First Esri Climate Resilience App Challenge: Who’ll Start the Reign?

7/14/14Follow @bvbigelow

The 34th annual Esri users conference begins today at the San Diego Convention Center, drawing geography techies from more than 90 countries to share their ideas and insights in the use of Redlands, CA-based Esri’s mapping software. Last year, more than 13,500 people attended the five-day conference, which offers a wide range of sessions on mapping and geospatial information system (GIS) technology.

Privately held Esri, founded in 1969 as the Environmental Systems Research Institute, was a pioneer in GIS technology and continues to expand the capabilities of its ArcGIS mapping software, by adding such features as location analytics for business customers.

Esri president Jack Dangermond will kick things off with his usual overview of the Esri ecosystem. This year, keynote presentations by Dr. Bruce Aylward of the World Health Organization and Dr. Vincent Seaman from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will show how public health workers are mapping software in a global initiative to eradicate polio.

Dangermond also is scheduled to name the top three winners of the Esri Climate Resilience App Challenge, which the company announced in March as a way to support a White House Climate Data Initiative, according to Chris Thomas, Esri’s director of government markets.

“We asked government agencies and NGOs [non-governmental organizations] what they were struggling with, and what they need to accomplish” in terms of climate change, Thomas said. “We went to hackathons, software development communities, and conducted a worldwide search of what was out there.

“What we saw was more of a dialog of what people saw as their particular challenges to climate change,” Thomas said. “For people who live on the coast, their priority is coastal flooding. For people in Littleton, Colorado, they’re more worried about the ‘silver tsunami,’” which is the wave of older people who live in the community without air conditioning. During a prolonged heat wave, they need someplace to go.

Esri received about 50 submissions before the June 2 deadline that met contest criteria, and will provide three winners with over $15,000 in cash prizes or software equipment. The company named 13 finalists earlier this month, and they are:

Modeling Community Erosion from Climate Change, submitted by Stone Environmental, a consulting firm in Montpelier, VT, enables users to identify areas that are vulnerable to … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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