2012 GeoDesign Summit: Welcome and Opening Remarks

Esri president and founder Jack Dangermond shares his vision for the 2012 GeoDesign Summit.

Jan 5th, 2012

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00:01Geodesign's pretty interesting, isn't it, don't you think?

00:04I love it and my old professor Carl Steinitz actually…I would credit him as starting it. Don't you think you started it, Carl?

00:11No, you didn't. Who started it? I'm not quite sure.

00:15But anyway, I'll tell you what.

00:16It's now got real steam as Shannon really mentioned, and it's worth…worth spreading and worth growing and worth doing.

00:24I think we're just beginning to see where it's going to go.

00:29Before we get into my short talk, I just want to acknowledge you for your work and also who you are, and also being here.

00:38And also, take just a second like we've done in many conferences before and have you introduce yourself to one new person…

00:43…so we can start off the conference right. So could you turn around and introduce yourself.

00:47Tell somebody who you are and what you're doing. Do that now.

01:01Get out of your seat. Out…out.

01:31Okay. Good. That's enough. Good. Thank you.

01:42Perfect. Thanks. Good. Excellent.

01:52That's good. Thank you. Good. Good. Perfect. Thanks.

02:00That's what you're supposed to do at the conferences, meet new people…

02:07I really want you to do that like every moment. Don't be shy about it.

02:11And something about human beings make us a little shy about, ah, meeting a new person.

02:16This conference is not going to be that way. You've got to step out.

02:20As you already probably are experiencing, there's a lot of different disciplines.

02:24You're thinking everybody's like you. They're…in this particular room, it's quite the opposite.

02:29People are coming from lots of backgrounds and lots of interests, and that's what makes this fun.

02:34Your work is right across the board in the design area but right across the board in the technology area as well.

02:42And it's…it better than any talk or discussion is demonstrating really what…what's going on.

02:49Some of you are working on planning cities, planning regions, planning countries, planning bikeways…

02:54…planning capital improvements, planning the Hajj, all sorts of interesting things.

02:59Some of you are designing and managing transportation networks, laying them out, planning for them…

03:04…designing the impacts of them, et cetera.

03:07Some of you are laying out utility networks, and that's very exciting, both electrical…

03:12…and telecommunication and pipelines and the like.

03:15And others are designing buildings and designing campuses and designing facilities of various types…

03:21…all using GIS and related geospatial technologies.

03:28Some of you are optimizing for getting the advantage in business.

03:32There are a number of you here from exactly that field.

03:33…and reinforce and establish this network that's starting to emerge.

03:35And this…this likewise, is…illustrates the broad diversity of what this field is that we're talking about about geodesign.

03:44Is what actually gets me so exciting…excited is that this is not just the classic design field.

03:51Its sort of mixing of science and design goes right across to all of society.

03:58As Tom Fisher said a couple of years ago here, our world is changing rapidly, and the consequences of this are frightening at times.

04:08They're challenging all of our organizations. They're challenging society at large.

04:14And this spans every issue that we read about in the newspaper.

04:19It's kind of hard to get a handle on all of these issues.

04:23Some of us were in a talk with President Clinton about three weeks ago…

04:27…where he talked about all the policies about discussion about climate change and population.

04:33And he says, You know, I'm not really sure that all these discussions are going to matter.

04:39And there's sort of silence in the room. Well, what's he going to say?

04:43Well, he said, What…"What I actually have faith in is real projects, and so I'm dedicating my life to doing projects in Africa…

04:50…or in Latin America or in India doing real work," and it just sort of like rung a bell in my mind.

04:58He's not simply talking about policy changes at the global level, he's actually saying where it really…

05:04…where the rubber hits the road is doing real project work.

05:07And isn't that really what geodesign is about?

05:10I mean, integrating into our thinking the science about, that affects these changes…

05:18…but making it real in building things or preserving things or constructing things.

05:24It certainly rung home with me.

05:28Okay, a little bit of abstraction thought.

05:31Geospatial systems are helping us understand these problems and these issues and these challenges.

05:38They're converting data into maps, so-called information.

05:44They're integrating mapped datasets through map overlay and integration and modeling…

05:50…to create a kind of knowledge about how things are working.

05:54And one of the great…the great contributions that the web is making is more collaborative sharing environments…

06:02…that is, allowing us to bring our knowledge together, not just like in this room but explicitly over the web…

06:09…to create better understanding.

06:11These…these…these trends are half of the story. They're the sort of science understanding part of it.

06:19The thing that we need to do is link that, all of that information knowledge, with the design process with tools, with methods…

06:27…that actually allow us to create sustainable designs, sustainable environments in the future.

06:33That's the plot, isn't it?

06:36Isn't that why you're here, linking these two different things together?

06:40And, in Carl's book that's forthcoming, we now begin to realize that geodesign is not just a concept.

06:48It can be thought of as a systematic process of measuring and modeling and interpreting and designing…

06:53…and evaluating and making decisions as a process, and articulating that will and embedding that into the workflows…

07:03…of how we create the future is, I think, the real plot of discussion here.

07:10Geodesign, I would say, at a distance is going to be looked back at as an evolutionary step for humans.

07:17It's going to be something that, ah, finally we connected the dots.

07:22Finally we began to realize the implications or the consequences of our human action…

07:27…and we started not only articulating but then embedding this scientific information in the way we did these projects.

07:36And this will be done by individuals, individual designers.

07:39It'll be done in groups, in collaboration.

07:43I'll be done…ultimately…done by all of society through the availability of this information on the web.

07:51And it's going to range right across all fields, from agriculture to urban planning…

07:58…to…to locating stores to all of those things that we talked about.

08:04What is changing at the same time as the whole planet is technology.

08:08It's…it's kind of coevolving with a bunch of changes.

08:12We're measuring more [of] the planet.

08:16This is resulting in huge volumes of data.

08:18Some people are starting to call this big data.

08:22We're able, in our computing environments with cloud computing, to make that data available to everyone.

08:28These computers are all getting connected and accessible not only physically…

08:33…but also we're layering on top of that social networks connectivity for sharing our information…

08:39…in communities effectively, and this is affecting science.

08:43It's affecting how we approach science.

08:45It's becoming more, not only quantitative but also more collaborative.

08:50And it's affecting design, as evidenced in this very meeting.

08:54Design is becoming also more collaborative and more information based or information driven.

09:00And as those trends evolve, coevolving are also the enabling tools of GIS and other geospatial technologies.

09:09We're becoming more multidimensional, three dimensional, more interactive and, yeah, we have a long ways to go…

09:16…just like we have a long ways to go in all of these other fields.

09:19But it is…it is starting to give us a glimmer that we have a chance of pulling this off…

09:27…that is, linking together human action and science, human action expressed through design and scientific information.

09:37For me, I want to highlight two main areas of work.

09:41One is the GIS on the web, or what I like to call cloud GIS.

09:47This is amazing change that's happening last year and this year.

09:54It really allows us to share through intelligent web maps our information in a cloud environment…

10:00…and make it available to everyone else.

10:03But also allow them to share other geospatially referenced information that can be incorporated through crowdsourcing…

10:11…or however you want to call it, in this same integrated environment.

10:17Unlike the constraints that we've had in the past of putting it all into a database with formal data models…

10:22…it's loosening up with…with these intelligent web maps.

10:26And this is creating, I think, a…a new platform for us as designers to think about.

10:33All the information will be available to us.

10:38We'll be able to communicate that information in…in a technology platform that's pretty effective.

10:45This is a little example of a two-hour project that was done a couple weeks ago when we were in, in Abu Dhabi.

10:54This is the area between Qatar and Abu Dhabi, this sort of large inlet there in the gulf.

11:00These are…these are coral…coral reefs.

11:05I called up a service here, in this case showing turtle nesting sites and manatee areas…

11:14…and then called up another map service and blended it on sea grass and then called up pearl diving areas…

11:21…and also the marine protected areas that already existed.

11:24Very simple little web map overlays to create a kind of intelligent map.

11:29Then brought up the…the offshore, you know, the zones of…of ownership and also all the shipping lanes where the oil fields are, et cetera…

11:40…and said, well, I could easily now sketch on top of an intelligent web map a new marine protected area…

11:48…and then share that with my friends.

11:50This is what I would call a kind of intelligent web map.

11:53This map could be shared, and other people could collaborate on it.

11:57And we demonstrated this in a...in a number of ways.

12:00This is only an idea in…in making, I mean, actually it's here, but it's…it's an idea that I want to start to get you thinking about…

12:09…because I think it will be the foundation for the way information is delivered in the future.

12:15Intelligent web maps are a new medium.

12:19They support analytics. They support the ability to drag and drop data onto them.

12:23They can support sketching. They can support sharing. They can go…they can run on any…be accessed from any device.

12:31They're a new…they're a new medium.

12:35And, well, do you follow what I'm talking about?

12:39It's very exciting to me because there are already hundreds of thousands of maps in this form, and it's growing.

12:48This pattern is going to provide a kind of infrastructure for us to be able to access the information…

12:54…rather than doing all the research to discover it.

12:56It'll cut the time for accessing for design projects way down.

13:01It'll mean that we can integrate and synthesize data from multiple sources in real time…

13:06…like I did on that little marine planning effort.

13:11It'll mean that we can bring this up on any device like electronic tables or…and communicate about it and…

13:18…ultimately I think it…it addresses one of the issues that we have in our world…

13:23…of breaking down the barriers between various groups and teams.

13:28Okay. The problem is that most of these maps and most of your maps are not very effectively designed.

13:38I want to hit that one point and then I'll be off the stage.

13:42How many…how many maps have you seen or, I like to call them geoinformation products, that really are effective?

13:53I mean, at the User Conference, we get thousands of maps, and I walk around…

13:57…and I look at them, and most of them are not very…very good.

14:02Actually, they document what's so, but they're not very effective at telling a story.

14:07Good information products require good design, and you, especially you as designers, know what I mean.

14:13You need to understand the issue about what you're going to communicate, and you need to bring the appropriate data to it…

14:19…and do analytics and manipulation and then come up with a compelling graphic design that helps us understand…

14:28…so that we can support action…action like geodesign.

14:33Let me give you eight examples.

14:35Good information products are timely.

14:37This is a map that was made by one of our users at NOAA, and it's showing the hourly forecast for when the tsunami is going to hit.

14:47And look at the map. You can see North and South America. You can see Japan. You can see the hourly forecast.

14:52This map was used in Hawaii by the mayor to get people out of the…out of the tsunami zone.

14:58And it made a huge difference. It saved lives.

15:01This is very interesting, don't you think?

15:04Nicely designed. You get the idea in five seconds. Bang.

15:09Okay. You can be critical about the color. I don't care.

15:11But it did the job.

15:13Somebody thought about that.

15:16This is another design that's not so fortunate.

15:18This is Fukushima. This was done by one of our users over there who was kept in a box for four months.

15:25This information didn't get out.

15:29Most of you have read that they evacuated the area around the Fukushima plant about four kilometers, right?

15:35Remember that? Reading it in the paper?

15:37You'll notice here that the radiation went way beyond four kilometers.

15:42The poor people beyond 10 kilometers got radiated, and this is how radiation got in the food supply.

15:47This map was not disseminated.

15:49Good products disseminate the knowledge in a timely way. This one didn't.

15:55Finally, the prime minister lost his job over there because it finally got out.

16:00And the guy, you know, I don't know what really happened to his career.

16:03But he designed the product effectively.

16:07Good information products communicate importance.

16:10This map of suitability for conservation in South Africa articulates very clearly the hot spots that are there…

16:17…and they help us quickly understand the areas of importance.

16:20And good information products support decision making.

16:23Somebody thought about these two maps, one where best in South Korea do I locate wind turbines, and where best do I drill for oil?

16:32These both leverage advanced spatial analytics in their interpretation.

16:38Good information products illustrate change.

16:40These maps showing change in New Orleans over the last 40 years or…

16:44…climate change that's happening in a more dynamic environment illustrate the point.

16:49And good information products can show status or situation awareness.

16:55For example, in the bottom map, where is President Clinton spending money on big issues?

17:02Or, where in Haiti did the money go for aid funding right after the hurricane?

17:08Or in the upper two maps, where is the money being spent, in this case…

17:13…in the East Coast to the US by the government on some issue.

17:18Next to it, where should the money be spent? Right? Very interesting combination of maps.

17:24It's telling us not only the status of our spend[ing] but also the status of where we should be spending.

17:31And finally, good information products can design the…can design the future if they're compelling.

17:37The whole geodesign process is about that, in the case of Portland, in the city; in the case of Lithuania a whole country…

17:45…or in the case of Gombe, the Jane Goodall's open space and village planning efforts that are here.

17:54These maps help us understand, and they supported, in each of those cases, action.

17:59So in summary, it's not just the technology that enables your work.

18:05It's also sitting down and designing those compelling information products that are timely, that disseminate the knowledge…

18:13…that communicate importance, that are…okay, so this is a little pet peeve that I have right now.

18:18We need to spend more time designing maps, not just producing the bloody things…

18:22...and that means thinking out the process of geodesign and communication itself.

18:29Well, that sort of summarizes what I wanted to get across.

18:34Interesting, isn't it?

18:35Information product design. It's one of the keys, I think, to…to geodesign.

18:41This week, I want you to take very seriously. This is an important meeting.

18:48I think we've got some important work to do.

18:50I wouldn't say it's as bold as we're going to change the world, but I think sort of…

18:56…sort of what's…what's hanging out here and why I think you're motivated to be here is…

19:02…that you'd like to participate in something more than just your own effort.

19:06It's about sharing information, learning from each other, building this little network…

19:11…and advancing the knowledge of what we think really matters.

19:14So let me again say, thank you very much for being here.

19:18We're going to see some exciting knowledge exchanged, and we'll have some fun, too.

19:23Don't make it all too serious. We'll have beer tonight, and, anyway, thank you very much for coming.

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