The Esri UC Rollercoaster

Blog Post created by SamIAmOz on Jul 21, 2017

My Esri UC experience normally takes two weeks. It’s a wild rollercoaster ride; a full week climbing to the dizzying heights of a GIS-managed utopia, followed by the inevitable and precipitous fall back to the confines of reality, upon returning to work the next week. Now that it’s over, here are my reflections on the esriuc2017.


What GIS Is.

“Just 5% of your GIS is technology,”* says Jack, the rest is collaboration with others and helping them to change workflows and attitudes. GIS professionals should be out in their organizations advocating for a comprehensive “Location Strategy” (Look it up – it’s not a penguin).


“GIS is NOT just the system of record.” JD.


After more than a decade of urging us to make GIS the system of record, Esri has decided that’s not enough! If all you wanted was a spatial record of your system, you should have stuck with the CAD maps and workflows as that now-retired drafting manager said so many times. However, if you want to provide insights that enable geo-illiterate decision makers in organization to make smart decisions based on data and geography, if you want to empower your tech-adverse colleagues to take control of the spatial information they create and use every day, Esri has a platform for you! And speaking of platform…

What is Web GIS? webgis

"Portal is the heart of a Web GIS." JD

The new “ArcGIS Enterprise,” which includes “Portal for ArcGIS”, is the next step in the evolution of GIS from desktop GIS, to server GIS, to Web GIS. This new infrastructure will allow more users to harness the power of the great work GIS professionals have been doing for their organizations for decades. Look to the future as Portals become connected to other Portals and to ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Hub builds common operating frameworks for entire communities. Upgrade your server GIS to Enterprise GIS today!

Utility Network! utility network

You might be thinking this is just for GIS users at utilities – and we have been itching for this complete remake since Esri started teasing us with UC sessions and white papers some 30 months ago, - but this is going to be big for everyone who models the world. The new Utility Network will be “services-based,” (which means get your ArcGIS Enterprise installed) and Web GIS compatible. Anyone, anywhere, on any device will be able to ask the questions about utility networks that only GIS professionals on desktops could previously answer.

Ok, you don’t care where sewer water goes (Only, you do! You just don’t think about daily, because awesome utility crews look after the details for you.), but the new Utility Network model will bring functionality to other data types in the future. Subtype layers! Each subtype acts as a layer. This improves performance because a single database query is made for multiple “layers.” Attribute rules! This database functionality enables attribute rules and auto-updaters. These features and more will roll out with Utility Network, but other data types will get the functionality in the future.


Action Items

Upgrade your GIS to ArcGIS Enterprise and start building a Web GIS.

Clean up your Geometric Network utility data to simplify migration to the Utility Network.

Install Jupyter Notebooks and start managing your Web GIS with the ArcGIS API for Python.


*I need to go back through the Plenary videos and get the right wording, but that’s pretty close.