The GIS for the United Nations and the International Community Conference will take place April 3–5, 2012, at the World Meteorological Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Esri and UNITAR through its UNOSAT Programme organized the conference to demonstrate and discuss the role of GIS in global challenges. Attendees will consider how GIS can provide the analytic knowledge required to make better decisions on issues that are critical for the planet.

"In today's world, we face many global challenges brought on from natural and man-made events," says Jack Dangermond, Esri president. "From an office in Geneva to a refugee camp in Africa, GIS enables better collaboration and visualization and rapid dissemination of critical information when and where it's needed most. No matter the mission, geography is at the heart of a more resilient and sustainable future."

The aim of the conference is to bring together experts from the United Nations and other international and nongovernmental organizations, government agencies, and the private sector. During breakout sessions, panel discussions, and networking opportunities, they will learn how to best apply geographic information science to devise better responses to regional and global challenges.

"This conference is a good opportunity to take stock of geographic information technology and its benefits for the international community at large, especially for decision makers," says Francesco Pisano, manager of UNOSAT. "The more GIS is understood and adopted, the more our work as experts in satellite analysis will be useful and relevant. I am very pleased with the partnership with Esri."

Satelite imageryThe final day of the event includes a post-conference workshop where attendees will learn how to extend the reach of their GIS using various free resources from Esri. The workshop includes presentations on implementation, resource topics, and demos from Esri staff as well as a hands-on exercise showing how to get started with ArcGIS Online.

The conference is designed for humanitarian and development senior executives, practitioners, researchers, nonprofit consortia, and others. Those interested in applying to receive an invitation may do so on the conference website. To learn more, visit the conference website.