I recently attended the 2013 Esri International User Conference with over 15,000 others in San Diego interested in Geographic Information Science or Systems (GIS). Focused on GIS to enable sustainable urban planning, I found that CityEngine launched upgrades with V10.2, simplifying the conversion of 2D imaging into 3D with just five steps, for preview of modelling rules created to return data, such as solar surface exposure and heating, for various types of analysis.
Trimble, a provider of GIS hardware and software apps rolled out solutions for water and waste-water utility features and local government solutions for crowd sourcing data to facilitate participatory planning on a cloud based platform. CityWorks stood out as the GIS solution for asset data management through the spatial organization of codes, inspections, monitoring, maintenance, operations, and more. Important development issues, such as climate change, were also apparent in the technology of the SimCLIM integration of ArcGIS/Marine with ArcGIS/Climate software, for more inclusive climate change modeling to better prepare cities for adaptation. Climate Change was also the focus of numerous projects by organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, Green Belt Movement and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and research centers supported by Planet Action GIS Services.
InVEST uses spatial analysis to provide an integrated valuation of environmental services and tradeoffs, representing the use of GIS tools in the spirit of sustainability.
Also supporting sustainability, the California Natural Resource Database and NatureServe, each featuring comprehensive geo-referenced natural resource databases, catalog hundreds of thousands of plants, animals, and ecosystems. Considering the interaction between the cities and the natural environments they grow from, facilitate biodiversity health. Whether through locating green space, recreation or ecosystem service optimization, environmental ranking and characterization of natural features and resources aid in decision making and land use planning. Ultimately, geography is a dominant characteristic for planning in any environment and GIS provides that technological foundation.
As planners, in what ways are you using GIS? As city residents, what geographic features are you most interested in sustaining… civil, historic or natural?