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February 13th, 2020
Esri Federal GIS Conference Spotlights Government Organizations Creating a Sustainable Future

REDLANDS, Calif. – Esri, the global leader in location intelligence, is hosting the 23rd annual Esri Federal GIS Conference, which started today in Washington, DC. The gathering is an opportunity for federal government GIS professionals to discuss best practices, participate in more than 130 professional development workshops, and connect with subject matter experts from across the country.

At the opening Plenary Session, Esri founder and president Jack Dangermond discussed how GIS, as the intelligent nervous system for the nation, is powering data-driven decisions that can help create a sustainable future. The session featured thought leaders from several organizations, giving presentations on their uses of GIS to help address the economic, social, environmental, and security needs of the nation. Presentations included the following:

  • US Department of Agriculture (USDA)—Agricultural Research Service: “Partnerships for Data Innovations: Engaging Scientists through Data Sharing”
  • US Environmental Protection Agency: “Mapping Today’s Air Quality Data for a Cleaner Future”
  • US Census Bureau: “50 Days until Census Day 2020—How Will You Respond?”
  • The Y (YMCA): “Strengthening Communities across America”

“The Plenary Session is an opportunity for federal GIS users to come together, demonstrate their achievements, and learn from each other,” said John Calkins, Esri executive producer. “Each of the organizations presenting is creating a sustainable future through their inspiring and innovative use of geospatial technology.”

A highlight of the Plenary Session was the presentation of the Making a Difference Award, given to the USDA Forest Service for its innovative use of GIS in conservation, forest management, wildfire prevention and response, and citizen engagement.

“The Forest Service utilizes GIS in virtually every aspect of delivering its mission—wildland fire management, recreation, forest management, forest inventory, wildlife and fisheries, citizen science, and so much more,” said John Steffenson, Esri director of business development for national government, natural resources. “By automating the mapping of aerial retardant avoidance area, the agency reduced the cost by approximately 70 percent, allowing users to do more with their resources.”

The conference continues on Wednesday with the Keynote Session, where attendees will hear from Vice Admiral Robert D. Sharp, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). VADM Sharp will participate in a conversation onstage with Jack Dangermond to discuss the four priorities of NGA–people, partnerships, mission today, and mission tomorrow–and how GIS plays a significant role to achieve the agency’s mission.

Additionally, Dr. Healy Hamilton, chief scientist at NatureServe, a Western Hemisphere biodiversity information network, will share the Map of Biodiversity Importance and ways in which federal agencies can use this data and engage with NatureServe for precision conservation.

The Esri Federal GIS Conference is being held February 11–12 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. To learn more, visit

About Esri

Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, location intelligence, and mapping, offers the most powerful geospatial cloud available, to help customers unlock the full potential of data to improve operational and business results. Founded in 1969, Esri software is deployed in more than 350,000 organizations including 90 of the Fortune 100 companies, all 50 state governments, more than half of all counties (large and small), and 87 of the Forbes Top 100 Colleges in the US, as well as all 15 Executive Departments of the US Government and dozens of independent agencies. With its pioneering commitment to geospatial information technology, Esri engineers the most advanced solutions for digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics. Visit us at

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