Things I saw at 2014 Esri Petroleum GIS Conference (#EsriPUG)

I hope all of you got to attend and experience the 2014 Esri Petroleum GIS Conference. I met many of my colleagues and friends – old and new, and got to engage in exciting conversations around leveraging geospatial data, capabilities, standards and technologies.


The conference got off to a great start with a packed day-long plenary session. The plenary was kicked off by Geoff Wade of Esri and Andrea Le Pard, PUG Chairman, and Andrea introduced “The New PUG”. We learned first-hand the PUG’s mission of being the professional industry organization for GIS Professionals and users. The focus of her presentation was on the ways to get involved with


the PUG.  During the plenary, the inclusion of a discussion on the development of a geospatial discipline and a focus on standard workflows, in addition to the next generation of technology, was well received by the audience. I overheard many people claim ”… one of the best plenary sessions I every attended!”

On the technology front, people were excited about the new AGOL templates that Esri has built for oil and gas (like the Summary Viewer, and Incident Management template) that make it really easy to deploy targeted web mapping applications without any custom development. On the desktop side, ArcGIS Pro, as always, garnered a lot of attention and users eagerly await its arrival.

Also well received, were the sessions around Geospatial Sciences as a Discipline and a recognized profession, both during the plenary and in the user presentations that followed.



The panel discussion on Thursday was quite active and the conversation has carried forth into an ongoing LinkedIn Discussion

Some of the key presentations, topics and ideas that were most liked (based on a completely unscientific survey I conducted with my team and with the larger PUG LinkedIn group) included the following, in no particular order

  • Web Enabling Databases with ArcGIS Server by Ismael Chivite, Esri – Ismael is the Product Manager for ArcGIS Server and anytime he speaks, you can hear the passion he has for his product. The session was enjoyable not just because his zeal is infectious, but also because people were able to realize the value of leveraging this technology to provide easy access to spatial data to their entire organization.
  • Many users were thrilled to learn about dynamic workspaces and layers and were keen to go back and test the usability of both in their organizations. Even though dynamic workspaces were available in 10.1, there were still many users who were not aware of their potential till they saw the demonstrations.
  • The Activity Dashboard for AGOL and Portal will see immediate deployment and use in almost any organization leveraging AGOL and/or Portal for ArcGIS as its content management and web mapping platform
  • The paper on Full Field Decision Support for Road, Pipeline, and Well Pad Siting by Integrated Informatics provided good case studies for using GIS in unconventional resource development
  • There were numerous other votes that ranged from tech presentations (SQL Query and Field Calculator Tips) to ones about developing the geospatial profession.

I did receive feedback on what should be improved, that I have decided to include as is here:

  • The plenary session – Remove the tables, just have chairs, this allow more breathing room for the attendees and allow people to get by without majorly disturbing the entire row to get by and allowing more people into the hall instead of having to stand in the back”
  • “Perhaps more time for questions?
  • “It seem holding the event on a Friday did not do any favors for attendance on the last sessions”
  • “The lunch break is terribly long and seems to drag a bit. That’s the only issue that I could see.”


While the primary responsibility of organizing the conference falls squarely on Esri’s shoulders, the PUG Steering Committee works closely with Esri to help draft the agenda by selecting papers and scheduling them accordingly, choose the content for the plenary, find and organize the moderators in addition to presenting the work being done in various workgroups of the PUG. It is a lot of volunteer work that is done willingly and with a lot of passion by us. Please post your thoughts and comments about what you liked and disliked about the conference this year so that we can continue to make it better each year!.


Last, but not the least – there were many fun giveaways at the exhibitor booths. My favorite?…..this one!



By Tarun Chandrasekhar, PUG Steering Committee, External Relations

The PUG would like to thank our sponsors for their support: Blueback Reservoir, BP, Coler & Colantonio (a CHA company), Esri, Exprodat, GeoPropel, Landworks, Logic Solutions Group, Schlumberger, TeachMeGIS and Trimble.

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