Andy Blair from George Washington University asks Connected Tennessee’s Michael Ramage for more detail about interactive broadband coverage maps while Sabrina Matteson, a representative from the American Farm Bureau Federation, observes the presentation. Connected Nation, in conjunction with ESRI, a market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, showcased its jointly developed new interactive mapping tool for viewing, analyzing, and validating broadband data at a technology policy exhibition on Capitol Hill.At Tuesday’s technology policy kickoff reception, more than 100 people had the chance to view Connected Nation and ESRI’s BroadbandStat demonstration. Michael Ramage, Executive Director of Connected Tennessee, continued showcasing the technology well after the official end of the event.Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) welcomes attendees to the Congressional Internet Caucus Kickoff Reception and Technology Policy Exhibition.Jon Gant, a professor at the University of Illinois at Champaign, stopped by to view the BroadbandStat demonstration on Tuesday.Gant, who teaches GIS classes and has used GIS data from more than 20 years, was impressed by the easy, user-friendly interface of BroadbandStat.“Look at how smooth the graphics transition from query to query,” he said, pointing to the screen of BroadbandStat. “And, the small things—like the menus—they are a lot better this way.”“This [GIS data] is really complicated stuff,” he said Tuesday after viewing BroadbandStat. “And, how you all use and represent this complicated data with this kind of interface is really interesting,” he said.Jim Geringer, director of Policy and Public Sector Strategies at ESRI and former governor of Wyoming, was on hand on Tuesday, prior to his participation in Wednesday’s panel discussion, “Transforming Government Through Technology: The Real, The Possible, The Surprising.”“The common underpinning of all activities—economic, social or health—is people connecting with other people and that activity doesn’t happen without broadband,” he said. “You will never understand how much information is in the world until you can connect with broadband. Broadband mapping—or showing who is connecting and who is not—is just the first step.” The Technology Policy Exhibition is a free, educational event that briefs lawmakers and staff, reporters, and representatives from government agencies and private sector organizations on cutting-edge Internet technologies. It is the largest technology exhibition on Capitol Hill. Yesterday’s event served as the official kickoff of today’s 6th Annual State of the Net Conference, hosted by ICAC at the Hyatt Regency, Capitol Hill.
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