ESRI UC 2007 Plenary Session

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Industry News
ESRI UC 2007 Plenary Session
by Susan Smith

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Plenary Session attendees

The “Geographic Approach” was this year’s conference theme, Jack Dangermond’s definition of a “geographic approach” is a “framework for understanding but also for managing our earth that allows us to create knowledge by systemically measuring the whole earth, and to create and apply our knowledge using quantitative, analytic dimensions, presented in powerful visualizations, which help us integrate geography into how we behave.”

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Jack Dangermond, ESRI president

Jack Dangermond launched from that point to suggesting that we need new approaches to problem solving, managing information, how we see things, relationships, significance of patterns and consequences, changes in the way we do things, how we make decisions, what we design, where we put our foot down. “Geography helps us see world as a living whole, provides a wonderful context for understanding, to see the world as a network of little systems interconnecting, see how we are part of its evolution.”

Saudi Aramco Corporation was awarded the Enterprise Application Award. The company covers the entire landmass of Saudi Arabia. They use GIS to safeguard their assets and maintain a robust geodatabase.

The Nature Conservancy was awarded the President’s Award, received by Steve McCormick, president. Their mission is to preserve plants and animals. Traditionally they bought land to accomplish this but now they are intersecting with the humanness of landscapes, which requires a more sophisticated understanding of how landscapes work. GIS gets more important at this level. McCormick spoke of our human instinct to nurture and that we need to nurture nature.

Dangermond said that “GIS will become an instrument for evolution: an information infrastructure that is determining our future.”

GIS implementations follow common patterns: desktop, multi-user, federated. A fourth pattern, the GeoWeb, is emerging that can be used to achieve these same ideas.

Dangermond said we used to have a “Web 1” directional kind of pattern, we are now in “Web 2” kind of pattern, with data on two machines collaborating. There is the integration of different data sets, called Mashups, bringing overlays from different services, including user contributed data. This is where GIS will take geography further.

He attributes this development to organizations such as Microsoft and Google who are using this platform to provide geography to the entire world. Their vision, as he explains it, is to georeference all the content on the web, making it one more dimension of search. They’re demonstrating the value and reach of what the web environment provides. Soon we’ll be able to fuse this information together, into our professional GIS systems, and will extend the geographic approach to everyone.

Enabling technology for all this will include bigger bandwidth, faster machines, mobile, real time sensor networks that bring data in and fuse it, servers, phone, PDA, laptop, desktop, and more interesting software.

This summer is the 25th anniversary of the release of ArcInfo. Dangermond reminded the audience that machines then were one million times slower than they are today (he sold some of those machines to you). In ten years, we’ll have 100 times faster processors. In your lifetime you should experience machines that are 1 million times faster and smaller.


ArcGIS is available in many modes: mobile, online content services, server, desktop, Explorer, web. You can author on the Desktop, put it on the server and serve out for free, easy to use clients to access and manipulate.

ArcGIS 9.2, which shipped last year, represented over 1,000 person years of engineering and development.

ArcGIS 9.3 is being developed right now. It improves fundamental quality. The release will be incrementally released as a series of service packs with a large release next year. Its focus is on the refinement of quality and documentation, and includes hundreds of smaller things that round it out for specific workflows.

Enhancements include:
-technologies to improve fundamental geographic science –
Geographic weighted regression – The analogy given was that we might make a prediction that certain plants grow in some soils better than others. Geographically weighted statistics are about being able to predict one variable with a bunch of other ones and discover relationship easily.
- improving scripting and model building
- huge improvements in mapping and labeling – i.e., WYSIWYG editing. You can move symbols around and see what you get, curved graticules, stack and dip geology, etc.
- 3D analysis and visualization – faster import of web services, tracking in 3D, improved rendering, schematic diagramming which takes mapped data and allows you to make a topological diagram from it, introducing new diagram types.
- caching and performance
- mashups
- security for web applications
- editing Cadastral Fabrics with Survey Analyst. Clint Brown described this feature. In Survey Analyst, one of primary layers you build is the cadastre. Survey data is the first thing you bring in and then the data model comes in next, which is called Cadastral Fabric. You add new parcel data to it, bring CAD lines, copy and paste them into cadastral job. You pull in all you need to build new parcels, also have points that are parcel corners, build them to get elements of Cadastral Fabric.

It is up to the user to join parcels to Cadastral Fabric, match new points to existing points in the cadastral fabric. You use the autojoin functionality to match all adjoining points in the example subdivision, adjust parcel lines so they match the orthophoto, then commit the changes back to the Cadastral Fabric Layer.

This product was built with GeoCadastre Information Systems of Australia, and will be released this summer as part of Survey Analyst, a part of Service Pack 3.

Dangermond said that it is easy to insert CAD into the Cadastral Fabric data model which holds all the original survey measurements as part of the individual parcels.

ArcGIS Server

ArcGIS Server is designed as a complete GIS server, serving knowledge on the web – mapping, 3D visualization, modeling and analysis, and data management. 9.3 focuses on:
-improving documentation
-improving scalability and performance
-interoperability capabilities
- image service
- ability to have more secure role based security
-ability to do mashups

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