.
17:50But, as my mentors told me, maps are useless unless the people apply them.
17:57And what we need...and that is our new challenge.
18:01If we want to change Mexico, how is the status of Mexico?
18:05Imagine an orchestra that they sing five different floors and we don’t have a partitur.
18:13Every guy, the orchestra is split in five floors, everyone wants to play a different song.
18:20There is no director. It’s chaos.
18:23We need optimization of the government process and orchestration of them. And that is a big challenge we have.
18:33I love maps, new and old. Photogrammetry is a science, but cartography is an art as much as a science.
18:42I realize that many antique maps that were produced hundreds of years ago...
18:47...were destroyed or were not used and were hidden in libraries.
18:52We decided to start...this is Amsterdam. We decided to start a small tile shop with a technique called talavera a puebla...
19:01...that these an evolution of the Islamic techniques and Mesopotamia techniques...
19:07...and then to Spain and then to Mexico in the 16th century.
19:11It has been very enriching experience to do these maps.
19:18Eradicating poverty and injustice in Mexico will take many years.
19:24So our motto is, if Mexico is going to be poor, at least make it beautiful.
19:32So 14 years ago, we bought a piece of land that was at audit and decided to transform it.
19:39We started a nursery. I have a friend from California that was a nursery boy.
19:46His name is Jack. The family of Jack had a nursery. So he gave me some tips about where to buy seeds and things like that.
19:54We make children to adult trees, we give trees to the schools...
19:59...and we have collections and pines and try to have some shelter for the species that are endangered.
20:07To be here today and be part of your network, it makes me very happy and very grateful to Laura and Jack...
20:15...and all my hardworking Esri friends, Proyecta Mexico, Talavera de la Luz...
20:22...and the flowering trees here are the results of many people. The merit is of all of them.
20:30So we make this map with the faces of the children of the [unintelligible] workers at Cetinal.
20:38It's nice way to remember why we need to work harder.
20:44I am, as you could imagine, very grateful to the mentors I had at Cetinal for the teachings...
20:51...but especially for sending me to university where I found my wife, Gloria.
20:58Meeting her is the best thing that ever happened to me.
21:03Everything that happens, happens because life wants to teach you something.
21:17It's your duty to find out what it wants to teach you.
21:22So when Jack told me about this award or this thing of lifetime, I was very nervous.
21:28I asked myself, do I look so old, or what?
21:35And then, for months, I was thinking what life is trying to teach me with this thing.
21:40Lifetime is an intimidating concept.
21:44Then I realized that lifetimes are just a collection of days, so I will tell you a Sanskrit poem...
21:55...as I recall it in Spanish but translated to English...
22:00...Take care of today because is life, the true life of life, and today, time spans you will get the excitement of action...
22:13...the power of thought, the opportunity to improve yourself, because yesterday is only a memory and tomorrow only a vision...
22:24...but today we live, makes every yesterday a memory of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
22:34Take care of today, therefore.
22:38So I will finish with a one-minute video that I brought to you with my wish.
22:47Please, try to be happy. Thank you very much.
23:59That was good! Thank you, Carlos. Congratulations. You’re a great guy. Isn’t he wonderful?
24:10Thank you, Carlos. Good luck to you.
24:11Thank you very much.
24:12You bet. Thank you.
24:14Good luck with your next presentation.
24:15Ah, yes, my next presentation. Thank you, again. Good.
24:27You can see why I’m very fond of this man. He’s a wonderful person.
Lifetime Achievement Award
- Recorded: Jul 12th, 2010
- Runtime: 24:31
- Views: 26748
- Published: Aug 25th, 2010
- Night Mode (Off)Automatically dim the web site while the video is playing. A few seconds after you start watching the video and stop moving your mouse, your screen will dim. You can auto save this option if you login.
- HTML5 Video (Off) Play videos using HTML5 Video instead of flash. A modern web browser is required to view videos using HTML5.