Now that I am back in Boston it is time for my annual Esri UC wrap-up. There were between 10,000 to a million people at the conference. The final count all depends on who you were talking to. Here is my brief rundown.
Biggest Themes – from my perspective…
Esri made a big push to make this a geo-tech conference, not a ArcThis or ArcThat conference. I think many of the participants appreciated the change.
Web GIS – or is it WebGIS -Big expansion of the analysis capabilities of Esri’s online products. It seems to me that this was GeoIQ‘s big unveiling. Thankfully the word “cloud” was used sparingly during the plenary. ArcGIS Online was pushed hard again, which makes sense.
Big Data – There were a number of big data sessions. I hate the term big data, since many have no idea what big data is. However, the folks from Esri did a good job breaking down the terminology, it’s value to the geospatial community, and how to get started using big data, through Hadoop. The presenters from Esri were very clear that big data systems and analysis aren’t for the faint of heart and not every GIS procedure or dataset requires a big data approach. It was good seeing Esri pay attention to an emerging area in geospatial and data analysis.
Analysis/Data/Imagery – Esri will be providing a number of new data, analysis and imagery services in the coming months through their online services. Some free, some at cost, some requiring an AGOL account, some not.
- ArcGIS Professional – Most were confused as to what ArcGIS Professional was, myself included. Was it the next version of ArcMap? Does it replace ArcGIS Desktop? When is it going to be released? Being a confused geo-user, I went and talked to the ArcGIS Professional development team in the tech center. I had a nice talk with a developer who explained that ArcGIS Professional, which is a totally new application (fully 64 bit, ribbon interface, streamlined tools), is meant to sit side-by-side with ArcMap as a stand alone application. I am sure you will see more and more of ArcGIS professional over the course of the next year as the product moves forward.
- STEM – Esri has pushed geo and GIS in the STEM fields for a while now. During the plenary there was plenty of STEM education talk, including a (somewhat awkward, somewhat great) appearance by Will.i.am. As I have said before, geography and GIScience fits in very well with STEM, and I appreciate any effort by any organization to push the geo fields in STEM.
- Big new 10.2 features - GeoEvent Processor, easier access to ArcGIS Online, faster geoprocessing tools, and a number of quality improvements.
- More Esri on GitHub. Good.
- A rumor on the street was that there were a lot fewer federal users at the UC this year. Since I’m not in the federal space I couldn’t say if this was true, but there were fewer people in the defense section of the exhibit hall and there was a lot less talk of GIS for drones.
The fun stuff
I set a PR in the Esri 5k - 21st overall, 19:32! Here is proof!
Big thanks to Mike Olkin for pushing me early and helping me set my pace!
Half priced Padres tickets = great seats
And the Evening in the Park in the park was great again. The key – get there early and get in line at the good food spots first.