2015 ESRI UC Recap

The 2015 International ESRI User Conference was held in San Diego, CA last month and I was in attendance to see the latest news and information from ESRI. There were over 16,000 attendees for over 135 countries, the largest crowd ever in attendance. The theme this year was “Apply Geography Everywhere” and Jack Dangermond, founder and CEO of ESRI, opened the conference with enthusiasm. In the opening session Jack stated that Geography and GIS will continue to be a valuable and critical component of solving the problems that we have in the world today. GIS is in a perfect position to accomplish this because it can see the whole picture by monitoring, visualizing, optimizing, and automating our world in a virtual platform and it is able to provide smart thinking and action. Jack put forth the idea that the world is entering into a period of Geographic Enlightenment and that GIS is awakening the world into the power of Geography. Geographic Enlightenment is described as “…understanding the interconnectedness of things.” As GIS professionals, we are going to be the ones who are responsible for innovating and implementing this period of Geographic Enlightenment by showing the world the power of Geography.


It was apparent from the start of the conference that the focus of the week would be centered around WebGIS. Jack stated that WebGIS is a transformational architecture that is a “system of engagement” that will be connecting everything in our daily lives. This can be accomplished in a GeoInformation Model that organizes the spatial data from various sources. It will help us achieve a real-time GIS and a connected GIS that will be involved in every aspect of our lives. In the plenary session on Monday, ESRI provided a lot of examples of a connected or WebGIS with examples from the Southwest Florida Management District, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Beck’s Hybrids, and State of Victoria, Australia.

New Technology/Features Announced:

Several new products and technologies were announced in the plenary session. New focus areas include Data Management and expanding support into big data including support for SAP Hana and Hadoop®. Another new feature announced included the release of Dynamic Image Processing.  This new technology will allow you to zoom in on an image and perform analysis on a portion of the image, dynamically on the fly, instead of creating a new file each time you perform a process.

Vector tiles were introduced and previewed at the conference. Vector tiles are similar to raster tiles in that data is pre-rendered at various map scales, cut into tiles and then cached for quick delivery. Vector tiles will be released later in the fall of 2015.

Other improvements include adding Bayesian regression to the Spatial Analysis tools, adding support for the statistical package R, and speed improvements to online Geocoding.

ArcGIS for Petroleum

The Petroleum tract was on Tuesday and it was packed with presentations from various companies in our industry. There were over 300 people in attendance for the Petroleum sessions so it was a good turnout. The Petroleum Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting was held at noon and there was a lot of discussion on the Geospatial Workflows with a lot of interest from the group. During the PUG Technical discussion, PUG Steering Committee member Jacob Boyle provided an overview of the PUG List and he spoke on issues and enhancements that have been presented to ESRI.

ArcGIS Product News

Here are some quick updates on what is coming for specific ArcGIS products.

Desktop – Desktop will include new and improved geoprocessing, space-time modeling, image processing, and LAS tools. ESRI emphasized that ArcMap will be supported well into the future.

ArcGIS Pro – ESRI will support customization of Pro in 10.4 and ESRI will support concurrent Pro licensing at a later date.

AppStudio for ArcGIS – This is a new tool for you to convert your apps to maps and deploy them on multiple platforms.

ArcGIS Server – New & improved Smart Mapping, 3D web scenes, spatial analysis, Azure support. Portal now ships with AGS 10.3.

ArcGIS Earth – Probably one of the biggest announcements was ESRI introducing ArcGIS Earth. ArcGIS Earth is a lightweight 3D globe viewer that allows you to view 2D/3D data. AGS Earth can view KML, ArcGIS Server, Online data. ArcGIS earth will be a free-viewer that will be made available later this year.

So what is planned for the near future for the ArcGIS platform? ArcGIS Pro 1.2 is scheduled to come out towards the end of 2015 and ArcGIS 10.4 will be released early next year.

ESRI Direction

So how is ESRI doing and where are they going?

ESRI has reported that they are strong and continue to grow as a company. ESRI has invested in (and continues to invest in) professional development through virtual classes, MOOC, ESRI Press, and GeoNet. Jack announced that home use licensing will extend to the entire product, not just the desktop. ESRI also emphasized its relationship with startups, NGOs in areas of conservation and education. In Jack’s closing remarks during the opening day, he noted that it has been about 50 years since maps first began being put onto a computer, and that we have come a long way since then and it is exciting to think about what is to come.

Chris Shanks, PUG Steering Committee Member

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

One Comment on “2015 ESRI UC Recap

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