Twelve Things Worth Knowing from Esri 2014 User Conference Q&A

Esr UC 2014 LogoEsri’s User Conference Q&A seems to get longer each year. To explore the original document posted on Tuesday readers needed to click on a question and then return to the main document to click on another question. There's now a view on one page option.

Still, I’ve saved you some clicks. Here are twelve trends and facts worth knowing as the GIS world prepares to converge on San Diego in the coming days. I’ve rewritten the questions and included Esri’s text in quotes. The links go directly to the question in the Q&A document and other Esri docs. The opinions are my own.

How does Esri think about acquisitions? In the past few years the company acquired Geoloqi, GeoIQ, and Procedural.

“We don’t approach these acquisitions as ways to grow our business, but rather as ways to improve our product and our development teams.” 

Is Esri heading toward the consumer market?

There is some overlap, but no. “However, our primary business remains with geospatial professionals and enterprise users who leverage our platform for their organizations.”

What’s up with Open Data in ArcGIS Online?

“Since it [open data tools for ArcGIS Online] has been released, over 600 organizations have stood up the open data application with more coming every day.” Esri boasts more than 100,000 organizations as users and 700,000+ organizational users of ArcGIS Online.

ArcGIS Pro?

It’s part of ArcGIS for Desktop at 10.3 (expected release Q4 2014). “It is for anyone who works with geospatial information.” “ArcGIS Pro will have a new licensing model based on Named Users of ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS.” “ArcGIS Pro uses Python version 3.4.0.” which many not be compatible with existing ArcGIS for Desktop scripts.

Is ArcGIS for Server still needed?

ArcGIS Online can do a lot of the things users did with ArcGIS for Server. But, there are things only ArcGIS for Server can do including providing support for databases, multi-user geodatabases, and imagery, etc.

How is ArcGIS Online growing to meet enterprise needs?

Support for metadata is coming in 2015. Credits are cheaper and are no longer used for accessing maps and layers, and storage.

Update: 7/10/14 I seem to have misunderstood the original response to this question. Esri informed me it's been updated to be more clear (changes in bold): 

Over the last two years (since the inception of ArcGIS Online) cloud hosting and computational infrastructure costs have continued to decline. In recognition of that we have lowered the price per credit and changed which functions require credits. Specifically this means that geocoding, routing, and geoenrichment pricing has been decreased significantly, pricing for storage and infrastructure-use has also decreased, and credits are no longer used for accessing maps and layers.

What’s the future for developers?

ArcGIS Runtimes are the future. ArcGIS Engine is still supported, but many can use the Runtimes instead.

Data & Maps layers DVDs are gone? What?

The data layers are now in ArcGIS Online and will no longer be shipped with the software.

When will Esri support navigation in its mobile applications so apps can include features like Google and Apple have?

“Many users require the ability to navigate to their assets via voice guidance. We are currently developing a new app that will

  • Perform offline navigation using Esri’s basemaps
  • Support navigation using your own authoritative content that may contain private roads and trails you manage”

Expect it Q2 2015.

State of Mac support?

There continues to be no plan for ArcGIS for Desktop on Mac OS, but it runs fine in an emulator like Bootcamp. Explorer for ArcGIS will run natively on the Mac OS. It’ll be available at the User Conference. It requires an ArcGIS Online Organizations account and can access maps from ArcGIS Online, Portal for ArcGIS, and ArcGIS for Server.

“Developers can develop native apps for Mac OS using the ArcGIS Runtime SDK for OS X.”

Future of ArcPAD?

“We know many users have made a significant investment in ArcPad and the devices it runs on. Future ArcPad releases will focus on quality improvements (bug fixes), ensure support/compatibility with the rest of the platform, and bring new enhancements and functionality based on user feedback. “ That does not sound like a strong endorsement for the future.

Hot skills for job seekers?

“Some of the most frequently mentioned skills in GIS-related job descriptions are the ones you mention: Python and common database query languages such as SQL. This year Esri announced that JavaScript/HTML5 is recommended for web development due to its cross-browser compatibility and popularity.” It’d be interesting to see if other vendors and the open source community point to the same skills.

Published Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Written by Adena Schutzberg

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