Friends of the Verde River has been using Geographic Information System (GIS) software to map important resources as well as invasive plant locations along the Verde since 2011. Currently, our field crews use Samsung Galaxy Tablets along with an app called Collector for ArcGIS to map and monitor invasive plant infestations and treatment areas.

The app, often referred to as Collector, was created by ESRI, the leading GIS software provider in the world. ESRI provides users with desktop software, online web mapping capabilities, custom applications for mobile data collection, and more. They also offer an annual User’s Conference, or UC, every summer in beautiful San Diego, CA.


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Over 18,000 professionals across industries attend the Esri UC, representing nearly every commercial sector, government organization, and non-profit field. The conference is an incredible opportunity to connect and learn from and with other GIS professionals. This year, we were able to send our GIS Specialist, Emily Garding to the Esri UC from July 10 through July 14th where she was able to attend presentations, technical workshops, and special interest group meetings to connect with other conservation GISers.

For five days, this conference provides over 450 hours of training, hundreds of user presentations, and opportunities for GIS professionals to get specific technical questions answered one-on-one by Esri subject matter experts. The UC includes an extensive EXPO hall full of exhibits featuring innovative GIS solutions, a bookstore, DEMO labs and theaters, and special interest group meetings such as Women in GIS.



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