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Are Conferences Important Anymore?

Hey SOTM is going on, didn’t even know. The last SOTM I went to was in 2013 which was a blast. But I have to be honest, not only did this slip my mind, none of my feeds highlighted it to me. Not only that, apparently Esri is having a conference soon. (wait for me to go ask Google when it is) OK, they are having it next week. I used to be the person who went to as much as I could, either through attending or invited to keynote. The last Esri UC I went to was in 2015, 6 years ago. As I said SOTM was in 2013. FOSS4G, 2011. I had to look up, the last conference that had any GIS in it was the 2018 Barcelona Smart City Expo.

So with the world opening back up, or maybe not given whatever greek letter variant we are dealing with right now, I’ve started to think about what I might want to attend and the subject matter. At the end of the day, I feel like I got more value out of the conversations outside the convention center than inside. So probably where I see a good subset of smart people hanging out. That’s why those old GeoWeb conferences that Ron Lake put on were so amazing. Meeting a ton of smart people and enjoying the conversations, rather than reading Powerpoint slides in a darkly lit room.

Hopefully we can get back to that, just need to keep my eye out.

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Reading Material for a GIS Professional

Just a little something for me to read while traveling back east next week, twice…

Uc2005 cd

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What Didn’t I hear at the ESRI 2005 User Conference

Well I posted about things I liked, now what about two things I didn’t hear?

  1. PostgreSQL support in ArcSDE I was really hoping to hear this, but no one I talked to would admit it was going to happen. The cost of SDE is so high because you need to pay for an commercial enterprise RDBMS. PostgreSQL is perfect for ArcSDE, but I guess I’ll have to continue looking at working with PostGIS.

  2. Public ArcWeb Services It looks like the ArcWeb Services team got caught off guard with the announcement of Public (free) ArcWeb Services. They didn’t seem ready to answer questions, that I had other than to say they’ll look into it. As long as this is all figured out by AWS 2005 I’ll be happy, but it was a little disappointing to not learn more than I already knew.

Both of these were of strong interest to me going into the conference and I’m sure I’m in the minority in thinking that they are important, but they did dampen my enthusiasm just a little.

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Reflections on the ESRI 2005 User Conference

So now that I’ve been back for a couple days from the ESRI UC, what do I think about what I saw and heard?

  1. Developers are back. It had been quite some time since I really felt that ESRI was supporting developers of their software. Every couple years we get some cool new tools to play with, but they always seem to be put on the back burner to analysis. This year with EDN, developers really had a place to hang out and coupled with the Embedded, Mobile and Server Islands, most of the ESRI floorspace was devoted to developers. The first .NET Special Interest Group meeting was great because we got so many bright minds into one room (then they forgot to lock the door before I got in) and we got to talk one on one with some of the best developer minds at ESRI about what we’d like to see. I know Art wrote down quite a bit so we’ll have to see how quickly any of it can be implemented (If I had to chose only two I’d would like to see the “gotdotnet” type portal for ESRI developers and a ESRI Developer Summit).
  2. ArcWeb Services for the masses. The big stealth announcement was Public ArcWeb Services are now available. This should really start helping ESRI develop their GIS Services business, but I don’t think we’ll really see it take off until ArcWeb Services 2005 arrives. The demos I saw with the flash interface streaming vector files was very impressive. I’ve started playing with Public ArcWeb Services, but I’ve got no public ASP/JSP hosting site so most of this will probably just be internal or playing at work. REST support with AWS 2005 will change everything.
  3. Common Application Development Framework (ADF). Might not seem like much to some, but this should make development much easier because we’ll have one framework for all ESRI server products. Coupled with IDE integration with .NET and Java, developing applications should be much quicker and easier as we won’t have to get down in the weeds programming toolbars anymore and focus on the actual application. I’m going to be counting the days until I can get my hands on ArcGIS Server and ArcIMS 9.2 Betas.
  4. Cartography in ArcMap. In the past you could either have it one of two ways. A map in dynamic map in GIS or a cartographic map in Adobe Illustrator. The new cartographic representation in 9.2 will allow you to perform “Illustrator” enhancements right in ArcMap. The power of these cartographic representations really needs to be seen to appreciated.
  5. Workflows, workflows, workflows. Over and over again in almost every technical workshop and even on the ESRI Showcase floor we heard about workflows. This has always been a big deal for me as I’ve had to manage more and more people. ESRI has listened to users and what their workflows are and made changes to the software in 9.2 to make our lives easier. A simple example would be the cartography enhancements above. Being able to leave everything in Geodatabases should save much time and not require trips between ArcMap and Illustrator anymore.
  6. Changes to ArcSDE. I never had enough time to learn more about the specifics of the changes at 9.2 to SDE, but we will have more options rather than just the current enterprise SDE that we have at 9.1. I’m unsure of what this will mean to users, but a free SDE (I assume this is the new file Geodatabase?) should help people better understand Geodatabases and I suspect these will be adopted more readily than the Personal Geodatabase that is currently so limited.
  7. ArcExplorer is back. Both the web based ArcExplorer (built with DHTML) and the windows version looked great. All that wonderful AJAX that makes Google Maps so easy to use is now in ESRI’s web client. In fact the demos I saw blew anything that Google or MSN has with their maps. I hope the long lead time to 9.2 won’t allow the competition to catch up. Many thought this was a reaction to Google or MSN and I don’t think that was the case. While I’m sure ArcExplorer has been influenced by Google Maps and Earth, there is no way even ESRI could have gotten the program I saw running as well as it did. There might have been smoke and mirrors to make it run better than it did, but even though couldn’t hide a mock-up and what I saw wasn’t.
  8. Sun has set on the UC? I guess the days of Sun, Oracle, Informix and Bentley having huge booths are over. The big booths these days are for GPS and Satellite Imagery companies. IBM and HP were there in force and Dell was back again after a little absence.
  9. ESRI Image Server If you’ve ever had to deal with rasters in ArcSDE you’ll know why this announcement is so important. I have no clue about price, but I can’t imagine it costing too much as you can already do this for “free” with UMN Mapserver. RDBMS are great, but not for storing images and finally ESRI has a solution to handle them.
  10. The Usability Release ArcGIS 9.2 is going to be one of those great ESRI software releases. Rather than cram tons of new features into ArcGIS, they are focusing on usability and bug fixes. This should make 9.2 work really well for all users. Going off what I saw, you’ll want to make sure you maintenance is up to date so you’ll get the 9.2 upgrade. ArcGIS 9.2 is too good to miss out on. Until then look for that service pack in the fall for 9.1!
Categories
Thoughts

Reflections on the ESRI 2005 User Conference

So now that I’ve been back for a couple days from the ESRI UC, what do I think about what I saw and heard?

  1. Developers are back. It had been quite some time since I really felt that ESRI was supporting developers of their software. Every couple years we get some cool new tools to play with, but they always seem to be put on the back burner to analysis. This year with EDN, developers really had a place to hang out and coupled with the Embedded, Mobile and Server Islands, most of the ESRI floorspace was devoted to developers. The first .NET Special Interest Group meeting was great because we got so many bright minds into one room (then they forgot to lock the door before I got in) and we got to talk one on one with some of the best developer minds at ESRI about what we’d like to see. I know Art wrote down quite a bit so we’ll have to see how quickly any of it can be implemented (If I had to chose only two I’d would like to see the “gotdotnet” type portal for ESRI developers and a ESRI Developer Summit).
  2. ArcWeb Services for the masses. The big stealth announcement was Public ArcWeb Services are now available. This should really start helping ESRI develop their GIS Services business, but I don’t think we’ll really see it take off until ArcWeb Services 2005 arrives. The demos I saw with the flash interface streaming vector files was very impressive. I’ve started playing with Public ArcWeb Services, but I’ve got no public ASP/JSP hosting site so most of this will probably just be internal or playing at work. REST support with AWS 2005 will change everything.
  3. Common Application Development Framework (ADF). Might not seem like much to some, but this should make development much easier because we’ll have one framework for all ESRI server products. Coupled with IDE integration with .NET and Java, developing applications should be much quicker and easier as we won’t have to get down in the weeds programming toolbars anymore and focus on the actual application. I’m going to be counting the days until I can get my hands on ArcGIS Server and ArcIMS 9.2 Betas.
  4. Cartography in ArcMap. In the past you could either have it one of two ways. A map in dynamic map in GIS or a cartographic map in Adobe Illustrator. The new cartographic representation in 9.2 will allow you to perform “Illustrator” enhancements right in ArcMap. The power of these cartographic representations really needs to be seen to appreciated.
  5. Workflows, workflows, workflows. Over and over again in almost every technical workshop and even on the ESRI Showcase floor we heard about workflows. This has always been a big deal for me as I’ve had to manage more and more people. ESRI has listened to users and what their workflows are and made changes to the software in 9.2 to make our lives easier. A simple example would be the cartography enhancements above. Being able to leave everything in Geodatabases should save much time and not require trips between ArcMap and Illustrator anymore.
  6. Changes to ArcSDE. I never had enough time to learn more about the specifics of the changes at 9.2 to SDE, but we will have more options rather than just the current enterprise SDE that we have at 9.1. I’m unsure of what this will mean to users, but a free SDE (I assume this is the new file Geodatabase?) should help people better understand Geodatabases and I suspect these will be adopted more readily than the Personal Geodatabase that is currently so limited.
  7. ArcExplorer is back. Both the web based ArcExplorer (built with DHTML) and the windows version looked great. All that wonderful AJAX that makes Google Maps so easy to use is now in ESRI’s web client. In fact the demos I saw blew anything that Google or MSN has with their maps. I hope the long lead time to 9.2 won’t allow the competition to catch up. Many thought this was a reaction to Google or MSN and I don’t think that was the case. While I’m sure ArcExplorer has been influenced by Google Maps and Earth, there is no way even ESRI could have gotten the program I saw running as well as it did. There might have been smoke and mirrors to make it run better than it did, but even though couldn’t hide a mock-up and what I saw wasn’t.
  8. Sun has set on the UC? I guess the days of Sun, Oracle, Informix and Bentley having huge booths are over. The big booths these days are for GPS and Satellite Imagery companies. IBM and HP were there in force and Dell was back again after a little absence.
  9. ESRI Image Server If you’ve ever had to deal with rasters in ArcSDE you’ll know why this announcement is so important. I have no clue about price, but I can’t imagine it costing too much as you can already do this for “free” with UMN Mapserver. RDBMS are great, but not for storing images and finally ESRI has a solution to handle them.
  10. The Usability Release ArcGIS 9.2 is going to be one of those great ESRI software releases. Rather than cram tons of new features into ArcGIS, they are focusing on usability and bug fixes. This should make 9.2 work really well for all users. Going off what I saw, you’ll want to make sure you maintenance is up to date so you’ll get the 9.2 upgrade. ArcGIS 9.2 is too good to miss out on. Until then look for that service pack in the fall for 9.1!
Categories
Thoughts

Reflections on the ESRI 2005 User Conference

So now that I’ve been back for a couple days from the ESRI UC, what do I think about what I saw and heard?

  1. Developers are back. It had been quite some time since I really felt that ESRI was supporting developers of their software. Every couple years we get some cool new tools to play with, but they always seem to be put on the back burner to analysis. This year with EDN, developers really had a place to hang out and coupled with the Embedded, Mobile and Server Islands, most of the ESRI floorspace was devoted to developers. The first .NET Special Interest Group meeting was great because we got so many bright minds into one room (then they forgot to lock the door before I got in) and we got to talk one on one with some of the best developer minds at ESRI about what we’d like to see. I know Art wrote down quite a bit so we’ll have to see how quickly any of it can be implemented (If I had to chose only two I’d would like to see the “gotdotnet” type portal for ESRI developers and a ESRI Developer Summit).
  2. ArcWeb Services for the masses. The big stealth announcement was Public ArcWeb Services are now available. This should really start helping ESRI develop their GIS Services business, but I don’t think we’ll really see it take off until ArcWeb Services 2005 arrives. The demos I saw with the flash interface streaming vector files was very impressive. I’ve started playing with Public ArcWeb Services, but I’ve got no public ASP/JSP hosting site so most of this will probably just be internal or playing at work. REST support with AWS 2005 will change everything.
  3. Common Application Development Framework (ADF). Might not seem like much to some, but this should make development much easier because we’ll have one framework for all ESRI server products. Coupled with IDE integration with .NET and Java, developing applications should be much quicker and easier as we won’t have to get down in the weeds programming toolbars anymore and focus on the actual application. I’m going to be counting the days until I can get my hands on ArcGIS Server and ArcIMS 9.2 Betas.
  4. Cartography in ArcMap. In the past you could either have it one of two ways. A map in dynamic map in GIS or a cartographic map in Adobe Illustrator. The new cartographic representation in 9.2 will allow you to perform “Illustrator” enhancements right in ArcMap. The power of these cartographic representations really needs to be seen to appreciated.
  5. Workflows, workflows, workflows. Over and over again in almost every technical workshop and even on the ESRI Showcase floor we heard about workflows. This has always been a big deal for me as I’ve had to manage more and more people. ESRI has listened to users and what their workflows are and made changes to the software in 9.2 to make our lives easier. A simple example would be the cartography enhancements above. Being able to leave everything in Geodatabases should save much time and not require trips between ArcMap and Illustrator anymore.
  6. Changes to ArcSDE. I never had enough time to learn more about the specifics of the changes at 9.2 to SDE, but we will have more options rather than just the current enterprise SDE that we have at 9.1. I’m unsure of what this will mean to users, but a free SDE (I assume this is the new file Geodatabase?) should help people better understand Geodatabases and I suspect these will be adopted more readily than the Personal Geodatabase that is currently so limited.
  7. ArcExplorer is back. Both the web based ArcExplorer (built with DHTML) and the windows version looked great. All that wonderful AJAX that makes Google Maps so easy to use is now in ESRI’s web client. In fact the demos I saw blew anything that Google or MSN has with their maps. I hope the long lead time to 9.2 won’t allow the competition to catch up. Many thought this was a reaction to Google or MSN and I don’t think that was the case. While I’m sure ArcExplorer has been influenced by Google Maps and Earth, there is no way even ESRI could have gotten the program I saw running as well as it did. There might have been smoke and mirrors to make it run better than it did, but even though couldn’t hide a mock-up and what I saw wasn’t.
  8. Sun has set on the UC? I guess the days of Sun, Oracle, Informix and Bentley having huge booths are over. The big booths these days are for GPS and Satellite Imagery companies. IBM and HP were there in force and Dell was back again after a little absence.
  9. ESRI Image Server If you’ve ever had to deal with rasters in ArcSDE you’ll know why this announcement is so important. I have no clue about price, but I can’t imagine it costing too much as you can already do this for “free” with UMN Mapserver. RDBMS are great, but not for storing images and finally ESRI has a solution to handle them.
  10. The Usability Release ArcGIS 9.2 is going to be one of those great ESRI software releases. Rather than cram tons of new features into ArcGIS, they are focusing on usability and bug fixes. This should make 9.2 work really well for all users. Going off what I saw, you’ll want to make sure you maintenance is up to date so you’ll get the 9.2 upgrade. ArcGIS 9.2 is too good to miss out on. Until then look for that service pack in the fall for 9.1!
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My Son at the 2005 ESRI User Conference Thursday Night Dinner

It is safe to say he had a blast Thursday night as we all did. He did enjoy dancing to GRIDLOCK with this nice little girl. She did dance him under the table though, but not bad for a 2 year old.

29595497 3a3a4a28db o

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ESRI User Conference 2005 Blog Survey

Link – ESRI UC Blog Feedback

We hope you’ve found the ESRI UC Blog useful and relevant. Please take a few minutes to give us feedback by completing a short survey.

Looks like ESRI is looking for opinions about their UC Blog and Blogging in general. Anyone who is interesting is seeing ESRI blog more should take some time and fill out the survey (yea, yet another one, but it seems ESRI works better with them).

User Conference 2005 Blog Survey

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Thursday Night Celebration at ESRI User Conference

The family and I had a blast tonight at the Thursday night party. I’ll post some pictures of my son dancing with a little girl to GRIDLOCK. It was nice meeting Steve’s family and his little boy is just a riot. I also bumped into many of people I hadn’t seen in years and a ton of new friends I’ve made over the course of this UC.

I’d also like to let J know that his work on the New Zealand Post ArcGIS Server project is just about the most impressive GIS programming work I have ever seen given the scope, time-line and requirement. Everyone at Eagle should be really proud of the work they did. A couple of us bloggers were at the presentation and we all were really happy to see such a large implementation of ArcGIS Server, not done by ESRI. Great work guys (and wouldn’t you know I still owe J lunch, catch you at the Developer Summit).

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The Road Ahead — ArcIMS and the ArcGIS Server

I was really interesting in learning about the changes and improvements to ArcGIS Server and ArcIMS with 9.2. Personally I’ve been a huge user of ArcIMS, but with the improvements to ArcGIS Server I’m looking at migrating our applications to it. Some plans for Server GIS ESRI is going to have free client apps such as ArcExplorer, improved developer tools (integrated tools for .NET and Java), integration of ArcIMS and ArcGIS with a common Application Development Framework (ADF), improved administration tools and support for standards.

With 9.2 ArcExplorer returns and many people I’ve talked to during the conference are excited about it. ArcExplorer is both a lightweight windows app and a browser based web app. No development is needed and they will support ArcGIS Server, ArcIMS and OGC. It supports both Map and Globe visualization so you’ll be able to publish your maps easily and to many desperate people. ArcReader has worked really well with publishing maps, but you need to have a PMF document. With ArcExplorer you can just connect to your GIS server (even embedded in your websites). The GUI for ArcExplorer is very simple and I think users will enjoy using it to view your maps. Novice users will be able to navigate your maps, but there is tons of functionality that more advanced users can take advantage of. The ArcExplorer web client takes advantage of some nice DHTML including seamless AJAX panning and some really slick map tips. The panning is so slick that you don’t have to wait for your map tiles to appear like you see with the Google Maps interface.

ArcIMS 9.2 is going to be a huge update from 9.1. ArcIMS 9.2 can publish to ArcExplorer web as well integration into standard IDE (Visual Studio.NET or Eclipse). As I said above, ArcExplorer Web is a huge leap from previous ESRI interfaces and even novice ArcIMS users can create maps that have really nice features such as map tips with ease. Yesterday I talked about the IDE integration so I won’t go over it here. The ArcIMS Designer is much improved with a .NET application that gives you a very simple interface to create your ArcExplorer Web applications. As with all 9.2 applications improved documentation should help all users get more out of their Arc applications. Art Haddad’s demo of the Web Application Designer has a Microsoft Office look and feel to it so you’ll feel very comfortable (drop down lists and wizards are everywhere). You can forget about those old Java designer, author and administrator apps! Programmers can also take these web applications you create in designer right into your IDE. ArcIMS continues to support Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Mapping Service (WMS), Web Feature Service (WFS) and Catalog Service for Web (CSW). ESRI will also start supporting Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD).

The great new news with ArcGIS Server (and ArcIMS also) is the ADF. This should allow programmers to move between the two servers quickly and easily. As was said yesterday and above, integration in to the IDEs will make all programmers happy because it will simplify our workflows. Server now supports GeoProcessing and Globe Publishing. The demo on publishing an ArcGlobe service showed how easy it was to publish a Globe service. With Google Earth grabbing everyone’s attention creating this simple 3D views is going to be important to may users. The ability to serve 3D services on the internet will enable users to share some really powerful maps with many users and the speed at which ArcGIS Server serves them up will make their experience of these 3D views an enjoyable experience.

The ArcGIS map service allows you to publish very high quality maps with support for identify, find, select, query and other tools. These are pre-rendered and cached at multiple resolutions. Support for serving both static and dynamic data is also included. The demo showing panning around the world was so smooth that you’d never think that you were in a web application (thanks to some really impressive AJAX). Geocoding performace has improved by a factor of 4 over 9.1. They support both batch and single geocoding as well as reverse geocoding. You can use either shapefiles or Geodatabases.

The new Geodata Publishing allows you to browse, query, extract and replicate data. Support data exchange using XML, Geodatabase and other formats. The demo of checking out data from an ArcGIS Server app showed checking out data from a map view into a Personal Geodatabase. Then they added it to ArcMap and edited the downloaded data layers. Then they stopped editing and saved and the changes. With ArcMap you can then save only change changes into a Geodatabase. This database was then uploaded via that same web application and the changes were then reflected on the web. The process was very simple and I could this being very useful for enterprise users.

GeoProcessing is now available in ArcGIS Server so you can take your models that you’ve build in ArcMap/Catalog and allow your web users run these models. The demo showed a web application that allowed you to select an area, choose what layer you want to download, save a file (shapefile/geodatabase/other) and then pick the projection. This application ran a model that took the input parameters that were selected on the web page and hen passed them to the pre-built mode. Interoperability with ArcGIS now supports WMS Services, SML, KML (so you can serve to Google Earth) and others.

The ArcGIS Server for .NET ADF changes allows you to create some really nice looking is web controls. You can point at multiple services and put them in your map control. Better navication, find, and map tips as well as some web templates for ArcExplorer Web and Network Analysis. There are some new Javascript, Table of Contents and AJAX. There is a new optimized object model in Javascript (no longer trying to figure out those scripts) and AJAX web controls. The new designer in Visual Studio.NET gives you some really nice visual tools for customizing your web applications. Rather than creating many of the same tools (such as TOC, identify) yourself, you can almost drag an drop them into your web form.

The new features in ArcGIS Server for Java include many of the new changes that were outlined for .NET developers and better UNIX install and security. ArcExplorer Web Java Edition includes all the functions of ArcExplorer Web. You now have a pure Java API (ArcObjects are now Java), out of the box spatial Enterprise Java Beans (EJBs), support for all standard IDE’s and tight integration with Eclipse and SunCreator. The IDE integration is as slick as the .NET IDE integration. The Java tools are all cross platform compatible so you’ll be able to administer on any operating system.

The changes in ArcGIS Server and ArcIMS will really enable developers to push the envelope on their web applications. Many of the complaints developers have had in the past have been addressed and many of the new tools will greatly simplify our workflows.