I/ITSEC 2004 Conference, Orlando, Florida
The office sent three of us to the annual I/ITSEC conference in Orlando, for the third time in five years. I/ITSEC stands for the Interservice/ Industry Training Simulation and Education Conference. This event brings together military and civilian members of mostly NATO armed forces with industry and educational institutions to learn about the latest trends in modeling and simulation (M&S), and training, all involving a wide variety of information technologies. This year, 45 countries were represented with 300 Canadians out of 3500 conference attendees.
The Orange Country Convention Centre is comprised of two buildings. This year's I/ITSEC was in the West Concorse. If Chicago’s Sears Tower, 1,454 feet in height, was placed on its side, it would fit lengthwise inside the Orange County Convention Center’s exhibition space... including the antenna atop the Sears tower... the OCCC exhibition hall level is 2,500 feet in length... and all eight halls are contiguous.
The Valencia Ballroom is larger than a football field, including the end zones. This ballroom can hold up to 6,000 people at one time.
More than 50 miles of pilings have been driven into the ground to support the OCCC’s West Building. Ranging in length from 105-488 feet, the 1,105 pilings have been driven under Hall A. The average piling is 170 feet in length.
The Sears Tower held the record for the world’s tallest building for 25 years until the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia were built in 1998. The Petronas Towers are taller only because of their decorative spires, which rise to 1,483 feet from the ground. Nonetheless, the Sears Tower remains the tallest building in the world by at least three measures: 1) the highest occupied floor level (98th floor), 2) the highest skyscraper roof and 3) height to the top of the antenna. Including the Sears Tower antennas, the total height of the Sears Tower increases to 1,725 feet.
Pointe Orlando is an open-air shopping mall, located on the famous International Drive.
It's a lot of fun to walk around. I stopped off for dinner, a movie and a visit to the local book and record stores. One evening, we attended a private corporate event at the Wonderworks building. This is an amazing, upside-down building, chalk full of games of all types, including earthquake and toronado simulators. All the food and refreshments were free and the servers constantly fed us fresh finger food. I rode the rollercoaster simulator with a local businessman. You get strapped into this simulator and the ride follows the virtual rollercoaster displayed on a screen on the inside. It's absolutely insane! You really feel as if you are going through cork screws and the like.
Our hotel, the Ramada Inn, 6500 International Drive.
This is the recreation level of the Orlando Peabody hotel, one of the most luxious hotels that I've ever seen. We sat out here and sipped cool drinks by the pool. We also attended an inviation-only party here. It was wall-to-wall people and endless finger food, including pastas and shrimp. The room also came with a huge outside patio with a small pool and a band playing Caribbean music. Absolutely spectacular.
The Rosen Centre Hotel is an amazingly large, beautiful building. We attended a free reception here one evening. Just walking through this building, you are awed by its size. The hallways alone are massively wide and hold parties. The party we attended was packed, which is not surprising when free refreshments are around. There was another party a few nights later that I missed. It has about 1000 people and admission was free - you simply had to sign in.