Jack Dangermond Explains the Need for GeoDesign

In the January/February 2010 issue of GEO Informatics magazine, editor Eric van Rees interviewed Jack Dangermond.  The last question in the interview covers the concept of GeoDesign.

“Eric van Rees: Can you please tell me something about the GeoDesign Concept?

“Jack Dangermond: My original field of study was landscape architecture and that is probably the mother profession of GeoDesign. GeoDesign is about integrating design with geographic and science-based information. In the early days of ESRI, I always expected that people would apply GIS to design-based problem solving and finding the best location for something. I have been a little disappointed that didn’t happen as rapidly or as naturally as I thought it would. My motivation for emphasizing it in the last year has been in part to make people aware that there’s a huge opportunity to move in this direction to make a better world. I also found that there have been tools missing in GIS, so we’ve been developing new software capabilities that support the GeoDesign process.

“In January we will host the first GeoDesign Summit. It will bring people from both the GIS and design fields together and have them share their work and get a conversation going. I’m not totally sure what the outcome is going to be, but I’m hoping a new profession or direction will emerge. I think we need this kind of mixing at this point to bring these two fields together; people who design the world with people who design the future. Today, geography lives very well in its world and designers live very well in their world, but there’s not this cross-mixing. I believe the outcome will be much enlightened ways to do development; ways that bring science into how we design things: cities, the environment, highways, everything that we do. Today we certainly see the need for this all the way from global warming to designing more livable and sustainable cities. We need more geographic thinking in the way we make decisions. GeoDesign is an attempt to try to do something about that.”