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Esri GeoConX 2019 Attracts Largest Community of Utility GIS Professionals

Blog Post created by PHohl-esristaff Employee on Dec 3, 2019

The 2019 GeoConX meetup held at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, Georgia, saw the largest number of utility and telecom GIS professionals ever gathered to share their work, collaborate on new projects, and discuss new ways of leveraging GIS and location intelligence to support utilities.  The theme was: Geo-Enabling the Intelligent Enterprise.

 

GeoConX 2019 had its highest registration ever with 1,192 attendees from 414 different companies,  a 25% increase over last year. This year’s conference also included the AEC Summit to kick things off and concluded with the Water Summit.

 

The event kicked off with a half-day opening plenary session featuring geospatial thought leadership from Jack Dangermond, CEO of Esri, along with ArcGIS user presentations and ArcGIS technology updates.

 

Highlights from the plenary included our local “host” utility – Southern Company’s use of GIS across gas and electric business units with over 4,800 named users. They easily share information and increase operational efficiencies while also bringing new business to Georgia. Energy Queensland made a fascinating presentation on their Look Up And Live application which is routinely reducing accidents and saving lives in Australia.

 

Undoubtedly the most unique part of the plenary was a fun “magic show” by Esri’s Bill Meehan and Brian Baldwin demonstrating the capability of real-time IoT sensor integration in ArcGIS (no actual magic required).  The opening session really set the energy for the rest of the week and there was a lot of buzz around improving common utility workflows. Here are a few highlights from the week.

 

Peer Connects 

Connecting with peers is what GeoConX is all about. Each of the various peer-connects sessions were well attended with excellent discussions of timely topics.

Esri Technical Sessions

Esri staff engaged attendees with technical presentations on a long list of interesting topics. These included: Utility Network, Machine Learning, Understanding Customers with Business Analyst, Gas, Electric, Administration Tips & Tricks, System of Engagement, and System of Insight.

 

User Paper Sessions

Throughout the week, many users of Esri’s ArcGIS shared how they are Geo-Enabling their Intelligent Enterprises. There were so many good presentations it was often difficult to decide which one to attend. Here is just a sampling of the Sessions:

 

Gas – Integrating Enterprise Systems, Improving Data Quality, Risk and safety, Improving Field Facility Data, Field Operations, Asset Management, Improving Data Quality,

 

Electric – Emergency Management, Utility Network Migration, Utility Networks in Production, Grid Modernization, System Operations, Field Mobility, Asset Management, Field Operations and Analytics.

 

Tech Updates, Hands-on Learning Lab, and Data Health Check

Numerous new updates to Esri technology were shown at GeoConX and following the positive feedback of the hands-on learning lab last year, the lab was brought back this year and even more Esri products were available for attendees to try out and play with, and training courses were available for attendees to work through while at the event. The Data Health Check-up team took appointments to review and analyze customer GIS data, focusing on features and attributes and made specific recommendations.

 

  

New Tech Highlights:

  • Machine Learning Tools An update to the machine learning tools in ArcGIS was shared in a session that focused on spatial tools for classification, clustering, and prediction. Some of tools shown were Random Trees, Density-based Clustering, and Geographically Weighted Regression. Also, show was the integration of ArcGIS with external machine learning frameworks like TensorFlow and Scikit Learn. Image detection for detecting features in imagery, such as poles and sidewalks, gained a lot of interest from fiber planners.
  • Field Apps– The demonstrated Esri field apps showed how you can coordinate field activities using Workforce, how to efficiently get to the location of work using Navigator, how to gain spatial awareness and mark up maps using Explorer, how to accurately locate, capture and inspect assets using CollectorSurvey123, and QuickCapture, and how you can improve accountability and enhance situational awareness using Tracker and Operations Dashboard.
  • Sensors, Big Data, and Analytics– Highlighted in this session was the ability to track field personnel as sensors, consuming their location with GeoEvent Server for visualization, geofencing, and storage for improved field operations and increased safety. GeoAnalytics Server was highlighted to help with the analysis of large collections of sensor data. Finally, a new Esri product in development was introduced: ArcGIS Analytics for IoT. This is a SaaS product that combines capabilities of GeoEvent Server and GeoAnalytics Server into a scalable, cloud-based product.
  • Business Analytics– New updates to ArcGIS Business Analyst were shown in a session that highlighted ways to improve customer engagement leveraging Esri Demographics . A crowd favorite was the improved dynamic infographics that can be configured and generated from apps across ArcGIS.

 

GeoConX Expo

Throughout the week, attendees had the opportunity to meet with Esri teams, including solutions engineers and product managers in the GeoConX Expo. Esri staff and representatives from over 60 Esri Business Partners presented solutions and answered questions. The floor was very active and fun this year with great snacks and a conversational tone that many really enjoyed.

 

 

Join GeoConX Next Year!

This year’s GeoConX was another great meetup for utility GIS professionals, and we look forward to keeping the conversation going throughout the year, and seeing everyone at GeoConx 2020 in Denver, Colorado.  Be sure to stay engaged with the community on GeoNet and follow us on Twitter @EsriElectricGas and on LinkedIn.

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