ESRI Redlands, my Graceland?
ESRI Redlands, my Graceland?

You might well have guessed from the numerous blog posts and tweets that I have got quite a bit out of the last week or so!

Professionally the GeoDesign summit was very successful I got into discussions with a lot of people.   Some of those discussions will lead me into a new direction at work but that is another blog post.

I’d like to thank a few people at ESRI for the massive opportunity they have given me as well as support.   The following is a run down of those I met and have had conversations with that I can remember easily for blogging, please don’t be offended if you are not here, there were so many I had to choose just a few to write about!


Firstly a big thank you to the conference organising team and ESRI in general:

  • Shannon McElvaney (@Geozenn) – Interesting and very supportive person who has been very patient responding to my emails!  Throughout he has been a positive force and although we haven’t had a proper in-depth discussion has been the glue that has helped me join up the dots personally and professionally at the summit
  • Tom Fisher (@MnDesignDean)– The Summit’s moderator did a really great job in keeping the conversation going.   We had some brief conversations (he seemed quite busy!) but he was very kind about my presentation and seemed genuinely interested in the underlying ideas.
  • Jack Dangermond (@jackdangermond but restricted following) – Obviously we can’t not thank Jack for what is a summit about one, if not the key interest he has at the moment.   He is very attentive and seemed to make notes of all the presentations he saw.   In terms of enthusiasm and energy I am quite in awe of him.   After my presentation we had a brief chat about some of the themes and he seemed to get where I was coming from and appreciate my enthusiasm for CityEngine.   I really appreciated the time he took to talk to me and it’s not everyday you get to converse, however briefly, with the most important person in your chosen industry!
Interesting Conversations on the sofa after the presentations
Interesting Conversations on the sofa after the presentations

I write often about CityEngine here what I don’t often do is mention the team.   I’ve been using their software for quite a while.    I have had many discussions with the following people and would like to thank them for helping me understand what CityEngine can do :

  • Matthias an amazing CityEngine CGA rule file guy, he’s the one that helps on the forums.  A good understanding of Architecture (he is one by training) that really understands what you’re trying to achieve when you need a rule solution in CityEngine.   We had a beer and chatted at the reception on Thursday evening at the summit.   If you ever meet him don’t let his dress sense worry you, the man seems like a quiet, thoughtful and polite guy.
  • Gert who I’ve had some discussions with initially when they were asking what I was doing with CityEngine in our company.   We met for the first time the day before the summit and he bought me a very good coffee and asked me “are you sure?” when I initially asked for a LARGE cappuccino.  You see I forgot I was in America.   He seems genuinely keen to listen to real people using CityEngine and shape it so that the tool can be really useful.   Really interesting guy with a keen sense that what he is working with in CityEngine is a game changer.
  • Geoff, a 3D solutions engineer based in Redlands, again I’ve spoken with him before, but it was great to finally meet.   We talked quite a bit about forests and he showed me their work stations (which seemed similar setup to mine, right down to an excel spreadsheet being open!).   First impression was that he is one of the few people taller than me, so this is what people feel like when talking to me… We had a very interesting chat about CityEngine work strategies and it was great to finally meet him.
Did you bring a notepad or a tablet?
Did you bring a notepad or a tablet?

Some notable people I met at and had conversations with at the Summit were:

  • Zorko (@ZerglingOne) – Met him early on at the summit, we have a mutual interest in CityEngine, and we have similar ideas about workflows.   We had a lot of conversations mostly round work, but also on a personal level.  Had a couple of meals with him also pizza and a burrito (if you must know).   He works for Eagle Technology in New Zealand as a GIS consultant I think he stayed on after for a distributors conference.   Hope we meet up again sometime.
  • Peter Eredics (@GIS_Forester) – A forestry manager at ESRI who wanted to talk CityEngine and modelling forests after this post.   We got talking directly with the CityEngine team afterwards and I think the conversation that started has shown some exciting new directions for CityEngine (goodbye city?)
  • Ken Wall – President of Geodata Services Inc (, we talked at great length back at the hotel about what we were working on.   My obvious interest with his work was his broadband mapping projects.  Really got a lot out of talking with him.
  • Len Olyott  (@LenOlyott1) – We had a really good conversation about the best way to convince customers that CityEngine is a valuable tool.  I won’t go into too much detail here but he seemed interested in my ideas about packaging CityEngine for specific markets.  I would also like to thank him for suggesting I bring my presentation down under… all I need now is for someone to pay for that… 😉
  •  Professor Michael Batty (@jmichaelbatty) – A fellow featured speaker – Being both British of course we going to chat, however he didn’t know that he taught my father some course in 1966!   A hardened academic he’s well respected in his field and works at UCL with CASA ( one of the key groups I follow for inspiration and advice when it comes to workflows involving CityEngine (see DigitalUrban blog).   We discussed many topics and hopefully we can work together at some time in the future.
  • Henk Scholten (@Henkjscholten) – I had a brief chat with him but we seem to be on the same page in enthusiasm for the Geodesign concept and technologies.   I’ve already accepted being a speaker at this year’s European GeoDesign summit at the Geofort just outside Amsterdam!
  • Michael Rendler (– A fellow featured speaker – We chatted about my work in Iraq, and I hope I gave him a positive spin on what many people find to be a problematic part of the world to work in!   I sincerely hope we can continue the conversation.
  • Jen Sheldon ( – A fellow featured speaker – Although she didn’t see my presentation (tsk, tsk) we had a really interesting conversation about our work.   He presentation was very interesting and I look forward to seeing her again.