Thoughts from the front row

Over the past two days, I had the pleasure of being MC for the first two cities of the Directions Live 2016 roadshow as we kicked off the tour in Melbourne and Adelaide.

As the MC I got a front-row seat for all of the Esri Australia and guest presentations, and I thought I’d take the opportunity to jot down some thoughts on the key themes that stood out for me. So here goes …

Building a system of engagement

To deliver the highest value from your investment in GIS you need to share the information it holds with everyone in your organisation in a way that supports collaboration and self-service. John Hasthorpe described this as turning your system of record in to a system of engagement where everyone in your organisation can engage with your GIS in a decentralised way. The role of the GIS Professional is not just to manage the system of record but to empower individuals so that they can generate their own maps, spatially enable their own data, and freely share their information products with their stakeholders.

Web GIS removes your capacity bottlenecks

We are witnessing a rapid acceleration in the use of mapping and geospatial analysis across many of the organisations we work with but there is often an obstacle constraining this growth due to the capacity of the GIS team to keep up with this growing demand. Web GIS, delivered through ArcGIS Online and Portal for ArcGIS, is the enabler for self-service mapping so this accelerating demand can be met by your systems without overwhelming the GIS team.

There are many paths to geo-enlightenment

In Simon Jackson’s first talk he made the point that there is no one-size fits all approach to bringing Web GIS to your organisation. I’ll leave it to Simon to explain but combining  all the options for deploying ArcGIS Online, Portal for ArcGIS and ArcGIS Server either together or separately there’s no excuse to not become geo-enlightened with Web GIS.

It’s all about apps, apps and apps

With over one hundred ready-to-use applications to connect your GIS information with your users, Alex Geer made it abundantly clear there’s rarely a need for custom development these days when you can just pick something off the shelf that will suit your needs. Once you’ve made your key geospatial datasets available through your Web GIS it’s then time to start helping your users find the right app for their needs, whether it  be a web app template, a native smartphone app, an integration to your existing business system, or using a builder to customise an app without ever seeing any custom code.

And more apps just keep on coming!

The number of ready-to-use applications continues to grow at a frenetic pace. We heard from Josh Venman who showed us some of the apps that will be joining the ArcGIS Platform throughout 2016, including Drone2Map for easily converting your photos into 3D models, Workforce for ArcGIS for coordinating your field workers, and Insights for ArcGIS enabling a whole new approach to geographic analysis. Judging from the reaction of the delegates in Melbourne and Adelaide this week, these are all very keenly anticipated apps that are going to be in high demand.

There was so much more than this packed into each day, but for me these points stood out as key for putting your organisation on the path to geo-enlightenment!

Directions LIVE is currently travelling around the country until the end of May. If you haven’t registered for your local event, visit the Esri Australia website now.

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