Well, we’re back from the GIS-Transportation Symposium (www.gis-t.org) in Charleston, West Virginia. It was an exciting four days and there was a lot of activity in our booth this year. Attendance at GIS-T was a bit down compared to previous years due to the economy and travel restrictions for many state agencies. Even so, you couldn’t tell from the noise level at the ESRI Showcase. If there were people in the Exhibit Hall, most of them were at the ESRI booth. And for good reason; we had a lot to show.
DOT Sector Team – ESRI recently created a new sector team for the transportation industry, specifically targeted at providing direct support to state and local DOT’s. This is critical because a state client can include over 200 ESRI accounts and it’s impossible for an account executive to be an expert in every type of business at a state government. Eric Floss, Gary Waters and Jeremy Smith have been visiting DOTs individually over the past several months to get an on-the-ground understanding of the major DOT workflows, pain points, and some general insight into what DOT GIS, IT, and Business professionals are faced with every day. Direct engagements with the DOT’s have given us valuable feedback and insight that will enable ESRI to better serve the DOT sector with focused solutions that are relevant to the business and act as a conduit to bring to bear resources and solutions in this sector. GIS-T gave our sales team another opportunity to connect with customers and follow up on prior discussions. It also gave us a chance to meet with business partners and communicate our plans for the year and the upcoming ESRI International User Conference.
Public Safety and Awareness – Scott Sandusky from our technical marketing group was on hand to show some public safety demos and some new stuff for the iPhone. He showed the ESRI Safety Solution, which is a set of web, mobile and desktop applications to perform rapid and accurate analysis such as Hot Spot Analysis, a process that considers traffic density and crash severity to identify areas with a higher than expected number of crashes.
A preview of the iPhone App Store application and iPhone API applications were also displayed. Users will soon be able to download a free application from the iStore and access services that are uploaded to ArcGIS.com. Developers who want to create their own applications can use the ArcGIS iPhone API, scheduled for Beta in late April.
Another hot topic was VGI, or volunteer geographic information. With VGI, citizens and the public are empowered to collect information and report it to organizations that can utilize the information for making decisions. Along with more mobile options, the new ArcGIS Server 10 feature services and editing templates make this kind of information easier for organizations to collect.
So what is this Rome thing? – Perhaps the biggest hit of the conference was our unveiling of the Rome prototype. Rome is the code name for the new software product we’re developing to support highway data management through advanced linear referencing functionality. We’re planning for an early 2011 release and, instead of locking ourselves in a room for the next 12 months, we decided to engage our customers in the development process. A key element was the creation of the Rome prototype. The prototype is essentially a web application built in Microsoft Silverlight with some desktop components. Eventually, Rome will have elements on the desktop, web and even mobile. Right now, however, we’re still in the requirements and design phase. To help us out, we unveiled the Rome prototype at GIS-T to create groundswell enthusiasm and make sure we’re on the right track. It appears we were successful on both counts.