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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 2019 Touts the Intelligent Nervous System

July 12th, 2019 by Susan Smith

The theme of Esri User Conference 2019 was “See What Others Can’t.” The idea is that with GIS, people have the power to see differently. This was the 39th Annual Users Meeting, and while the meeting attracts close to 12,000 attendees per year, Esri CEO and president Jack Dangermond said that the purpose remains the same as it was when they began meeting with users at a Montessori school many years ago.

Another theme of the conference is the Intelligent Nervous System, a notion built on the metaphor of the human nervous system. It is essential to life, does more than stimulus response, is intelligent, integrates data from many sources, couples data with logic and reasoning, ethics, values, emotions, and then it carries out a coordinated response. “It’s also learning continuously, as we experience memory and grow,” said Dangermond. “Our world resembles a living organism, it’s complex, self-healing and resilient, and we’re fundamentally part of that ecosystem. Our digital technologies changing how we think and reshaping our very existence. We’re co-evolving; this technology is rapidly changing our world. Our human footprint is creating many challenges – overpopulation, losing biodiversity at a rapid rate, challenges of losing water and food; our world is not sustainable and needs something like our human nervous system that’s intelligent and responsive. Requires more collaborative action and geography is essential to make that happen.”

The Science of Where, another common Esri theme, is basically digital geography. This leads to geospatially enabled systems that are beyond apps and are seeing this infrastructure rapidly growing, and interconnecting and engaging communities.

FEMA is connecting with the Red Cross during disasters, and the geospatial revolution is just beginning. The geospatial nervous system is going to emerge to profoundly transform our world, according to Dangermond.

Revisiting Esri’s ArcGIS, Dangermond said that the company’s fundamental focus has been the product ArcGIS, upon which tools for mapping, community and development have been built.

Several years ago Esri colleague Scott Morehouse envisioned a geoenabled system, with independent systems that feed on and work with GIS. Now the Esri Geospatial Cloud is the portfolio of software and SAAS software that integrates with BIM, sensor networks, IoT, distributed machines, microservices, and focuses on interoperability, science, spatio-temporal tools and real-time GIS – what the essence of the geospatial nervous system is about.

The vision of ArcGIS has expanded to be open and services based, distributed, extendable, supports individuals as well as teams and large organizations. It is an attempt to organize all types of geographic knowledge, apps, models, etc., organized under a portal. It also organizes people with identities, groups, social media of today, under a common user experience where people can search and find each other’s work with the right kind of security in mind. ArcGIS integrates all types of data: unstructured data, tabular, BIM, IoT data, through an abstraction layer to create a common language of maps, and can be mashed up and integrated dynamically. Distributed networks of data allows users to explore, model data and understand it.

It is fundamentally an open platform, and integrates open standards, open sourced in large part with GitHUB. 1/3 of Esri’s revenue goes into R&D.

AI, machine learning and deep learning connect ArcGIS Pro to open source environments and connect through Python notebooks. In Kuwait, a company took an image and trained it with their building footprints, to get 95% accuracy on identifying new features. The Ordnance Survey took models they train and took the models to developing countries to create basemaps automatically, thereby turning geoprocessing into a service.

“We’ve historically used image mosaics, and this year we have introduced the Image Cube so you can cube up imagery into very large spatio-temporal cubes, so you can pan and zoom through them quickly,” said Dangermond. “A new web based search imagery and exploit imagery supports GIS and image space with powerful exploitation tools.”

Real time data analytics now employs reading in sensors from the IoT pipeline into GeoEvent Server for direct integration. For alerting and analytics, GeoAnalytic Server can take large reservoirs of data and sensors for cities and situational awareness.

ArcGIS Online platform has over 7 million users, and makes billions of maps every week.  The new Map viewer will ship in the fall. Hosted imagery and the integration of IoT into ArcGIS Online connect your sensors right into ArcGIS Online.

GIS content is continuously building and improving. The Living Atlas is full of maps and datasets, and Esri curates, delivers and powers this dynamic resource.

ArcGIS Pro supports parcel fabrics and parcel networks and has Voxel 3D Space support. For unstructured data, i.e., tabular data that has a geocode in it, it can be organized into a map for immediate use.

ArcGIS Enterprise now reduces memory requirements by 95%. The new version will introduce machine learning and AI in a server environment. Also on the horizon are container and microservices, and intelligent search. The platform is modular and massively scalable, and will have more services and less memory. It will also have the ability to enable distributed systems.

A new licensing capability will activate ArcGIS User Types as flexible licensing across your organization.

Insights ArcGIS will allow you to understand location using Location Analytics, connecting people in space and time.

ArcGIS Solution Templates focus on particular industries. Esri will release a template with National Geographic that focuses on protected area management.

Experience Builder is Esri’s next generation Web App Builder, including powerful tools to integrate 2D and 3D.

ArcGIS for Developers extends the platform to support the creative world, and enterprise organizations who want to extend GIS.

Geo-enabled Systems are not a GIS, but can offer geo-enabled focus. Topics include indoors, mission awareness, and planning.  Business Analyst is one of those systems that is still very popular. New geo-enabled systems will be bringing GIS into indoor spaces, wayfinding and supporting operations management, which will be empowering for real estate organizations.

ArcGIS Hub is a system for enabling community engagement – connecting a city with their citizens, and supports initiatives and organizes community through various apps.

Urban is a transformational planning tool. It integrates with interactive tools for proposed projects, land use plans and zoning and the geographic indicators needed to make smart cities of the future.

Mission will be available this winter, for mission planning, emergencies, Super Bowl, and real-time peer-to-peer communication around maps. This works out of the box.

The conference was rich with stories that will be covered in future blogs, stories about the environment, indoors, habitats and smart cities to name a few.

The Intelligent Nervous System makes it all possible, allows for the coordinated response of the Esri Geospatial Cloud, ArcGIS Enterprise, geo-enabled systems, and all the other tools that now bring people together to be able to provide the magic of geospatial and perhaps expand the number of people who can see by using GIS what previously they were unable to.

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Categories: 3D Cities, autonomous driving, autonomous vehicles, Building Information Modeling, citizen science, climate change, cloud, cloud network analytics, crowd source, data, developers, disaster relief, earthquakes, election maps, emergency response, Esri, FEMA, field GIS, image-delivery software, photogrammetry, public safety, real estate, reality modeling, remote sensing, resilient cities, retail, satellite imagery, sensors, situational intelligence, underground mapping, utilities

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