As a follow up to my post about the conference, I decided to recap my experiences at the conference this year.

What I'm talking about

So this summer I had the pleasure of attending my 3rd ever ESRI International User's Conference in San Diego California. My first Conference was in July, 2001 and my second was in August, 2004 In 2004 I entered the Applications Fair with my VB6 version of the Watershed Characterization and Modeling System (WCMS) most of which, my colleagues Mike and Jackie Strager developed previously in Avenue.

This year I gave a presentation of my collaborative research with Dr. Sunshine Brosi with Black Cohosh and Mountain Bugbane. These are two plants that grow together and look very much alike. The Black Cohosh is harvested for medicinal purposes and we are concerned that plant hunters are taking the state rare Mountain Bugbane incidentally. I've been working on the project since February or so and it has been one of the more interesting parts of my job up until the point at which I switched jobs recently. Dr. Brosi has been collaborating with Dr. Jim Howell on this for a number of years. The title of the presentation is "Risk Assessment to State Rare Mountain Bugbane in Western Maryland".

The risk analysis is just based on distance to roads, trails, and campsites and on degrees of slope. We felt that plants were safer if they were further away from roads, trails and campsites because they will be harder to find or at least it would take more work to get to those places. Plants are safer on steep slopes for similar reasons (most Cohosh hunters are not billy goats). I also addressed some of the parameters that influence flowering according to regression analysis and presence / absence from a Random Forests analysis. Here is a link to our paper.

The conference was really fun (as always). I thought the party was fun but the food lines were almost unbearable. I ran into a few folks I hadn't seen in a long time (an old co-worker and an ESRI instructor). I also managed to do a little birding before and after the conference (3 new life birds) and we went to the beach one day before the conference.

The technical workshops were awesome as usual. I attended sessions on Network Analyst, Geometric Networks, Geographically Weighted Regression, LiDAR processing with ArcGIS, and Raster Processing with Python.