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Apollo Teng, the GIS Manager at Montgomery County, Maryland,submitted a paper abstract that discusses how the County enhanced their website
with StoryMaps.


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Apollo Teng, the GIS Manager at Montgomery County


Montgomery County is one of the most populous Counties in the National Capital region of the United States with over a million people across 507 square miles. The County is home to many federal Government agencies, universities, and biotechnology firms including Johns Hopkins University’s
Montgomery County Campus, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and United Therapeutics.


Teng holds a Master of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He heads the County’s Department of Technology Services’ GIS team. His staff provides consulting, training and app development for different departments in the County’s Executive Branch.  Some of the projects the GIS team handles include maintaining the County’s street centerline, building and places of interest files. They also develop GIS apps and Websites that provide better access across the County enterprise and to the general public.   Mr. Teng’s team has been awarded several national awards in recognition of its excellent work. Additional information about these awards can be found here.


Teng’s abstract discusses how his staff has enhanced the content of the County GIS website with Story Maps.   For an example, check out this Story
that deals with a couple of those important projects – maintaining information on buildings and places of interest, as well as providing access to
people interested in this data. This Story Map allows anyone to easily search for recreational facilities that are operated by the County, major
development/redevelopment projects within the County, and other activities.


Teng  is looking forward to being selected to share the department’s experience in constructing these Story Maps for the revamped website. He is an experienced presenter, sharing papers at other conferences including Towson GIS, Esri MUG, URISA, NACo and ASPRS.


This will potentially be his first paper presentation at the Esri UC, although he has been attending the UC  off and on since the conference was held in Palm Springs – and the last time this gathering of amazing geopeeps could fit in the Palm Springs convention center was 1996!


How about you? Are you going to submit an abstract like Mr. Teng? The deadline is coming up quick – this Friday, October 31. We are looking forward to seeing what you have to share with the community! Don’t wait – submit your abstract now! (there’s still plenty of time to get that paper written!)

With less than two weeks left to get your paper abstract infor the 2015 Esri UC, I thought it might be interesting to look at some
statistics from last year.


Number of papers submitted by the final deadline: 1367

Number of tracks: 100

Paper submissions from different countries: 80

Countries leading in paper submissions:

  1. The United States
  2. Canada
  3. Brazil
  4. India
  5. Australia
  6. Germany
  7. Italy
  8. Tie: South Africa, The United Kingdom
  9. New Zealand
  10. The Netherlands
  11. Colombia
  12. Tie: Japan, Norway, Portugal, Saudi Arabia


It’s time for you to submit your abstract - the deadline is October 31, 2014.  What are you waiting for? Become a part of this truly international conference!

With the UC Call for Papers deadline fast approaching I thought I’d get some insight from a past presenter on why he submitted an abstract this year.


I cornered Jonah Adkins who works with Esri Platinum Partner Geographic Information Services, Inc..  Jonah was one of the first to submit an abstract for this year’s Call for Papers.


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Jonah Adkins: Might be afraid of monster movies, but not of presenting in front of his geopeers.


Here is how our conversation went down:


Jonah, first, thanks for chatting with me. What do you do at GISinc?


I’m a Senior Geospatial Analyst, primarily doing cartography, graphic design, UI/UX and traditional GIS tasks for both public and private sector clients.


What is your educational background?


I wasn’t sold on the Marketing degree I was pursuing and the late nights I had working as a bouncer were tiring to say the least. I got lucky and landed a
part-time job in 1999 as an Engineering Technician at my local city. I got a lot of on-the-job education in how cities work and how location is central to
that. My first GIS tasks involved digitizing storm sewer lines from mylar plans into ArcInfo Workstation. I like to say that I grew up with the industry, even though GIS had kind of been around – it seemed to start really taking off then.


How many papers have you presented at the UC?


I’ve presented two or three paper sessions at the UC over the years, two lightning talks, and displayed over 40 maps (!!) in the map gallery since attending my first UC in 2003.


Do you present papers at any other conferences?


I’ve presented several papers over the years at the Federal Users Conference, and usually present at local and state GIS events whenever I get the chance.


Why are you presenting a paper at the UC?


My teammate and I  have a great story to tell on behalf of our client, and we want to tell the world! Getting that story out there is key to creating new relationships, and finding new ways to improve our work. You never know who might be in the audience. And really, what better place to practice your public speaking skills – in front of your colleagues and peers.


What is the topic of your paper this year?


Big Data, Reporting, And Visualization for Navy Shore Energy Program – I know that may sound like a lot of buzz-words, but it’s pretty
spot on. In partnership with the Navy, we are managing current and historic monthly consumption data for Navy Shore facilities across the world.
All of that data is at the core of how we get that information out through a Web-Mapping Portal. A major piece of that is reporting – showing different
metrics and analysis in an easy to understand page that can be used to make better decisions about energy usage. Finally, in special cases we create striking visualizations to capture the attention of readers on any number of energy related metrics. And yes – we can tell this amazing story in about 20 minutes!


What did you present on in the past?


For previous employers I’ve spoken about the Role of GIS in Military Gaming and Simulations, and some work I was doing at the time for a local government.


Do you like speaking in public?


Yes! I still get nervous every time – and always go through phases of “why am I doing this” – but to me, it’s very rewarding.


If public speaking isn’t your worst fear, what is your worst fear?


Definitely something to do with creatures that may or may not exist from too many late nights watching scary movies.


What do you like the best about the EsriUC?


The social experience from gathering thousands of geo-peeps from all backgrounds. It’s great to attend with co-workers or colleagues, but the opportunity to meet and trade stories with complete strangers that totally get what you do is pretty awesome. And that pours over into every event – paper sessions, map gallery, exhibit hall.  I’d give second place to the map gallery – because I’m a cartographer and that’s kind of my thing. And honorable mention to the Esri technical islands in the exhibit hall – how many times do you have the chance to say “hey, why is this like this” and someone say “well here’s the person that wrote that tool – they can help you”.


What can we improve on?


Hmm…. Besides teleportation between rooms at the convention center? I really like the demo-theater sessions because they provide a detailed and focused look into a particular topic, a side effect of that is they were popular and often crowded last year.


What was the one big take away you got from the last Esri UC you attended?


For me, it would be the growth of Open Source and the dedicated community behind that. The fact that a demo about Open Source tools and data made the big stage in the plenary says a lot. And it seemed that there was finally that commitment to that from Esri.


How many years have you attended the EsriUC?


My first UC was in 2003 and I have been seven times since then.


Have you always liked maps?


I remember regularly exploring the pages of AAA map books we had in our car as a kid – and when I started being able to create maps with my first GIS job, it was like “Yeah, I really love this”


Why is location important to what you do?


it’s central to virtually every industry.  On some scale, location matters. It can be as small as one dot on a map, connecting two dots, all the way to analyzing a pattern in billions of dots. I’ve done a variety of projects since 2003, and it’s always been about leveraging the best technology to put “it” on the map.


What’s your story? Tell us by submitting a paper!  And do it soon – submissions end on October 31, 2014. Don’t get spooked – send us your abstract!