ESRI 2012 UC Livecast!
First, no geobloggers tables so typing here is going to be a major, major pain. So please excuse the brevity, typos and other errors. Second, the wifi is as wonkey as you’d expect when 15k geo nerds hit it at the same time. They’ve dimmed the lights and we’re off with the customary intro video. Jack takes the stage. Giving us our welcome and telling us to say howdy do to the neighbors. As normal, I’m typing this instead :). So virtual howdy do to those reading now.
I just jury rigged a ‘desktop’ so I can type. It’s almost comical. All I can say is thank god Barb wear’s scarfs.
Jack is back chatting. He’s talking a bit about what types of things we’re doing. Its the normal jury list of things we do – transportation, environmental conservation, energy exploration, etc. Fun fact, for the first time ever, the Michelen Maps are done by ArcMap. The Mars lander is using ESRI products to help find its way around (“God I hope they got the projection right” – Jack). He’s talking about GIS infrastructure.
We’re seeing the 2012 SAG winners – congrats to them all. Big round of applause! A special award is going for the Trust for Public Lands. They want to protect public lands so people have parks to enjoy. I’m assuming their GIS staff basically keeps track of that land. They’re shooting for everyone to be within a 10 minute walk of a park or other outdoor recreation space. I’m sure that was a bit of hyperbole, but good luck to them! Next the US EPA is getting a special award for their work. The EPA employees are standing for applause. That was kinda cool of him doing that. Jack picked EPA because they’ve worked hard to integrate science into public policy using GIS as the platform.
This year’s theme: GIS – Opening Our World. Not too bad on the theme-o-meter. I give it a solid 8.3. Our world is changing rapidly. Technological advancement is accelerating faster than ever before. We’re creating tons and tons of data, but we need more than just data. Jack says ‘Geography is our platform for understanding our world’. Also, this year is the 50 anniversary of GIS (big clap!) We need to learn how to make maps that map better outcomes (however you define those). Jack is confident GIS can do this, which shouldn’t be a surprise. He thinks we’re moving toward the Cloud GIS, which is a term that will probably litter this plenary, I’m guessing. GIS is leverging trends – more data, personal computing, apps, mobile computing, cloud computing… basically all the big buzz words of the last 4-5 years or so. A Lot of what they’re talking about is using Arc to leverage geography as a platform.
Jack is now talking about 10.0 release in reference to the cloud. He’s saying 10.1 is envisioned as a major integration into the cloud. It’s basically built cloud centric from the ground up. It’s about publishing tons of data. Quick news item – Digital Globe and GeoEye just merged. Wow.
ArcGIS online will provide access to all this stuff. It provides hosting, backup services, etc. It allows you to pay for only what you use. For instance, you don’t have to buy the multi-thousand dollar ArcServer license to publish your one or two web maps. Jack says web maps are new medium for GIS (really? Then what have I been doing for the last 10 years or so?) I think he’s trying to say that the new web maps are more fully integrated so you can do pretty much any standard Arc function via web maps, which is new. As of last Friday, web maps finally works in MS Office. Which is way, way cool! You can go from Excel to map pretty easily, then publish that as a web service, which can then be re-directed to, say, and Internet map, or a Powerpoint. It’s a live map. It kinda reminds me of the Map ‘slideshows’ they talked presented a couple years ago for ArcGIS Explorer Online. Or was it ArcGIS online? I can’t remember all the different names.
Bern is up chatting now showing some of this stuff. He says it allows us to transform the way we think about and use GIS. We’re hearing from the Utah Director of Transportation. Actual users does help illustrate much better, I think. He’s showing a bunch of documents and maps they did that were custom they had done which, to quote “nobody read’. They’ve implemented a thing called UPLAN, which provides a could based method of interacting with GIS data. Now we’re seeing the GIS manager for UPLAN. He saying ArcGIS online has basically allowed him to publish his data rapidly once, then anyone can consume the data/maps. Their users are expecting live, dynamic maps to use instead of static things. Wish we could move more that way in WV. Too many paper addicts there 🙂 They’re using groups to help publish data and maps to people. I’ve played with ArcGIS Online’s groups and group management. It’s a super powerful system that, if you can leverage it in your organization, will make your map/data publishing a dream, IMHO. That being said, it’s not a silver bullet. However, I think if they work on groups and whatnot a tad more, it will be incredibly useful for almost anyone. Just my personal 2 cents. The guy from Utah said that he found many of U DOT’s employees were using ArcGIS Online on their own. Wow, their IT department is WAY nicer in Utah than ours 😉
Bern’s back to highlight some capabilities of ArcGIS Online. Jeremiah is going to chat about some specifics. He’s talking about how easy ArcGIS Online will allow GIS analysts to move from data to map to online map. He’s got some data on a rock slide loaded in ArcMap. He’s using a model based upon some slope data to do some analysis of where the slide might happen in the future. Now he’s signing into ArcGIS Online using his account and he’s sharing the landslide data. The map becomes an online service. You can pick a bunch of options, like levels of detail, who has access to the map (seems to be mostly group based/general public). He hits publish (brave, brave people to use ArcMap live in a demo). He published the map to a working group, then he’s going to ArcGIS Online and he sees all the details of the map. He clicks on the map (well, not THAT map…. it’s like cooking shows… he had a map already in the oven cooking) and boom! He’s just like what he had in ArcMap. Now he’s making some markups on the map to indicate some downed lines. It’s a simple pop-up window with a pushpin. Anyone with access to that map can now see the pop-ups.
We’re now going to build upon the map he just created. Next up, looks like we’re going to publish and Internet Map. You can publish using several templates, but you can pick specific tools. They’re offering a bunch of templates, but I hope they eventually allow users to publish their own templates that others can use. I’m thinking like WordPress templates that some people use and edit. Ooohhh. He’s brought the thing up into an iOS device so crews can see this stuff in ‘real’ time with alerts and notifications. That’s pretty cool. All your web maps are hosted in the cloud via ArcGIS Online. There’s some code you can past into a web page (think like embedding a Youtube video or Flickr feed) to embed the map into your site.
Tom is telling us about ‘self service mapping’. He showed a nasty looking text file the pretty much just dragged and dropped on the web map. You can then change the symbology of the points he just dropped on the map. I’m wondering what standards the nasty looking text file has to use. He’s doing an awful lot of cartographic/publication work using the web map stuff. I wonder how that all works in print form, since web tends to be very different from print. I also wonder how much you can style up some of the dialogues on the web map. The seamlessness of it all is super cool, but I also want to have finite control over presentation. I’m assuming you have more control than he showed and that he only had a few minutes to show the amazing part, so skipped the neat and pretty at the end part.
On to ESRI Maps for Office. I suspect this is going to be the not so sleeper hit of the conference, particularly among the manager set. ESRI Maps for Office is a new ribbon group added to Excel. It looks like adding charts. They’re saying adding a map is as easy as adding a chart. As one who has spent his fair share of off color words trying to get charts to work in Excel, I hope it’s better 🙂 Basically you highlight some columns/rows and can produce a map easily. You can also use the power of excel to make some analysis. You can change symbology, particularly with color ramps (by far my most requested map type, so that’s wonderful). The map is zoomable/panable and fully interact with the map. You can publish the map to ArcGIS Online for others to use. I wonder if they can add their own data and trade it around as a ‘working document’? I’m going to assume so. Then you can hit a button and publish the thing to Powerpoint, the most hated software ever. Ok, only my most hated software ever. But maps definitely up the cool factor of Powerpoint. Now he’s showing his powerpoint created that features a live interactive map (The Tick Quote Alert! “Slide. Show. Can’t. Stay….. AWAKE!”) That’s ESRI Maps for Office. I wonder with the new cloud based Office of MS Office 2013 how this is going to integrate/change in the future. Clearly enterprise level software people have their heads collectively in the clouds, which isn’t a bad thing. ArcGIS also has an API (now we’re talking my language). Bern is showing an iPad with a ‘book’ that has ‘pages’ you can turn. Nifty. It features the maps that they just created. Presumably when an person gets a ‘map book’ via iPad, they’ll have the most up to date version. There won’t be a ‘final’ publication as it were, but a work in progress.
Jack is back on the stage talking about Solution Products. Odd term. Apparently they have a bunch of sort of ‘canned’ products that are targeted at certain areas of interest. It allows people who don’t know ArcGIS at all but need to make maps. However, they found a lot of the people using it were actual GIS people. They’re basically Software As Service (SAS). They’re a new approach for GIS and really in IT in general. Well, except for the old mainframe guys – to them this is all old hat 🙂 Jack thinks the next step is going to be more of this SAS for GIS. You can see it coming in general in IT. Of course, the trick is to get it right and Jack admits it as such. The future is going to move to a full 64 bit system. To be multiscreen enabled (WOOOT!), and to integrate ArcScene and ArcMap so there is no difference between the 2D and the 3D (THAT was unexpected. Let’s hope they make ArcScene better before they integrate. He’s talking about ArcPress, which is a wonderful library of books you should check out. The company is experiencing double digit growth, which is impressive for this economy. Looks like the agenda is going to switch up a tad this year in that they’re going to do some sneak peaks of things to come after the lunch. That’s probably a good idea since a ton of people take off after lunch. It should bring lots of people back. Jack is encouraging us to get involved with local education. We should adopt a classroom and join the mentor program. Here’s a promise – anyone who adopts a classroom and lets me know will get a special shout out on the podcast for both the Mentor AND the classroom. So get out there and mentor some classroms!
Break time! Good…. I was starting to regret that large coffee 🙂
They’ve moved up the kids presenting. Awesome! Too many people miss this in the afternoon. These kids are from N. Virginia Washington-Lee High School. They have a special set of courses on geospatial materials and kids can actually earn college credit. One student is demonstrating using the online platform to deal with watershed erosion. It seems natural to use these kids for the ArcGIS Online platform – they’re naturally turned into online. He’s now using an iPad to show his edits and updates from his online version. Much of what we’ve seen this morning. John is back saying that students are now cloud ready.
Lauren is talking about what’s new in spatial analysis – a crash course in spatial analysis. There are a ton of tools for spatial analysis in ArcGIS Online. They’ve combined a lot of common workflows into one or two common tools, which makes sense. There’s a bunch of new kreiging tools for surface interpolations. They’re putting a lot of good sheen over some very sophisticated tools. Hopefully you’ll still be able to get at the details of those tools, as there are a LOT of statistical assumptions we might want to change. She’s showing the use of the iPad doing field collection and doing new geoprocessing analysis. Which took longer than she expected. Yet again, always nice to see the demos go like the real work experience 🙂 On to network analysis, which is based upon this fall’s world routing service. It’s a sneak peak of something I’m excited to use considering Google and Bing’s versions are increasingly expensive and tricky to use. It uses live traffic data to help with routing. Site selection, perhaps the most common of GIS tasks. Business analyst uses principle components to look at the existing stores to figure out the best future store. Again, incredibly powerful and complex statistical models put to easy use by anyone. Next she’s onto cluster analysis, which uses a new tool called Grouping Analysis. Last, Lauren is showing how easy it is to share analysis. You can share as a geoprocessing package that anyone can use. Again, through ArcGIS Online. I wonder if over late night rumination they’re planning on desktop’s last version in the future and going all Cloud?
Next is 3D analysis with Brett. Obviously, we’re talking about LiDAR, which is something Arc hasn’t been traditionally strong. Brett is showing a really cool tool that shows a flood happening slowly over certain steps. The public can draw a line indicating the sandbag wall and it will calculate how many sandbags it will take to hold back the water. That’s pretty amazing. Brett points out that’s dependent upon good LiDAR data, so he’s showing LiDAR tools in Arc. You can reclassify whole groups of points pretty easy now in Arc.
Another student from Washington-Lee is up to talk. Mary’s final project was how Metro stations in DC affect development. She’s showing a bunch of 2D maps showing development compared to metro stations. ArcScene (poor girl) was used to show population change and density around metros. She then did an analysis of impervious surfaces to see that the land around metros in DC tend to be greater impervious surfaces than other areas without metros.
Off to Hawaii to chat about what can be. Ut-oh! Mic problem. The mayor of Honolulu is talking about how they use GIS to manage their city. They have extreme traffic congestion – they officially have the worst traffic of any city in the US (worse than L.A.? HOLY CRAP!) They’re using GIS to figure out how to manage and plan for transportation issues in the future, particularly a public transit system. They’re trying to create walkable friendly zones to mass transit. They did a survey to figure out how many people felt they were within a walkable or bikeable distance of a transit stop. They’re showing a isometric map of downtown Honolulu. A lot of their buildings are not textured, so they’re using City Engine procedures to put representative textures on their buildings. They got some volunteers to go around and take pictures of local buildings to get facades of the buildings. City Engine rules are using footprints to create model rules and make an impressive 3D ‘model’ of downtown Honolulu. I’m super excited to play with this in the office… assuming ESRI gets the education sight license stuff worked out (shakes fist in frustration). Their models can be built quickly just based upon zoning rules to figure out how the city will look based upon zoning decisions. You can edit specific buildings using the 3D editing tool (think SketchUp, but within Arc) to create a new design on the fly. It’s super impressive. Doh! Most of this comes in City Engine 2012, which is shipping in September. Side note, the Honolulu guys are wearing Hawaii shirts, no big shock there, but I hope they don’t get confused with the IBM guys 🙂
Peter is talking about some change detection for Dubai. Interesting fact – Dubai is only 40 years old, so it is super modern. The neat part is that much of its history should have data associated with it. Peter is showing a simple tool that allows you to digitize a polygon and show change over time for vegetation, water, etc. A lot of this is based upon the world LandSat services (happy birthday LandSat!) You can search online for LandSat services through ArcGIS Online. You can add them direct to ArcGIS Online and are available today. You can make multiple products in one service – visualizations and processing. In 10.1, ArcServer can do dynamic classification of pixels. That’s some pretty powerful stuff to be in Arc (instead of a stand alone Remote Sensing application). The server calculates the new pixels based upon the classification scheme requested and then shared to the web map. Vinay is going to show us how to a finer level of detailed with better imagery than LandSat. Vinay says that 10.1 uses the metadata dynamically add data by reprojecting and orthorectificing on the fly. You can do measurement based upon shadows and footprints to estimate building heights. There’s a georeferencing tool bar to get images that aren’t lining up perfectly to make them work together. Automatic georeferencing…. living in the future is awesome. It’s pretty fast, but I wonder what kinda server they have on the backend doing the processing. We’ve seen all of this stuff working on the desktop, but Vinay says we can put all this stuff on ArcGIS Online (I’m sensing a theme here ;)) because Arc is a system. He’s using the building height collections to create a 3D model based upon the imagery and the rules from City Engine. I now realize I should go back and edit out a couple of the ‘amazing’s I put above, because this is the new bar for ‘amazing’.
Ben is up talking about flights and processing of flights for aerial imagery. There was a mention of UAVs, but most of this is manned flights. There’s a new video add in for Arc that can process video taken from full motion video sensors, such as police helicopters and the like. The video has the location of the aircraft and the foot prints of the buildings, which allows us to put that stuff on our map. The map can be updated to include the stuff from the video by digitizing directly on the video. The digitization is then automatically added to the map. I can see where that would be really useful for things like emergency services – get an immediate map of what’s where. The video is multispectral and he’s showing IR video. You can see a guard walking back and forth and you can see a glow on his hand showing a cigarette. The guard flicks a cigarette toward a truck of dangerous chemicals. Neat stuff.
We’re on to Ian from the City of Fort Lauderdale who is talking about ArcGIS For Local Government. He’s using a bunch of templates to make some online apps. He’s saying their citizens what as much immediate feedback from government as possible. The templates allow him to push out information about services quickly, such as emergency services locations, school districts, and trash collection. Basically the big three for most communities. He’s moved to an iPad app that shows damages to the beaches, which is the most critical resource for the city for obvious reasons. He’s showing an executive dashboard for the city planners/leaders that shows immediate and up to date information on demand. The dashboard is on an iPad and it looks handsome and easy to use. There’s a lot of complex information there, but it seems digestible to non GIS experts (e.g. politicians). And it has a twitter feed to see what the people are saying about something.
Here we go – the Top Ten Countdown! 10) Labeling – Maplex is awesome and now its in 10.1, so your labels will be much, much better. 9)Legends – Today’s legends are static. With 10.1, there are dynamic legends so what’s on your legend is exactly what’s on your map. 8) You can search projections and you can use a filter to keep projections only to the relevant ones for your map. 7) You can see who is connected to your databases for information and disconnect users so you can safely update information. 6) Editing – there’s a new tool for aligning shapes by defining an area and ‘snapping’ stuff to it. Editor tracking to keep track as you make edits to a database. it’s got a user name and timestamp. 5) Once you log into the system, it associates any features you edit with your username. You can then tag the ‘owner’ of the feature. Only owners can edit instead of just anyone who has access to the database. 4) 64 bit Server. ‘Bout time. 3) Performance, performance, performance. This could be #1-3. Ran a view shed in 10.0 and 10.1 and 10.1 was roughly 3x faster. Did a re-routing on the fly by dragging and a destination point around the map. It’s just snappy looking and a great improvement. 2) Server functional enhancements – there’s a bunch of new tools for ArcGIS server, like print services for Server (again, ‘Bout time!)…. and number 1….. sharing! That shouldn’t be a surprise as its been the primary focus for the whole morning. Obviously ArcGIS Online is the major medium for this sharing. And that’s this year’s Top 10 New Improvements for ArcGIS 10.1
Off to lunch, type to you after the break!
And we’re back after a VerySpatial lunch. Jack gives a shout out to LandSat’s big birthday. We’re watching a short video of David Hayes, Dept. Secretary of the Dept. of the Interior talking about LandSat. They’re stunned and proud of the demand for LandSat data. David is saying that having the data available is the first step. The next step is making it usable for users, hence the LandSat imagery services being published. It will have 30 years worth of data available. It’s a new partnership between ESRI and the Dept. of the Interior. Next we’re hearing from Rachel from USGS who is setting up a large server that will house and serve up all 40 years of LandSat data. They used to sell LandSat data. In their best year, they sold over 25,000 images. Last year, they were serving over 25,000 images in one day. She’s talking about the new LandSat viewer/data server. It’s a 3-band, jpg based image product. Looks like an ArcGIS based product with a query engine and a time slider. The scene retrieval is stupid fast. You can step through time and its pretty dang fast. “For all you GIS people, we put a special button in for you – the metadata button.” I wonder how many people mentally (or even physically) went, “meh” 🙂 Metadata is like extra fiber in your diet – you realize you need it, but few people actually like it. You can download the lightweight jpg directly or you can retrieve the bigger multispectral images from the database. They’re going to make images directly input this LandSat Viewer as its collected, so you should get pretty up to date images instead of waiting for data updates. Jack says that LandSat is a web map. I’m assuming he’s talking about web maps in the same way they have been all week.
Scott Morehouse, Director of Software Engineering, is going to give us a peek at the future (which we live in already ;)) The way they build software is based upon creating a strong team and letting things develop organically. They listen to what the customers want to see happen and combine that with movements forward in technology and science. They use an iterative developer process. Now a short video of developers talking about where they’re going. I hope there are more details later or that the video goes on the UC website. Honestly there are too many of them to cover here.
Oh goody! We’re going to see real life demos now. ArcGIS Viewer for Windows. It’s configurable without needing programming. Obviously its a desktop app, but its paired down from the full ArcGIS Suite. It has a bunch of widgets that you can plug into the app to give details and information for whatever you’re trying to show. Real time services push data into these widgets. You can see where the uses for something like this might be better serviced by a lightweight implementation. Think of bus dispatchers that need data and real time information on the map, but don’t need anything complex. Adding widgets is pretty simple. Just configure it and then share it to your organization for whoever needs to use it. The complexity of the app is directly proportional to the complexity of the widgets you choose. You can even make a multi-monitor setup, which is exciting. On top of all that, you can write your own widgets if you’re of the mind and skill to do so. That’s critical, I think. Although they said it was for Windows, I have to imagine they’ll consider pushing it out to OSX or maybe even pushing them out to web maps. Oh wait! I typed too soon! They’re showing similar stuff on an iPad.
And now…. OSX! (a collective “FINALLY!” sigh could be heard. Ok, not really. But it was like a ‘mental’ “FINALLY”, I swear) They’re showing the similar bits of apps on the OSX that work A-Ok. Now its Windows 8, which is pretty exciting. It’s a Metro style app. If you’re not familiar with Windows 8, first, ask Sue because she’ll tell you everything ever wanted to know about it, and then download the consumer preview and play around with it. Now we’re seeing stuff in 3D on an Android tablet. It’s kinda like Google Earth 3D view, but the data is higher quality (it appears) and you can create customizable viewers with the apps. So when is all this? It’s THIS fall they’re going to release this. Come-on fall!
Lifetime Achievement Award – Steve Erwin, professor at Harvard, for his work on GeoDesign. He thinks GeoDesign deserves its own term. It is the marriage between technology and design purposes. There was no GeoDesign 50 years ago because the technology wasn’t there to support it. Dr. Erwin is talking about how to define a life – a point, a line, or a polygon? He prefers to think of it as a space-filling curve, which is fairly new to me. I wonder if mine isn’t a raster… an fuzzy one at that… maybe with some missing pixels. Dr. Erwin is talking about his personal journey that led him to GeoDesign as the now. He learned to program on an Apple II and got to present his work at Harvard and met Jack. He then went on to found a software company to help landscape architects be able to visualize their ideas. He’s also had a number of incredibly successful students that have pushed GeoDesign ideas. That led him to realize that much of the innovation in GeoDesign will take place in Asia. The discussion for him began 5 years ago – what can design learn from GIS and vice versa? That has led to the GeoDesign summit. His presentations on GeoDesign can be seen from ESRI’s GeoDesign summit website. Where is it going? Four major trends/elements. First, it has to be and will be about water. Issues of cleanliness, costs, and availability are critical. Second, GeoDesign will depend upon simulations of processes, not just data and analysis. Designers can see predictable impacts of their decisions. Third, GeoDesign software is going to explode. It’s part of that whole technology acceleration thing Jack talked about. He mentioned my favorite, crowd sourced data. Fourth, GeoDesign will require systems thinking. You have to understand the way things work together and the impacts of your designed elements on those systems.
Next up we have ESRI’s Chief Scientist who is talking about how little we know of the Ocean and how GIS can help us understand these systems. Satellite systems fail to penetrate very far into the ocean. UC Santa Barbara is working with ESRI to create something called SeaSketch to help bring GeoDesign and ESRI Technology to study of the oceans. The idea is to use this platform to allow all the people impacted by a problem to input into the problem. Specifically they’re talking about a move of shipping lanes to minimize the impacts of ships hitting endangered whales. The problem is that not everyone can get together in the same room and chat through the issue. SeaSketch allows people to work interactively and asynchronously to come up with a new set of shipping lanes. It is all online and all map based. This can be done by anyone in the world. It combines communications with geospatial analysis to help make better designs. On top of that, ESRI has a new Oceans GIS Initiative across the whole company. You too can help get invovled!
And with that, we draw to a close of another VerySpatial ESRI UC Livecast! Thanks for reading and we look forward to catching you next year!