Grich's World of GIS

Comments on ArcGIS and the industry

Location: Portland, Oregon

I have been in the Geographic Information Systems industry since graduating with a BS in Geography from Portland State Univ in 1994. Geography is COOL!

Monday, January 31, 2005

Sacramento ESRI Regional Conference

One of our field guys went to the regional conference that ESRI puts on for the California/Hawaii/Nevada region. It was in Sacramento this year, January 25-27, and according to him will be in Hawaii next year. I'll have to be lobbying for that trip.
Here's the text of his report:

As usual the conference started out with the ESRI staff talking about the path forward as well as highlighting the improvements in the latest version of the software. Clint Brown was the keynote speaker and gave a good talk about the philosophy of ESRI and how they see the future of GIS. Here are some of the items and thoughts he mentioned in his talk that I thought were interesting:

-The top 3 fastest growing technologies emerging in the next decade are – Biotech, Nanotech, and Geotech. Good job security for us.

-They see a merging of the business and scientific GIS utilizing a wide range of computing architecture: from super GIS computers at the USGS to the simple GIS map downloadable to picture phones.

-Then there was talk of this vision of a “Federated GIS “; a global system ESRI envisioned were everyone would be able to share GIS data via the Internet all over the world. I immediately felt like I was watching a Star Trek episode being incorporated into the federation. Was I at the Starfleet Academy? Could have used that transporter from Fort Bragg to Sacramento!

-Clint also reemphasized that ESRI will continue to focus on improving the quality of the current product vs. trying to expand.

-There were over 800 bugs addressed since v 9.0 and service pack 3 will be available spring 05. Shortly followed by v 9.1, then by the end of summer v 9.2.

-In the coming versions the tools for an Arc View license will be expanded as well as previous separate extensions incorporated in to the Arc Info license like Arc Scan and Maplex

The sessions and presentations I felt were of better quality than San Diego. But there was considerably less of them, but the ones that were there I was interested in anyway. It seemed there were more high level ESRI people giving the talks verses the tech support person. It was also a lot smaller with only 20 – 30 audience members and it was more comfortable to ask questions.

Geoprocessing Session:

-The ability to save a personalized tool box in the Normal.mxt verses stuck to a map project.

- Cool ways to record a processing history and a historical catalog of errors. I would not use it too much but it was nice to see that it could be done like the old days of saving command line stuff to a historical file.

GPS Session:

-Did not really cover much and reemphasized to some of the newbies that GPS should only be used as a tool and sometimes there are days and situations where base data can be more accurate and manual data entry would be better.

-Off set option Mike Johnson was looking for was a popular request ESRI has had and should be incorporated in version 7.0 hopefully available by the end of 2005.

Editing Tips and Trick Session:

-The coolest thing was the Magnifying window, did not know that existed.

-Space bar to suspend snapping temporarily - already used that one.

-A lot of hot keys for editing I forgot about or did not realize existed, there is a 3-page tip sheet in the help outlining all of these, useful.

Presentation outlining some lesser-known tools:

-In 9.0 the MXD Dr is in Programs>ArcGIS>Developer Tools>MXD DR and is not license dependent.

-Locate Lat Long dll downloadable from the web site. It has a little interface that allows user to input a coordinate and then it places a text dot on the map to locate the point.

THE DOCTORS OFFICE - Questions I got answered or a creative work around from my “list”. Once again I impressed the developers with the number of issues and things I found the software could not do. One of the top developers even offered to set up a job interview if I was interested. Told her I would rather live in Fort Bragg than Redlands, then the lady behind me agreed.

1)Add default scale to drop down list – a dll downloadable from the web site called Imperial Map Scale, very cool!

2)Set the default decimal places in the scale text not to be 6 places after the decimal every time. – to make a custom scale text in the style manager and set the decimal places there, but have to have that style added to the MXD.

3)Multiple queries (Name, by method, by total acres) in ArcMap – toolbox>statistics>frequency. ArcInfo license only, excellent

4)Have the color chart show a number rather than an obscure name – copy and paste the color chart into a custom style color set and rename or number however.

5)Don’t have a new layer automatically added to a legend – under the items tab in the legend uncheck the option.

The developer folks were very interested in some of the other issues I brought up that could not be answered. They wanted me to email multiple people with some of the requests. It was defiantly a different attitude than San Diego, much more personal and I felt that they were really listening to me verses trying to figure out where the party was going to be that night.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the conference. Lunches were terrible though, would have rather paid less to go and be responsible for my own lunch. The venders section was pretty small only about 5 or 6 of them, which was fine with me. The map gallery was also slim and most were from the water reclamation people in the central valley. I was disappointed that I did not know anyone there, and did not see anyone I wanted to meet from some of the committees I was apart of last year. I was also one of the few from “private” industry, but Joe warned me about that. A lot of government folks! I would defiantly go to this conference again. Next year they are having the Regional Conference for the first time in Honolulu. Maybe I can find a way to justify that trip.


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9:33 AM  

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