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May 23, 2018

The ESRI User Conference Applies Science to Location

Every two years there is a gathering of Belizeans and international participants making use of geographic information systems technology under the aegis of its world-leading provider, ESRI, and its chief booster in Belize, Total Business Solutions Limited. The ESRI User Conference is intended as an awareness builder of a still developing, though rapidly so, industry and tool for national development. The star-studded lineup of speakers will cover how they apply “the science of where” – solving problems and making decisions as well as training opportunities that could bring immediate benefit to the participants. News Five’s Aaron Humes reports.


Aaron Humes, Reporting

There is so much that geographic information systems can do, according to managing director of Total Business Solutions Limited, Loretta Palacio.


Loretta Palacio

Loretta Palacio, Managing Director, TBSL

“We have a cross-section of business-people here, we have a lot of users here. What we would have wanted to see more [of] is more government and private sector of course, simply because as President [Dr. Clement] Sankat of U.B. mentioned this morning, this technology is important for national development – it goes across all industries and it is used by countries for national development. And so when we’re looking at flooding; when we’re looking at emergency management, border issues, economic issues, bridges, transportation systems – it is all in GIS. So we’re looking at agriculture – soil layers; what kind of soil is up north and why [is it] that sugar cane grows better up north and why does citrus [grow better down south]? We look at that information in a map. Where are the low-lying areas? Which communities should we address first when there’s a flood threat, and we can see population layered over the vulnerable areas. And so when you look at national development, we create a system of record, because we’re collecting data every day. [There is] a lot of digitization taking place; we’re buying computers, we’re buying servers and buying cell phones and all kinds of devices in I.T. And so we need to be able to collect the information and create a system of record, and what GIS does is create a common ground for all sorts of data to be analyzed for better decision-making, to be visualized for better decision-making as well.”


Keynote speaker Ruud Derix hails from Aruba, where he works in its central bureau of statistics and as National GIS Coordinator.


Ruud Derix

Dr. Ruud Derix, Central Bureau of Statistics, Aruba

“Normally, statistics is all about the social demographics, about the economy and finances. And the environment is getting more and more interest today; we have the Sustainable Development Goals, the international challenge to provide indicator information about the environment, all kinds of aspects of the environment, but also social demographics, also economy, finance, poverty, justice, so there are many themes. And GIS can help to provide information about this; it’s a very nice tool to assist the dissemination of data.”


ESRI’s head of business development for the Americas, Javier Cuellar, expects the use of GIS to only grow from strength to strength as its capabilities are plumbed.


Javier Cuellar

Javier Cuellar, ESRI Americas

“There are several scenarios where the science of location intelligence is coming into helping. From planning how to grow for a country and any organization, all the way to bringing things like managing real-time data, sensors and information that is becoming available now from utilities to precision agriculture, for example. So many sectors that are coming together into building geographic information to be part of the answers they need. It comes with the technology of today; it comes with real-time, it comes with artificial intelligence, under the umbrella of geographic information, serving answers for those needs.”


Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.


The conference concludes on Thursday.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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