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Live Blog: 2017 Esri UC Plenary (Morning Session)

07-10-2017 08:31 AM
Esri Community Team
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Welcome to the 2017 Esri User Conference Plenary!  We (Christopher Catania & Matt Ball ) will be sharing the latest news and updates during the plenary.)  Thanks for following along and we look forward to seeing your feedback and contributions in the comments below! 

Update 7/17: Check out each UC 2017 day recap: 

Update 7/10: We invite you to check out these two documents for additional info on what you saw and heard during the plenary.  Enjoy! 

Plenary Segments (click to jump to segments)


Doors open and attendees are finding their way in!

8:10 - GeoNet Community member siting! 

First GeoNet Community member siting of the week! I stepped out to snap a few shots and had the pleasure of running into  GeoNet MVP Adrian Welsh‌. Adrian has made a lot of great contributions to the community and you can hear his story when you come to the Geonet Meetups this week.

8:32 - Welcome to UC! 

Jack welcomes attendees to the 38th User Conference.


Jack shares the focus for this year's conference

"What is the purpose? To be together, to grow together, learn from each other, share what we’re doing, to become friends. The theme, The Science of Where. Your backgrounds are rich, coming from every field of human endeavor. You hold the reigns of a better future."

Keeping with UC tradition attendees stand up and greet each other. The buzz of conversation fills the room.

8:34 - "Your Work"


Jack dives into the "Your Work" session highlighting the great work users have done this year. 


"Your work addresses the challenges we face in the world. These maps show your work in..."

Environmental Modeling and Assessment

   Oil spill simulation in Russia

Natural Resource Management

   Managing harvests and timber sales, modeling citrus disease in Florida

Managing and Analyzing Land Information

   Parcel maps and analytics to predict vacancy and assessing value

   Looking at revenue and public expenditures in Illinois

Urban Design and Planning

   Comprehensive planning in Seoul (Urban and Regional Planning‌)

3D Building and City modeling

   Visualizations of Sweden (3D‌)

   Containment structure in Chernobyl

Transportation Planning and Management (Transportation‌)

   Modeling flows of traffic and real-time traffic modeling

   Waze, the crowdsourced traffic information, is now being shared through partnerships

Engineering and Public Works (Public Safety‌)

   Facility management in water, airports, and highways

Utilities and Telecommunications (Utilities and Communications‌)

   Augmented reality in New Jersey to see pipes under the streets

Business Analysis and Location Intelligence (Business and Commercial‌, Business Analyst‌)

   Gas stations in India

   Automated routing in Denmark

   Demographic analysis for Banking

   Field to store supply chain tracking of Driscoll’s berries (food security)

Public Health and Demographics

   Illuminating the opioid epidemic

   Modeling community well being in Philadelphia

Public Safety and Security (Public Safety‌)

   Machine learning for crime prediction in Brazil and London

Preparing for and Responding to Disasters

   Real-time situational awareness

Citizen Engagement, Open Data, and Collaboration (ArcGIS Hub‌)

   Maps where citizens provide feedback on 311 dashboards

   Mapping villages in the Democratic Republic of the Congo via crowdsourcing with the WHO, CDC and GISCorps


   Automating all the scales with Swisstopo

   Geologic mapping of Utah

Story Maps (Story Maps‌)

   Publishing of maps has totally changed

   Butterfly zone in California

8:36 - Esri Storytelling with Maps Contest

Now it's time for some storytelling!

Jack shares highlights from the Map Contest. "Esri Story Maps are a simple yet powerful way to inform, engage, and inspire people with any story you want to tell that involves maps, places, locations, or geography. They make it easy for you to harness the power of maps to tell your story. The applications are designed to be attractive and usable by anyone, which makes them great for education and outreach, either to the general public or to a specific audience."


More than 1,000 new story maps are being created each day. The Storytelling with Maps Contest encouraged users to create a story map, with judging based on how effectively they made the subject matter interesting, understandable, and engaging.


The Esri Story Maps Gallery provides great examples, handpicked by the Esri Story Maps team, with creating approaches and best practices.


The Esri Storytelling with Maps Contest winners can be viewed here:

8:37 - GIS Digital Transformation, Enterprise GIS, President's, and SAG Awards

GIS Digital Transformation Award

Abu Dhabi embarked on a mission to make GIS a central system across more than 70 government and quasi-government agencies back in 2007 with the launch of the Abu Dhabi Spatial Data Infrastructure (AD-SDI) initiative. The effort to link urban planning, local government, utilities, infrastructure, safety, security, environment, cultural heritage, public health, business and education has paid off with increased collaboration, more detailed analysis, better planning, and improved decision making. In recognition of this ongoing effort, Abu Dhabi receives the GIS Digital Transformation Award at the 2017 Esri International User Conference.


H.E. Rashed Lahaj Al Mansoori, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Center (ADSIC), accepts the award.

Enterprise Award

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) serves US policy makers, the armed forces, intelligence agencies, and first responders. NGA’s data and applications have recently undergone a migration to a cloud-native environment to improve accessibility and greatly increase the availability of computing resources in order to achieve advanced analytics. They have also undertaken a shift toward delivering their data as GEOINT services so that data can be used in any application. One of NGA’s first GEOINT Services, the IC GIS Portal, has been in use for a little more than two years and has grown to serve more than 60,000 users worldwide. In recognition of this far-forward strategy, NGA receives the Enterprise GIS Award at the 2017 Esri International User Conference.


Justin Poole, Director, Source Operations and Management, Jim McIntyre, Technical Executive, Foundation GEOINT Group, and Tracy Toutant, IC GIS Portal Manager from NGA accept the award.

President's Award

Each business day, UPS drivers make an average of 120 delivery stops. A reduction of just one mile per driver per day over one year can save UPS up to $50 million. The number of route combinations a driver can make for those 120 deliveries is a mind-bogglingly big number that is greater than the number of nanoseconds the Earth has existed, according to UPS. To ensure UPS drivers use the most optimized delivery routes in regard to distance, fuel and time, UPS developed On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation (ORION). UPS uses Esri's maps in the ORION system, and the maps and routing algorithms contribute to make routing more efficient. UPS has elevated the impact of GIS to the bottom line of their business, and for this outstanding GIS work they receive the President’s Award at the 2017 Esri International User Conference.


Jim Collins, Vice President, Industrial Engineering and Jack Levis, Senior Director, Process Management from UPS accepts the award.

SAG Awards

The Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Awards will take place on Wednesday, July 12. Visit the SAG award website to view the full list of this year’s winners and to learn more about each winner’s work.

9:00 - Jack’s Vision


Jack shares his vision.  

"The Science of Where may be a new phrase to you. From the very beginning GIS was applied to sciences of various types. It wasn’t until 1993 when Dr. Mike Goodchild wrote a paper about GI Science that the term took hold. The world began to realize that GIS is science in its own right. It integrates and incorporates many sciences in kind of a meta science."

"The Science of Where is the science of geography and the technology of GIS. The maps I shared are evidence that this is a framework for applying science to almost everything."

"Why is this science so important now? We are living in a world that is increasingly challenged. Growing population, issues of climate change, loss of nature, social conflict… The organizations we work in are confronted with this changing world. We need to better understand, and form better collaborations to address these issues."

"Our world is undergoing a massive digital transformation. We are automating everything and measuring everything that moves and changes and are wiring it together in a fabric across the planet."


"The Science of Where is a fundamental digital language about understanding. GIS provides us a language and framework to organize maps and data and visualize and analyze the shapes and patterns. We can make decisions and take those into action."


"It is transforming how we think, and creating a sustainable future. That’s a high aspiration. Can we make difference? Yes, we can!"


"GIS provides a platform to manage our systems of record in small organizations as well as mammoth organizations. It’s a system of engagement. It’s a system of insight to approach problem solving in a holistic way because it integrates people and processes. Using the Power of Where, we are integrating everything."


"GIS is advancing rapidly. With all the new data sources and advances in computing – distributed computing and deep learning. This is ramping up. My sense is that this momentum will expand your ability to apply this technology everywhere."

"Web GIS is the modern GIS architecture. It’s helping you do your work better. It’s leveraging Web Services to integrate teams with shared knowledge to improve collaboration."


Web GIS simplifies working with all types of data. It brings data together. It can access any data type: imagery, maps, real-time data, 3D…


The complexity of our cities are being modeled with the Internet of Things, with real-time information applied to do space-time analysis in meaningful ways.


We are extending the reach and bringing the power of maps to everyone, across your organizations and beyond.


Smart mapping is about using computation and analysis to automate the creation of maps.


Web GIS is revolutionizing how we plan and design, integrating science into the design process. We can do interactive designs, and look at different scenarios, to collaborate on good designs.

9:15 - Lauren Bennett Shows How to Apply The Science of Where with ArcGIS

Spatial analysis (Spatial Analyst) is how we apply The Science of Where to ask questions, solve problems, and make smart decisions. The city of Boston has a bustling bike share system that they plan to increase by 50% in just 2 years. This means two things...extending the bike lane network and putting new bike stations throughout the city. Bennett demonstrates the use of spatial analysis to tackle both.


To figure out where to put a new bike lane, we have to start by understanding how people are using the system. We can see highest usage in downtown Boston and near both Harvard and MIT in Cambridge. But that’s only part of the story. Where do people go once they pick up a bike? How are these stations connected? Looking at where trips start and end, we can see which stations have the strongest connections. We can combine our understanding of how people are using the system with powerful network analysis to identify highly used, highly connected stations without adequate bike lane coverage.


A good bike lane isn’t just about the shortest path...a good bike lane isn’t too we’ll include slope, it must be well we’ll include street lights, it should be we’ll include trees, and it avoids major we’ll include traffic volume. We can use spatial analysis to combine a sophisticated weighted overlay with our network analysis to choose the best path.


Next, we’ll site some new bike share stations. One of Boston’s priorities for locating new stations is providing equitable access, ensuring everyone is within a 10-minute walk of a bike share. Looking at these 10-minute walk times, it’s clear that there are some gaps in service, which is where we’ll put our candidate stations. Of course, we also need to consider where people live.


Combining network analysis and population data, we can calculate which potential sites provide the biggest improvements to access. And we can see how the model has allocated the underlying population to each site. We’ve sited the stations so that they are accessible to as many people as possible, but how many people are actually going to use them? How many bikes will they need?


Geostatistical surface models show what we know about the existing stations to predict usage at each of the new stations. These predictions will be important when planning the buildout.


Ultimately, it’s all about getting creative and integrating and applying The Science of Where, including powerful network, raster, and geostatistical methods, to unlock the full potential of our data. It’s how GIS professionals, build the maps that run the world and shape the future.

9:20 - Web GIS Engages Community

Web GIS is making spatial analysis more accessible and opening up data science. The Python API (ArcGIS API for Python) and R integration (R - ArcGIS) open up GIS to more analysts. Web GIS is connecting everyone with Web maps and apps to share and collaborate.


Citizens want to know more about their city, and city leaders want to interact more with their citizen. We have been working on technologies to improve these connections.


There’s a change occurring with Web GIS that's enabling a whole new scale of GIS, a system of systems. In Las Vegas, the water agency is sharing their information as web services with other utilities. Sharing information across and between organizations, even across states, between agencies, across cities. This pattern is beginning to emerge.


ArcGIS is a complete GIS platform. The intention of the design is to support individuals, teams and organizations. I’m very proud of the people that work on developing this technology. They take the notion of an integrated platform very seriously.


ArcGIS organizes and manages all aspects of GIS. It supports multiple implementation patters – a system of systems pattern – that integrates other patterns to connect everything.

9:34 - Oakland County, Michigan's Digital Transformation

Phil Bertolini, Deputy County Executive/CIO of Oakland County, Michigan starts off his talk about his county’s digital transformation by holding up his hand and showing where the county is located on the state. Michiganians may be the biggest GeoGeeks of all, or at least those that live on the lower peninsula, because the mitten shape of the state gives them an easy geographic reference to show where they live.


Oakland County, Michigan was forced to reimagine their economy during the recent recession, and much of this creative work took place at the county level as they have been a shared service provider for local municipalities for more than 50 years. Their mantra is, “build it once, pay for it once, and everyone will benefit.”


Oakland County has grown their Distributed GIS Model through WebGIS to combine their many collaborative systems of record into a System of Systems. The central Access Oakland gateway provides land and property information reports and maps, centralized payment of local taxes, citations, and fees to the court system, and provides a subscription-based application for licensed surveyors and related professionals. This has branched out these services to municipalities, businesses, and citizens.


The county sent out emissaries across the globe to recruit new types of businesses to grow alongside the automotive industry. To date, they have attracted 400 new businesses, growing the economy by 3.9 billion dollars. They also discovered that their thriving healthcare cluster makes the county a destination for medical services.


Bertolini challenged his staff to think of their GIS program and their current vested users as the trunk of a tree, with new users growing branch by branch.


Tammi Shepherd, Chief, Application Services and Mike Dagle, IT Business Analyst, introduced six new user groups that have branched the reach of their GIS services:


Katelin from the social media team created a blog post about Cider Mills in the County. The GIS team took this post and created a map that soon turned into a Map of the Month Program to highlight the unique activities taking place in the County.


Laura, the chief tax administrator, has benefited from a suite of apps that enable contractors to more accurately stake notices on properties that are in arrears on their taxes. The apps ensure that notices are staked to the right properties, and it has streamlined the process. What used to take months, and multiple people, now takes one person one week.


Tim from the Water Resources Commissioner’s Office who uses a distributed asset management system to maintain their infrastructure benefited from GeoAnalytics to visualize where and exactly how much is being spent across the county. This analysis is used to convince municipalities to invest in infrastructure, and it helps them prioritize and allocate their scarce resources.


Brenda, an assessor who created an app to allow colleagues to answer frequently asked questions about property details. The app provides acreage, wetlands, and historical imagery dating back to 1940. This app added 60 new users in Equalization Division where Brenda works, and it has since spread to other municipalities, with a template approach that allows each municipality to add their logo and make it their own.


Trisha from Public Health has been working to curb the opioid epidemic. The Open Data page was extended using the new configurable opioid solution templates to raise awareness and provide prevention resources, such as where to dispose of unused medications and to find treatment and recovery resources.


Key takeaways:

  • Challenged to branch their GIS services to more users, Oakland County set out to find and inspire just one user who would inspire many more.
  • Oakland County’s mantra, “build it once, pay for it once, and allow everyone to benefit,” meets the pattern of their modern WebGIS that allows them to take a templated approach to spread useful maps and apps to their many stakeholders.

9:45 - ArcGIS Content


Jack shares a series of updates on ArcGIS content. "We have created connections to create the foremost collection of global geographic information. It has become a Living Atlas for our planet."


We are advancing data models, improving workflows, and adding tools to improve editing. We now have new tools for CAD integration, working with our colleagues at Autodesk. We are improving geocoding.


In the world of field GIS, we are taking ArcGIS beyond the office. We have released a new version of ArcGIS Online in a disconnected environment.


Our work in mapping and cartography are advancing tools and methods. We’re improving 3D thematic display and representation. In ArcGIS Pro, we’ve added measured grids, dynamic charts and layouts. Production charting and mapping are also advancing. You can now use your own vector tiles, using your own projection.


We’ve made progress on integration with the Adobe Creative Cloud, so graphic designers can work alongside you productively.


ArcGIS is a common 3D platform for visualization and analysis. Bringing in CAD, BIM, Lidar and other 3D data and formats. New tools for urban planning and geodesign are advancing visualization, animation and augmented reality.


ArcGIS is now a complete imagery platform supporting advanced processing, analysis and image management. If you have an image and pan and zoom, it does dynamic processing. It looks at raw imagery coming off a sensor and it gives me on-the-fly results. It provides change analysis and classification with NDVI. It works with full-motion video.


There are powerful analytics and dynamic image services. Every night Landsat imagery are stood up on the cloud and made available. This fall, we’ll support the Sentinel-2 European satellite. All of this imagery is available on the Living Atlas that I spoke about before. We’re also teaming with DigitalGlobe to offer their high-resolution imagery and image analysis on the fly.


We’re expanding and improving tools for spatial analysis. Spatial statistics and new tools for space-time pattern mining. We are also working on providing model builder models as a service through improved computer processing.


Insights is a new product that provides a whole new way to do spatial analysis in an intuitive way. It’s called exploratory data analysis and visualization – exploring and comparing to open up our community to do thing faster and better as well as sharing with colleagues.


We’ve been working to make spatial processing faster to handle big data. We are able to look at large image collections and do space-time analytics at scale. Tens of thousands of images can be accessed using distributed computing with the new architectures that I spoke about earlier. Real-time analytics supports the notion of monitoring and learning – organizations can bring data alive, manage their operations. We can now handle hundreds of thousands observations per second and analyze those streams in real time.


ArcGIS is designed to be open — supporting open, interoperable and standards-compliant innovation.


ArcGIS is an integrated system.

It supports workflows with apps for the field, office and community. It enables entire organizations to be more connected.


ArcGIS Solutions with an industry focus simplify and accelerate deployment with a template-based approach.


Those that want to create their own apps can use Web AppBuilder to create apps using no code and AppStudio where they build once and deploy to multiple mobile operating systems.


ArcGIS Desktop


We are making improvements. What’s coming this fall is a new data model for utilities and better support for metadata and parcels. We are working on extensions, improving Network Analyst, Spatial Analyst, 3D Analyst, as well as Data Interoperability, Workflow Manager, Data Reviewer and Geostatistical Analyst.


ArcGIS Enterprise


Our next-generation server platform provides a whole new generation of tools and allows it to scale among many organizations. We simplified administration and enabled portal content replication. We’ve also made it easier to install and deploy.


Portal Content Replication means you can take data from one department and replicate it to another department or other organizations. We can replicate web maps, scenes and related content automatically, setting it up with rules and taking distributed GIS to scale.


ArcGIS API for Python

This enables scripted automation and a whole new way to experience and leverage ArcGIS. We can automate scripts and script analytical processes.


ArcGIS Online

We are growing rapidly with more than 4 million subscribers with 3 billion tiles served/day, 11 million items, and 40 million open data downloads. With millions of people using it all the time, there’s a growing community of users that are exploring, analyzing, making maps and sharing.


ArcGIS Hub

This is a way to collaborate with your community that is built around policy initiatives. These initiatives are encapsulated in maps and apps.

ArcGIS Hub (ArcGIS Hub) provides a new technology framework to support government community engagement initiatives with an eye on operational goals. We all live in a community, and each community is different, but they all experience common challenges. The ArcGIS Hub offers a way to bring policy-driven initiatives such as safer streets, opioid addiction mitigation, economic development and more in a coordinated way that can be measured.


The City of South Bend, Indiana is using the ArcGIS Hub to tackle their issue of blight with their Vacant to Value initiative that tackles the 25% vacant lots in the city. They have web and mobile applications that help the public understand the current problem, the government vision, and the plans of action.


Points of action encourage the public to get involved, allowing residents to create an identity to receive updates or to become advocates, and they can use spatial and statistical analysis to generate their own insights.


The template-based approach allowed the community to configure and publish this initiative in 30 minutes and with a three-step approach to monitor and manage the initiative

  1. inform the public with a story map and website
  2. listen to the public with surveys and crowdsourcing tools
  3. monitor progress with dashboards to communicate status of issues to community and government officials


Community participants used the data and tools to design their own advocacy page to turn vacant lots into community gardens. Through this and other initiatives, South Bend empowers their 100,000 residents to collaborate alongside government.


ArcGIS Hub includes initiative templates that organizations adopt, configure and extend to share best practices and solutions. These first initiatives were designed in close collaboration with our early adopters and we hope you'll join us in designing and evolving new initiatives.

10:10 - The ArcGIS platform and the road ahead

Jack shares more of what is coming.  

"ArcGIS is a platform for developers. It’s a platform for the maker community. We’ve added major advancements for JavaScript, Runtime, Python, and more."


"We build a number of focused application products for Geodesign, Location intelligence and domain-specific apps for pipelines, roads, highway, airports, and more. They are engineered to extend the platform."


"The road ahead for ArcGIS is rich. We will continue to provide improvements with releases every six months or so. We have hundreds of developers focused on what you want them to do and work on."


"Esri is about serving our users. I apologize for the mistakes we make. We like the idea of advancing our science and technology. We love the idea of making a difference with our work, like you do."


"We don’t just work on software. We work on professional development tools, training, e-learning, and books. The new ArcGIS Book was given to you. They are integrated with online resources to help you expand your knowledge."


"We are very appreciative of our partners. Many are huge IT organizations that help extend the reach of our tools."


We support a series of relationships, like the Nature Conservancy, the National Audubon Society. We provide our software and they enrich our community.


We are announcing a new GIS Volunteer Community to provide resources where they are needed. GIS Corps is doing amazing work to respond to disasters around the world, helping people do things. I’m so proud of being affiliated with this organization.


The SCGIS group are focused on conservation and understanding and protecting nature. Silvia Earle has recently announced the Mission Blue program to protect our ocean.


In education, we are providing our software for free for K-12 education (K12 Instruction) We thank the GeoMentors (GeoMentors) that are sharing their knowledge


We’ve been working together for many years, developing The Science of Where.


It’s now recognized as a powerful force…

For solving problems and understanding our world


Web GIS takes GIS to a whole new scale

Helping you do your work better

Transforming how you share and collaborate


As GIS professionals, we now have many new opportunities

To contribute to our organizations


What Should We Do Next?

  • Envision what’s possible
  • Learn the new technology
  • Adopt the new patterns
  • Explore new applications
  • Share and Collaborate
  • Encourage new users and uses
  • Communicate Your Successes


Knowing is not enough, we must apply.

Being willing is not enough, we must do.

-- Leonardo da Vinci

Break time! That's it for the Act One... Join us back at 10:35 for Act Two!

10:50 - Top Ten Favorite Things in ArcGIS Pro

Welcome back!  Now it's time for a bit of fun from James Sullivan, a solution engineer in Esri’s Alexandria, Virginia office as he shares a top ten list of improvements in ArcGIS Pro 2.0. The list is delivered via a tour of Sullivan’s neighborhood in Loudon County, Virginia.



We now have annotation support in ArcGIS Pro 2.0. Sullivan updates his address using the annotation edit tool, changing style, repositioning the annotation where they need to go, or taking advantage of inline text editing to make updates.



Data exploration with the new Charting Tools. We can create Box Plots, to look at demographics and average net worth for each block group in Loudon County, which happens to be one of the wealthiest counties in the country, visualizing by districts and median net worth. Bar charts allow you to filter by selection. You can link charts together and they change dynamically. Each block group for districts that I select. You can embed the work in information products. As a bonus, we have improved the navigation of large attribute tables, greatly speeding navigation.



The charts we just created can be added to a Layout. Layout improvements include dynamic updates for each page. There is full support for graticules and measured grids, regardless of the data you’re using. Legends can update to reflect what’s shown in the map extent.



Moving over to Dulles International Airport lets us show you some of the advanced imagery improvements. The auto georeferencing tool creates automated tie points for adding images. Dragging an older unreferenced image into Pro and manually fitting it into display, I can see that it’s inverted. A quick swipe shows us where the runway was created a decade ago.



"Where did the catalog go? Well, we heard your feedback on GeoNet and your ideas in ArcGIS Ideas." 

This item came from us directly from where you leave us messages on what you want. We renamed this the Project Pane in ArcGIS Pro and now it’s back to the Catalog Pane that you all know and love. We also made it quicker by storing your connections and most-used data stores.

Shouts and applause erupt! 



ArcGIS Pro now supports WFS. Zooming out to the county level I’ve created a connection to the USGS for the geology of the county. I can link this with the clip tool. I’m left with a subset of the data over Loudon County. I can see what rock types are present, and link to a chart to see the quantities.



"Anybody get disorientated when working with 3D?" A user cheers. "Sounds like that guy does. Well, we have an update for you."


3D Editing and visualization is shown going to an old train station that’s now a restaurant. I can split the roof surface in half and then drag upwards to match the lidar point cloud. Power poles can be updated with heights to view and to  compare. 



The onscreen navigator allows me to get oriented in a 3D view. I can control the navigation from the ground and get oriented. I can use the inner ring of my Navigator to revolve around a feature.



Improvements to sharing extend the idea of a connected desktop with three sharing options.



You can now run multiple instances of Pro on the same machine at the same time. As a bonus, on this number, we’ve also added a Dark Theme that looks really cool!

Excited about those updates? Which are your favorite? 

10:55 - Let's Talk Enterprise Deployment 

Julia Guard takes the stage to discuss enterprise deployment.

With ArcGIS Pro (ArcGIS Pro) 10.5.1 installation and configuration become much easier. The components of software installation are packaged into a single installation and configuration experience called the ArcGIS Enterprise Builder. This is accessed in a Web browser and with this tool, you can have a fully configured ArcGIS Enterprise installation in under an hour. This lowers the barrier to entry for enterprise deployment for many organizations.


We also work with Chef, an open source automation tool with cookbooks and recipes. This provides configuration in a predictable and repeatable way. You don’t have to write the recipes, you just need to get into the kitchen and pick the right recipes for your organization.

If you're using Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, you won't need to do either of these. We've streamlined cloud deployment working closely with these organizations.


These tools simplify the deployment process.

11:12 - "Did You Know?" with Bern 

Bern Szukalski kicks off the “Did You Know” segment to show users, even power users, some items they may not yet know, emphasizing that there’s always room for discovery.


Szukalski accesses World Imagery and shows that if you add world imagery as a layer rather than a basemap, you’re just one click away from knowing everything about it – the source, the acquisition date, the resolution, and the accuracy. Next, he zooms into Seattle showing recent imagery that happens to be cloudy. If you add World Imagery Clarity the clouds disappear. Another world imagery basemap called Firefly provides grayscale imagery that adds drama, particularly with heat map content, revealing true color imagery when you zoom in. A new partnership with Airbus adds the highest resolution elevation across the globe.


Lisa Berry shows Vector Tile Basemaps and how you can set them as your default. You can add Streets at Night and Navigation in settings. In ArcGIS Pro, you can use your own data to make vector tile base maps. You can add your own local data and use local projection such as the British National Grid, which is the projection used by the Ordnance Survey. You can also customize vector basemaps, such as with a Newspaper or Children’s map examples. Vector tile basemaps provides a way to create a strong foundation for your maps.


Juhan Yoo shows the World Geocoder and how you can quickly find locations. It has increased global coverage, even down to the street level in Iceland. The World Geocoder now supports both Military Grid Reference and the U.S. National Grid and degrees, minutes and seconds. We have also added some unique capabilities.


Jennifer Bell shows the ability to compare air pollution in 2013 and 2016. Smart mapping allows you to quickly visualize your data. Using Arcade Expressions, you can dynamically create new attributes on the fly. Variable changes calculate the difference between 2013 and 2016 and provides a new change over time map with counts and amounts. It also outputs a new color map, showing the counties that have experienced a decrease or increase in air pollution. Users can get creative with color and font choices. Next, she shows a map with Caribbean ancestry in each county of the US. The predominance map has custom pop-ups.


Juan Carlos Tarazona demonstrates Business Analyst (Business Analyst), perhaps the best app you haven’t seen. You can enter a zip code and quickly generate infographics to learn more about the location, such as demographics, economic indicators and crime to help make informed business decisions. The app works in 137 countries around the world. Tarazona zooms into Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and looks to locate a new food market. The analytics capabilities allow you to navigate, add your own data, go to the ArcGIS Marketplace to search for more data, and start building amazing infographics of your own.


Thomas Emga showed Scene Viewer and its support for vector tiles in 3D. Using the globe, he zooms into Helsinki, Finland to show its support of local scenes using projected coordinate systems. With smart mapping, you can make the buildings display information such as their connections to public transportation. We also have ready-to-use 3D web scenes, such as examples from the city of Lyon, France. You can zoom to a point layer with tourist attractions and view callouts and labels. With the decluttering option, you can generate a dynamic, yet comprehensive and readable view of all your data. We can also view massive point clouds in a Web browser, showing that the scene viewer is requesting 40 billion points. You can also view photorealistic scenes provided by our partner Vricon.

11:30 - Say hello to the Geoduck from Taylor Shellfish Farms

Taylor Shellfish Farms is a fifth-generation operation with 30 farms across the Pacific Northwest, with the highest concentration in the southern part of Puget Sound. It prides itself on its long history of environmentalism, achieving the only Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification in the United States that designates their shellfish are farmed responsibly.


Nyle Taylor, Farm Project Coordinator and fifth-generation shellfish farmer, recounted the 24x7 operations that bring their clams, oysters and geoduck to market, including in their own oyster bars.


Yes, GeoGeeks that is spelled geoduck, but it’s pronounced “gooey-duck.” The geoduck is native to the Pacific Northwest and is the world’s largest burrowing clam. Taylor introduced a live geoduck to the audience.


While they’ve been using GIS for less than a year, their use of ArcGIS Online and mobile field apps have spread throughout the organization.


Erin Ewald, Assistant Director of Regulatory & Environmental Compliance, latched onto GIS upon inheriting responsibility for maintaining maps of their farm beds, which were previously done by hand. The first step was to manage and update their maps with GIS, and the second step was to make this data mobile.


Using Explorer (Explorer for ArcGIS) on their mobile devices, they’re now able to take their real-time business, operations, and environmental data out to their 30 farms. The ability to view GIS data in the field helps them understand the environment they’re working in.


The apps allow farm managers, with years of experience, to redline maps and share real-time changes in conditions or to record suggestions for where each farm could expand. The offline editing capability in Explorer is crucial as many of the farms are in rural areas with spotty cell signal coverage. Explorer also provides a handy repository for data and attachments, such as their permits that can be shown to Fish and Wildlife inspectors as they come around.


They use Survey123 (Survey123 for ArcGIS)  for field data collection, such as reports of shoreline debris or the presence of herring spawn, which they’re required to report to regulators and to maintain their ASC certification. They have created multilingual surveys in English, Spanish and Khmer (the Cambodian language) to help make data collection a habit for their diverse crews.


They use Collector (Collector for ArcGIS) to update operational farm data about their farm beds. The data is used to better evaluate the status of various farms, freeing up information that was previously only in the minds of their farmers.


Taylor relates a story about Brian, a farm manager that was seriously injured in a car crash. His injuries impaired his ability to recall all the details about his farm, greatly frustrating him. The Collector app allowed him to confidently continue his role, and he’s now a great advocate for the mobile apps.


Workforce (Workforce for ArcGIS) is helping them to collaborate with the local Squaxin Tribe in Oakland Bay, who have been harvesting shellfish there for centuries. They have put in place a coordinated effort to improve the health of the watershed by managing water quality sample assignments between their field workers and the tribe. Every rain with more than an inch of precipitation triggers sampling, and they can select and assign sampling points—taking on the marine sampling themselves and assigning freshwater sampling to the tribe.


Drone2Map (Drone2Map for ArcGIS)  has helped them greatly improve the mapping of their farm beds. Drones allow them to capture the beds at low tide with a clear understanding of elevation, which is critical detail to locate the beds at optimum depth for farming each specific species. They can better see beach drainage and layout their beds so that their seed won’t get washed away.


Finally, the 3D maps and story maps help them to share their story with their customers, including virtual tours that help convey what it takes to go from Tide to Table.


Key takeaways:

  • GIS has helped Taylor Shellfish Farms to streamline their fieldwork with handy apps that all their workers can use, effectively capturing their institutional knowledge.
  • Drone2Map has greatly improved the speed and accuracy of laying out new beds.
  • Story maps have proven to be an effective communication tool both internally and to their customers.

11:33 - ArcGIS Insights and water conservation

Insights for ArcGIS (Insights for ArcGIS)  is an exciting new spatial business intelligence tool that allows all members of your organization to use the power of geography and relationships to explore and analyze your data. 


Derek Lorbiecki from Esri’s water team demonstrates how water utilities have used Insights to answer questions and discover complex relationships in their data.


Insights workbooks are the documents that store all your pages and cards, and they are where you view maps tables and charts and perform analysis. He shows an analysis performed by the White House Utility District in northern Tennessee. They had noticed an unusually large number of service request for leaks coming from one zone in the southeast of their service area. In this analysis, they discover a spike in leaks in developments built in 2007. Digging deeper they see that these leaks are coming mainly from condo developments. Bringing in the pipe material into the analysis, they can see that the suspect pipe is this green colored pipe, and the legend tells us that it’s copper pipe. Further investigation found that the copper pipes in these two condo developments were defective. They have since been replaced and the number of leaks has significantly decreased.


Next, he uses Insights to analyze water consumption in the East Valley Water District in Southern California.


For this analysis, he locates customers in the meters feature class, and how much water they have consumed, which is found in the customer consumption table. He joins the consumption table and the meter feature class in the Insights relationship view. With the established relationship, he creates an “inefficient use” field, which shows a ratio of actual water consumption to allocated consumption. A map card of customers with inefficient use is created by dragging the field onto the insights page. 


Symbolizing the data as a heat map shows that there are pockets of inefficient use across the service area. To explore how water use has changed over time, he creates a time series chart that shows water consumption by billing date. This chart shows a spike in water usage in the end of September, when It is generally hot and dry.


He next investigates high outdoor water consumption by calculating a ratio of outdoor water use to indoor water use. Insights creates this field on the fly and we can immediately use that field to create a new card and start analyzing the data.


Next, he singles out customers who are using at least 20x more water outside than inside. This filter takes us from over 20,000 customers to the 442 customers we are the most concerned about. He breaks this data down ever further with the new Insights Box Plot to discover that there are, in fact, 30 customers who are outliers using between 50 and 110x more water than we would expect.


Turning on the aerial photo and zooming into one of these customers, we can see that this customer has a pool, a large lawn, and lots of trees.


Finally, he shares this Insights page out to the organization, which can return to it as needed for future analysis because Insights has documented all the steps in the workbook.


Key takeaway:

  • Insights lets us identify and answer questions like, “Why are new developments experiencing so many leaks?” and “Where do I need to focus my water conservation efforts?”
  • Insights is designed to be used on all your rich spatial and non-spatial data to help your organization make new discoveries

11:40 - The Chesapeake Bay story:  Mapping the Bay and restoring it

The Chesapeake Bay watershed covers 64,000 square miles across six states (New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and Delaware). It’s the largest estuary in the US and the third largest in the world.


The importance of the estuary plays significantly in the nation’s founding as John Smith, the famous explorer, mapped it to exploit its resources and the first settlements occurred within its boundaries. Today, we are mapping the Bay in order to restore it.


Jeff Allenby, Director of Conservation Technology at the Chesapeake Conservancy, relates recent imagery improvements that have greatly improved these conservation efforts. The prior 30m-resolution imagery that uses methods from the 1980’s doesn’t work for today’s challenges, causing a disconnect between data used for planning and the data used for taking action.


To improve the resolution of planning and action plans, the Conservancy has been working to build 1 meter or 1 foot ground sampling distance imagery along with Lidar-derived elevation for much more accurate surface models and basemaps. They have been using the Raster Analytics framework of ArcGIS to significantly reduce the time it takes to process this data, which is a compute intensive process.


The automated workflow with processing on Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service takes 150 hours to process, compared to a calculation of more than 2,500 hours using their workflows of the past. These faster and cheaper methods allow the Conservancy to automatically update their data making it practical to greatly improve their monitoring across the entire watershed.


Cassandra Pallai, Geospatial Program Manager, spoke to the looming 2025 deadline to achieve their cleanup goals. Each year, the population in the watershed grows by 100,000 people, which places more pressure to improve their impacts and to identify ways they can be most effective.


The improved datasets help to identify gaps in tree cover and holes in the riparian buffers that are the highest potential for pollution from agricultural runoff. The effort has provided a greatly improved baseline, but now the challenge is to track change over time. Thankfully, with the semi-automated workflow new data can be generated much more quickly and cost effectively.


Pallai zeroed in on Albemarle County, using their improved imagery to assess where tree canopy has been lost due to development. While individual developments and tributaries aren’t significant, collectively the action maps for each tributary are the means for reaching their Bay-wide goals.


Environmental management is changing with the move from effort-based to performance-based management that can prioritize specific actions. Focusing on projects where they will generate the biggest “bang for the buck” is becoming possible as they are able to focus more of their resources on spatial analysis rather than spending so much time generating data.


Key takeaways:

  • Raster analytics greatly speeds the creation of high-resolution land cover data using automation and the power of the cloud.
  • The high-resolution data greatly improves project planning across the Bay as well as the quantification of the benefits for each tributary project throughout its action plan.
  • Moving from effort- to performance-based management prioritizes specific actions that have the greatest impact. High-resolution imagery provides the means to measure outcomes remotely rather than rely on time-consuming measurements from the field.

11:48 - Deep Learning with Microsoft

Lucas Joppa, Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Scientist took to the stage to talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI). Microsoft holds a deep belief that humans and machines, working together through increasingly intelligent algorithms, can radically change the way we respond to some of our biggest challenges.


Microsoft has been working alongside Esri to address some of the challenges that the Chesapeake Conservancy faces. They are applying AI to help accelerate the Conservancy’s work in the hopes they can empower more organizations in more places to sustainably manage their lands.


A research project integrated an algorithm into ArcGIS to process images of the Chesapeake watershed. One-meter NAIP imagery from the Living Atlas was used with Microsoft’s Deep Learning model to produce classified NAIP imagery on the fly, identifying forests, fields, water and impervious surfaces such as houses and roads.


The view of the imagery is split into four panes to show the raw imagery, the Chesapeake Conservancy’s landcover classifications, how the deep learning algorithm parsed the imagery, and to show how the deep learning algorithm classified the imagery. The pane that displayed how the algorithm is thinking is very useful because it helps to fine tune the inputs and the algorithm to make it more accurate over time.


Next Microsoft ingested imagery from Oakland County to see if the same deep learning algorithm could classify landcover in a different place it has never seen before. The algorithm ran through and classified imagery for the entire county in the cloud in hours. The exercise helps to benchmark the effectiveness of the algorithm which will get better at classifying imagery at the pace that imagery is collected and posted.


“I hope many of you are sitting there thinking, ‘huh, is that it?’”, says Joppa. “And yes, that really is it! Because ultimately, the point of AI done well is to disappear into the background, letting you forget about the complexity of the computations.”

11:50 - Sit back and relax with Jupyter notebooks!

Rohit Singh uses the ArcGIS API for Python (ArcGIS API for Python) to script and automate a Web GIS, doing things like spatial analysis, GIS administration and content management.


Python in Jupyter Notebooks provides an easy to use modern, interactive, and browser-based application to write and document code. It supports rich media and markdown, and it’s growing very popular in the data science and academic communities.


Singh types Python code to display results interactively. He first imports the ArcGIS API for Python in the notebook and connects to his ArcGIS Online account. In three lines of code, he creates his first map to display content related to San Diego. Another line of code displays a layer for trolley stations. He then adds some places to see and does some spatial analysis with a few more lines of code to find places within a short walk from trolley stations. These are returned as a Pandas dataframe, which are like bringing in Excel into the Jupyter Notebook.


Singh creates another interactive map for his morning runs. He likes to run where it’s flat and in nature, so he does some weighted overlay analysis as well as raster analysis to show a map of places that fit these criteria. This map algebra doesn’t require complex code, and the library of functions from the Python API make it easy to look and run code others have created.


Next Singh shows how it’s easy to script administrative functions with the scenario of a call late Friday from his manager to customize a home page with all the users from his division, add groups for collaboration, and to populate the web page with maps. Thankfully, the workflow has all been scripted, so all he needs to do is combine the scripts and “run all.” A manual process would have taken hours, but it’s done in a matter of minutes.

11:55 - Going deep with IBM

Singh hands off to Mansour Raad who shows how Jupyter Notebooks can link to IBM Deep Learning. He shows how Georgia Power uses drones to inspect transmission lines and how they are looking for broken, contaminated, or flashed insulators. Every flight generates thousands of images and with 17,000 miles of transmission lines and more than 60,000 structures the process to find problems is a daunting task.


Today they do tagging and classifying manually. We’ve trained IBM Watson to visually filter images for broken insulators using deep learning by creating Python models to automate the process.


The IBM Watson API has deep learning visual recognition for deep understanding to automate feature identification.

12:10 - Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS)

Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS) is a nonprofit air ambulance service that serves the western Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. They are dedicated to saving lives with their highly specialized helicopter emergency medical transport systems for the critically ill and injured in an area that is largely remote.


They work closely with partners on the ground in emergency medical services, fire and with hospitals. They also have a number of clients in remote areas that are doing dangerous work, such as the field crews that work for oil and gas companies and other natural resource extraction industries.


Kevin Hatch, Telecommunication Specialist at the STARS Emergency Link Centre, speaks to the importance of the close monitoring of each mission to coordinate transport and care. Each mission requires constant aircraft monitoring and coordination with partners to keep the patient and the aircraft safe. For each mission, they assess access issues in remote locations, weather conditions, the availability of resources, the location of landing sites, and the condition of the patient.


An emergency physician with a background in transport medicine selects the most appropriate option and oversees the care of the patient during transport. The dispatcher stays in contact with the flight and air medical crews, adjusting and communicating each variable of the transport as conditions dictate.


STARS has built a dynamic Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) application using ArcGIS GeoEvent Server and ArcGIS GeoAnalytics Server to script and automate the display of all of the variables that guide their missions.


Paul Wiles, GIS and Telephony Technologist, STARS Emergency Link Centre explains how the dynamic SOP pulls in the real-time details from the dispatcher, the status of the helicopter, and the geography of the incident to display the relevant information to make mission decisions.


The GeoEvent Server enriches the information with additional knowledge, such as the preregistered emergency response plans specific to each oil and gas customer. The plans include the location of workers, and site details such as air access points, potential hazards and the medical capabilities at the site.


The GeoEvent Server is able to take in the AVL signal for the location of the helicopter, and factors in the status and location to instruct the dispatcher to perform actions specific to the geography. It reminds the dispatcher to secure the landing zone, and triggers them to pass along updates to both the pilots and the air medical crews.


The dynamic SOP displays only the information that is necessary, telling the dispatcher what they need to know when they need to know it. This automation triggered by the current geography of the helicopter greatly improves efficiency, reduces human error by streamlining the details the dispatcher needs to juggle, and ensures that the best lifesaving decisions are made.


In the words of one of STARS’ dispatchers, “These maps and apps have changed our world.”


In addition to the dynamic SOP innovation, STARS is also using this data for spatial analysis of their broader operations, including the analysis of historical mission data. They have been in operation for 30 years, and just recently gained the ability to see all of their mission data on a map.


The new analysis of flight paths, flight volumes, and changes in paths and flight volume is leading to new questions. They are seeing patterns in their data that is allowing them to determine the best form of transport that gets the patient from the scene to the point of best care. Putting their data on a map gives the visual they need to create context-specific dialogue to improve their coverage and response times.


Hatch shows a short video that documents patients whose outcomes were improved by quick access to medical care.


“When we talk about dynamic SOPs, mapping, spatial analysis, innovation, engagement, what we’re really talking about are improvements to the tools our team uses to help us make more success stories,” says Hatch. “Because at the end of the day it’s about the patient.”


Key takeaways:

  • The ArcGIS GeoEvent Server and ArcGIS GeoAnalytics Server have allowed STARS to automate the display of the dynamic variables that guide each mission.
  • Displaying data as its needed based upon the geography allows the dispatcher provide focused instructions to the flight and air medical crews while coordinating with on-the-ground partners.
  • Analyzing historical flight data with a map-based view has provided new insight into data patterns to improve response times.

And that's a wrap for the Morning Plenary Session!

Join us after the lunch break on the‌. 

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About the Author
I lead the Esri Community Team and oversee the Esri Community strategy. Thank you for being here with us and I look forward to serving and connecting with you here in the community!