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52 Posts authored by: krichardson-esristaff Employee



Take advantage of early registration for the Esri UC. Not only will you save $400 off the regular registration fee, you can reserve the hotel rooms you want and grab a seat at a popular preconference seminar, before any of them sell out.


The Esri UC brings together a global audience of Esri GIS users from across all organization sectors to learn, network and share their
experiences. The conference is held each year in San Diego in the summer to take advantage of this beautiful Southern California city’s balmy weather. Plan to attend each year and learn what’s new in GIS technology and data, network with your peers, and stay connected to the pulse of this exciting, vibrant industry. 


Register now and get the early bird rate!


Here is what is waiting for you:


Make the Esri UC Your UC

Submit a paper, a map or an app and showcase your work at the conference.  Compete in a variety of contests to stretch your skills. Talk with an Esri cartographer about your map designs.  There is no better way to improve your skills and learn new techniques than to take an active role in the experience of the Esri UC. Check for the latest due dates so you don’t miss a deadline.


One-on-one education at the GIS Expo

More than 300 exhibitors representing companies and organizations at the forefront of geospatial technology are on the show floor and ready to meet you. Esri product islands, demo theaters and Esri staff from training, professional services, data health checks, and UX/UI are also located here, so you can ask specific questions or sit in on a short presentation about a particular area of interest. Don’t miss your opportunity to meet one-on-one at these areas.


A GIS Conference Made for Experts like You

Step one: attend the Esri UC. Step two: apply geography everywhere by learning about:

  • focused solutions for your industry from Esri,partners and other users
  • The ins and outs of the ArcGIS platform including Online, desktop and Server
  • Information on specific extensions from Esri , Esri partners and start-ups
  • How to take advantage and integrate new technology into your existing implementation


Sessions, sessions and more sessions

You can choose from more than 900 different user presentations, Esri-led technical workshops, and software demonstrations including:

  • Hundreds of paper presentations from users just like you;
  • Technical sessions presented by the Esri software product teams;
  • Road Ahead sessions that will provide insight into the direction of Esri’s solutions;
  • Overview sessions providing a look at Esri technology you might not be using today;
  • In-depth sessions about the ArcGIS platform.


Make Lots of Connections

And we aren’t even talking about the topology on your map. Network with people who hold your interest and get the most out of your time at
the conference:

  • Special Interest Groups – Get to know users in your industry.
  • Regional User Groups – Meet others from your geographic area.
  • Partner sponsored events – Talk with the people behind the solutions you use every day.
  • Industry-specific events – Learn about solutions and use cases you can implement in your organization.


Experience the UC, Don’t Just Attend

All work and no play isn’t fun for anyone. At the Esri UC you have plenty of time to digest everything you’ve learned by participating in all sorts of activities: run a 5K, do some yoga, bring the family to family night at the GIS Expo, bring the kids to the Kids Fair and let them experience your love of all things geo, and then top it all off by celebrating your accomplisments at the Thursday night party.


What are you waiting for? Register now and get the early bird rate!

call for papers.jpg


That’s right folks. It’s time to get your abstracts submitted for next year’s amazing conference.


Time flies when you are having fun, and we want to hear all about it in your paper submissions! What have you been up to while we’ve been away? What amazing maps have you made? What incredible discoveries have you unveiled?


Tell us and 16,000 of your closest friends all about it at Esri UC in San Diego, California. We’ll be getting together once again June 27 – July 1, 2016 to discuss GIS and what fantastic things you have accomplished with yours. Submit your abstract now!

Here it is - a top ten that I think John Calkins would approve. Mosey on over to Esri's monthly online magazine ArcWatch and see what the editor had to say about this year's Plenary. If you don't already receive this in your inbox, sign yourself up for this e-zine that is chock full of software info and interesting news.


What did you think? Anything we missed that should have made the top ten list?

Take a peak at some creative cartography - the winners of the Map Gallery are now posted here.


map gallery winner 2.jpg

Esri ICA and IMIA Excellence in Cartography Winner: 3D Model of Kauai.

map gallery winner.jpg


Esri ICA and IMIA Excellence in Cartography Winner:Grand Canyon National Park.


And check back - Esri's Mark Harrower will be sharing insights from the judges in the next couple of weeks.

Water, air, earth, and fire—the four elements that constitute the Earth and the four focal points of user presentations at the 2015 Esri User Conference.


Esri’s Lauren Bennett and John Calkins led roughly 15,000 attendees on a journey from the cornfields of Midwestern America all the way to the Australian wilderness during the plenary session July 20. The purpose was to show how comprehensive and innovative GIS solutions can foster better understanding and bring about more informed decisions and actions.

More than 15,000 Esri users attended the EsriUC Plenary in San Diego, California, listening raptly to a day's worth of presentations from organizations around the world.

The excursion began with a team from the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) demonstrating how it revamped its GIS infrastructure to open it up to more uses and users. Although SWFWMD had been using GIS to balance agriculture, development, and the environment for 30 years, the agency saw that it needed to do more to support Florida’s water needs. So, as SWFWMD bureau chief Steve Dicks explained, the agency implemented Web GIS to streamline workflows and bring together industry, agriculture, environmental organizations, and Florida residents.

Kris A. Kaufman, Leigh Vershowske, and Steven Dicks, PhD, GISP take the main plenary stage to discuss how GIS helps to improve water quality throughout the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Dicks demonstrated how Web GIS helps manage a range of water issues, from keeping Florida’s strawberries growing in the winter to analyzing how new housing developments need to be planned to avoid flood zones. SWFWMD GIS database and server analyst Leigh Vershowske then showed the audience the agency’s “most important map,” as he put it: an online form that makes it easy to apply for well, water use, and construction permits to plan future water development. To wrap it up, SWFWMD senior environmental scientist Kris Kaufman illustrated how the district used GIS to clean up a very polluted Tampa Bay and bring back ecologically vital seagrass in record numbers.


From Florida’s warm waters, the audience traveled northwest to Atlanta’s bustling Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which, according to Esri founder Jack Dangermond, “is really taking geography into a different dimension.”


Managing 250,000 passengers per day, 200 aircraft gates, five runways, 115 taxiways, 16,000 slabs of concrete, and more than 18,000 airfield lights requires a robust enterprise GIS solution. GIS manager David Wright and GIS analyst Anthony Vazquez took the audience on a tour of how the airport uses ArcGIS Online and a handful of mobile ArcGIS apps to inspect and maintain runways, taxiways, green space, street lights, and much more. The duo also demonstrated how ArcGIS Pro’s 3D capabilities helped them determine which trees were growing tall enough to penetrate airspace near the runway so the airport could ensure that they stay trimmed to Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

Modeling data in 3D with ArcGIS Pro helps the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport conform to Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

Then it was off to another Atlanta—in the state of Indiana—to see how Beck’s Hybrids, a seed and technology company, uses GIS for precision agriculture and business needs.


As presenter Craig Rogers made evident, farmers do geodesign every day. Rogers demonstrated Beck’s Hybrids’ FARMserver, a map-enabled web application that helps farmers maximize their yield and keep costs low. Using maps, spatial analysis, and big data from live sensors and farm equipment, software users can monitor data such as soil composition and weather to ensure that their Beck’s Hybrids corn and soybean seeds thrive.


More recently, the company rolled GIS out to its marketing, sales, and leadership teams. Beck’s Hybrids’ GIS director Brooke Gajownik showed the audience how the company, which sells its seeds all over the Midwest, uses GIS to do detailed analyses of customer issues to cut down the time between incident and action. She also revealed how a suite of ArcGIS tools, including Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS and Explorer for ArcGIS, is helping Beck’s Hybrids identify—in very visually appealing ways—opportunities for business growth by conducting spatial and temporal analyses of sales and competition trends.

Hot spot analysis helps Becks Hybrids visualize seed sales.

From earth to fire, the audience headed down under to the state of Victoria, Australia, to learn about Black Saturday, a day in February 2009 when more than 400 wildfires raged. As Anthony Griffiths of Victoria’s Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning said, fire is not always destructive; it can renew and rejuvenate—which is exactly what the Black Saturday fires did for the department’s mapping and firefighting capabilities.


The State of Victoria realized that it needed to be ready for the next wildfires before they happened, so agencies across the state worked together to create eMap, a system centered around cross-departmental collaboration and awareness. Using one map, built on a common database and accessible on any device, the State of Victoria is now able to proactively respond to and manage wildfires using predictive technology.

To demonstrate how the application works, the department’s eMap architect, Anthony Burgon, showed the audience all the fires going on in the State of Victoria at that very moment, as well as where weather changes were occurring. Using near-real time imagery and a fire modeling and prediction system called Phoenix Rapid Fire, responders and incident commanders from various agencies can predict where a fire might go and forecast potential impact zones.


Getting ahead of the game like this—via a GIS-enabled system of engagement—improves safety and situational awareness all around. And, even though the fire count in the State of Victoria is up this year, there hasn’t been nearly as much devastation. “More fire, less impact,” said Griffiths, driving home the point.

The Black Saturday bush fires that burned across Victoria, Australia on February 7, 2009 are thought to be Australia's worst bush fire catastrophe. Up to 400 singular fires were recorded and 173 people lost their lives.

Openness, continuity, collaboration, and engagement: Those four themes unified the stories told during the plenary session user presentations—in much the same way that the four elements of the Earth coalesce. And, no doubt, they will unify the stories we hear from users throughout the week at the 2015 Esri User Conference.

The videos from the Plenary Session on Monday, July 20, 2015, are ready for viewing and sharing!

Relive the Plenary and share the experience with others.


  • Keynote from Jack Dangermond
  • R&D at Esri
  • Southwest Florida Water Management District - A Mission-Critical Approach to Water
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport - Web GIS Delivers Safety and Efficiency
  • Beck's Hybrids - Feeding the World: Precision Agriculture Simplified
  • State of Victoria, Australia, Government - Proactive Rejuvenation: Ignite Your Potential
  • World Health Organization - The Battle against Ebola and Polio
  • National Geographic Society - Understanding Geography
  • Mentoring the Next Generation - Connecting GIS with Education



Watch the videos!

Love was in the air at the Esri User Conference Plenary session on Monday. Love for mapping apps, that is.

Following the technology demos and before the lunch break, the audience had a chance to flirt - from a distance - with all of Esri's ready-to-use apps during a high-energy App Speed Dating pitch on stage. Esri UC attendees are encouraged to vote for their favorite app. The winning app will be unveiled at Thursday night's Party by the Bay.

"How much do you know about ready-to-use apps in ArcGIS?" asked Ismael Chivite from Esri.  "Finding the right app can be challenging. You need to know what the app can do for you."

The apps, played by Esri staff with a flair for acting, rapping, and singing, touted  the reasons they would make a great mapping mate.

A cool and confident Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS, played by Tif Pun, said if it's real-time information for any situation that you need, "I'm the app you want! I will constantly measure, share, and alert you. With me, you'll track your goals and know where you stand. Need a widget I don't provide? That's not a problem. I have an API ready for you. So don't wait! Pick me!"

Is ArcGIS for Collector the right app for you?


Also alluring were Collector for ArcGIS, Esri Maps for Office, Explorer for ArcGIS, ArcGIS Pro, Navigator for ArcGIS, GeoPlanner for ArcGIS, Survey123, Crowdsource Reporter and Manager App, and many others.

A real sweetheart and possible heartbreaker, though, was Story Map. A natural storyteller with a dramatic streak, Story Map (played by Natalie Feurerstein) rapped about her hidden and not-so-hidden talents:

"I'm a story map, and I'm full of great stuff.

I'm the one you call to pump your map up!

Ain't nobody gonna give your data a look,

Unless you throw in some context, give it a hook.

I'm talking photos, talking video, too.

Heck write in some words, if that's how you do.

I got all kinda apps,with all kinda flow,

Like Journal and Shortlist and Map Tour,

Yo Is it hard? Naw! Ain't nuttin to it.

With my builders, even your moms could do it.

So pick me, Story Map, I'm the bomb

and I'm free.

At ArcGIS dot Kizzom.

Story Map in front of the app crowd, singing her heart out.


We heart you, Story Map. But still, make

Don't forget to vote for your favorite app!

Book Signing at EsriUC

There will be a book signing by Gary Knell, president and CEO of the National Geographic Society at the Map Gallery Reception. The signing will take place from 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. in the National Geographic Society’s special display area, where they are celebrating 100 Years of National Geographic Maps: The Art and Science of Place.

More about Gary E. Knell

First, don’t miss Gary E.  Knell in the Esri UC plenary after lunch. He will be talking more about understanding geography, and joins Dr. Bruce Aylward, World Health Organization, and the Molokai High School STEMWorks staff and students.

Gary E. Knell


Gary E. Knell joined the National Geographic Society as president and CEO in January 2014. He has been a member of the Society’s board of trustees since April 2013 and has served on the board of governors of the National Geographic Education Foundation since November 2003.

The 127-year-old National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations, believes in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Working to inspire, illuminate and teach, the member-supported Society reaches more than 700 million people worldwide each month through its media platforms, products and events. National Geographic has funded more than 11,000 research, conservation and exploration projects, and its education programs promote geographic literacy.

From 2011 to 2013 Knell was president and CEO of National Public Radio. Under his leadership, the organization solidified its position in a rapidly changing media environment due to Knell’s ability to leverage NPR’s network of member stations, drive cross-platform journalism and cultural programming, and grow philanthropic and corporate underwriting support. He was also a strong advocate of innovation and technologies to draw new audiences to public media.

Knell’s media career spans nearly three decades, including 22 years at Sesame Workshop, where he was COO for two years before assuming the role of CEO in 2000. During his 12-year tenure as CEO, Sesame expanded its revenue base, worldwide audience and global recognition. Knell was instrumental in focusing the organization on Sesame Street’s worldwide mission, including the creation of groundbreaking co-productions in South Africa, India, Northern Ireland and Egypt. He also oversaw the creation and launch of two cable networks, Noggin and Sprout.

Prior to joining Sesame Workshop, Knell was managing director of Manager Media International, a multimedia publishing company based in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore. He also served as senior vice president and general counsel at WNET/Channel 13 in New York, was counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary and Governmental Affairs Committees in Washington, D.C., and worked in the California State Legislature and Governor’s Office.

Knell is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves on the boards of Heidrick & Struggles and Common Sense Media as well as the advisory boards of the Military Child Education Coalition and the Pentagon Memorial Fund. He is an adviser to the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.

A Gordon Grand Fellow at Yale University, Knell was a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Duke University, Southern Methodist University, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Puerto Rico. He has received honorary doctorates from Mercy College in New York and Kenyon College in Ohio and has served as the commencement speaker at Johns Hopkins University, UCLA and the University of Texas at Austin.

Knell has a J.D. from Loyola University School of Law in Los Angeles and a B.A. in political science from UCLA, where he also served as editorial director of the UCLA Daily Bruin and was a stringer for the Associated Press.

Books offered for signing

National Geographic Concise Atlas of the World, Third Edition

The complex political, cultural, and environmental issues that we face daily, make it increasingly important for us to have a clear vision of the world in which we live. With more than 300 updated, authoritative maps, charts, graphs, tables, and country flags, the Concise Atlas of the World, Third Edition offers a succinct, easy-to-use, and yet comprehensive view of our world, today.

The atlas opens with beautifully rendered political and physical maps of the world. Satellite mosaic imagery shows the world from hundreds of miles above. Core world geographic themes such as climate, population, religion, economy, and the structure of the Earth follow. New world thematic topics include landforms, climate and weather, natural disasters, energy, health and education, and conflict and terror.

"Geographic Comparisons" covers the Earth and its extremes, including humankinds' engineering wonders. Content includes such phenomena as the hottest and the coldest places, the highest point on each continent, the largest islands, the largest drainage basins, the longest rivers, the deepest point in each ocean, the largest and smallest countries, the tallest human made structures, the longest road, the longest railroad, etc.

Following the thematic coverage, the atlas focuses on each of the seven continents. All of the world's lands and seas and countries with their major cities and towns are accurately compiled and plotted and delineated by various typographical sizes that correlate to population data.

Each continental map is accompanied by textual fact tables that speak to the highest and lowest elevation points, recorded temperatures, the largest and least populated countries, and countries with the highest and lowest GDP. Each of the 195 independent countries in the world is represented and described with its national flag and fact box.

Whether it's Bahrain in the Middle East or P'yonyang in North Korea, a convenient, intuitive place-name index provides an easy-to-use, access guide to finding locations around the globe.

The variety and expression of traditional and new, expanded content, the invaluable reference, the captivating layouts, the visually engaging, world-renown cartography, the logical, user-friendly design and its very competitive price all make this publication stand out as a great value.

National Geographic Kids Beginner’s World Atlas

Jam packed with the latest data, bright, bold images, large maps, a brand-new design, and lively information about the world’s land, people, and animals, the third edition Beginner’s World Atlas will be the most up-to-date world reference for kids ages 5–8. True to National Geographic’s reputation and legacy, we’ve created this atlas with the same care and attention to detail as our renowned adult atlases. “No one does maps or atlases with as much panache and knowledge as National Geographic,” said the Washington Post.

With completely up-to-date facts-at-a-glance, a glossary, pronunciation guide, and comprehensive index, this completely revised atlas takes young readers on a high-energy tour of the world and will be a must-have in every home and school. Vibrant color, fresh design, amazing photography, and new icons will help kids quickly identify information related to land, plants, animals, languages and culture, and all aspects of the physical and political world. Parents and teachers will appreciate the front matter with information for children about maps and how to use the atlas.

Snapchat users at Esri UC can add a little extra geogeek “flair” to their photos around San Diego. Ted Burns, the moderator of Esrichat and Esrigram, thought it would be nice for attendees to have their very own geofilter for the Esri UC.

Tell us your story and follow EsriChat on SnapChat while you are at EsriUC.

Geofilters are a special feature in Snapchat allowing users to add location-specific stamps to their photos. The Esri UC geofilter will be active around the San Diego Convention Center, and along the harbor from the Hilton San Diego Bayfront to the Waterfront Park where this year’s Thursday Night Party will be hosted.

The Esri UC geofilter was designed by Esri graphic design intern, Alexander Ponce using key art developed by Esri graphic designer Candice Lawson.

Snapchat users can add Esrichat by username, or take a photo of the ghost icon below with the Snapchat app.

Follow Esrichat to view daily stories, exclusive content, and behind-the-scenes tours of Esri Headquarters.

If you don’t have Snapchat, you can download from the App Store or Google Play. Note: location services need to be turned on in order to access geofilters.




Are you attending the User Conference for the First Time?

If so, then we have a 1-hour session on Sunday that will be perfect for you.

First time at EsriUC? Join us for a special session on Sunday that will get you prepped for an awesome week!


Heading into San Diego you are probably wondering what to do throughout the entire week.  If have you taken a look at the User Conference Website you will notice that it is full of great information and activities taking place through the week.  In fact, you may even be thinking to yourself, there are over 5 days and many different types of activities … where should I even begin?  If any of these thoughts are coming to mind, come join Monte and Patty on Sunday from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm in Ballroom 20 B/C in the Convention Center.

We will cover the most important facets of the User Conference including:

  • Conference highlights and not to miss activities
  • Key elements of the User Conference
  • How to make the most of your time
  • Fun activities throughout the week

If this sounds interesting to you, please come join us. Your questions are welcome and encouraged!

You know the drill - you  pack your most broken-in shoes from your closet, band-aids are stuffed into your pocket, and you hit the Esri UC with confidence. This is the week that your mind and your hamstrings are stretched to their limits. What is the one most important tip people offer to new attendees coming to the conference? "Wear comfortable shoes!"

Are you wearing your comfy shoes? Then you are ready for the Esri StepUP Challenge!


Take advantage of all the walking you will be doing between sessions, to booths in the GIS Expo, and out to activities by joining the Esri StepUP Challenge!

Esri® StepUP is an app to promote an active lifestyle while enjoying the UC in beautiful San Diego. Use the StepUP app to track your steps throughout the UC and follow your competition on the leaderboard.  Step counts will be tracked during the hours of the UC (8 AM – 6 PM PST). One prize will be given to each daily Step Leader, and one prize will be given for the overall UC Step Leader. Use the StepUP app often to get exciting badges and try to beat the competition.


This Challenge is a trade promotion and open to Esri's user community. This Challenge is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with Apple, Inc. or Google Inc. Neither company  is a sponsor or involved in this activity in any manner.


Participants must be a registered attendee for Esri 2015 User Conference San Diego to be eligible to participate in the Challenge and win prizes. Esri employees are encouraged to participate in the Challenge, but will not be eligible for prizes.


•Use the StepUP app on any supported device with step counter to track Your step counts at the UC.

•Walk around the UC and be active during your break times.

•Open the StepUP app often to update Your step counts and check the leaderboard.

•You must register with valid email address and verify the link to be part of leaderboard.

•The StepUP app will monitor your step counts in the background.

•You and others will be able to see the step counts and standings on leaderboard.

•No personal information will be shared with others. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.

•You can opt-in to provide location data which will help us aggregate the foot traffic and visualize trends.


  • There will be a Challenge winner for most step counts tracked on a daily basis and announced at the end of each day (Monday through Thursday) will receive an Esri T-shirt. An overall Challenge winner for the most cumulative step counts tracked over the UC week (Monday through Thursday) will be announced on Thursday and will receive an Esri Sweatshirt.
  • Challenge winners will be contacted via the email address you register with. We will use this information to send the Challenge winners a note with instructions on how to claim their prize.Supported Devices•iOS - iPhone5s, iPhone6, iPhone6 Plus•Android - Kitkat (4.4) and above with Step counter sensorChallenge Period
  • The Challenge will run during the Main Conference Hours Monday through Thursday. Monday through Wednesday 8 AM – 6 PM PST and Thursday 8 AM to 1 PM PST, respectively.


Disclaimers, Release and Waiver

You shall assume all responsibility for Your participation in this Challenge. No liability or responsibility is assumed by Esri resulting from Your participation in or attempt to participate in this Challenge. This app is not intended to replace your existing fitness application nor be used for health advice.

To the maximum extent permitted by applicable California law, You hereby release and waive all claims against Esri, and its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, agents, licensors, co-branders or other partners, and employees from any and all liability for claims, damages (actual and/or consequential), costs and expenses (including litigation costs and attorneys' fees) of every kind and nature, arising from or in any way related to Your use of the StepUP app and this Challenge. In addition, You expressly waive and relinquish any and all rights and benefits which You may have under any other state or federal statute or common law principle of similar effect, to the fullest extent permitted by law.


Except where prohibited, participation in this Challenge constitutes consent for Esri to use the name, likeness, voice, opinions, and country of residence of participant for promotional purposes in any media without payment or consideration. As a condition of prize acceptance, Challenge winners agree to allow Esri to publish their name and their organization's name in all media of communication now known or later developed. Challenge winners agree to execute an Affidavit of Eligibility and Waiver/Taxes/Release of Liability and Publicity.

Governing Law

This Challenge is governed by the laws of the state of California, United States, with venue in San Bernardino County, California, United States, and all claims must be resolved in the federal or state courts of San Bernardino County, California, United States.

About the App

This StepUP app was built by Esri Labs. Esri Labs apps are developed by Esri employees and are inspired by our direct interactions with you - our customers. Esri Labs apps are free to use, but are not official Esri products, so they are not holistically tested, documented or supported by Esri technical support.

Learn more, sign up and watch the leaderboard to see where you rank!

True Understanding Requires Breaking Complex Problems into Simple Solutions

By Bill Meehan, Esri Utilities Solution Director


Years ago, I taught a graduate night course in electric power engineering. Most of the students had good working knowledge of linear circuit theory (simplified direct current circuits). This was easy to learn, simple “battery connects to light bulb” stuff. To solve the light bulb circuit, the most math you need was ninth grade algebra.

But electric power circuits were harder. They weren’t linear, and they were extensive. To figure out heavily loaded power lines, you had to do math problems more complex than those Will Hunting faced on Robin Williams’ chalkboard.

How do you do it? You solve thousands, perhaps millions of simultaneous, non-linear, differential equations. Hardly ninth grade algebra.

"Simple Scales, Complex Fails" - find out how simplicity and scalability can help you overcome utility issues at the Electric and Gas Kickoff Session on Tuesday morning.


When you’re a weary, sleepy, night school student who just spent all day working your day job, how do you calculate the power flow of an electrical grid? You don’t.

So rather than slog through differential equation theory, I opted to have the students relate their understanding of how the grid actually works. I chose to simplify the conversation to match their understanding. Then once they got that, the math would follow.

I choose simplicity over complexity. Because complexity masks our ability to understand.


Simple Scales

The former director of software development and now chief architect at Esri, Scott Morehouse’s favorite expression is “Simple Scales, Complex Fails.” He used this statement as his mantra for the development of software. Clearly, software development is complicated. In addition, many aspects of GIS are complicated. But Morehouse always drove his team to explain and build things as simply as possible. Then, once you get to your simple reference of understanding, you build it.

Morehouse also knew software that works in the lab tends to become bogged down with the large data sets demanded in the real world. The ArcGIS platform demonstrates Morehouse’s solution to this. ArcGIS is a great example of simplicity and scalability. As more people outside the GIS department use GIS in their everyday work life, scalability becomes just as important as – if not more so than –functionality.


Complex Fails

In 2009, Esri asked utility GIS users, “After the completion of construction or maintenance, how long does it usually take before your GIS data reflects the new project information?” The majority of users said 30 to 90 days. The authoritative data takes too long to get to the right people! The GIS takes too long to reflect reality. It’s a complex problem. What would the simplest solution be?

Well, what if authoritative information existed instantly on every employee’s device? As simple as that. That’s what the ArcGIS platform does. In fact, ArcGIS for Electric Utilities and ArcGIS for Gas Utilities are designed to help organizations share, communicate, and collaborate with the most recent information. Not 90 days from now. Just now.

So the next time you have a complex problem, find out what the simplest solution would be. Then see if your ArcGIS platform can offer it. More often than not, there’s a simple solution to do just that.

See all the great technology deployed in simple and impactful ways at Esri’s International User Conference. Be sure to attend the electric and gas kickoff session on Tuesday morning July 21st at 8:30AM in the San Diego Conversion Center.

Next week, Esri is unveiling The ArcGIS Book—Ten Big Ideas about Applying Geography to Your World. It’s a hands-on website and a print
book for seasoned GIS practitioners and newcomers to GIS.


arcgis book.png


Consumer mapping has opened the eyes of the world, and especially decision makers, to the value of maps and geography and consequently
increased the demand for the critical information and insights generated by GIS. This phenomenon is also transforming the role of GIS practitioners. Today, they need to better understand their organization’s business objectives so they can contribute in an even more meaningful way to its success.


ArcGIS is now a complete system for discovering, creating, consuming, and sharing geographic data, maps, and apps. It is a true Web GIS. Web
GIS is fundamentally changing how information about the world around us is applied and shared to enable all of us to make the best decisions possible.

The ArcGIS Book explores Web GIS in ten chapters, each focused on one big idea. You will learn how to do new things with GIS and accomplish familiar tasks more quickly and easily. For inspiration on what you can do with Web GIS, the book includes links to hundreds of live examples of
web maps and apps as well as videos of thought leaders sharing their vision for what you can accomplish by adopting the Web GIS concepts. In addition to inspiring you, The ArcGIS Book will give you hands-on practice with making a story map, conducting spatial analysis, editing geographic data, building a 3D model, and much more.


Here are the ten big ideas explored in the book:

  1. Maps, the Web, and
    You: Power and possibility with Web GIS
  2. Cartography is for
    Everyone: New ways to make, see, and use maps
  3. Tell Your Story
    Using a Map: Inform, engage, and inspire people with story maps
  4. Great Maps Need
    Great Data: Creating and using authoritative geographic data
  5. The Importance of
    Where: How spatial analysis leads to insight
  6. Mapping the Third
    Dimension: A change in perspective
  7. The Power of Apps:
    Focused tools that get work done
  8. Your Mobile GIS: The
    GIS of the whole world plus a live data sensor in your pocket
  9. Real-Time
    Dashboards: Integrating live data feeds for managing operations
  10. GIS is Social: Web
    GIS is the GIS of the world


In each chapter, Quickstarts tell you what you need to know about the software, data, and web resources that pertain to that aspect of the
ArcGIS system. The Learn ArcGIS Lessons pages are your gateways to online, hands-on tutorials from the Learn ArcGIS website.


The intended audience for The ArcGIS Book is diverse: from GIS professionals expanding into online mapping to information workers in every
field who recognize the power of maps to communicate information clearly. No matter which group you identify with, we encourage you to share this book with your colleagues, decision makers in your organization and your community, and young people in your line of work and in your family. Introduce them to and help them explore the power of Web GIS for sound decision making.


The ArcGIS Book is available in print, as a downloadable pdf, and as an interactive website. See it come alive at


You will receive your free copy of The ArcGIS Book when you pick up your registration packet. If you would like to purchase extra copies to
take back to colleagues, friends, or family, the book is available at the Esri Store for a special UC price of $8 (a $20 value).

Transformational and inspirational – that’s you with GIS reimagined. Esri is offering two technology keynote presentations you don’t want to miss on this topic.

There is a whole wide world out there waiting for you and your GIS-based solutions. Be transformative in your communities. Learn how at the Technology Keynotes.

Ignite Your Revolution: Implementing the Platform 8:30 a.m. to 9: 45 a.m. on Wednesday, July 22, Ballroom 06 A

Learn how different organizations, large and small, sparked a transformation in the way they do business. Esri experts will share insights into the business drivers, implementation approaches, and technical capabilities behind these accomplishments.  Examples will include a behind-the-scenes look into stories from the plenary. Whether you are just getting started or extending your existing capabilities, get inspired to ignite your own revolution.

Presented by Brian Cross, Director of Professional Services, and Team and Mansour Raad, Senior Software Architect

Reimagining GIS: Geographic Information Society at 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, July 23, Room 10

GIS is social. Web GIS is the GIS of the world. And it’s happening thanks to Cloud computing.  You can become a part of this comprehensive GIS of the world. Your work can be shared with anyone, anywhere through devices and apps. Learn how, including understanding special implementation challenges, implications, and opportunities, so you too can apply your GIS virtually everywhere.

Presented by Clint Brown, Director, Product Engineering, Linda Beale, Product Engineer Geoprocessing and  Mark Harrower, Product Engineer and Designer

We delved a little bit closer into the technical keynotes with Brian Cross, to get you some inside information on the topics being covered.

Brian Cross, the director of professional services at Esri will join other Esri senior level staff to give users a look at the future of GIS on Wednesday and Thursday mornings during EsriUC


The title of your team’s Technology Keynote talks about igniting a revolution with the platform. What does that mean?

Sometimes, when GIS users get together, conversations tend to drift toward technology and technique. That’s great, but it’s important to keep the larger goals in mind as well. This session is intended to do that.

We’ve seen users accomplish pretty amazing things in their organizations through the ArcGIS platform, things that made transformational differences in their business. A variety of Professional Services leaders and consultants will give examples of users from different markets, of different sizes, with different missions, from all over the world. We hope seeing examples of how these users leverage the platform will inspire others to recognize an opportunity to ignite a revolution in their business.

Is it realistic to think that “transformational” change is possible for the majority of GIS users?

It is definitely real. Any business can run faster, better, smarter. Any government can be more effective and deliver its mission better.

The cases we’ll discuss come from large organizations and single-person shops with diverse levels of experience. We want to share both the technology approach as well as the human approach to delivering transformation. It can be pretty amazing to see the impact one or two foundational apps can have on an organization.

Is there any common quality that these users share, something others can copy?

They all use the ArcGIS platform with the same essential elements, but each one has its own flavor and approach.

The Web GIS pattern is also one of the fundamental elements, although different users emphasize different parts. That’s one of the points we want to highlight in the keynote.

Even though they each use some of the latest Esri technology, they didn’t merely pursue the new technology for its own sake. These users each based their approach on the key business drivers for their organizations and achieved something that was transformational.

You have had a lot of questions about the Esri Events Mobile and Web Apps, so we put together this FAQ for you. You can find a pdf of this FAQ here. For more information on the agenda, and where to download the app, go here


Do you have a question that we haven't answered? Please let us know by commenting. We will be answering questions before and during the conference.


1. How do I log in?


Please make sure that you have the latest version of the iOS and Android apps.

The login credentials are the same as your Esri Account.

app log in.jpg

2. There are a lot of sessions; how do I find the ones that interest me?


Once you select the "User Conference" from the list of events, use the search within the Agenda section of the app to look up sessions by keyword or title.


3. How do I use My Schedule/My Planner?


Log in to the app with your Esri Account to save sessions to your planner.

Once logged in, your personalized schedule will be available across devices. In order to syncing to work, please ensure that you are logged in on all your devices (web and native apps). The time to sync ranges from instantaneous to a couple of minutes.


4. How do I download a paper version?


A downloadable version can be found here*:


*Please note that the agenda is subject to change.