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Rethinking GIS

Making decisions based on geography is inherent to human thinking, whether we are going to the store or on vacation, or whether we’re planning for growth in our communities and striving for resilience and sustainability. We use GIS to harvest understanding out of geography so that we can make better plans and decisions about the way we live, and how we act, anticipate, and respond to events. GIS is a technical platform, and we’re all practitioners, using GIS to manage, engage, and gain insight – increasingly in real-time. But as GIS has evolved to become more capable and integrated, it’s also grown in its ability to drive collaboration with peers and engage public participation. These evolving Web GIS capabilities present opportunities to rethink what we do, and redefine our roles and methods as GIS practitioners.

Bern Szukalski
Esri Chief Technology Advocate and Product Strategist

As a senior staff member at Esri, Bern Szukalski is involved in many aspects of GIS software development and implementation. He has held a variety of positions that have covered a broad range of GIS projects, products, and activities. Bern holds degrees in Biology and Chemistry, and prior to joining Esri was employed as a biomedical research assistant, working under an NIH grant, and focusing on Vitamin D and bone mineral metabolism research. A subsequent career meltdown and a love of maps eventually led him to Esri in 1986, where he began his geospatial career as an applications specialist working on the Peacekeeper Rail Garrison and CIA World DataBank projects.

With his 31 years of GIS experience, he has been an integral part of the evolution of Esri’s software, and enjoys doing pretty much whatever he likes at Esri. Currently he is a senior product strategist and technology advocate, also serving as the Living Atlas and Story Maps product manager. He’s a frequent blogger, and has spoken at hundreds of events and conferences worldwide. Bern loves to focus on ways to broaden access to geographic information, and in helping users succeed with the ArcGIS Platform.