Diversity is KEY


As I am flying back from this year’s Esri DevSummit, I have been thinking about all the things I learned, the people I met, and solutions I saw. One theme stood out from all others - diversity. That term seems to focus on the people of this world and our community, how we are all different. At the DevSummit, diversity was the key – not just in the people but in the solutions we are generating in the GIS arena as well.

There is no question that the IT industry is an incredibly diverse community, but our little niche GIS community appears to have an exponential path to diversity. That is a beautiful thing!  It shows in the work the GIS community is doing and the solutions we are creating to better this world in which we live. It was more apparent this week than ever before in the collaboration, camaraderie, teaching, and shear number of excited, driven developers and solution architects that made this year’s DevSummit the largest in history. Stories from around the world were on display and innovation was at the forefront. Diverse tools, challenges, solutions, and people made this week memorable. I spoke to a few that had never experienced this event in the past and were overwhelmed and overjoyed by the experience. Personally, it is my favorite event of the year.

Our little community of GIS geeks and developer nerds, get to meet in this forum once a year to share ideas and focus on how the technology we create based on the software and services from Esri shape our minds and hearts. I personally have so many exciting ideas and things to share with my team members and clients from this week. Architecting solutions, solving problems, spearheading challenges that improve people’s lives is why I do what I do. This event gives me the tools and updates on core products to create those visions. Did I mention that the people rock too? Told you it was my favorite event of the year!

So, what did I learn this year that has me telling this story and raving about things? Simple: diversity is essential. The diverse offerings from Esri are becoming second nature to developers. The ability to plug products together to solve a problem is becoming easier not just for coders, but analysts too. Smaller organizations with less funding can provide cutting edge tools and data insights not possible in past years. ArcGIS Online and the ArcGIS suite will set the stage for some extraordinary solutions to be developed faster and maintained more easily. Data analytics with ease, field collection linking to workforce management linking to situational dashboards is now a much easier task. Technology has a big part in that. Sessions on machine learning, AI, AR/VR demonstrate that those things are here and no longer pipe dreams. 3D is no longer just a pretty cool picture of buildings. Real analysis on mobile devices can be done. GPUs are now able to produce high-res imagery and data at lightning speeds to a browser and desktop. The list goes on and on. 

The diverseness of offerings and combinations of tools to get to the finish line is more prevalent than ever. Being a part of the diverse community of developers, analysts, scientists, and artists is humbling. Just being able to see what people can do is amazing and I have never been more proud and excited to be a part of it!

By: Nate Reck, Director of Government Solutions