July 18, 2011
Esri UC 2011 Plenary & Keynotes
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News
Esri UC 2011 Plenary & Keynotes
By Susan Smith


Esri President Jack Dangermond


Over 15,000 people were in attendance at the Esri User Conference 2011 held in San Diego last week. Attendees arrived from 126 countries, representing almost every discipline, with one-third of them coming from outside the U.S.

President and CEO Jack Dangermond presented awards in the beginning of the plenary session. You can look at the award winners on the Esri website.

The vision of this year’s conference: “GIS-understanding our world” suggests the need for a different approach, as the world meets various challenges such as climate change, urbanization and land use, loss of biodiversity and many other issues.

Dangermond talked about bringing GIS information together with other types of information such as measurement information, facilitating collaborations and breaking down barriers. Data is growing in volume, and new sources provided like crowdsourcing create new issues like privacy and access that present challenges to organizations.

New technologies include virtualize computing environments, the cloud and SaaS, social networks, more quantitative science and more integrative, analytic, predictive real time efforts. As GIS becomes more able to manage larger datasets, it also is becoming easier to use so that the new challenge is to make it easy for anyone to engage in.

Dangermond said this new pattern of GIS – making it available to everyone – can mean bringing authoritative source information in and blending it with web with social network information, then making it available through lightweight mobile devices.

GIS professionals will be able to provide information to knowledge workers, citizens and policymakers and empower them to participate in the same shared infrastructure, with common services creating shared understanding, globally but also within an organizational context.

ArcGIS 10.1

ArcGIS 10.1 is expected to launch in Q1 of 2012. The beta release should be available in two to three weeks. Dangermond says that some features of this release are “game-changing” and include ArcGIS Online, as well as supports multiple patterns for implementation. The server pattern is coming along rapidly, with 100,000 of these implemented, with thin client access to shared infrastructure. With the web cloud pattern beginning to emerge, these patterns can be deployed independently or as an integrated system.

The amount of basemap and content information has increased dramatically, and includes new Landsat services for the last 40 years, 50 million sq km of GeoEye imagery, a new basemap for oceans, 1,000 partners building a topographic map of the world, a kind of authoritative source of building crowdsourcing maps, National Geographic and geocoding service for world and crowdsourcing.

The core ArcGIS 10.1 products that will be native 64-bit are:

-ArcGIS Server for Windows and ArcGIS Server for Linux (only available as native 64-bit). This includes the SDE application server technology component.
-ArcGIS Runtime (both native 64-bit and 32-bit)

ArcGIS Desktop can run in a 64-bit environment but is not native 64-bit.

10.1 will introduce geographic science tools, like space time clustering, multiscale autocorrelation, exploratory regression (not visual) (which takes one variable and allows us to explore other variables in relationship to it) crime, soil erosion, sophisticated contouring, very fast time analysis, aerial interpolation that allows us to take one aerial unit and allocate them into another aerial unit like zip codes, and geodetic buffering.

Mapping and editing workflows include
-dynamic legends so as you scale map legends change,
- feature edit tracking –a kind of feature level metadata,
-a new suite of generalization tools that is rule based, so you can generalize lines and thematic area,
- better labeling,
- better template editing,
- temporal support,
-improving database management which includes having direct SQL access to all popular databases, spatial and tabular data,
- adding support for IBMs Netenza database management system,
- administration tools for database,
- dynamic schema updates,
- database opened at the file level with open APIs.

Dangermond’s favorite is a desktop application for sharing maps, data, tools and models. A user can right click and the map will automatically turn into a map package. In ArcMap a user with analytics or tradecraft in a model can turn it into a model package, can send over to the server, others can find it, download and use themselves. They can right click and can send it over to a server and it will turn it over to a service, a map service, model service, tool service, and can also send it to the cloud and turn it into service there if the user doesn’t have a server, and it will be administered there.

“We announced ArcGIS for home use, you can get full desktop and extensions and personal use and also your own volunteerism,” said Dangermond. “It’s going to be a way to spread what we do. Another way that we will spread what we do is with ArcGIS Online, a cloud system. Now we’re shifting this into a full GIS in the cloud environment – an open platform for different formats for mapping and geospatial information in the cloud. You’ll be able to deploy it in our clouds, or on your cloud environments.”

This view of being able to share assets with others so that they can use it more effectively – and connect back to full enterprise systems, intelligence web maps – presents a picture of great possibility.

It can be a mechanism for connecting integrated multiple services together and sharing it so others can put it in a blog, with new web maps that support visualization, popups, and intelligence that hook back to analytic services including temporal. These are addressable through REST, and can be used everywhere on any device, integrated into social media. It can be used in the ArcMap environment and can unlock not only one organization’s data but share with geodatabases and services through servers.

3D 10.1

Esri has been working on 3D GIS and imagery for awhile. The increased demand for 3D GIS in organizations that use GIS and planning tools, 3D city planning, emergency services, defense and Homeland Security drive the development of powerful tools for 3D GIS and imagery.  10.1 improves image integration and employs image exploitation tools by including dynamic mosaicking. Users can view 100 to 1 million images and pan and zoom with dynamic visualization. They can also employ automatic enhancement, 3D measurement, integrating for persistent surveillance video and can associate it with other parts of the GIS.

In addition, 10.1 offers great lidar support, being able to read dynamically LAS files. It takes the same technology for dynamic imagery and integrates it so users can do dynamic on the fly LAS files. Lidar data will open it up for useful information products.

ArcGIS is expanded as a 3D platform, with performance for 3D, 3D for geometric buffering, shade analysis, shadow analysis, 3D viewsheds, 3D editing, and is very powerful for urban planning, landscape planning and design, among other uses.

Dangermond noted that Esri has acquired the Swiss company Procedural for content creation. Procedural does beautiful visualization simulation environments for CityScapes such as those seen in the feature film Cars II.  This is important for GIS, design and visualization environments. Currently this technology is being incorporated into Esri through development relationships, but will eventually be sold independently. Content creation using rules tools can be achieved and then that content can be integrated back into the geodatabase. Users want content creation as part of GIS, and it will take a year or so to accomplish this.


The trend toward mobile devices benefits GIS users who take their tablets to the field to access data directly. These applications and devices are supported by ArcGIS.

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