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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Esri User Conference 2012 Plenary Morning Session

August 1st, 2012 by Susan Smith

Each year the Esri User Conference in San Diego marks some kind of milestone in GIS technology usage and forward thinking. This year the theme of the conference was “GIS opening our world,” which is being achieved by the extensive use of GIS technology permeating all facets of life.  With the advent of the cloud and mobile GIS, the ability to reach more people inside and outside the geospatial field has truly arrived.

This year’s conference kicked off with an opening plenary session with Jack Dangermond talking about the various important uses for GIS, and the presentation of the Special Achievement in GIS Awards. Those who won this award represent 1/10 of 1 percent of Esri’s user base.

Will Rogers and Breece Robertson, director of conservation vision and GIS for the Trust for Public Land were awarded this award this year for their work creating more livable cities.

The President’s Award was awarded to the Environmental Protection Agency. They have been GIS users for three decades, and they have worked in the last three years to integrate science into public policy using GIS.

GIS is getting easier to use and moving to a new platform, Cloud GIS. This allows GIS to be more pervasive, according to Jack, using more measurement, data, computing and faster and more available applications. GIS is also co-evolving with science. There are now 2 ½ billion people connected by devices.

Cloud GIS integrates all types of geospatial information, such as maps, data, imagery, new dimensions of social media and crowd sourced information, sensor information, bringing this all together in an accessible platform. So much can change with this model because it breaks down workflows. Web maps provide the medium for understanding and subsequent better collaboration and sharing.

Eye on Earth, a brainchild of the European Environmental Agency, has been recognized by the Rio+20 United Nations for Sustainable Development delegation as the foundation for organizational environmental data for the entire planet.

ArcGIS Version 10.1, fully cloud enabled, was released a few weeks ago, fully cloud enabled. Esri’s Scott Morehouse envisioned this release as a complete system with servers, cloud parts and desktops closely integrated, as well as a whole plethora of new apps on devices, and a huge amount of content.

Esri has been buying commercial data to build community based systems.

Jack describes the new environment of the cloud, which isn’t that new now, as a new “agile environment unlike the database cans of the 80s, which didn’t make it.

The content inside ArcGIS is growing rapidly. Esri is building base maps by integrating available data, buying commercial data and working with GIS professionals to build community based systems. In the next six months, they will be integrating new imagery from GeoIQ and the merger of GeoEye and DigitalGlobe.

The new imagery to be part of ArcGIS Online will be 30 centimeters for the U.S., 60 centimeters for Europe and 1 meter for the rest of the world.

10.1 has a better desktop with a new generalization, map automation, Mapplex engine for high quality, rule based labeling as part of all desktop products, streamlined, edited, integrated QA/QC tools, editor tracking, advanced analytics in the platform. “With the service pack 1 of this product we will release 64 bit geoprocessing for the desktop,” said Jack. “Core spatial analysis tools are much faster, raster is 30 times faster. This will advance geographic science but also advance new tools for problem solving, particularly in analytics, advanced 3D capabilities also on the analytic side, faster globes, ability to handle bigger datasets, virtual cities, buildings and landscapes.”

New analytic 3D tools for shade analysis come by way of the acquisition of  CityEngine last year. This is rules-based technology now integrated with ArcGIS. Esri will release CityEngine 2012 to create rules based cities in a matter of minutes. This technology is tailor-made for Geodesign with its ability to extrude a building and 3D editing and designing of a building.

10.1 unlocks lidar data. Lidar sees through trees and measures topographic surfaces. By integrating lidar files through LAS files the power to visualize lidar data is unleashed.

10.1 fully integrates image processing. Many common tasks such as classification, high quality visual display, color balancing, full motion video, information from drones or aircraft are all supported.  The following tools are available– full image processing system, automatically rectify new image to image that’s there on the server side, very fast color mosaicking and data management of imagery, open platform and open to partner, Exelis.

10.1 offers authoring and serving, where you can right click, send the data into a package and make it into a service. You can do same thing with analytics and models, and if you don’t have a server you can send it into the cloud.

In 10.1 Esri has re-engineered almost the entire platform to make it easy to use and faster. It also includes many lightweight apps and Linux support equal to that of Windows.

The mobile apps run on all the popular devices, and include rich functionality – editing, field editing, field data collection, that run in the native mode on each of these devices.

10.1 empowers developers with provided runtimes and APIs that run behind the scenes and run on all devices.

10.1 finally supports solution templates, that address common workflows and patterns of different industries such as local governments and utilities, that are open sourced with maps and data models you can download and configure

ArcGIS Online integrates with the entire suite of tools, and will make integration of your own servers and desktops easier to do. You can use cloud servers, and it supports many clients. It is easily configured for your organization.

Jack talks a lot about web maps as a new medium like mashups that can be shared – email it,  look at it from any device, put it in your website, etc.. It supports visualization, pop ups, queries and analytics. ArcGIS now works within Microsoft Office, so that users that use spreadsheets can make a map of them, send the map to ArcGIS Online and make it into a service.

Users who use spreadsheets can make a map of them, and can take that map and send it to ArcGIS Online and make it into a service. They can read the map back into other office environments like Power Point. It is also integrated into Sharepoint.

Bernie Szukalski said there are more Microsoft office users in most offices, who can make their own maps and contribute geospatially at their businesses. ArcGIS Online has an open API. iPads offer a way for executives to stay in touch with vital information. Using ArcGIS online users can deliver GIS to executives and managers who need to make informed decisions.

ArcGIS Online has the potential to provide a way of interacting with GIS to both analytical users and those who don’t know GIS at all.  The ability to make available on ArcGIS Online Business Analyst and Community Analyst and other Esri offerings makes it possible to extend GIS to a realm it has never reached before, to audiences who have never glimpsed the power of geospatial technology.

The new ability to share and integrate knowledge is what makes the cloud and ArcGIS Online a game-changing technology.

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