Integrating GIS and Modeling: A Conversation with Michael Fene’, Part II

In an earlier post, I shared Part I of my conversation with friend and colleague Michael Fene, about our (mostly his) experiences in integrating GIS and modeling.  Here is Part II of our conversation. 

You played a lead role in the development of CATS (Consequences Assessment Tool Set) modeling software at SAIC, didn’t you? 

I extended yet again the basic concepts that you and I elaborated in the mid 1980s to drive the CATS architecture for natural and technological hazard modeling as well as unified approach to consequence assessment to population and infrastructure.  This software suite is still distributed today—there are about 1,500 to 2,000 seats worldwide—and ESRI had a significant influence with CATS’ success.

And then your experience with CATS was leveraged for the Olympics, right?

Right, I had the unique opportunity to provide operational support for the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games as well as the 2004 Athens Summer Olympic Games.  In Athens, I was working closely with, supporting, and training the Hellenic Military and Ministry of Civil Support (Greece’s equivalent to FEMA) in the use of CATS prior to and during the games.  Since Athens was the first summer game since 9/11, there was a very high concern for a WMD threat for that event.

And now we’re finally reunited here at ESRI after almost 20 years.  What projects are you working on now?

I’m supporting the operational needs of DHS and NGA using the latest and greatest capabilities of Enterprise ArcGIS.  If ArcGIS Server had existed 17 years ago when I created “Skippy”, things would have been a lot more straightforward.

You went all over the world, working for a number of different organizations, but you were never too far from ESRI.

It’s funny, many of these systems that I developed were experimental and in order to test them under operational circumstances a variety of temporary licenses were contributed by ESRI to the cause…  Of course these scenarios required Jack Dangermond’s approval each time.

Oh, I remember the phone calls over the years.  “Michael!  Where are you?  And what do you need?”

A few years ago Jack (Dangermond, ESRI president) finally owned up to the fact that he thought I was four different people, spread across the hemisphere. 

Michael, you are larger than life. 

In a very large way Jack seeded and supported my career since the time that you started at ESRI.  And it has been and continues to be very interesting.

GIS is an amazing technology, and ESRI is a fascinating place to work, that’s for sure. 



One thought on “Integrating GIS and Modeling: A Conversation with Michael Fene’, Part II

  1. Pingback: Integrating GIS and Modeling: A Conversation with Michael Fene’, Part I « GIS and Science Blog

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