The Esri UC in San Diego is the GIS conference and provides hours of learning experience via technical sessions, presentations by industry professionals, workshops, and seminars, all of which share best practices in GIS, enabling attendees to leverage the capabilities of GIS to stay ahead of the digital curve and bring real value to their organization. But this year, with the entire world going through a global pandemic, the Esri UC (normally 20,000+ attendees in San Diego) was made virtual.
And if you're like me, the virtual Esri UC somehow felt even more overwhelming due to the amount of fantastically beneficial content and sessions. In fact, I felt a lot like this good boy trying to manage it all:
CAN'T CONCENTRATE - EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!
This is where I'll try to help.
First, let's take a step back and look at this year's first Virtual Esri User Conference. By the numbers:
- 86,482 Registered Attendees
- 2,200+ Esri Staff
- 180 Countries (57% US, 43% International)
- 118 Live Workshops
- 114 On-Demand Workshops
- 250 On-Demand Demos
- 200 User Videos
- 39 Special Interest Groups
- 153 Exhibitors
Second, any conference comes with its fair share of swag, and everyone walks away from the Esri UC looking something like this:
Hope you left room in your suitcase
And while it's not quite the same experience of sitting on your suitcase trying to cram it closed, Esri put together a Digital Swag Bag, which includes:
- An Esri Map Book
- Creative Activities for you or your family
- Screensavers, backdrops, and wallpapers (I actually saved all of these and used many of the background in the Special Interest Group I hosted!)
- A National Geographic FREE 3-month Subscription
- Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, Esri launched a MERCH STORE that will be open year-round!
Now that I've overwhelmed you even more than before, here's where we get to business:
1. Take Advantage of the (Unprecedented) Available Resources
As I mentioned above, this year was the largest Esri User Conference yet! And the greatest part about this year's UC being virtual is that almost every session, presentation, and special interest group is now available to stream on demand. Usually these events happen in San Diego and then, poof!, they're gone forever. Here's what you can stream today:
- All Plenary Sessions
- All Technical Sessions (filterable by session type, topic, or day)
- All Special Interest Groups (from a completely unbiased position, may I humbly offer my personal favorite SIG that my team and I hosted for the Renewable Energy Industry)
Plus, if you are reading this, there's a good chance you are one of my clients. Refer to the Renewable Energy Guide for the UC to see what sessions may be of high-interest to you to help narrow down the selection.
2. Learn from Other Industries
One of my favorite things to do at every Esri UC is explore how other industries are utilizing the ArcGIS Platform. Don't be afraid to jump into a Tech Session on a new ArcGIS Product you've been curious about or spend the free time you find throughout the day browsing the Digital Map Gallery. Then think about how you could apply these capabilities or ideas to your organization. Many times, the Esri products you already own are capable of much more than how they are currently utilized and you already have the tools in your hand to perform those workflows that seem unattainable!
3. Set Realistic Goals
Now that you have inspiration and ideas in mind, translate this to business value. Technology is not just an invaluable but critical component to the generation of business value. "Business Value" is different for every organization: whether it be ROI, deploying an authoritative platform, completing initiatives ahead of schedule and under budget, etc. GIS provides the ability to inform, automate, detect/predict patterns, and enable organizations, all of which have the ability to provide unparalleled business value.
Here's how we develop business value both quickly and efficiently:
Setting these goals gives you a road map on how you can execute something . Otherwise, everything you've learned at the Esri User Conference may stay as a wish list or philosophical ideas, and the potential you can accomplish with GIS will always stay an "if" rather than a "when."
And finally, take care of yourself, stay safe, and know that your work helps everyone to understand how we can all collaborate and build a better future. Thank you!