Recap of Canberra Directions 2014

Thanks to all who braved the rain on Friday to attend Directions 2014 in Canberra. It was great to see such a good crowd. A show of hands during Gary Farmer’s welcome suggested that a significant number were at their first Directions event. That was really good to see and we hope it’ll be the first of many.

The theme of this year’s Directions tour is “sharpening your skills” and the sessions during the day are designed to stimulate thinking around how users can get more from their ArcGIS with a mix of new tools, smart ways to use existing tools, and general tips and techniques to be more productive when using the software.

To kick off the morning session I took a step back from the technical detail and framed the sessions that followed with a big picture perspective of ArcGIS as a location platform for the whole organisation.

Ebony picked up this thread in her morning session and illustrated how today’s GIS professional can build on the great work they already do. She showed how through smart use of the Portal component of the platform you can build spatial information products that can be used by any user, anywhere, on any device.

Against a backdrop of fast moving technology innovation around GIS, users are also challenged by the rapid rise in the availability and volume of new data, and the need to use it wherever you happen to be. John explored this in his session on working with new data types. A deep dive in to using the new ArcGIS GeoEvent Processor extension for ArcGIS Server to handle real-time streaming data from sensors was followed by a demonstration of the new offline capabilities in the Collector app.

John was able to download a basemap and operational data to his iPhone, take it off the network, collect new features and rich media, then reconnect and synch his edits back to the server. That demo generated a lot of interest and questions at the breaks.

After morning tea, Danny Haipola from our Canberra office showed how simple it can be to build rich, multimedia stories around your maps and data using Esri’s story map templates. I followed Danny with a look at how the four pillars of Location Analytics can transform organisations and allow them to leverage the often undervalued and under-utilised location component of their business data. Danny was then back up on stage to walk the audience through the prebuilt solution template applications that are available for a number of industries from Esri including Local Govt and Utilities.

To wrap up the morning we welcomed Danielle from Geoscience Australia to the stage for a look in to GA’s online presence and the range of web services they are making available.

The lunch break saw attendees split between the concurrent Federal Government Round Table, and the technical sessions continuing in the main theatre. Ebony W and Kate L kicked off the afternoon by going back to the roots of GIS with four spatial analysis workflows ranging from optimised hot spot analysis through to analysing the impact of pipe breaks in a utility network.

I wound the day up with a heads up on what’s coming from Esri during the rest of this year. Highlights included new versions of Dekho and ENVI, an early look at the new desktop GIS application, ArcGIS Professional, the upcoming 3D Scene Services that will emerge in ArcGIS 10.3, and for developers, the new ArcGIS Web App Builder. Web App Builder is now in public Beta and brings the kinds of functionality you might have seen in the Esri Silverlight and Flex app builders to the HTML and JavaScript environment.

Thanks again for attending, and for your interest and questions during the day.

Josh V.

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