Yesterday (Monday, July 26) was the official kick-off to the ESRI User Conference. In traditional fashion we were introduced and welcomed to the event bright and early by ESRI President Jack Dangermond.
To start, Dangermond asked the crowd to all take a moment a meet a new person… after all, GIS is about communicating and sharing isn’t it? We saw amazing slides and videos of ESRI user scenarios from around the Globe. Additionally, some 150 ESRI users were mentioned as the annual recipients of special achievement awards (I won’t bother listing them all here!). This year’s conference theme was explained to us by Dangermond as “GIS: Helping Manage Our World” – the reason for this selection – Our World is over-populated, urbanized, connected, globalized, and fragile. We are faced with problems such as Global warming and rising sea levels and we need to better manage our World.
Some of the many examples of the uses of ESRI solutions in action that Dangermond cited include:
Tsunami disaster relief
Hurricane damage assessment
Urban & economic planning
And the list goes on!
ESRI’s solutions are involved in some way in pretty much every resource management effort you can think of.
Dangermond mentioned how he felt that GIS is evolving on the Internet and creating a distributed, global GIS. This will evolve into what he calls the GeoWeb – this will support the publishing and discovery of geospatial information and solutions. The GeoWeb will be connected, facilitated by standardized data models. It will be data-rich, and GIS web services will provide the framework. The GeoWeb will evolve extremely rapidly.
ESRI Software Strategies
We heard about the strategies and plan of attack as ESRI evolves to release 9.2. Expect an enhanced ArcGIS desktop with much improved geodata management. Key upgrades will target the product quality, usability, and performance. ArcGIS Server will be extended and more mobile solutions will come. ArcGIS 9.2 will come some time next year (likely prior to ESRI UC 26).
At 9.2 all 4 desktop solutions will see many improvements. Look for some of the following improvements:
Cogo construction tools
Advanced cartographic tools
New desktop sketching tool
More interoperability support
Animation in all apps
New geoprocessing tools
Management of terrain surfaces
More data formats supported
And much more
Particularly interesting in the forth-coming Image Web Server, a stand-alone solution that serves and processes imagery. Users can expect on-the-fly processing, orthorectification tools, pan sharpening, mosaicing, and other cool image processing functionality. My gut feeling is that people were genuinely excited about this product!
At 9.2 ArcIMS will be a major release. Users are told to expect a simpler install, new viewer, a new application designer, and support for .Net and Java integration.
ArcExplorer 9.2 will be a free, fast, attractive, simple, and fun web, mobile, and desktop client. Users will also be able to navigate and view data in 3D.
At 36 years old, the company has consistent 10% annual growth. ESRI is financially stable with zero debt and many business partners. The company is still privately owned. Dangermond cited the company’s purpose:
To advance the use of GIS
Serve and support its users and partners
Develop a professional workforce
Support its employees
We’ll have more information about the event and ESRI’s products and solutions over the next several days. In closing, keep this in mind… “It’s more than just technology” (Jack Dangermond)