Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) produces the most widely used software for GIS. GSS and Saint Mary's University of Minnesota use this software to do much of their work. This year’s annual conference for international users was held during July 10-14, 2017. This five-day event held at the San Diego Convention Center exposes approximately sixteen-thousand Esri software users to over one thousand presentations, hundreds of hours of available training sessions, and over three hundred exhibitors. Topics that employ GIS in this conference can range from Archeology and Agriculture, from Petroleum to Public Health, to and Water Resources and Wildland Fire.
Two staff members from GSS attended and presented at this conference. Kevin Stark, Project Manager at GSS, presented on an ongoing project to build a website to communicate tribal wetland importance using Esri Story Maps. Kevin Benck, a GIS Analyst at GSS, gave two different presentations. His first presentation covered a recently completed online Story Map on Wetland Jewels on Santa Fe National Forest lands in New Mexico. His other presentation was on how GSS is working with Douglas County, Wisconsin environmental staff to incorporate data from a wetland functional assessment, recently completed by GSS, into a decision support matrix used to set wetland preservation, enhancement, and restoration priorities and support ongoing and future watershed planning efforts in the county. Both staff members also were busy at the conference learning from Esri staff and other users through the available presentations, direct technical expertise discussions, and demonstrations. Some of the topics that were their focus included watershed, stream networks, and floodplain mapping techniques; ArcMap Editing tips and tricks; LiDAR and GIS applications; ArcGIS Pro; Portal for ArcGIS; and many other topics.