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Participating in the ArcGIS Pro Beta program is just as easy at Beta 5 as in previous beta releases. However, there are a few things users and their ArcGIS Online administrators need to know heading into this release.What do you need to know?

At Beta 5, there is a new authorization process for ArcGIS Pro that is managed through ArcGIS Online. This change is in preparation for the ArcGIS Pro licensing model moving forward. Beta 5 and subsequent releases will require ArcGIS Pro licenses to be assigned to organization users by an administrator, through a new set of hosted tools in ArcGIS Online.What do you need to do?

If you are a non-admin user, please contact the administrator of your organization to request they assign an ArcGIS Pro license to your username. Once that is done, launch Beta 5 and you will be able to log in.

If you are the administrator of your organization, please log in to your org and find the “Manage Licenses” button. From here, begin configuring licenses for individual users or a group of users that wish to participate in the ArcGIS Pro Beta program.For further details, please review the help.
Kirsten P. - Support Advocacy Lead
Over this coming holiday weekend, Support Services is migrating to a new customer relationship management application. To support this effort, we will be closing for the day at 3:00 PM PST on Friday, August 29th, and will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, September 2nd at 5:00 AM PST.

Here are a few minor changes in the way you will be working with Esri Support following this migration.
  • Emails sent to you will now appear as being sent from Esri Customer Care - (previously Please update any email filters to ensure you receive these communications.
  • To support a seamless transition for our customers, you may continue to reply to any email originated from This correspondence will be automatically routed to our new system.
  • An "Incident" will now be referred to as a "Case", and this will be reflected in any email you receive from a Support team member.
  • The Subject line of an email you receive will include a Case number and Reference ID. Please do not edit these portions of the subject line, as they are used to relate your email back to your Case.
    • Ex: "Esri Case #00123456 - Need Assistance with editing my data [ ref:_00D70JXts._50070fEuTO:ref ]
  • Reported software defects will now be categorized separately as either a bug or an enhancement. Previously logged defects will continue to be referenced by their historical number (i.e. NIM012345), but new bugs and enhancements will follow a new naming convention (i.e. BUG-00012345 or ENH-00012345).

Our Esri Reception team will continue to be reachable via
Gregory L. - Online Support Resources
I wrote this piece while sitting in the employee center at the Esri International User Conference an hour before the bus left to take me home to Redlands, California. I decided that it would be good to document my experience at the User Conference (UC) so others who have not had the chance to attend could experience the UC as well.

Rewind 48 hours to when I started reading the UC Q&A on the 5:30 am bus to San Diego. As a Desktop Support Analyst (a subset of Esri Technical Support), my coworkers and I are exposed to a number of people who use ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcScene, ArcGlobe, ArcGIS Online (and soon ArcGIS Pro) for a multitude of projects. The sheer size of the 160-page Q&A sent a gentle reminder that Esri provides much more than ArcGIS for Desktop.

The length of the Q&A foreshadowed the size of the UC, and prompted me to consider, “What will the UC be about to you?” I will start with what GIS is to me.

I find the formal definition of GIS to be much too verbose; instead, I think of GIS as a tool to study geography. As much as I love the field of GIS, I did not expect to love it any more or less because of a conference. I expected the UC to be much the same as other conferences I have attended: big, loud, and short-lived. What I found was something entirely different.

My first impression was in awe of my surroundings. Looking around the layout of the UC, you can tell that Mr. Dangermond used to be a landscape artist; the space feels open and inviting while the design is beautiful, exciting and spotted with maps, of course. As attractive as the UC is in terms of looks, it’s the users that make this conference unlike any other.

When the doors open, the conference is quickly inundated with people, projects, and ideas. While my daily work in Technical Support gives a taste of these things, the UC mixes all the flavors of GIS into one room. In this space, I started meeting you; the incredible users of the software.

I wish to mention a specific GIS professional who I worked with during the conference, because she encapsulates the reasons why I like my job. Without getting too much into the specifics, she had a workflow question that was nearly solved; a tool was not working the way she expected it to. Perhaps the most fundamental workflow each scientist undertakes is to: (a) retrieve data (b) inspect the data (c) use tools to yield information from the data and finally (d) inspect the results. This process is one that I have a lot of respect for, and consequentially I have a lot of respect for the people who explore data in this way. Her inquisitive nature, willingness to learn, and to experiment was inspiring, and is the very mentality that changes our environment.

It does not matter if the question is simple, or the project small. Simple concepts and small projects lead to big ideas and important action. Think of the butterfly effect; a geographical information system is a chaotic yet harmonious one where small influences compound to become great waves of change.

There is no shame in asking; there should be no fear in sharing. The UC was an open environment for both, and having a space to be able to openly collaborate is rare. Moreover, the focus of the UC was not so much on Esri, but on you and your projects that are as diverse as the species composing the biological hotspots in California.  “You are GIS,” or at least the system of people that make this field of study wonderful. You are the professionals, developers, the managers, and the students. It took me a year for the “You are GIS” expression to finally find meaning; the UC was the weight that tipped the scale. Having the opportunity to be a part of Esri, which aims to service these minds, is not something to be taken for granted.

In the end, the UC expanded my personal definition of GIS, so that GIS became much more like a super-organism, or like Gaia.

If you went to the UC this year, consider sharing your experience. Esri wants the user community to be outspoken, involved, and demanding of the software so that we can help you solve problems, answer questions, and make a difference. To continue the conversation, check out GeoNet (this video and blog discuss GeoNet).  Should you wish to “join the UC conversation, from anywhere (anytime)” click here.

Thank you for reading!
Ashley S. - Desktop Support Analyst
In my line of work, I must have at least a working knowledge of each database management system (DBMS) supported by Esri. Other vendors require near-perfect database administrator (DBA) expertise. This means I am constantly looking at error messages.

Some I have memorized, but there is no way I will ever be able retain all of them in my memory. So, here are some resources I use for looking up the meaning of those vague return codes. What are yours?

I also found this query for SQL Server very useful.
SELECT message_id, severity, text
  FROM sys.messages
  WHERE language_id = 1033;

Ken G. - Geodata Support Analyst
esrilogo-resize1.jpgAt each release, Esri assesses if there are any platforms (operating systems, databases, development environments, or hardware) that are at the end of their supportability. Additionally, we review our technology to see if any of the newer functionality has superseded older functionality. In either case, we try to give as much advanced notice as possible for any changes in supported platforms or functionality through our Deprecation Plan documents.

Given the pace in the change of technology, we have been fairly conservative in what we deprecate. However, with the update to the Deprecation Plan for ArcGIS 10.1 and 10.2, plus the releases of ArcGIS 10.2.1 and 10.2.2, we have a number of items that need to be deprecated. Many of these changes have been a long time coming (for both platforms and functionality); and we have also noted upcoming plans to give you early notice for software that will eventually be impacted.

Starting at the ArcGIS 10.2.1 update to the Deprecation Plan, the pattern changed from a once-a-year release format to new updates with every release. The Deprecation Plan also expanded to cover apps, mobile, and ArcGIS Runtime SDK products.

Here are some of the major changes:
  • There will not be a release of the ArcGIS Runtime SDKs at 10.2.1.
  • ArcGIS 10.2.1 will be the last release that supports Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Vista for ArcGIS for Server, ArcGIS for Desktop, ArcGIS Engine, ArcGIS Reader, and Runtime SDK (for Java and WPF).
  • ArcGIS 10.2.1 will be the last release that supports Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2 for ArcGIS for Server, ArcGIS for Desktop, ArcGIS Engine, ArcGIS Reader, and Runtime SDK (for Java and WPF).
  • The ArcGIS 10.2 series of releases (ArcGIS 10.2, 10.2.1, and 10.2.2) will be the last releases that include the ArcSDE command line tools.
  • The ArcGIS 10.2 series of releases (ArcGIS 10.2, 10.2.1, and 10.2.2) will be the last releases that include the ArcSDE application server.

For updated information on our deprecation plans, refer to the following link: Deprecation Plan for ArcGIS 10.1 and ArcGIS 10.2. (This deprecation plan is also linked from a technical article in the Esri Support Knowledge Base.)

John B. - Product Management
Outside of work, in my non-technical Clark Kent life, whenever I tell people about the Esri User Conference, the first thing they say is: “That doesn’t sound like any conference I’ve ever been to.” They typically follow that comment with something like: “What is GIS?” Over the years, I’ve been perfecting my responses to both of these statements, but I wanted to take this opportunity to truly do the topic justice.

First off, GIS is like post-modern cartography. What people once did with quills and sextants is now done on computers and in clouds. Actually, GIS probably began about one million years ago when early humans began to recognize the best hunting and gathering locations in their domain.

Second, the Esri User Conference is unlike any conference anyone has ever been to before… ever. It can be thought of in many ways - the best place for technical training, the ultimate spot for collaborative and networking opportunities, or, as my wife affectionately refers to it, GIS Gone Wild. I just call it awesome.

San Diego Convention Center

Let's step back to 2012, when I was a young Student Assistant arriving in San Diego for the first time from graduate school in Chicago. I was one of 60 lucky students from around the world who were selected to attend and work at the conference. The Student Assistants are seen as the next generation of GIS, and Esri empowers them through this conference to connect with their future.

Understandably, this was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I was overwhelmed by the excitement and knowledge of so many GIS professionals converging in one place. I don’t think my feet touched the ground all week. We were all on the same level, gorging on new technologies, meeting with new people, and buzzing through the exhibit halls and corridors in a constant state of GIS euphoria. Putting faces to names; learning how products worked; seeing what are going to be the next big things in the industry - the smile never left my face.

Fast forward to 2014, where I am a proud Esri employee working in Support Services, and I once again attend the User Conference. This time, I arrive as a staff member working with the Student Assistants. I am so excited for them. I remember what this conference meant to me then, and it still means the same to me now. Even as I write these words, I am glancing at the calendar, marking off the days until next year’s conference.

2014 Esri Student Assistants

This year’s group of students are as strong and promising as I remember my group being. They are hungry, curious, and (relatively speaking) young. I try to explain how amazing this opportunity is for them at the User Conference, both personally and professionally. Luckily for them, I’m not the only Esri staff member on hand. We have an incredible team that works with the students. Terri B. has been working with the Student Assistants for five years, and has been at Esri for over 20 years. Terri probably knows everyone by name and is liked by every single Esri employee.Pete H. is one of the nicest and most sincere human beings I’ve ever met, not to mention extremely competent. Melissa Q. is new to the team, but threw herself into the mix with the same interest and excitement that I felt two short years ago. Michael J. works on the HR side in recruitment, and is a tireless “miracle worker” who ensures that high-caliber students are brought into our professional family. Matt P. is a fellow Support Analyst and veteran User Conference student leader, whose sharp dress and quick wit are surpassed only by his critical thinking and managerial abilities. And me? I just feel grateful to have the chance to work with these amazing people.

2014 Esri UC Student Assistant Staff with Monte

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post, where people who have never attended the conference have trouble understanding what it feels like to be there. There are three main reasons that the Esri User Conference stands apart from other conferences. The first reason is the location of the conference. San Diego is a beautiful city full of unique attractions, great food, and great weather. In one day you can attend a technical workshop, get your picture taken with Jack Dangermond, grab a coffee, go to the beach, tour an aircraft carrier, grab another coffee on your way to catch a baseball game, and then meet up with your colleagues at one of the many fabulous restaurants and/or bars. And, if you brought your passport, you can even spend an afternoon in Mexico using public transportation.

The second reason, which is even more important than easy-breezy San Diego, is Esri. I wrote a blog post back in the day about what it feels like to work at Esri, and that feeling has remained unchanged after 1.5 years. Forget about the fact that I love GIS, and that Esri is all about GIS. Forget about the fact that I get to live in a mountain community with snow and bears and I can still carpool to work with my wife every day. Forget about the fact that I am constantly challenged with and trained on the latest and greatest technologies - both hardware and software. The truth remains that Esri has attracted and retained some of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of working with in my life. It is these same people that come to the conference. They work, they present, they socialize. They make this conference amazing.

Amazing Student Assistants at Dinner

However, better than Esri, cooler than San Diego, and undoubtedly the best part of the conference… is you. The customer, the presenter, the collaborator, the vendor - even the family and friends that come with you and hang out at the pool or Kids Camp during the conference. I met and talked with you in sessions, in line at Starbucks, in the Exhibit Hall, in the elevator, then again at the bars. We sat on the floor at Registration and watched the World Cup together. We held doors open and gave directions to each other. We laughed and ate tasty food together in the Map Gallery. There was so much joy and camaraderie in you all. This is the magic beyond planning and plenaries. This is the feeling that is greater than the sum of every button worn or selfie taken. This is why no one has ever been to a conference like the User Conference.

Now the conference is over. In this rare quiet moment, after I leave San Diego and return to my haven in the mountains, I sit and reflect on what the conference looked like through the eyes of the Student Assistants. To be honest, it’s very much the same as what you and I experienced. It’s like the first years of college or summer camp, when everything is new and possible, and everyone can be your friend. It’s like the best thing ever. I hope to share this experience with you again next year.

Until then, let's get some rest.

Bannerstands, with the Student Assistants

For more information on the Esri User Conference Student Assistantship Program, see:

Noah S. - SDK Support Analyst

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