Campus Life

Disney Artist, Former Texas A&M Student To Discuss ‘Zootopia’ Nov. 14

November 13, 2017

GIS Day presentation

By Richard Nira, Texas A&M University College of Architecture

In the Oscar-winning animated movie hit “Zootopia,” creatures of all sizes live in a crazy quilt of habitats and structures in a giant city created with geographic information software by a team of Disney artists that included Brandon Jarratt, a former Texas A&M visualization student. Jarratt will discuss the imaginary city’s creation at a Texas A&M GIS Day keynote address, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14 in Room 2300A of the Memorial Student Center.

His keynote headlines a slate of Nov. 13-15 university-hosted GIS workshops and demonstrations, part of the worldwide, Nov. 15, salute to geospatial technology and its power to transform and enhance lives with data visualization and analysis.

Simply put, GIS links locations (where things are) to information (what things are), allowing us to visualize, question, analyze and interpret data and better understand relationships, patterns and trends. GIS applications, virtually limitless, are increasingly requisite to science, industry and government and are becoming quickly indispensable in everyday life for everyday people.

GIS Day presentation on Zootopia

Jarrat, the Nov. 14 GIS Day keynote speaker, is a technical director at Walt Disney Animation Studios. He and his fellow animators created the city of Zootopia using ESRI CityEngine, a 3-D GIS application that helps urban planners and architects visualize projects and plan their implementation.

“Using CityEngine to create the movie’s complex, imaginary world highlights how GIS can be adapted in innovative ways across disciplines,” said Jarratt, whose credits also include the animated smash hits, “Big Hero 6,” “Moana,” and the upcoming “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.”

Jarratt earned a master’s degree in visualization from Texas A&M in 2013 and a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2010.

Event organizers, including Bo Ah Kim, assistant lecturer in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, have scheduled a wide variety of GIS sessions that include accessing public data, emergency preparedness mapping, panel discussions with Texas A&M and industry experts, and more.

All Aggies preparing for careers in science and technology fields and looking for a leg-up on the competition should be learning GIS skills and networking with industry professionals, said Dan Goldberg, a GIS Day co-chairman and a Texas A&M assistant professor of geography and computer science and engineering.

“To get the jobs of tomorrow, students need to be learning GIS today,” Goldberg said. “GIS Day gives students from across campus an opportunity to learn these skills for free, which will be beneficial to both their current course work and future careers.”

Free GIS Day workshops will cover everything from learning basic geospatial mapping capabilities to assessing public health data.

This story published originally on ArchOne.


Media contact: Richard Nira, architecture communications specialist, at 979-845-6863 or; or Elena Watts, marketing and communications, at 979-458-8412 or


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