GISi Recap of Esri Federal User Conference 2013

March 08, 2013 -- Early last week GISi attended the Esri Federal User Conference in Washington D.C. and we have put together a review of the highlights that we would like to share with you. We walk through a few scenarios from the ‘Making a Difference Award’ presented by Esri, Plenary Comments, Technical Sessions, Upcoming Technologies, an ArcGIS Online update, and what we think is the sleeper announcement of the conference. If we missed something you would like to know, please feel free to reach out to us and we will do our best to comment back on your request as soon as we can.

An introduction from our CEO, Lee Lichlyter:

We live in a time of accelerating change and this is certainly true for our Federal government.  There are many drivers of change, including global events, computing trends, policy initiatives, and economic pressures.  GIS as a technology has always been an integrating technology and its value in this changing time is more needed than ever.    It provides a solution framework to address issues, and in Jack’s words, “unveils the whole”.   As part of this, the emphasis is on web maps as the new medium.  They are a simple, powerful, cost effective tool for collaboration and integration.  ArcGIS is a platform that enables this.  There are three components to ArcGIS as a platform – applications, content, and infrastructure.  Esri is moving aggressively to provide capabilities on all three of these components.

Making a Difference Award – Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery was presented the “Making a Difference” award at morning Plenary session.  GISi is proud and honored of our support to Arlington National Cemetery in the data collection and application development efforts.

Plenary Comments
From Zac Odom - GISi Deputy Program Manager - Navy

Something that struck me from Jack’s presentation was ESRI’s strategy of pressing their services based architecture and finally addressing some of the long-standing issues (CAC Authentication) with deploying their solutions in the DoD environment.  This, coupled with the ability to deploy the portal framework within an entities own environment, will make some of the super slick demo workflows actually possible on DoD networks

Tech Session
From Ryan Heitz – GISi Federal Program Manager

There is a continued emphasis on movement towards Portal for ArcGIS- which provides a secure implementation of the same sharing and collaboration capabilities as ArcGIS Online.  At the plenary and in technical sessions, Esri provided information on installation and integration of Portal with enterprise content and services.  In the technical session, the Esri team reviewed On-Premise, secure Portal implementation patterns and options for installing Portal and coupling it with existing GIS Services and Content, such as enterprise geodatabases.  Significant for DoD clients, Esri is supporting secure Portal implementations that use HTTP and PKI (CAC authentication) required by many of our our defense clients.  Portal will be first released as a stand-alone, installable product with 10.2, planned for June 2013.

For the Defense community, Portal provides capabilities to support out-of-the-box web map publishing, improved web map and web map service sharing via using groups, and web app templates that provide rapid stand-up of light-weight web apps.  Applying this technology enables more users to become “web map publishers” – a potential benefit, but it requires consideration of several factors:

  • Server architecture and infrastructure sizing to potentially support more publishing of web maps and services,
  • Administration, policy and procedures to ensure that such a federated solution is supported and sustained (e.g. who will be able to publish? how will content be reviewed? how to  ensure the web maps and apps are based off of authoritative data?
  • User groups and roles – defining, creating, and administering roles to meet organizational and policy needs.

Overall, Portal looked promising as a solution to support enterprise web map sharing and publishing.  As a Portal solution, it may also have long-term cost-savings over maintaining and enhancing more custom map publishing and sharing capabilities.

New Technologies Coming
From Jeff Williams - GISi Deputy Program Manager - Army

Esri Location Analytics is creating solutions to bring geospatial capabilities into major business intelligence platforms and dashboards - an area that is growing in importance.   GISi is looking forward to seeing models and UI experience to draw upon to build products for Business Intelligence.  This will benefit many customers who are using a BI solution and also have Esri technology.

Location analytics for BI holds the potential to bring geospatial capabilities to traditional DoD enterprise business systems.  Moe than 80% of data has a spatial component – this effort would bring out the location intelligence to business analysis and reporting.  For example, location analytics could be applied to DoD financial and supply tracking systems to improve data analysis and visibility. There is potential to reach outside of GIS departments and planning organizations and geo-enable enterprise applications by bringing geospatial services and capabilities to their applications –extracting more value from existing data.

ArcGIS Online Update/Delay
From Dan Levine -  GISi Chief Technology Officer and Range Program Manager

With all these new capabilities and changes, Esri is dropping the 10.1.2 release that was scheduled to come this month in lieu of a 10.2 release scheduled to be just before the user conference. A bit disappointing to those of us that have been waiting for a number of fixes that were “promised” for the 10.1.2 release. This is the second time in the last few years that I recall a sub-release being cancelled and rolled-up to a major release.

Sleeper Pick of the Conference
From Colby Free - GISi Federal Business Program Manager

The sleeper in my book was the ArcGIS GeoEvent Sever (Successor to ArcGIS Tracking Analyst). Currently there has been a focus to pipe traditional GIS capabilities and solutions to a mobile platform or asset... but the GeoEvent technology leverages the mobile asset and related data and capabilities to create new solutions. This translates to a new value proposition through new client solutions and market opportunities. But think beyond mobile devices and tracking an asset... consider anything that is constantly updating its state or is a source of continuous data (i.e. sensors, alarms, video cameras, et) and imagine what can be done with those data in a spatial solution... the applications are endless (i.e. security system, environmental monitoring and alerts, mass notification and tracking, dispatching, logistics, mass marketing, fleet tracking, et et et). Very exciting proposition!



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