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Seven Tech Takeaways from the 2015 Esri User Conference Plenary Session
More than 16,500 people from 130 countries who work with GIS technology attended the 2015 Esri User Conference, which Esri hosted last July in San Diego, California. They came for a multitude of reasons: to get new ideas on how to put GIS to work at their organizations; to dig deep into the technology at the popular tech sessions; to ask Esri staff questions; and to brush up on their skills using Esri ArcGIS at the Hands-on Learning Lab. While it’s impossible to recapture the spirit of personally interacting with peers, trying out GIS apps, and watching live demonstrations, the following seven takeaways from the conference’s Plenary Session will steer you toward technology you can try out now or what you should keep an eye out for in the very near future:
R – ArcGIS community launches on GitHub
Esri just launched the R – ArcGIS Community on GitHub. The new initiative’s goal is to build a collaborative community for R and ArcGIS users. R is an open source programming language for statistical analysis. “Now R users can directly access all their organization’s GIS data, and ArcGIS users can directly integrate R into their geoprocessing workfl ows,” said Esri’s Steve Kopp. Watch Kopp’s presentation, Statistical Integration with R.
Analyze very big data with ArcGIS
Mansour Raad, a senior software engineer for Esri, gave the audience a sneak preview of Esri’s Big Data GeoAnalytics extension for ArcGIS for Server, which is scheduled for release next year. He showed how Big Data GeoAnalytics was used to analyze where to plant 87 varieties of corn hybrids sold by Indiana-based seed company Beck’s Hybrids based on soil type, a specific time window, and heat and soil moisture. This added up to 300 billion spatial and temporal calculations. “We did these calculations in 10 minutes. Pretty impressive,” Raad said. “When small seeds are analyzed using Big Data GeoAnalytics, it yields big understanding. We believe Big Data GeoAnalytics will unleash new ways of looking at our world that we have never seen before.” Watch the demonstration.
Buzz builds for Esri App for Drone Imagery
Esri’s Tony Mason previewed Esri’s soonto- be released mapping app for drones, which he said “streamlines the processing of drone data.” Within 83 minutes of collecting still imagery of the Oatlands Historic House and Gardens in Leesburg, Virginia, with a drone, the raw data from a Secure Digital (SD) memory card was loaded, verified, processed, turned into a tile cache, and shared via an ArcGIS Online portal. “The app built a stunning mosaic from hundreds of images collected by the drone,” Mason said. “The imagery is so detailed, you can even see individual plants.” See how the imagery looks in ArcGIS.
Vector tiles are coming soon
Esri’s Nate Bennett got the audience up to speed on the fast, responsive vector tiles. “Data is prerendered at various map scales, cut into tiles, then cached for quick delivery,” he told the crowd at the Esri UC, as he showed an example of vector map tiles on-screen. “This looks like a regular raster base mount. But it’s not. As the map rotates, watch the labels dynamically orient.” Very cool! See vector tiles in action.
Start making Apps with AppStudio for ArcGIS
Esri’s Ismael Chivite, Sathya Prasad, and Elvin Slavik demonstrated how to create native apps for multiple platforms quickly using the configurable application templates and other functionality in the new AppStudio for ArcGIS. Best of all, there’s no coding required. AppStudio for ArcGIS is now in beta. View the demonstrations.
Choose from ArcGIS Ready-to-Use Apps
Chivite also introduced Esri’s lineup of ready-to-use ArcGIS apps in an entertaining app speed dating session, complete with songs performed by an app rapper and a country singer. The apps include Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS, Navigator for ArcGIS, Explorer for ArcGIS, ArcGIS Pro, and Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS. All the apps are available today, so watch the video and then decide: Which app or apps do you want to use?
See what’s popular in the world of web GIS
Esri’s technology evangelist Bern Szukalski walked the audience through top trends in web GIS, including the establishment of public and private portals for geospatial information, the growing amount of authoritative content that’s available through sources such as the Living Atlas of the World, and easy-to-use analysis tools and smart mapping capabilities such as datadriven web cartography available in ArcGIS Online. Watch the entire demo.
Want to attend next year’s Esri User Conference? First save the dates June 27-July 1, 2016, and visit the conference website regularly for registration information and other updates.
– Carla Wheeler, Esri