The 2020 Esri Federal GIS Conference focused on how GIS is evolving to become a smart, connected global geospatial infrastructure — one that allows the planet to react, respond, and grow intelligently. Over two days at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, thousands of attendees came together to discover the ways GIS can enable federal users to be an integral part of this new “intelligent nervous system” for the world.

GIS integrates geographic data into the decision-making process, turning it into a valuable tool for understanding the world and creating a sustainable future. Data sharing is key to effective global and national collaboration, and federal organizations are in a unique position to facilitate this transformation at scale.

By the year 2050, farmers will be expected to feed a world population of up to 10 billion people. To meet this challenge, the US Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service developed the Agricultural Collaborative Research Outcomes System (AgCROS) as the next generation collaborative platform to share data across the agricultural community.

In the mid-20th century, urban areas across the country experienced extreme pollution events that contributed to the formation of the US Environmental Protection Agency. Today, members of the Agency’s Air Quality Analysis team are using GIS to manage ambient air data, analyze pollution movement patterns and model air quality, and produce readily accessible information for policymakers and the public to help make decisions about their daily activity through AirNow.gov.

As the countdown to the 2020 Census continues, the US Census Bureau is preparing for the largest peacetime mobilization of GIS-powered enumerators. The US Census is using GIS and satellite imagery to determine specifically which people in what parts of the country require specialized services, such as a personal home visit or bilingual forms.

The FedGIS Conference also provided an insider’s look at what’s new from Esri:

•     ArcGIS Analytics for IoT, a new capability in ArcGIS Online, allows users to ingest, visualize, analyze, store and act upon massive velocities and volumes of internet of things (IoT) sensor data.

•     Site Scan for ArcGIS is a new end-to-end enterprise drone data and analytics solution for Esri's ArcGIS platform that is also operational from the cloud.

•     ArcGIS Mission, an all-inclusive, tactical situational awareness and mission management software solution that provides organizations with a comprehensive understanding of an operating environment.