Esri UC: Observations on a Tremendous Event - Part One

Author’s Note: A Vice President, Kevin Switala, GISP, manages daily operations at GeoDecisions with a focus on U.S. federal and international project capture and delivery. He supports resource management, helps develop business, and provides project lifecycle oversight. Read Kevin's full bio.

Having not attended the Esri® User Conference (UC) for a few years due to other conflicts and travel, I was pleased to see that the attendance, enthusiasm, and stimulating discussions remained as strong as ever in 2016. I would be surprised if this year’s conference did not finally exceed the plateau of 20,000 attendees.

President’s Perspective

The UC plenary presentation was inspirational, layering evocative imagery from around the world with excerpts from past UC keynote addresses. I have to admit pining for a little James Earl Jones voice-over, but hearing the powerful words of Jane Goodall, Martin O’Malley, and others gave one the sense of true empowerment.

I have seen several of Esri President Jack Dangermond’s presentations in recent years as he continues to evolve his vision of Web GIS, and his 2016 Esri UC plenary presentation was, as always, thought provoking. Initially, Web GIS supported and integrated Systems of Record. More recently, our collective work actively supports and enriches Systems of Engagement as real-time, pervasive data exchange occurring between people and systems.

Hello, World!

The next evolution in this pattern presented by Jack during the UC was that Web GIS now facilitates a System of Insight. This allows us to analyze data and information to draw new conclusions as we could never do before.

If you have not yet gotten a chance to see the UC plenary, I strongly recommend you go here and view the ‘Enabling a Smarter World’ segment:

Oh, and did I mention that Jack announced that all Esri self-paced online learning courses will now be FREE!