It’s a geogeek playground! We combed the Esri UC Showcase to find some of the coolest stuff. We felt amazed, inspired, and kind of geeky about what we found. Here’s a roundup.
Trip Out! Virtual Reality like Never Before
It’s virtual reality like you’ve never seen. Esri built a 3D city using CityEngine and, when viewed with the Oculus Rift headset, it takes you there—literally. Climb up to the tops of buildings, roam the streets, jump sky-high. For urban planning, CityEngine + Oculus means you can get a true perspective of a conceptual design. In the future, we will be able to use this virtual reality technology to visit places like ancient Rome or Mars.
It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s … a UAS!
A UAS looks like a model airplane made of Styrofoam, but this little flier takes photos, uses GNSS RTK, and can help with 3D models. It’s called an unmanned aerial system (UAS). This one, made by Sirius, flies for 55 minutes in almost any kind of weather. Just give it a ground sampling distance and an area in interest, hold it up in the air, push the red button and off it goes. You can control it remotely. How fun is that?
Go Ahead and Try to Break It
It’s pretty much indestructible (believe us, we tried). The rugged tablet from Motion Computing can get sandy, wet, dropped, frozen… you name it, it still works. And it features the tough, glare-resistant Gorilla Glass. This is the kind of tablet people need for serious fieldwork where you might get dirty or muddy or stuck in a hailstorm. But it’s also just as handy for softer ventures like retail inventory or mobile sales. You can hook it up to a keyboard for data entry. Oh, and it has all these added features such as a credit card reader, GPS, a barcode scanner, and an RFID reader.
Get to Know Native California
The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians loves GIS. It helps them record their history, preserve their language, and work to save their spiritual sites from development. The team brought its Mobile Museum to show artifacts such as pottery, fishing nets, and tool-making material. Plus, they featured a video of their beautiful creation story and a map of their native place names for Southern California.
It seems the Black Pearl docked in the San Diego Harbor and its captain took a few days to chat with Esri users on behalf of E-Ring. He mentioned that it’s too bad he didn’t have GIS technology when he was looking for the fountain of youth. Nevertheless, E-Ring helps Esri users by providing cloud-based document management—you can attach docs as features in ArcGIS, or as he called it, “ArrghGIS.”
The Most Awesome Thing Since Hypercolor Shirts
We are so in love with NASA’s Hyperwall, a super high-res giant screen that shows stunning maps and images. It’s the artistic side of data taken from Earth observation satellites. Sit and watch as the display changes every minute or so. You can see maps that show speedy ocean currents, carbon concentrations, population, nightlights, and others.
What Fire? Let’s Look at FireWhat?
FireWhat has a GIS trailer they deploy to help with maps and communication when there is a wildfire. The team showed how they can print out large maps for the incident commander and load iPads with digital maps for the captains to mark up. The wildlandfire.com website shows real-time maps with data including evacuation orders, hot spots, and fire perimeter.
It’s Sort of a Spy Gadget
Laser Technology has a range finder that connects to an app. You can focus on any object, up to 1,000 meters away, to find out it’s height and distance from you. The app records the data and organizes it by project. This could be for a forester collecting tree heights, or a utility fieldworker taking pole inventory, or anyone who just wants to know how far away and how tall everything is.
Thanks for Playing the Esri UC Showcase Showdown Where Everyone Wins!
We are grateful to all those who attended Esri UC, and to those who showed their cool GIS solutions at the Showcase. We couldn’t list them all here, but the entire Showcase floor was filled with amazing people and technology. See you next year for Esri UC!
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