15,000 of my closest friends and I are packed in to the San Diego Convention Center waiting to hear from Jack and company how they are changing the geospatial world. I’ll be updating this post as much as the spotty WiFi connection allows me with details on what is being said on stage from Esri.

8:33 - Jack hits the stage and welcomes us to the conference and tells us how much he appreciates everyone attending. Jack says that there will be over 15,000 in attendance for the whole week (The graphics package that Esri has put together for this years UC is beautiful) . He says 1/3 of the attendees are here for the first time. Now lets all shake hands and say hi to the person next to you.

**8:37: **- Now we are on to showcasing people’s use of Esri products and what they are doing (“Esri is in your apps fondling your maps” I’m probably paraphrasing Jack on that…) .

**8:43: **- Jack seems a bit ornery this morning. Could be a fun time at the plenary.

8:47:- Over 140 SAG award winners this year.

8:48:- Esri Enterprise GIS award went to the Singapore GeoSpatial Collaborative Environment (SG-SPACE).

8:49:- Esri Presidents Award went to the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Mapping (ROSREESTR). Russians offered to help out us sorry ass Americans get our data fixed. Oh no he didn’t! Wait… he’s right, we suck…

8:55:- On to Jack’s vision of GIS in 2011. Jack is always really big on how humans are causing change and this year seems no different Jack says, “We need collective intelligence and understanding” to deal with these challenges. Jack says GIS extends our minds and is coevolving with other technologies (Jack said crowdsourcing. We can now drop VGI safely now.) A new GIS pattern is emerging making GIS accessible to everyone. It appears this includes using servers, desktop, mobile and probably some PDF. We’ll mix in a little authoritative love in it. Esri is the link between GIS Professionals and the world.

**9:01: **Esri’s Work - 10.1 will arrive in 2012 as was stated early. Jack mentioned that 10.1 has some “game changers” in it. Beta isn’t out for the UC, but Jack says he hopes it comes out by the end of the month. New basemaps are included such as Landsat history for the last 40 years and updates to existing maps. New tools are available, I wish I had the grouping analysis back years ago.

Dynamic legends are finally built into ArcGIS Desktop as well as feature edit tracking (awesome!) and some great new generalization tools. At 10.1 direct SQL access to SQL Server, Oracle, Postgres, DB2 and NETEZZA. I can’t tell you how awesome this is. Finally!

Google bragged about their mosaicing tools with Google Earth Builder, but it appears that Esri will blow them out of the water with 10.1. Also Lidar will be available to these mosaicing tools as well. Read in LAS and dynamically “convert” to rasters/TINs/point clouds.

Esri has bought a company called Procedural that gives Esri now 3D content creation tools that are used in movies such as Cars 2. Clearly this is a huge move for Esri and could put them in markets they haven’t been in before.

ArcGIS Runtime is new at 10.1 and is a new “MapObjects” type development platform. Jack said it runs in 64-bit mode.

ArcGIS Server continues to improve and will be 64-bit only, Linux (no REH only) and it appears some new standards such as WMTS and WPS. APIs continue to be pushed out faster and better than the old says with the Web ADF (I still need to work out my Web ADF issues so bear with me on this)

Jack started talking about the way ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Online work together. Simple as a right-click to share. Take that Google Earth Builder. Esri also has released ArcGIS for home use that costs $100/year and includes support and training.

9:18:ArcGIS Online is an “open platform” for maps and geographic information. From desktop, to server to “cloud”. The thing about ArcGIS Online vs GEB is that Esri sees their analytic tools are their secret sauce that will take other companies year (if ever) to replicate. One map that works on anywhere. This is where the Esri APIs and mobile tools they’ve cultivated over the years fit in with the master plan.

Bernie Szukalski got top billing at the Esri UC and showcased ArcGIS Online to great applause. Clearly this crowd loves the promise of ArcGIS, we’ll have to see if Esri can deliver. I talked a bit about ArcGIS Online last week and he’s going over much of what we saw back then. I have to say, Esri has doubled down on ArcGIS Online and it appears to be much deeper than previous Esri online attempts. Google Earth Builder may be a threat, but Esri has something that they can show runs rings around what Google is offering. Esri is calling “products” that you author in ArcGIS Online as apps which I think will go over very well inside the beltway.

**9:37: **- ArcGIS Online could be the standard geospatial analytical visualization engine moving forward. Nothing else is this deep or this usable. Sorry guys, Esri moved the bar way forward… Jack says this Fall, you can host your maps in ArcGIS Online that you author in your ArcGIS Desktop content creation tools. 10.1 will integrate ArcGIS Online into the whole package.

9:40:- Jack looks at ArcGIS Online as the catalog tool we’ll use for finding geospatial data. Jeremy Bartley is up talking about ArcGIS Online for Organizations. Basically ArcGIS Online for Organizations is a private version of ArcGIS Online for organizations for storing and sharing your data. The one area of ArcGIS Online might be limited is their support for formats. The world isn’t just shp, fgdb, kml, csv (Right?) .

9:53:- Esri has only talked about ArcGIS Online this morning. After the break we’ll apparently see some of the “old school” classic GIS tools. Esri is also now providing managed services for companies. Pay Esri to set up your GIS for you, how is that for you business partners?

10:02: - Morning Break, we’ll be back in 30 min with some ArcGIS Desktop and Server news.

10:33: - John Calkins is up and running the second half of the morning plenary session. First up is some guy with a Boston accent talking about the Red Sox. So the Boston “way” is talking about how awesome Boston is. You can see what they are doing here, but I don’t see what is “wicked” about it. Anytime a city comes up with an example of using a city run app to find where to eat or use a mobile phone of where potholes are, you know they have way too much time on their hands. What I did like is that they are going to give away the code (at least that is what I heard) .

**10:46: **John shows a demo of the City of Pasadena totally rendered in 3D using ArcGIS. It was smooth and detailed, but not much new beyond what we’ve seen before. ArcGlobe and ArcScene still suck, but maybe a 10.1 things will get better.

**10:48: **Clint Brown was up next talking about ArcGIS for Local Government. Clint says it is about opening information and brining it to live and sharing it with the world. This is a template example apparently. Esri has canned apps ready to deploy so you don’t have to pay an Esri Business Partner implementation costs.

**10:59 - **Jo Fraley is up showing some Sharepoint stuff. Sharepoint is just brutal, I get that enterprises use Sharepoint, but it looks like 2002 called and wants its UI back. Still I get how this is critical for many organizations to integrate their Esri silo ArcGIS Server instances into company intranet websites. I missed the IBM Cognos Viewer integration before, that’s going to be popular with many companies.

11:03 -John talks about updates to their webservices. Maps are being updated and geocoding is moving international.

**11:05 - **Community Analyst is being shown and how it allows community “activists” to perform the same types of analytics that business leaders do with Business Analyst type tools. The UI is classic old Esri, but I suspect they’ll get this thing cleared up soon. I’m not sure I could figure out how to use it myself, maybe there is online training. You’ll want to bring your checkbook though, this thing isn’t cheap.

**11:11 - **Spatial Analytics demo on what’s coming up in 10.1 which is next. Grouping Analysis is going to be a great tool for people trying to understand the patterns that are appearing in your data. I like the simplicity of the tool. The demo got into using the new areal interpolation and exploratory regression tools. I think these will be popular and the beta that will arrive later this month will be something to check out.

11:20 -John highlighted the new World Ocean Map. I like this one because it makes a great background map for my data, even if the data is on land. Soon we’ll see the new National Geographic World Map which is beautiful, but I wouldn’t call it subtle as John did.

11:21- So at 10.1, Esri raster and image analysis tools are just killer. Clearly this is an Erdas killer package. I have no idea what pansharpening is, but damn this stuff looks sweet and performed on the fly. The image manipulation tools are just crazy impressive.

11:30 -Lidar is big news at 10.1. LAS files can be dragged and dropped into ArcMap and then use the 3D preview tools to view it. Also you can convert on the fly LAS to raster, TIN and point clouds. Its pretty amazing to watch this demo. Working with Lidar is a PITA, but it appears that Esri has some good tools to get your hands on it and work it.

12:00 - Lunch

2:00 - Afternoon session is the award/keynote part. The first making a difference award went to Professor Haruo Hayashi working on emergency management for his work during the 2011 Japan tsunami. The second went to Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining. Pretty amazing stuff on how they are saving lives by finding and removing mines from war zones.

2:13 - Jane Goodall video on Roots and Shoots.