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Paradox at the Esri UC

2012 July 8

It is that time of the year again, which I genuinely look forward to: being part of the international Esri User Conference, where spatial thinking is ubiquitous.
It is not the first time I am attending, but it still is a surprise what I will discover during that week in San Diego. It might be due to some of following paradoxes I observe:


Far away versus close by

It is quite a trip from -anywhere in- Europe to the south western tip of the US, an area with a great climate and beautiful landscapes. As far away as it is, it is also close by: I meet many Europeans there, even while in San Diego. I would argue that the International Esri User Conference is one of the greater European GIS events as well.

Big crowd versus small meetup

The crowd can grow fairly large at times, e.g. on the Monday during the plenary, and it has been compared to a GIS rock concert in the twittersphere. That crowd might be a bit overwhelming, but there are many smaller meetups during the week as well. They tend to be more ‘on target’ of what you might be looking for.

Planned versus serendip

Some meetings are best planned ahead and I have a full schedule. But then again, I do leave enough room for serendipity, if that word is appropriate at all at an event like this. Running into people unexpectedly and being able to spend time with them is really rewarding.

Esri fountain

And do drink enough water in that climate!

Sweater versus sun tan lotion

As the weather is usually beyond great in San Diego, the difference with my home country is rather big. So I advise people to bring or buy a cap – check out the Spatial Outlet if you will – and bring – and use- sun tan lotion. But do bring a sweater as well. Most meetings are indoors and we are not really used to air conditioning in the Low Lands. Getting a cold while in sunny California sounds paradoxal, but is not uncommon.

Just to be clear, these paradoxes are not there to be solved. They bring that extra tension that make the week even more interesting! Looking forward to meet up or run into you … at the Esri Education GIS Conference, the Map Gallery, the Lightning Talks (in listening mode then…), the Special Achievement Awards… or the Thursday Night Party!

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