Welcome to the new ESI blog!

Participants at the 2012 Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) workshop unanimously agreed that we need an easier way to share information and ideas amongst each other. My hope is that this blog will serve that purpose. I envision this as a forum where we can make announcements regarding new atlases, tools, and ESI products, but more importantly, I envision this as an opportunity to hear from all of you. As we found at the workshop, sharing what you are doing with the ESI data can benefit other users, as well as the data producers. Guest bloggers and comments on blog posts will be welcomed and encouraged!

On the topic of the ESI workshop, I want to thank everyone who made our time in Mobile, Ala. such a wonderful success! This includes those who attended and presented at the workshop, those who took the time to complete the pre-workshop survey, and those who helped with the logistics and planning. Thanks to all of you, we were able to improve our insight into the “who’s and how’s” of the current ESI product and garner valuable ideas of what might improve the ESI experience in the future.

Workshop participants from across the U.S. shared their experience and ideas to help define the future of ESI mapping. (NOAA)

We had a wonderful, amazingly diverse group of people gathered in Mobile. The 40 participants represented 12 coastal states and two countries. Federal and state governmental agencies, industry, and non-profit organizations were all represented. There were new faces, as well as the faces of a few ESI users who had attended the very first ESI workshop back in 1992. And we were among the first to use the new NOAA Disaster Response Center, which proved to be a wonderful venue for this sort of meeting.

We have been busy updating the workshop Web page. Presentations and notes from the break-out sessions are posted and available for download. Please check it out!

I hope this blog will keep our conversations and ideas flowing and I look forward to broadening our group to those who were unable to join us in Mobile. Watch for posts in the near future that will address the status of the ESI work in progress, announcements of new ESI work for 2013, and a new Threatened and Endangered “ESI” offshoot. I also have some guest bloggers in mind, so be forewarned—I may be contacting you soon!

Jill Petersen