Utility companies in the Middle East and Africa now have a local source for sharing ideas, success stories, and information about Esri technology. The first Middle East and Africa Utility User Group held its inaugural meeting March 15-16, 2011, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The event was hosted by Esri along with Esri partners GISTEC and Khatib & Alami.

The community of utility professionals formed to discuss the best ways to meet daily challenges and learn how geographic information system (GIS) applications support asset management, design, regulatory requirements and compliance, mobile solutions, network safety, and reliability.

"The Middle East and Africa Utility User Group will become a valuable resource for the many Esri utility users in these regions," said Atif Karrani, GIS director for Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, UAE.

Karrani was elected president of the group. Majid Hussain Mohd, deputy senior manager from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, UAE, was elected vice president.

"Our goal is to ensure that members build a strong community to provide consolidated feedback to Esri and its partners on solution offerings," Mohd said.