Federal GIS Conference 2021: Welcome Session Recap

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Welcome to the 2021 Federal GIS Conference!

The Federal GIS Conference is the largest gathering of GIS users in the government sector. These three conference days (February 22-24, 2021) bring geospatial users in government, non-governmental organizations, nonprofit, military, and related professions in the sector together to be inspired by current solutions and future ideas in GIS technology.

The Welcome Session toured the online platform for the conference, including how to catch the plenary, network in the platform, and browse the expo to visit with online exhibitors. More than 6,000 users are registered to connect online this week to see sessions on products, capabilities, and trending topics. This year, more than 25% of attendees are attending the Fed GIS Conference for the first time, and registered attendees represent more than 105 countries and all 50 United States.




Jo Fraley (right) and Phil Suarez (left) opened the first virtual Federal GIS Conference Welcome Session. They talked with Patty Mims, Robert Laudati, and Dr. Este Geragthy about the conference and what users can expect.





Director of Global National Government, Patty Mims, talked with Phil Suarez about this year's theme GIS – Interconnecting National Government and how agencies have been reflecting the theme through their work in the past year. Patty mentioned how agencies like FEMA and Johns Hopkins University showed the power of sharing data, how the U.S. Census Bureau modeled digital transformation, and how the Army Corps of Engineers' Blue Roof Program organized their natural disaster response with GIS. From an international perspective, Patty highlighted Mapmakers at Ordnance Survey Great Britain (OS) for significant advancement with their digital transformation as well.

Key topics for this year will center around the incoming administration's call for collaboration amongst agencies, a focus on climate change, and addressing racial justice, which will be discussed in special interest group sessions (SIGs) during the conference:

Add these SIGs to your schedule to join the conversation on the following subjects:

Wednesday, February 24 at 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. EST

  • For Racial Equity, add Advancing the Biden Administration's Racial Equity Priorities moderated by Clinton Johnson.
  • For Climate Change, add A New Era of Climate Understanding moderated by Esri Chief Scientist, Dr. Dawn Wright.
  • For the Future of Military & GIS, add GIS Support to Joint All Domain Operations moderated by Esri's Defense C4ISR Account Manager, Gary Scoffield.
  • For Nonprofit and NGO Industries, add A Framework for Sustaining Our World moderated by Esri Nonprofit Account Manager, Emily Swenson
  • For Security - Threat Management – How GIS Supports Security Planning Around Critical Events moderated by Esri's Carl Walter and Kurt Smith

➡️ Learn more about sessions around Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Racial Justice at FedGIS 2021.

Collective COVID-19 Response


Phil Suarez and Dr. Este Geragthy talked about our users' resilient efforts to respond to the pandemic around the world.  More than half the countries in the world and all 50 states used location intelligence solutions as a response to COVID-19 with ArcGIS Dashboards, as did the leading source of data for situational awareness of COVID-19 in the world, the COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

As the pandemic persisted through 2020 and the virus's impact devastated communities and economies in numerous ways, agencies required more information and analysis to address evolving critical challenges.

➡️ See how Esri Community collaborated and discussed this in our Coronavirus disease 2019 User Group.


The COVID-19 Dashboard by CSSE at Johns Hopkins University amassed 4.5 billion feature requests and trillions of views. It became a trusted open data source by providing timely updates throughout the day. Dr. Geragthy went on to discuss the pandemic and the role of GIS in predictive analytics, social inequities, and vaccine distribution with Phil and encouraged users to learn more at upcoming sessions.


In addition to the Plenary sessions, add the Special Interest Group Sessions (SIGs) to your schedule to learn more about these topics:

  • COVID-19: Driving Digital Transformation across Government on Wednesday, February 24 at 12 p.m. EST
  • Technical Workshop for ArcGIS Hub, ArcGIS Dashboards, and ArcGIS Survey123 – A Powerful Combination for COVID-19 Response on Wednesday, February 24, 3 p.m. EST

Our Partners

Rob Laudati, the Director of Global Partners and Alliances, and Phil Suarez had a conversation to introduce Esri's Partner Network. Rob simplified the Esri Partner Network as trusted agencies that can serve your organization in the following capacities:

  • Solution Providers that can extend or embed Esri's technology within systems
  • Content Providers that build systems to provide content to fit within currently implemented systems, and/or
  • Service Providers that can implement Esri technology and offer advanced integration, asset management, IoT, and Big Data solutions.

Esri Partners are developing digital content and delivering specialties on cloud services, state and local government, and more.  Look forward to networking with Esri Partners at the upcoming User Conference in July 2021 or learn more about Esri Partners at the revamped website at Esri Partner Network (Esri.com). Here are the sessions where you can hear from Esri Partners at FedGIS 2021:



Follow the Federal GIS Conference place for more daily updates on activities and highlights from the Esri Community Team!

Resources for Federal GIS Conference on Esri.com

Registration is complimentary for federal employees and non-governmental organization (NGO) personnel. Sign up today to reserve your spot.


Sessions will be recorded and available for 30 days within the platform.

About the Author
Community Content Manager | GIS tech enthusiast, Marketing Communications professional, and former customer of Esri. I'm here to share stories and highlight content from community members in Esri Community. Industry experience: County Government, Health & Human Services, and Business. Follow me to see what's new!