As part of my role in ExCiteS, I simultaneously represent various projects/interests. For as much as the Education part of the conference was relevant to my personal research, this day was the day where I focused on the needs of my research group – namely on open data, non-profit work, and tribal outreach efforts being done by various researchers that would be sharing their experiences it the conference.
Of the various sessions, I was blown away by two in particular: ArcGIS Open Data and Survey123. Open Data allows users to set any datasets in ArcGIS Online to be available as part of the work of the Open Data Commons and have appropriate licencing for the level of openness you wish to set for your dataset. What got me really excited by this, though, was that the data can then be consumable as a GeoJSON format – which was my exact development task for further work with GeoKey, so that makes that work much easier. Survey123 was very exciting as a mobile data collection app that has easy to design forms that can be used to collect data while online, or offline! The offline capabilities are something many of the umbrella projects of ExCiteS are interested in, as many will be in areas with low to no signal. The demo for Survey123 was packed; this is definitely an application to keep an eye on.
That evening, I attended the Science Reception, where by sheer coincidence, I bumped into a researcher from University of California Santa Barbara, where I would be visiting the following week, who I would be interviewing as part of my research. Werner Kuhn, Director of the prestigious Center for Spatial Studies, also happened to be at the reception and I received an earlier than expected introduction. It was such a pleasure and honour to meet him and definitely felt a lot less nervous about the visit afterwards.