This year's SXSW is as much about interactive media and technology as it is about music. Software firm Esri commandeered a unique venue in Austin to connect developers, hackers, entrepreneurs and executives with its geographic information systems mapping solutions. "GIS has been used for a long time in natural resources and government. ... But commercial companies are starting to use it more and more, for things like: Where's the best place to locate a store? What are the trends in demographics so that we can project where we need to be building and buying land? Even things like, 'Where should we open flu-shot clinics?' " explains Esri CMO Linda Hecht.

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