- Author: Shane Feirer
Day 3 of the ESRI User Conference, new tools, new story maps, and new ways to work with data.
New Tools, ESRI is supporting new tools with the python and R programming languages. With python they have integrated the ability to easily use 3rd party libraries within ArcGIS by integrating conda into the upcoming release of ArcGIS Pro 1.3 and they have also made it possible to use python to manage ArcGIS online content with the Python API. With R, ESRi has released a ArcGIS R Bridge that allows for the use use or esri data sets in R and the easy use or results from your R analyzes in ArcGIS.
New Story Maps, at the user conference last year, ESRI highlighted a new story map style called the cascade story map. I found out yesterday that they have developed an app builder for this new style of story map and they have also released another style called a crowdsource story map. I also reached out to the developers of story maps today and found out they are developing a new template, they are going to share this new template with us. I cannot wait to see how these storymaps will be used by UCANR in the coming months / year.
New ways to work with data, ESRI has developed new ways to work with data, these data may include Big Data or Multi-dimensional Data. In the case of Multi-dimensional Data they have highlighted new tools to work with netcdf data, but they also showed how that are using existing tools within ArcGIS to work with Multi-dimensional Data. These tools start by importing Multi-dimensional Data into raster mosaics and they using the full suite of ArcGIS tools on these data structures. When it comes to Big Data, they have created a new suite or tools and capabilities within ArcGIS that will allow us to perform big data analysis directly within ArcGIS. Multi-dimensional Data can be used now with ArcGIS and Big Data Analytics will be available in the coming months.
I look forward to seeing what the 4th day will bring.
The final day of the Dev Summit has come and gone. Some highlights:
Later, I had a look at JS optimization; in particular, ESRI's Web Optimizer. This is a really neat tool that's actually been around for a while, but which I had completely forgotten about. In a nutshell, it allows users to create a custom build of the API containing only the modules which are called in the code of their application. This drastically improves loading times and performance.
I finished out the day with two "road ahead" sessions outlining future development. Keeping with the theme of the day, one covered plans for the JS API, particularly the 4.0 release which should be entering beta in the coming months. Things to look forward to: 3D support, improved 2D performance, new classes, and script simplification.
The other "road ahead" session was billed as "ArcGIS Desktop and Pro" but only covered ArcGIS Pro. There are some pretty cool features like vector tile map and web scene authoring, lots of 3D functionality and range sliders for exploring multi-dimensional data. Overall, Pro looks like a really powerful application. However, at the end of the session, the first audience question was, "What about ArcGIS Desktop?" The answer: "ArcGIS Pro is part of the desktop environment." This was followed by a second question: "Is there a road ahead for Desktop?" After some hemming and hawing by the ESRI devs, we were told, "We'll cover that at the User Conference." Sounds like yet another hint at the inevitable demise of the traditional ArcGIS Desktop.
Overall, this was a great conference and an invaluable learning experience. I look forward to putting what I learned to good use and I hope to attend the Dev Summit again in the future.
It was another great day at the Dev Summit. The morning started off with a keynote address from John Tomizuka, Co-founder and CTO of Taqtile, a mobile app development company based in Seattle. John shared some of his successes and missteps in the world of app development and emphasized that two of the most important things to keep in mind when developing any app are a focus on the user and their needs as well as an in-depth understanding of the data you are working with.
I followed this with a session on UX/UI design for web apps. Good app design is something that many developers, myself included, don't always think about. I picked up some great tips like considering an app in the "empty state" rather than just going to a preconfigured template which may not really suit the task at hand and using task-focused workflows and UI patterns to really create clean, useful apps.
The afternoon was spent on sessions dealing with working with raster and feature data in Python as well as a more in-depth look at the Smart Mapping Initiative that was covered in yesterday's plenary. What I hadn't realized before is that the Smart Mapping interface has completely replaced the standard symbology tab in ArcGIS Online. All the full functionality is still there for users who are comfortable customizing all the options, but the default options are much more simple and driven by the data so that novice user can create great maps out of the box.
One more day to go. I'm looking forward to seeing more of ESRI's future devfelopment plans tomorrow.
ESRI's Developer Summit in Palm Springs is taking place this week. It is a much smaller, more tightly focused event than the User Conference which takes place later in the summer. While the UC covers everything ESRI has to offer, the Dev Summit is all about developing applications within the ArcGIS environment.
I am fortunate enough to be attending this year; here are some highlights from Day One:
The opening plenary session was jam-packed with updates to the ArcGIS platform, some recently implemented and others still in development. One of the most interesting from my point of view is the new Smart Mapping feature built into ArcGIS Online. Smart Mapping is a simple, yet powerful data symbolization tool which presents the user with a set of "smart" defaults driven by analysis of the data loaded into the map. Users with little to no experience in cartographic design can load a dataset into the map and then easily apply styling to that data to tell the story that they want. Heat maps, attribute based transparencies and continuous color ramps with variable range sliders are all available with just a click of the mouse. This is another step in the devlopment of ArcGIS Online to make it painless for anyone to create rich, meaningful maps.
Another great new technology showcased today are vector tile maps. Unlike tradition raster-based map tiles, vector tiles are subdivided based on data density rather than a fixed grid overlay. This allows for much smaller tile sets with near instantaneous draw speeds. Watching one of the ESRI devs pan and zoom around a vector tile based webmap and seeing almost no lag in data refresh was really incredible. ESRI plans on relaseing this technology progressively over the course of 2015.
One of the more interesting aspects of the conference so far was the way ESRI seem to be pushing ArcGIS Pro. They're still maintaining that it's not going to replace the traditional ArcGIS Desktop environment (which is scheduled for a new release at the end of the year) but the fact that they're pushing it so hard and that certain features (such as the aforementioned vector tile maps) are only available through Pro lead me to believe the traditional desktop environment is going to be slowly phased out.
All in all, this was a great start to the conference. I can't wait to see what else is in store for the next couple of days. Stay tuned!
- Author: Shane Feirer
The UC system and Esri, the world leader in GIS software, have an agreement that allows each UC campus to distribute software to students and faculty. IGIS worked collaboratively with UCOP and the UC system to expand the master site agreement to enable academics and staff within UC ANR access to software and tools provided by ESRI. Because UC ANR is covering the cost for the whole division, UC ANR users will have access to these software and tools at no additional cost.
This change in the master site license will benefit UC ANR in several ways. First, academics and staff who want to use ESRI GIS software (ArcMap) will not need to buy the software from an affiliated UC campus. We can now distribute ESRI GIS software and licenses to academics and staff in UC ANR at no additional cost. Second, UC ANR will have a cloud-based geoportal hosted by ESRI on ArcGIS Online for Organization (http://ucanr.maps.arcgis.com/home/) where academics and staff will be able to browse maps and data created by others within UC ANR. At the geo-portal we will be able be to create and share data and maps containing mash-ups of our data, as well as data from others available from the web. These online maps can then be used to create web mapping applications, mobile apps and dynamic maps for use in presentations. Third, with the access to the new software and tools, problems will arise that we may not be able to resolve on our own. In the past we would have had to work through one of the campuses to receive technical support; now we have direct access to technical support within ESRI.
How do you get access to the new tools?
ArcGIS Software and Data— Desktop application and data that academics and staff can use to create maps and analyze spatial data. To get access to the software you need to go to http://ucanr.edu/sites/IGIS/ESRI_Software and login with your ANR Portal credentials and submit the ESRI Download form. After you submit the form you will receive the links to download the image files for the ESRI Software. Staff at IGIS will create an authorization file and email it to you to complete your installation.
ArcGIS Online for Organization— A cloud-based geo-portal where academics and staff can browse maps and data created by others within UC ANR. To get access to the geo-portal at http://ucanr.maps.arcgis.com/home with the ability to add data and create maps and apps, you will need to request a login from email@example.com and complete the user registration.
For more information, contact Shane Feirer at (707) 744-1424 x114 or firstname.lastname@example.org.