Esri FedGIS: Abundant GIS Solutions

During the Esri Federal GIS Conference (Esri FedGIS), I witnessed many of the new GIS technologies and learned useful tips for configuring Esri® solutions. In addition to plenary sessions, the conference offered a variety of workshops for user experiences and developers.

Introducing ArcGIS Pro 1.2 with Advanced 3-D Capabilities

The conference focused a great deal on illustrating the capabilities of the recently released product, ArcGIS Pro 1.2, along with demonstrating the general functions of ArcGIS Pro desktop. As it becomes more compatible with Esri’s ArcGIS Online applications, the 64-bit ArcGIS Pro is gradually replacing the 32-bit ArcGIS for Desktop. Marketed as a 2-D and3-D product, ArcGIS Pro enables users to view 3-D data without extra licensing. This is not the case with ArcGIS for Desktop, which requires licensing such as ArcScene and ArcGlobe to view 3-D. However, a 3-D analyst license is required in order to edit or publish 3-D data though ArcGIS Pro.

Another capability that distinguishes ArcGIS Pro from ArcGIS for Desktop is the ability to author scenes directly into ArcGIS Online. This will increase the popularity of and access to 3-D online modeling. It will be exciting to see the wider impacts of these changes in the future!

Vector Basemap Tiles

Also a hot topic at the conference, vector basemaps are considered a revolutionary way to create customizable basemaps. The current basemaps are based on multi-scale image tiles delivered as pre-rendered image tiles (JPG or PNG format) that have some limitations. For example, they are not customizable and produce low-resolution images to be displayed on high-resolution devices. The new basemaps can be issued through ArcGIS Pro 1.2 as vector tiles (PBF format) that are rendered client-side based on a style file that is delivered with the vector tiles. Esri recently published several vector basemaps through their ArcGIS Online, where users can make copies and customize coloring using JSON editor.  

ArcGIS Open Data as a Sharing Platform  

One of the most interesting sessions of this conference was titled “Using ArcGIS to Build Open Data Infrastructure.” The Open Data product comes as part of the ArcGIS Online subscription without the need for extra licensing.

This product enables ArcGIS Online administrators to create a platform providing the public with open access to their authoritative data. This product is useful for organizations trying to establishing Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). It provides a good platform for sharing spatial and non-spatial data along with the ability to search for the metadata.

Increased Drone Use for Data Collection

With sweeping advancements in drone technologies, several conference sessions focused on methods of collecting data using drone images and videos. Esri has released the Drone2Map for ArcGIS, a desktop app designated for processing both drone and unmanned aerial vehicle data collection. Drone2Map offers a complete workflow for processing the drone imagery from post flight through final imagery production.

In Summary

The Esri FedGIS was packed with snapshots of what’s on the horizon. The event offered in-depth demonstrations of the reach and usefulness of Esri’s existing flagship products.