Every year ESRI sends out a questionnaire to attendees of the UC and they’ve just posted the results from this year. Some of the questions are C-level and probably not interesting to this crowd, but it does get into some of the 9.4 (as was seen at the DevSummit), map automation, file geodatabase, and new technology. A couple that caught my eye:

Q: When will ESRI support direct access to the spatial types within relational databases (i.e. SQL 2008, Oracle Spatial, etc) that are not geodatabases (i.e. does not utilize ArcSDE technology)?

At 9.4, ArcGIS introduces new functionality called ‘query layers’ to allow users to directly access spatial type data stored in a database that is not a geodatabase. Query layers allow users to use a SQL query to access spatial type data and create a new (read-only) layer in ArcMap. This layer will allow users to map, query, and analyze data from spatially enabled databases such as SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, DB2, or Informix without registering the spatial information in a geodatabase or installing and configuring ArcSDE.

Additionally, geodatabase users who store their spatial information in spatial types can use this functionality to work with their data using complex SQL queries.

Q: Will ESRI support the iPhone?

Yes, we will support the iPhone as a mobile platform to get maps from ArcGIS Server and do queries and edits on data from ArcGIS Server. We plan on releasing an application for the iPhone later this year and then adding additional capability as part of our 9.4 release. In addition developers can build their own solutions for the iPhone using the REST APIs available from ArcGIS Server.

Q: Is ESRI moving into any new business lines?

Our fundamental business is building ArcGIS and supporting our users and partners with effective technical support and professional services to help them implement their technology. In the last year we have extended ArcGIS with online services. Fundamentally, this is ESRI’s implementation of GIS in the cloud. This environment involves a large deployment of ArcGIS Server and an extensive library of GIS content. This direction is principally focused on providing Web services to our software users. Generally speaking our users have been very pleased with these services. ESRI now receives several million requests a day for the use of these services worldwide, and we believe it’s just beginning.

**Q: How will ESRI support professional standing through certification? **

Professional certification provides proof that an individual has attained competence at a defined level of performance. With the ArcGIS 9.4 release, ESRI intends to offer a technical certification program designed around the use of our products in successful ArcGIS implementations. This program will be available to ESRI users, partners, distributors, and staff. While it will focus on the use of our products, it will be complementary to the GISP certification offered through the GIS Certification Institute, which focuses on the practice of GIS. We hope this will help create an active and qualified user community that can expand the reach of GIS in solving problems around the world.