ESRI UC 2010 – Friday 16th July

Basemap design
Given by Wes and Charlie at ESRI this session talked about various interesting concepts in map design including the “map sandwich”! Within ArcGIS 10 basemap layers are now cached so where data does not change and is used as a reference then the Basemap layer should be used. Various case studies were then covered including the 192021.org project (will be released as basemaps in ArcGIS in the autumn (fall)), World Topographic Basemaps and finally the census TIGER basemap project. A  key conclusion -basemaps underpin a new map paradigm and simplify mapping for non-GIS and GIS users.

Closing Session
After introductions, the map gallery awards were greeted by rounds of applause. Ken Field from Kingston University won at least 3 awards and most importantly won the best overall map. Well done Ken! His winning entry was “A World of Football” which must have confused at least half the audience – surely they’re used to football being played with oval balls and helmets.

Then came the questions – the first 5 from recordings. Alex from Informed Solutions, had a question about where ArcGIS is heading over the next 5 years. Scott Morehouse from ESRI answered about a move towards GIS being part of successful system implementations and lightweight and embedded GIS. ESRI’s beta programme will help to achieve this. For ESRI, their core aim is to advance Geographical Information Science.

Next questions, GIS on the Mac? No plans for this but energy is being put into developing for iOS. This has been seen in terms of the development for iPad and iPhone.

Question #3, on internet and GIS. Will continue to grow, as seen with the development of publishing and sharing maps on ArcGIS.com. GIS should be the next internet!

Q #4: Will GIS converge to IT/IS? No definitely not. ESRI aiming for the other way round – GIS in everything!

A host of other queries from the audience – see here for the closing video
 

ESRI UC 2010 – Thursday 15th July

ESRI’s use of standards
New metadata tools in ArcCatalog aim to provide auto-collection of metadata where possible. A new search tool looks pretty cool. Metadata now available for ArcMap and for tools in ArcToolbox.

Advanced cartography in PLTS
I didn’t stay long at this one but it went into use of cartographic representations and setting pre-configured cartographic rules.

Using GIS for conservation work
Steven Eglinton (a fellow UK citizen!) talked about his charity, GeoEnable, and their work on the Iracambi project. He raised the point that moving towards an always connected environment with the web and mobile comms etc. is all very well for developed countries but does not very well in the developing world. I completely agree – solutions need to match their intended users.

Best practice – deploying solutions in an enterprise environment
A very useful session promoting the idea of a conceptual reference architecture as, not only the system architecture, but as a road map for development. There should be a high-level diagram which is sufficient to allow people to understand what is going on, alongside a more complex “techy” diagram. The point was made that proper solution architecture is critical for success and overcoming business challenges. More info on tech architecture will appear on resources.arcgis.com – note also that ESRI follow standard IT practices ….GIS isn’t a special case usually.

Mobile GIS applications
Presentation on mobile data capture in St Vincent and the Grenadines given by me! About 40 people attended – all from the US. I gave a live demo of the web GIS part of the system. A copy of the presentation can be found here. The second presentation in the session was given by Brain Winkey and Midge Bradley from Accela on “GIS-infused solutions”. Some interesting concepts and solutions which Accela have developed which make use of ArcGIS Engine and ArcGIS Server.

Using temporal Data in ArcGIS 10
There is improved temporal data management in ArcGIS 10. Hardeep and David from ESRI gave a good technical presentation and demonstration and issued the following points for best practice when working with time data in ArcGIS:
– use the DATE field
– Index the DATE field
– Always use UTC (or GMT) when working with time zones
– Make use of the time data conversion tools in ArcToolbox
– Make use of basemap layers

ESRI UC 2010 – Wednesday 14th July

Advanced ArcPad and new in ArcPad 10
Use emulators for development – ability to share a folder on the desktop PC with the emulator. Multiple emulators can be run on a desktop PC e.g. Windows Mobile 5 Emulator, Windows Mobile 5 Emulator etc.
The key improvement with ArcPad 10 is AXF data file recovery…no more unobtainable data! You can now edit related table forms. Easier to use ArcPad studio and introduction of an expert mode. Improved map navigator and ability to customise.

GIS in disaster recovery
A user presentation by David Harms Holt, PhD on the use of GIS and mobile GIS to conduct a blight evaluation following Hurricane Katrina. Made use of the Flex API for data dissemination – more information here. Also a presentation on FEMA’s response to the same disaster.

Presenter resources
A very useful session where I could practise my presentation and get help from the staff. This is a really good idea and will also help to raise the overall standard of user presentations. This was the best set of user presentations I had seen at a GIS conference ….. however I learnt much more from the ESRI technical sessions!

What’s new in Arc GIS Server 10
Good 1 hour presentation into what’s new covering
– enhanced web mapping
– web 2.0 editing e.g. editing within JS, Silverlight and Flex APIs
– Amazon EC2 cloud services
– Server-based analysis
– ArcGIS.com – now anyone can create a web map!!!

ArcPad User Group meeting
Interesting 1 hour session with about 40 people from very different industries who all use ArcPad. Sal from LA county described their implementation of ArcPad for refuse services. Chad from Electronic Data Solutions described the use of their product Sentinel GIS for mosquito control by a number of agencies. Elvin Slavik gave his thoughts on the future of ArcPad which he describing as ever “evolving product” which he likened to a “toolbox of tools”.

 

ESRI UC 2010 – Tuesday 13th July

Introduction to ArcSDE – Oracle
A useful introduction to Oracle with some tips and tricks for set-up and administration. Within ArcSDE (not specific to Oracle) rasters can now be stored in a Raster column called ST_Raster. This enables SQL queries to be performed on rasters – useful for loading rasters and building pyramids.

What’s new in ArcGIS 10
Improvements to ArcGIS 10 including the following key points
– ArcCatalog now within ArcMap!
– Mapbooks inside ArcMap
– Python scripting in map interface
– Better raster analysis
– 3D editing and other 3D enhancements
– More intuitive editing environment
– Direct SQL access
– Attach documents within the File GDB
– ArcGIS.com – access user content
– Caching workflows
– Mobile – apps for iPad and iPhone
– caching for basemap layers

Planet Action Foundation
A SpotImage (and others) initiative to donate small amounts of imagery to non-profit organisations. Currently 350 projects and looking for more whilst wanting to move into training and education.

INSPIRE Fusion Center
An ESRI SDI solution for INSPIRE. Not well attended but looks like the option for INSPIRE related metadata collection in ESRI solutions. The data preparation required makes heavy use of Safe FME.
 
ArcGIS 10 – Map Automation and Scripting using Python
Makes use of ArcPy.Mapping. Enables the creation of mapbooks from 1 ArcMap MXD. Note that Python in the map environment is not seeking to replace ArcObjects. The map automation examples work on the principle of manually authoring the MXD layout in ArcMap and then using Python to automate repetitive tasks e.g. add text to multiple MXDs, find and replace text etc. Data driven pages.

Topics I attended at ESRI UC

The ESRI UC was amazing! A GIS filled week with a vast array of interesting topics. I attended the following sessions – the ESRI tech sessions being the most useful I felt. More detail on these to follow.

Introduction to ArcSDE – Oracle
What’s new in ArcGIS 10
Planet Action Foundation
INSPIRE Fusion Center
ArcGIS 10 – Map Automation and Scripting using Python
ArcPad 10
GIS in disaster recovery
Presenter resources
What’s new in Arc GIS Server 10
ArcPad User Group meeting
ESRI’s use of standards
Advanced cartography in PLTS
Using GIS for conservation work
Best practice – deploying solutions in an enterprise environment
Mobile GIS applications
Using temporal Data in ArcGIS 10