2010 ESRI International User Conference Opening Plenary – Live Blog


I’ll be blogging the opening plenary this morning. Just refresh this page as the morning goes on and get the latest news.

8:30AM: Jack takes the stage and welcomes everyone to the 2010 ESRI UC, the 30th. Jack seems quite excited and wanting to get the message out. Jack goes into his highlighting of maps created with ESRI software. I’d personally love to see some historic maps that were highlighted at ESRI UCs past and show how far we’ve come.

8:35AM: Looks like the WiFi just crashed, so much for live blogging 🙁 Some idiot is probably streaming video.

8:40AM: Abu Dhabi won the “Making a Difference Award” for building a geo-infrastructure using ESRI software. They view infrastructure as similar to the human body. Not too much detail there, but it is an interesting way to look at things, plus they seem quite successful.

8:50AM: The theme of the conference is “Vision”. Jack dropped into the concept of Computational Geography (which of course became GIS). Jack ties into the convergence of technology with geography at the middle. Jack views the key drivers as mobile, crowd-sourcing and other LBS technology to create a web-based geospatial platform.

9:00AM: Jack introduced a company called CityCourced which “mobilizes citizen involvement”. So its the idea where you and your GPS mobile phone are able to feed that data back to your “geodatabase”. Nothing really new here in concept, but it appears to be in the wild. Nice that they got a great speaking slot to introduce their product. Lets see if governments jump on this before saying it will change the world. I don’t see much here about cities that are getting involved with this product (if I’m filing a report, I want it to go to my city, not just sit on CitySourced servers). How they integrate into these cities will probably make or break the service. API is here.

9:05AM: Jack goes into crowd sourcing and social media. I always wonder how the geodatabase works with both? As long as you use their APIs. 😉

9:07AM: ArcGIS 10 is outlined; Jack says it is easy, powerful and everywhere. ArcGIS is Desktop, Mobile or Web on Cloud, Enterprise or local. ESRI is focused on what Jack called “intelligent maps”. These are basically all the aspects of GIS and loaded into a map where you can interact, query or edit the map.

9:11AM: ArcGIS 10 has hundreds of improvements which ESRI says will improve productivity. Jack says ArcGIS is open; standards based and then open API’s.

Big news, ESRI is publishing their REST Interface as an Open Standard like they did the Shapefile.

9:14AM: ArcGIS Mobile is finally beginning to take off. iPhone, Windows Phone (LMAO), Android and of course the old ArcPad. This all ties back into Jack’s hope that citizens will use ESRI technology. Putting ArcGIS in the hands of everyone.

9:16AM: At ArcGIS 10, ArcGIS imagery support is very improved. From what I hear this could be the biggest raster release that ESRI has ever done. I’m not involved with imagery anymore, but it all looks pretty sweet.

9:20AM: Content is key and ArcGIS 10 brings into the desktop. The community basemap program got its own video. We’ve been talking about a national map, and it appears it took ESRI and their investment in the technology to make it happen.

Bing Maps is also free to all ESRI users including ArcGIS Server.

9:25AM: Bernie Szukalski gives his demo of the data using ArcGIS Explorer Online (or whatever they call it these days). The community basemap is just beautiful. I wonder if the City of Tempe takes part? The World Imagery basemap has really taken off. I’ve been using it instead of the Bing Aerial map because I think it is higher quality and it is free for anyone to use. has lots of great content including OpenStreetMap.

9:30AM: Break time – back at 10am for a look at ArcGIS 10.

9:30AM: Here comes the cloud. Jack says cloud computing will change the way we work, on-demand (of course ESRI licensing isn’t on-demand, but that is a story for another day). Really the story is extending existing deployments right now in 2010.

9:33AM: “The Next Big Step” – ESRI’s cloud storage solution today. What is interesting is that hosting is “coming soon”. will host your data simply and probably extremely cheaply. Glad I’m not a GIS hosting company. is a network of distributed services – as apps or maps. What is nice about is that the services are accessible via their APIs.

9:37AM: Bernie gets working again and shows the The UI is nice, but it uses the weird star rating system. I think ESRI should just put a thumbs up button there. How does one rate a map with 5 choices? They say it is either one star or five stars. Just put a thumbs up button there and move on. Making a map with is simple and easy. Tags are weird as well, does tag searching work? Just use a search box to searchthe description.

Basically you discover data in and then add it to your basemap. You can add content via ArcGIS Online, the web or any ArcGIS Server (no WMS yet). Basically you end up creating a mashup you can share with others. These maps are also easily consumed in ArcGIS 10. ArcGIS Online is built into ArcGIS 10, so you can consume web services without leaving ArcGIS 10.

Bernie also demo’d the ArcGIS for iOS on the iPad. As I said earlier, the UI is just wonderful. Take note devs, this is how maps should be consumed on mobile devices.

9:50AM: Jack says ArcGIS opens GIS for everyone – clearly ESRI is focused on getting as many people using ArcGIS 10 as possible and easy to use clients is how it will be done. Will ArcGIS 10 transform GIS? We’ll see, but it sure will affect how everyone works with ArcGIS. He asks everyone to go to to help direct where ESRI goes with their software. I’m sure the site is therapeutic for many users 😉

10:00AM: Break time!

10:30AM: ArcGIS 10 will be the focus for the next 90 minutes. John Calkins is out hitting on the point again that ArcGIS 10 is a complete system for geographic information. It looks like the focus is on abstract demos rather than just giving us the beef on ArcGIS 10 Desktop/Mobile/Server.

10:35AM: First up is productivity; ArcGIS 10 productivity highlights. Of course they do some sort of weird government demo of infrastructure. Searching is demonstrated, finding both datasets and symbol sets. Optimized Map layers allow you to load data into a group that allows you to pan around without refreshing of the data. The new editing tools are really slick, the template editing stuff really changes how you work, leveraging rules set in our geodatabase. The data validator extension is really useful because it finds and documents the issues in your data.

10:45AM: ArcGIS Mobile on a tablet running Windows XP? Sexy! Well now we are on to an ArcGIS Viewer for Flex and of course we see the edits made on the old busted Windows XP Tablet. What is nice is the same workflow that happens on the desktop comes across to the mobile. Same methods of editing on Desktop – Mobile – Browser.

10:52AM: Map Automation; ArcGIS 10 brings python into Desktop/Server. ArcPy could change how GIS Analysts work with data analysis. Bob Pool a GIS Manager from Washington State is giving the Python demo himself. Migrating AML to Python scripts is up first (Migrating AML’s in 2010?). Python editor is now built into ArcGIS 10. No one will be using VBA to automate ArcGIS Desktop moving forward.

11:00AM: Imagery demo is up now. ArcGIS Server can now render a mosaic on the fly. I’m out of my league here with imagery analysis, but imagery analysis inside a browser is impressive. The image analysis tools are nice because they can fix bad looking imagery. All done on-the-fly and with no modifications to the original data. What was the company called again that did image analysis? Erdas? They have no place in ArcGIS 10 anymore.

11:13AM: Network analysis improvements are the next demo. Network analyst has always been a hugely valuable. There has been much in the ArcLogistics area, but ArcGIS 10 doesn’t miss upgrades as well. The new Location-Allocation tool gives some great site selection tools to users. And that segue into an ArcLogistics demo. I love the ArcLogistics online (with Business Analyist Online, these two tools really just kick ass) and the simple web based tools are going to be analysis to anyone.

11:22AM: Apple iOS demos are next. Business Analyst Online (BAO) will be available soon for the iPhone/iPad for free. I love BAO in the web browser, but the iPad/iPhone app puts that power into your iOS device. Again, like ArcGIS for iOS, the UI is simple and easy to use. ArcGIS for iOS (which was demo’d earlier) was show again. Under featured content you’ll find a Rupert’s Places to go in San Diego available on your iPhone or iPad. Very nice!

10:26AM: 3D has been a big focus for ESRI at ArcGIS 10. You can now edit or perform analysis in 3D in ArcGIS 10. The problem I have with this is that you still need those ArcGlobe or ArcScene apps, why they can’t just roll it all into ArcMap is beyond me. 3D won’t be part of workflows if I have to start ArcGlobe/Scene every time I want to work with 3D data. The 3D demo was similar to what we’ve seen at the DevSummit/BPC, but at this point all this stuff is shipping. Support for SketchUp models is very welcome, but ArcGlobe is depressing.

10:36AM: Space and Time, 4D. Time in ArcGIS has always been somewhat of a PITA. I mean there has been NetCDF support, but the UI was never really aware of it. Now not only ArcGIS Desktop supports time, but the APIs do as well. Tweets to find oil demo was interesting, but I’m not sure it really shows off mobile analysis with social media. Time aware attributes are going to need to be entered with geo-data moving forward. Maybe ArcGIS 10.x can automatically tag edits (I know geodatabases can do this, but it should be done to any data edited in ArcGIS)

10:50AM: ESRI President’s Award went to the City of Frisco, Texas. Susan Olson, the GIS Manager for Frisco accepted the award.

11:00AM: Lunch!

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