A collection of various GIS related links, information and other GIS blogs.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Governor and a Geologist Meet an Environmentalist and a Hospital Administrator - Result: Executive Champions By Joe Francica , Editor-in-Chief and Vice Publisher, Directions Magazine June 21, 2007 No, this isn't the beginning of a familiar parlor game. It's what happens when you gather very smart people who understand the fundamental principles of geospatial data integration. At ESRI's Senior Executive Seminar (SES), held the day before the User's Conference convened in San Diego, senior managers gathered to hear their peers discuss the ways in which they moved GIS out of the backroom and into the boardroom. Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana; Keith Everill, information assurance manager for BP America; Ruthita Fike, CEO of Loma Linda University Medical Center; and Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the European Environment Agency all provided dramatic examples of GIS underpinning strategic policy decisions. Here are their stories. GIS for Statewide Economic Development Schweitzer of Montana seems to be cut from the same mold as previous politicians from the western United States who have graced the SES stage in past years, including John Hickenlooper (mayor of Denver), Judy Martz (former governor of Montana), Jeremy Harris (former mayor of Honolulu) and Jim Geringer (former governor of Wyoming, now ESRI executive). A former soil scientist, Schweitzer is using GIS to convince citizenry, businesses and foreign investors that Montana is rich in energy resources. Using GIS, the governor has the data to back up the claim. Governor Schweitzer provided details on land ownership management in the state and the difference between owning land versus owning mineral rights. There are 56 counties with information about land in two databases: land ownership and mineral ownership. These data are in different places. Schweitzer wants to place them in a repository which will show soil types, demographics, mineral rights, land ownership, geology and any information about energy development. "There are real opportunities ... the more overlays, the more business that will be spawned," said Schweitzer. "Imagine what all of the data we have in a digital form will do for all of us who are in public policy." Montana's economy is based on multiple assets. Schweitzer wants to promote Big Sky country as an "energy" state, with riches in coal, natural gas, wind and biofuels. The state contains 28% of the U.S. coal reserves and the maps to prove it. He explained to the SES crowd how to mitigate potential pollution problems, capturing the carbon emissions by pumping the CO2 back into the ground near existing wells to enhance oil recovery. Schweitzer also illustrated the wind power potential of Montana. He quipped, "Wind doesn't blow all the time. You consumers are the problem ... The wind doesn't necessarily blow when you need your (bread) toasted." To address the challenge Schweitzer is looking for salt domes where it is possible to store compressed air. The stored air could be released at a constant rate to turn turbines which would generate a continuous flow of electricity. Currently, about two-thirds of the electricity produced in Montana is shipped out of state. Biofuels and the education of future farmers are two areas of Montana's GIS-related economic development. The technology is also being used to plan for new training programs at colleges to support workforce development in proximity to the areas where new power plants are being considered. Schweitzer expressed dismay at the lack of vision from the current slate of presidential candidates of either party. "If one of those candidates stands up and says we are going to have an Apollo-style mission (i.e. like John Kennedy did for the space program) for energy independence in the U.S., he will be elected president. This is the greatest challenge in our history, and I hope and pray that we get it right." ...

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