Monthly Archives: April 2014

How to Be a Star at Esri UC, Win 10K and Maybe Save the World

Chris Thomas, Esri’s Director of Government Markets, talks about the Climate Resilience App Challenge—what it is and why you should get involved.

Q: Who can participate in Esri’s Climate Resilience App Challenge?
A: You don’t have to already be a developer or a user of ArcGIS. This challenge is open to anyone who wants to try to save the world. Esri is offering its ArcGIS platform—including maps, apps, services, and APIs.

Chris Thomas hopes you can save the world–and attend Esri UC.

Q: What prompted this app challenge?
A: We want to support President Obama’s Climate Data Initiative, encouraging tech innovators to use data about climate change risks and impacts in compelling ways to help citizens, businesses, and communities makes smart choices in the face of climate change.

Q: How can people use ArcGIS to help address climate change?
A: With ArcGIS, people can help answer important questions related to climate change. For example: How are changes in weather patterns going to impact the world? How do we start preparing for these changes? What makes cities more resilient to climate change? Climate impacts reach beyond crops and wildlife—what can city planners do to rethink infrastructure design? What impacts will climate have on public health and what do health care providers need to do to adapt?

Q: Let’s talk prizes. What can people win?
A: Esri will provide up to three winners with cash prizes, starting with $10,000 for First Place. If your organization is unable to receive cash prizes, Esri will provide the equivalent value in software. Plus, the winning apps will be featured at Esri International User Conference in front of more than 16,000 ArcGIS users.

Q: What sort of apps is Esri looking for?
A: The sky is the limit. Apps may help communities prepare for, react to, and recover from severe events caused by climate, or enable everyday changes to reduce our carbon footprint. They could address challenges in public safety, transportation, economic development, healthcare, and more. Apps will be judged on the creative and effective use of data, Esri apps, maps, services, and APIs.

Q: What’s the next step for someone who wants to enter?
A: Visit From there you can learn all about the challenge, how to enter, where to find Esri developer tools. Keep in mind, the deadline is June 2.

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A Few of Damian’s Favorite Things…

Meeting users is a favorite part of Esri UC for Damian, pictured on the far right.

Damian Spangrud, Esri’s Director of Solutions, talks about a few of his favorite things at and about Esri UCSpoiler alert: He’s gonna tell you about the next ArcGIS release.

Q: What’s your favorite part of Esri UC?

A: I like interacting with our users on the Showcase floor. There is this energy as people are digging into technology. They come with their lists—sometimes collecting questions from their whole team—and are driven to find answers and make new discoveries in the process. The flow of information and ideas is tangible and exciting, albeit a bit exhausting at times. It’s that expression of everyone helping, jumping in and having real frank conversations. That’s where you get the most value and engagement.

Q: Ok, how about your second favorite?

A: I can usually be found wandering around the map gallery. It is enlightening. You see the tremendous creativity in how people approach topics. The mix of art and science you can see is astounding. You see new ideas and approaches in use, and you see cartography that pushes the definition and expectations forward.

Q: How many times have you attended Esri UC? What fond memories can you share?

A: I think this year it will be 20. That’s 19 as an Esri staff member and one prior to joining Esri. I have lots of fond memories. The innovation and uses of GIS I see each year amaze me—saving lives, making million-dollar decisions, mapping insects on high-dollar plants in greenhouses, discovering ancient cities. Even though the number of attendees has grown, there’s still a feeling of togetherness where people are working to help each other understand GIS, tackle a difficult geographic problem, or just help find a session.

Q: What can you tell us about the next release of ArcGIS for Desktop?

A: The next release of ArcGIS for Desktop will include ArcGIS Pro, a new Desktop application included as part of ArcGIS Desktop.  ArcGIS Pro provides 2D/3D mapping, editing and spatial analysis. At Esri UC you can find out what’s new in mapping and visualization, and get hands-on training with ArcGIS Pro.

Q: The agenda this year is action-packed. What do you think will be some of the hot technical workshops?

A: It’s hard to narrow it down. The Road Ahead sessions are always a big draw and for good reason—this is where you can hear the very latest and get ahead of the curve, so to speak. In addition to Road Ahead, I would say the Vision for the ArcGIS Platform will give a lot of insight as well. Esri is definitely treating ArcGIS as a platform now and we really encourage our users to explore what that means. A lot of people have been asking about ArcGIS Pro so the introduction sessions will be big. Additionally the ArcGIS Solution Template sessions are key as they provide users free tools to make more out of what they have.

Find your favorite things at Esri UC!

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Bagpipes, Boxty, and How to Navigate the Showcase

Tim and Sparky hope to see you at Esri UC!

Tim Rankin, Esri’s Technical Marketing Manager, puts together the Esri UC Showcase every year. Here, he gives some insight on what to expect. And, he talks about that one time he hung out with Sparky the Fire Dog.

Q: What’s different with the Showcase this year?

A: This year we will have a new area dedicated to all things 3D GIS, including Esri’s 3D development projects and solutions. We’ve also improved the layout to make it easier for our users to find what they are looking for and better understand what we mean when we talk about the ArcGIS platform. We will have seven areas—ArcGIS for Desktop, ArcGIS for Server, ArcGIS for developers, Apps, ArcGIS Online, Imagery, 3D, and Location Analytics. There are also some cool upgrades in store for the industry team areas.

Q: What are the crowd pleasers of the Showcase?

A: The product areas are probably the most popular. Esri is unique in that we design our product areas so our users can sit down and talk to our engineers, build relationships with them and have a two-way conversation about our products and their needs. It’s amazing how much of our development projects come from these meetings with our users. Also our technical support team is on the show floor to help users.

Q: How many times have you attended Esri UC and what advice can you give?

A: I have been to 20 Esri UCs. I always tell people to spend time figuring out five things you want to accomplish there because it can be overwhelming. Schedule your tech workshops, demos, and sessions ahead of time. Spend time in the Showcase consulting with Esri experts and also visiting our partner booths. If you need help finding something, go to the information booth. Also, wear comfortable walking shoes, and bring a sweater and a water bottle.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about Esri UC? 

A: I always look forward to learning what our users have done with Esri technology. It’s fascinating what new and creative solutions our users have created.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do in San Diego, after hours?

A: I love to go to Dublin Square Irish Pub. They have live music and great boxtys—like a potato pancake.

Q: Speaking of things Irish, there was a rumor going around about you at last year’s Esri UC…

A: Yes, it’s true. Last year I brought my bagpipes to play at Showcase, in honor of the firefighters. I ended up playing bagpipes all evening with Sparky the Fire Dog. It was a lot of fun, and definitely a unique experience.

For your chance to see the Showcase (and eat boxty), register for Esri UC today!

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