What did I learn from the ESRI UK User Conference?

Another year, another ESRI User Conference and I don’t know about you, but I always want to be dazzled and go ooohhh….aaaahhhh and almost always go away disappointed.

And this year? I have to admit I am vaguely excited, on my journey home I was pondering how the tech could be used to build bigger and better things…something I haven’t done since the reveal of ArcGIS Online…..

Please remember that the following is MY take and based on my experience, so if you have anything to add or anything is too sensitive, then let me know……

So what was discussed?

  • Free and Premium data – During the content talk, ESRI discussed how they were trying to get high quality data which would be of use to the 95% of its users and for the most part it would be free. What about the 5% someone asked…..”Premium” online services for things like offshore data, oil & gas and lidar……
  • You will be left behind if you don’t move to ArcGIS Online – Almost every plenary was oriented around the use of ArcGIS Online, many of the new tools and capabilities are either Online focussed or work inline with it. It became apparent that ESRI have invested A LOT of money in the capability and have dropped the price to the lowest they can go so they can get people to buy it…..they are now almost begging for users to get on board.
  • ArcScene is old tech and may be gone soon – With ESRI promoting City Engine it was revealed that City Engine will be part of the next release of 3D Analyst.
  • ESRI are eager to get a piece of the Business Intelligence market – ESRI were strongly pushing the idea of making businesses more intelligent by the use of ESRI add-ins and integration within Office Software such as Excel, Powerpoint, Sharepoint and SAP.
  • Geofencing – As long as you have an ArcGIS Online licence…..ESRI have found a way for online users to create boundaries so that, when a user creates a point using the ArcGIS Collector app within the defined boundary, it will flag this to the main user in realtime.
  • PostGIS won’t be happening for ArcGIS any time soon – By this I mean that users of ArcGIS Desktop will be limited to read only access to PostGIS databases. There is no intention in ESRI’s timeline to make read/write access available.
  • Only 2 presentations didn’t have the ESRI slow down – I saw about 9 presentations and in every one of them at some point the machine being used would either not respond or not provide the expected result at some point (My favourite being the demo of the Online dashboad where it couldn’t find the right attribute fields)…..not too promising for us end users but then what do we expect?
  • ArcGIS Bathymetry – This solution which uses the power of Fledermaus along with ArcGIS is available, though currently being held back as ESRI don’t want to release it without data available for it (smart move!!) Rumour has it, that it is already being trialled be a few companies already.
  • Data Chunking – It’s my new favourite word from the talk given by British Waterways
  • ESRI aren’t cartographers – No offence here ESRI but having sat through many demonstrations of the data available through ArcGIS Online, the basemaps are better but that is like saying “Its getting lighter” at night whilst holding a 1 LED torch…..The maps could do with a complete overhaul to improve their appearance, though in their defence, they have tried their best to inflict less pain.
  • We have “Business Success Managers” – Where most software providers have technical support managers or a Sales Manager, ESRI now supply a Business Success Manager, there is a lot of humour to be had here, feel free to add your own text…..

As I recall more information, I will update & there are a few items which were discussed that can never be put on the internet……at the moment……..

Nick D

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