Showcase Showdown: Hey, did you check this out? It was so rad.

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

Oculus Rift is 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!

The UAS goes places you can’t to get data you need.

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

How rugged are you?

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

A true Indian princess, and she loves maps!

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.

Oh Captain, My Captain (Jack Sparrow)

This is the day you will always remember as the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow.

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

NASA’s Hyperwall is the coolest movie theater in town.

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 is technology and a GIS trailer/command center for fighting fires.

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 website shows real-time maps with data including evacuation orders, hot spots, and fire perimeter.

It’s Sort of a Spy Gadget

The laser range finder is more than a fun toy. But, it is fun.

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! 

Esri UC Showcase = Your GIS Playground.

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!

See more of Esri UC.

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A yogi, a truck driver and a realtor walk into a conference …

How a new kind of business intelligence is driving business success through happy people, health communities and a better bottom line

Close to 400 people put their businesses on the map at the Esri Business Summit, starting on Saturday, July 11 at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel. Attendees from as far away as Japan, Canada, Colombia, Brazil, Thailand and the United Kingdom came to hear more than 40 speakers discuss how GIS and location analytics are making a difference at their companies, for their people and in their communities.

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GIS Kids Are Super!

Kylie Miller and Rikki Vaughn are fourth graders, but they can drive ArcMap like pros.

The two students from Sonora Elementary in Arkansas recently learned how to make GIS maps. They used their newfound skills to pitch a business idea to Walmart, track a weather balloon, and establish a mobile library for their fellow students.

Kylie and Rikki were recognized on stage at the Esri UC plenary session, where they spoke about their GIS work and led a demo of their projects.

Here’s what they had to say about their experience with GIS.

Q: What did you think when you were first introduced to GIS?

Kylie: At first I was like, “okay… I need to work up to it.” I didn’t even know how to read a map so I wasn’t ready to make one. I went to training and learned the basic skills of ArcMap—to add a basemap and transfer data to the map. I also learned how to use Control Z.

Q: Tell us about your mobile library project.

Rikki: We wanted to help students from our school be able read library books during the summer. We started with a basemap of our city. Then, we thought, “what other data should we add to this map to make it better?” We took Excel files with the address of every student in our school and added that data. We made a spreadsheet with every student’s reading level and then added that to the map too. Other kids from our school took an iPad and entered every book, scanned all the barcodes. We used GIS to make a route with ten stops as close to as many students as possible.

Q: How did you feel once you learned to use GIS?

Rikki: You can do so many different things with GIS. We used it to help the community.

Kylie: Mapping changed how I see things. I realized that GIS isn’t just some mapping software that’s really hard. It’s a chance for me to do what I want to do. I like to solve problems with it.

See the video of this demo from Kylie and Rikki.

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14 Moments from the Esri UC Plenary You Shouldn’t Forget

The first day! Esri UC kicks off with so much energy—new technology, inspirational user stories, big-name speakers, and clear direction for the future.

The 2014 Esri UC plenary session rocked!

Here’s a list of 14 moments from the 2014 Esri UC Plenary you’ll want to remember. Plenary videos will be online too because there are more great moments. (We couldn’t mention them all here.)

1. Your Challenge! Creating Our Future
Jack talked about how we can all imagine and create a better future, “an extraordinary world.” Geography, he said, is now more important than ever. He challenges all GIS users to “be the architects of the future.” And when Jack challenges you to do something, well, you probably should do it.

2. #BadDogMap and More
MapIT Minneapolis showed all the maps its city staff (even GIS newbies) made by tapping into GIS. Highlights included solar suitability, urban tree canopy, snow emergency parking, downtown public art, and the Twitter-famous #BadDogMap. The Minnesotans urged everyone to “cast a wider net” by teaching GIS, converting more users, and feeding good data/maps to higher-ups.

3. Three Clicks for All
Every six minutes a ship sails into the Port of Rotterdam. This major port needs to grow at the pace of commerce, but it has no physical space for expansion. GIS to the rescue! The project staff created a web GIS portal so that maps are just three clicks away. Team members brought in their own children to test the three-clicks usability. And… it worked! Three cheers for three clicks!

4. Your Maps Rule
Your maps—the fruits of your labor—played on the big screens for all to see. Esri President Jack Dangermond gave special shout outs to all GIS users for impressive and innovative work. Royal Dutch Shell received the Enterprise GIS Award, and the City of Rancho Cucamonga earned the Esri President’s Award. Congratulations, and nice job.

5. Major Coffee Klatch
Your favorite cup of joe doesn’t happen by luck. Starbucks execs flew in from Seattle to show how they’re using GIS maps to open one new store every day in China. Decisions are made locally to ensure responsible growth. Oh, and the thing that got the Esri UC crowd excited? Starbucks will soon serve beer and wine in select locations. By “select locations” we mean locations carefully selected with GIS.

6. Go Pro
It’s new. It’s here. It’s impressive. And everyone loves it. They love the 3D workflows, the multiple layouts, the analytical possibilities, the 64-bit processing … we could go on and on. One Tweeter called it a “real SIM City.” Most memorable line: Tasks are the next big thing.

7. She’s Been to Space!
Former NASA astronaut (she’s been to space!) and NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan said the Esri UC made her feel like a kid who has just discovered the coolest candy store. She talked about how when she was a child, she loved maps and pored over issues of National Geographic magazine. She thinks maps are “vehicles of exploration” and “storytelling tools.” Did we mention she’s been to space!?

8. We Can Wipe Out Polio
If you ever start to feel the world is a callous place, think about Dr. Bruce Aylward and Dr. Vincent Seaman, part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Aylward told the Esri UC crowd about polio’s devastating history and the miracle vaccine. Seaman showed how GIS maps help locate and immunize children in Nigeria. The people and places affected by polio—and stories about the work to rid the world of this disease—brought tears to many eyes.

9. Data is Really, Really Important. Really
It’s not every day the US Secretary of Commerce thanks you personally for bringing new innovation to the global economy. Secretary Penny Pritzker spoke at Esri UC about how good data saves lives, how open data can unlock $3 trillion in the world economy, and how her office will appoint the first ever US Chief Data Officer. Wow.

10. Wear Your Where
When he isn’t touring and recording, popstar and STEM advocate is investing in the most coveted GIS gadget of the decade: a smart watch with Esri maps. He joined Esri UC via Skype from Australia to talk about the watch and why he is still committed to spreading the GIS message.

11. From the Heart of Africa
Ever been greeted in the language of a chimpanzee? Jane Goodall joined Esri UC via video from Tanzania to tell everyone how much she appreciates GIS as a major tool in helping protect animal habitats. She started her talk with the neatest sound—the chimpanzee greeting from afar.

12. Great App (and Tie), Bro
Well, first of all, he was wearing the coolest map tie ever. What’s more? Dr. Nagaraja Rao Harshadeep, Senior Environmental Specialist for the World Bank, showed the new Spatial Agent App. Everyone in the audience downloaded it simultaneously. Lots of excitement!

13. GIS Kids are Just Perfect
Two fourth graders pretty much stole the show. Kylie Miller and Rikki Vaughn from Sonora Elementary in Springdale, Arkansas showed how they used GIS to help veterans, track a weather balloon, and deliver books to students with a mobile library. Then they cartwheeled and back-flipped across the stage.

14. A Tribute to Roger Tomlinson
It’s only right that the Plenary finished with a tribute to The Father of GIS. Roger Tomlinson once said he was “never happier than when surrounded by GIS people.” In a room filled with 16,000 GIS people, Tomlinson’s spirit was profoundly felt, and his legacy grows stronger each day.

Check for plenary videos to relive the glory,

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Don’t Miss Out—Empower Your National Security Mission with Geography

When a disaster strikes, knowing what you need and how to find it can help you save lives, resources, and critical infrastructure. Join us at the Esri National Security Summit (NSS), July 12-15 at the Hilton Bayfront San Diego, to see learn about the latest geospatial tools and workflows that can help you manage any situation.

National Security Showcase

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The Doctor is In! Get your Data Health Check at Esri UC

Srinivas Suryanarayanaiah, Senior Technical Lead and Project Manager at Esri, answers all your questions about Data Health Checks at Esri UC.

Meet Srinivas Suryanarayanaiah and get your free data health check, only at Esri UC.

Q: What happens during a data health check? Is it painful?
A: It’s completely painless. A Data Health Check is a 45-minute review and analysis of your data by an Esri industry expert. We will use Esri’s data quality management extension ArcGIS Data Reviewer to run diagnostics and help you evaluate overall data quality based on business rules, specific to your industry. If errors are detected, the Esri expert will review key data concerns with you. Any error features will be captured in a separate geodatabase, and we’ll provide an Excel report to take back to your organization.

Q: Why do I need a Data Health Check?
A: First, think about how and why you use your GIS data. GIS is used to help make important decisions for your organization. There can be trouble when you have missing information or data in the incorrect location. A Data Health Check will give you confidence in the quality of your data so you can trust your GIS-based analysis. This year targeted industries include water, wastewater, electric, gas, roads and highways, land records and addressing, and 3D.

Q: What do I need to do if I want to get a Data Health Check?
A: You just need to bring a sample of your data as a file geodatabase and an Esri industry expert will work one-on-one with you to diagnose, explain, and assess the overall quality of your data. Before the Esri UC, send an email to with your name, organization, contact information, what dataset you are bringing, and preferred date and time.

Q: Do I need to have ArcGIS Data Reviewer to participate in Esri’s Data Health Check?
A: You do not need ArcGIS Data Reviewer to get a Data Health Check. However, if you would like to take advantage of the Reviewer workspace and batch job that is provided to you, you can request a free, 60-day evaluation of the software or purchase this extension to continuously monitor and maintain your production geodatabase quality.

Q: If I have ArcGIS Data Reviewer, can I use the batch job and workspace that is provided to me?
A: Absolutely. We hope that you build upon the currently configured checks and start using the batch checks as part of your data editing and quality control routines.

Q: Aside from the Data Health Checks, what’s your favorite part of Esri UC?
I love talking to users. I really work to understand their GIS needs—such as integration with other enterprise systems, editing workflows, data quality and data deployment using ArcGIS for Server and ArcGIS Online. For me, the best part of Esri UC is the Plenary, the tech workshops, and the exhibits where users can learn about what our partners have to offer.

Register for Esri UC today!

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Lawrie Jordan Talks about the Weather—the Weather Track at Esri UC, That is

Talking about the weather used to be something we did when there was nothing else to talk about. Now, the weather IS the thing to talk about and for good reasons. Lawrie Jordan, Director of Imagery at Esri, tells us why and gives a sneak preview of weather in this year’s special “Weather in GIS 2014” Track, to be held on Tuesday, July 15, in the SDCC Ballroom 20D, from 1:30p – 5:15p.

Meet Lawrie Jordan and attend the Weather in GIS track at Esri UC.

Q: Why is there a focus on weather this year at Esri UC?
A: Weather and GIS are a natural fit. GIS users need useful, real-time information quickly in order to move beyond traditional mapping, and towards supporting dynamic operations and situation awareness.  Together, weather in Esri’s maps & apps provides multiple benefits to the GIS community, driving workflows for emergency response, public safety, asset management, insurance, utilities, infrastructure repair, dispatch, storm water, and more.

Q: What will the weather track offer?
A: The agenda is very rich, with several unique real-world weather use cases, and we’re especially looking forward to the AccuWeather keynote. The format will focus on a very interesting set of lightning talks (no pun intended) plus a “Story Map for Stormy Weather” session and a compelling panel discussion.

Q: What’s the significance of weather data for Esri users?
A: Weather is one of the most dynamic and important data streams that feeds a modern GIS. It also drives the world’s largest industry: agriculture. Weather can give us early warning indications to allow us to plan for severe events, protect lives and property, and to be more resilient in adapting to potential environmental changes.  We can look at droughts, storms, and floods to help predict crop yields. And, weather is used to assist insurance companies and policy holders to better manage assets and minimize risk.

Q: What’s your favorite type of weather?
A: I love the weather in Southern California. I’m from the deep South—Georgia—where there’s a lot of humidity. I really enjoy the weather here in Redlands, especially in Fall and Winter.  In Summer, the evenings are always delightfully cool – my favorite time to take a spin in a classic sports car.

Register for Esri UC today!

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Brian Cross is Listening… What can you tell him at Esri UC?

Q & A with Brian Cross

Brian Cross is Esri’s Director of Professional Services. Here, Brian talks about what Esri UC means to him, what it could mean for you, and why his role at Esri is a dream job.

Talk to Brian Cross, and hear his tech keynote, at Esri UC.

Q: What will you show at Esri UC?
A: I am going to show real demos of real work where Esri has partnered with our users to do interesting and powerful things. One of the coolest things about my job is that I get to be part of exciting projects all around the world. We have hand-picked some of these implementations, focusing on those that  are pushing the envelope and showing different ways people use the ArcGIS Platform, as well as different approaches to rolling out GIS capability.

Q: Can you tell us some of the users you will feature this year?
A: I’m not ready to pull the curtain back yet. I can tell you we are showcasing the latest uses of Esri technology, things like 3D and real-time GIS and ArcGIS Online implementations. This should be interesting to users who are thinking about their own implementation patterns and how to make best use of the current technology.

Q: What does Esri UC mean to you?
A: Esri UC is the time of the year where everything is real. It’s where we get to have human engagement with so many people who use our technology all year long, and to see our users get to spend time talking to each other. It’s really inspiring and very energizing to see everything we are all doing as a community.

Q: What do you want from users at Esri UC?
A: I want to hear the good things, and the bad things—whatever we can do to be better.

Q: What’s your advice for Esri UC attendees?
A: Put yourself out there and meet people. It might seem cliché, but it’s all about relationships and sharing. What’s working for you? What’s not? This is why we have the Esri UC. The conference is also about the moments you get to connect with people. I really enjoy the social dynamic in the evenings. Meet people and learn their story and why they are in San Diego. Pretty much everyone there—from recent college graduates to senior executives—is there to interact spontaneously.

Q: Rumor has it this is your dream job. Can you tell us why?
A: I have been with Esri for 15 years. In college I studied geology and spatial concept, but didn’t get hands on with GIS technology. Then I heard about Esri—a company that combines software and maps—and that they needed people with leadership and management skills. When I got here I realized I was surrounded by colleagues and our users who share a passion for maps; “map geeks” like me!  So yes, for me, this job is a dream combination of all these elements.

Registration for Esri UC is open!

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Esri 30/30: Malaria Analysis in Sierra Leone

Today’s Story: Geospatial Analysis of Malaria Indicator Survey Data in Sierra Leone

Today we travel to West Africa where Catholic Relief Services and Johns Hopkins University conducted a study to assess prevalence, prevention, and control efforts of malaria in Sierra Leone.

Learn about GIS for fighting malaria at Esri UC.

At Esri UC, you will hear from how the team gathered data using mobile devices, then used ArcGIS Online to visualize the data. They used point density tools and choropleths to compare prevalence of malaria, preventative approaches, and access to health facilities across the country. With that information at hand, and easy to share, the team was able to demonstrate to stakeholders the effectiveness of preventative measures. This talk is part of the moderated paper session: GIS for Developing Healthy Societies and Environments.

Hear from hundreds of GIS professionals at Esri UC. Register today!

To find sessions for your industry, click here.

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Esri 30/30: Using GIS to Solve History’s Mysteries

Today’s Story: Where did it really happen? Locating the first shot of the Philippine-American War

Today we go to Manila, 115 years ago, when a single gunshot marked the beginning of the Philippine-American War. Just where that gunshot actually took place is the subject of controversy.

By using historical maps, vector layers, and descriptive accounts, Ariel Blanco from the University of the Philippines was able to determine that the shot that started the Philippine-American War was fired on Sociego Street, rather than the San Juan bridge as previously believed.

Markers of the first shot of the Philippine-American War. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Learn about the forensic power of GIS and how it can be used to help model some of history’s most notorious events at Esri UC. Ariel’s talk is part of the moderated paper session: Using GIS for Determining Archaeological Locations.

Hear from hundreds of GIS professionals at Esri UC.

To find sessions for your industry, click here.

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