In July I attended the Esri User Conference in San Diego. I had not been to the UC since 2011.
Back in 2011, I was invited to the Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) awards ceremony at the UC. The list of award winners and the breadth and depth of their work with GIS was amazing. It was a privilege to mingle with the achievers and to hear the late Roger Tomlinson, The “Father of GIS”, speak to hundreds of his achiever children. I was sort of a GIS under-achiever but glad to be there.
Roger acknowledged the Father of GIS appellation then called Jack Dangermond the “King of GIS”.
It was memorable. I got to shake The GIS Father’s hand and stand with The GIS King for a photo op. Not for any SAG achievement. They gave me the THIRD PLACE award for storytelling. This was back before #storymaps were a thing. So it was easy to win.
For three short seconds, I gripped the GIS King’s hand while the photographer adjusted our pose. In that moment, I told the King that 20 years before, I had cast out bad spirits and given up religion and converted to Esri and GIS. A true believer. And now he is my inspiration to do good in the world. The King laughed, the camera clicked, and the staff waved me off to make room for the next photo op.