This year I was fortunate enough to be one of four UWM students to attend the International Esri User’s Conference in San Diego, CA. Most of the associated costs of attending the conference were funded through a grant the GIS club was awarded by the UWM Student Activities Fund. The group included Jason Glen Tilidetzke, the GIS club president, William Mobley, Michael Kavalar, and myself. Upon arriving at the San Diego Convention Center, it was clear this wasn’t your average convention. The scale itself was amazing; thousands gathered in one room with three movie screen size projections at the opening plenary session. The breadth of topics was equally large ranging from advanced geospatial statistics to proper labeling of maps.
On Monday evening, Michael, William, and I were lucky enough to present a poster we submitted in conjunction with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District at the Map Gallery Opening Reception. It was exciting to be a part of such a large and impressive event and see the reaction people had to our poster analyzing the connection of Historical Streams to current flooding in the Milwaukee Region. Once the sessions began on Tuesday the activity and buzz around the convention center really picked up. At any given time there may be over 30 sessions occurring, while hundreds of vendors and Esri staff are presenting ideas and offering solutions to any GIS issue fathomable. The hardest decision was where to spend your time. It was important to maintain a focus and a plan of where and what topics to explore as the possibilities were endless.
Our last day in San Diego was Wednesday, and we made sure to take advantage of all the opportunities that were made available to us. The pinnacle of these opportunities was an invite to the Team Water/Wastewater Pool Party. This proved to be an excellent networking event; in fact, I even had the chance to meet Jack Dangermond and share stories about our Urban Planning Department Chair, Bill Huxhold. In the end, this was an unforgettable and invaluable experience that I will always cherish.