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'Going Spatial' is my personal blog, the views on this site are entirely my own and should in no way be attributed to anyone else or as the opinion of any organisation.

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Thursday 19 June 2014

2014 - Esri UK User Conference


It has been under a week since the Esri UK 2014 user conference (and the Esri UK Company Event the day after) and I had meant to push this out earlier but wanted to add and tweak a few things. Also, the start of the little known event the '2014 World Cup' meant that I was a bit distracted. 

Here are my highlights and observations. These points (like this blog) are entirely my own and if you disagree, or want clarification - then please contact me. Also, follow me on @wai_ming_lee to  get random updates via twitter. 

This year, the event was a smashing success with over 1400 registered guests and a fair few turning up on the day who did not, the event was free, the weather grand and the location, absolutely top-notch. 

My highlights:

  • Good food!
  • User/Client presentations during the plenary
  • ArcGIS Dashboard in 10.3
  • The ArcGIS Platform continues to mature and now really starting to deliver
  • The Conference App!
  • Opportunity to reconnect with old friends and colleagues
  • Esri Maps for....
  • The continuing road map for ArcGIS
  • ArcGIS Pro
  • Free Swag!

Good Food

One can measure a conference by the food they serve and I have to say, the food was excellent. Nice wraps, sandwiches and other delectable bits of goodness. I think some hot buffet would have been an excellent addition too - who doesn't like a tasty chicken drumstick or two? 

Supersize me please..

Venue Location

Being located in the heart of London: Big Ben and Houses of Parliament literally outside is a bonus. Easy to get to and easy to find. 

The view from inside, shame about the light reflections

Esri Users doing the talking

Like last year, Esri UK invited some of their users to present at the plenary. An excellent move and the presentations have a far greater impact on other users than if the plenary was chock-full of Esri folk talking about Esri kit. I really enjoyed the talk by Transport for London (TfL) and Sport England. So well done guys, I am sure that this is a template for future talks. 
Great plenary

ArcGIS Dashboard

Comes with portal and the beginnings of a dashboard that shows some useful information. Am excited over this one, I love my ops and my dashboards so very much looking forward to this. 

The Conference Application

I downloaded the conference application and initially thought it was a static viewer with the agenda and other stuff. However, I was pleasantly surprised that it was a nice social media app that allowed me to plan my day, upload my photos, tweet and comment on the day and more. It even had a leaderboard to add some competitiveness and encourage people contribute. Linking in with facebook, twitter etc. means that it shared the contributions with other popular tools too. Only observation: it didn't have a map, interactive or otherwise! For a mapping company, it is a glaring omission. Better fix that next time...

Comes with maps next time....

Meeting up with old friends and colleagues

Always an opportunity to catch up and found that this was a super opportunity for me to catch up with friends and (ex)colleagues and we all talk about GIS and other geeky stuff. Love it and wish I had more time to do it. Well done to the conference app for actually helping me set up a meeting with an old University chum. I think having a section of the plenary / conference hall strewn with bean-bags would have been a great idea. I am, who doesn't love bean-bags? 
Mmmmm, bean-bags...

Esri-Maps for

Well for everything! This carries on the theme from the last couple of years where, in addition to the evolution of the ArcGIS platform - there's also a more focused approach in which map-centric functionality is embedded inside existing (and well known) applications. The most obvious one is Esri Maps for Office where one can easily drop pins onto an ArcGIS Online map from coordinates or addresses held in a spreadsheet. Simple and easy. There are many users who deal with spatial data who do not need or want to crank up the behemoth known as ArcGIS Desktop. Nope, just being able to drop the data you have in a CSV file onto a map and bang, you're done. That's what Esri Maps for Office can do, here's a video that is quite techy but good:

Other focused applications include Esri Maps for Sharepoint, Cognos, Dynamics and others.

Free Swag

Well, no t-shirts but USB keys and a cool collapsible water bottle. Me likey. 

Should have grabbed some USB sticks...

Other bits

Charging stations - we need more but luckily, I had my charger with me and managed to find a socket to plug into. 

My summary

Esri UK did themselves proud, the user conference was well attended, in an excellent location and was FREE. The UC definitely showcased the continuing evolution of the ArcGIS platform and how pervasive and comprehensive it is. There's a theme of the 'one-same-map' viewable by anyone from a smart-phone all the way to the specialised desktop application using common web technologies and protocols. That is a very powerful story to tell people and should make maps much more accessible to everyone. Looking forward to the next UK UC!

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