California Governor Schwarzenegger Praises GIS at Oracle Openworld

scwartz…from California Governor Schwarzenegger’s remarks at the 2009 Oracle Openworld Conference…

“Now working together, I know that the sky is the limit for you and also your employees. And of course I love seeing all this great action in the private sector. But let’s not forget that’s not the only place where there should be action. Also in the public sector there should be action. The only thing is that six years ago when I became governor, the state of California’s IT was in the dark ages, let me tell you. IT infrastructure was stale and it was outdated, so I hired Teri Takai, who was the head of IT in Michigan and made Michigan be the number one in IT, and we now are moving our way up. First we were not even in the top 20 percent — in the top 20 — now we — then we moved to 15th, then to tenth, now we’re in the top five, and within the next few years we will be also number one in this particular area. So as she –

“The perfect example of the progress that we’re making is if you look at GIS, which is the Geographic Information Systems — I’ve seen that firsthand. GIS is a form of digital mapping technology that our fire departments are now using. So many times when there are big fires, people are wondering why did they have helicopters, you know, at the airport, and why are they not taking off and dumping fire retardant? Well, when there is a lot of fire and there is a lot of smoke and no wind, they cannot see the ground, and therefore they cannot go and dump the fire retardant at that time. They’re waiting for a little wind to take that smoke away.

“But now through this technology, digital mapping technology, our fire departments are using this continuously and through big firestorms it allows firefighters to see through that smoke, giving them more accurate and realtime view of the conditions on the ground. Think for a second about the awesome power of this technology. That information could quite literally make the difference between life and death, make the difference between a home burning or not. And like I said, I’ve seen it firsthand, the kind of advantages that the fire departments have. And of course, California’s — we have already the best trained and the most courageous firefighters in the world, but with the great technology that they have it makes them literally the best in the world. There’s no two ways about that.

“So as you can see, technology not only is some abstract concept. If it is where they’re saving homes from a fire, or saving lives through medical technology, or cleaning the air that our children breathe, or making our businesses more efficient, technology’s impact is in flesh and blood. All across this state and all around the world I’ve seen the infinite limits of technology. I’ve seen the infinite limits of the human potential, and that is why even though that we are in the midst of a crisis, of an economic crisis, and we’re going through tough times, I’ve never seen — been more confident about the future. I am confident about the future because of all of you, because while it is true that we face enormous challenges in the next ten, 15 or 20 years, but stop for a moment and just think back 30 years ago. Could you have imagined the progress that we have made in these last 30 years? Computers, the internet, DNA, GPS, catalytic converters, global networking, email, the cell phones that are the size of a fist, and so on. The list goes on and on.”

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