Five Things I Learned at … Esri User Conference 2018

Last week I attended the Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) Annual User Conference in San Diego, California. This year’s conference on The Science of Where™ started out with a keynote address titled “GIS – Inspiring What’s Next” given by Jack Dangermond, the president of Esri. Here are five things I learned at this year’s user conference.

  1. ArcMap: While Esri is transitioning their ArcGIS Desktop software focus from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro, ArcMap will continue to be supported for many years to come! This news at the plenary session was met with a round of applause, mine included. It’s important for us at NYU to embrace the future of GIS technology in ArcGIS Pro, but it’s equally important for us to be comfortable with some of the older GIS technology which is still widely used.
  2. ArcGIS Hub: Billed as a new way to transform community engagement and collaboration, the ArcGIS Hub allows for two-way engagement with an ArcGIS Organization and the community it serves. WIth ArcGIS Hub you can create maps and data visualizations that can be easily shared or collaborated on with members in the community. Plus, this platform was worked on in part by an NYU alumni!
  3. Living Atlas of the World: The ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World is a collection of geographic data and is constantly changing and growing, with more than 7,000 items currently. It is composed of Esri content, Esri partner content, and User content and contains data layers, pre-made maps, and applications that you can use to build up your own web maps and applications. Check the Living Atlas Blog (yes, this is a thing!) for more useful content and information.
  4. Esri Vector Basemaps: So it’s not completely “new” news that Esri has offered users Vector Basemaps, but it’s worth mentioning how this change in basemap offerings can affect your maps. Vector basemaps use vector tiles that render on the client side rather than the Esri server side, unlike raster tiles. This change in rendering speeds up the process and makes the basemap image more clear. Additionally, you can create your own vector tile layers and customize map styles for use in your ArcGIS Online maps and apps. Vector Basemaps are currently on Version 2.
  5. OpenStreetMap Vector Basemap: And last, but certainly not least, Esri has announced that this summer it will release a beta version of OpenStreetMap Vector Basemap. You may be familiar with the raster OpenStreetMap basemap that is currently available on ArcGIS Online, but the new vector basemap option will be updated with the latest OSM data and Esri will continue to update this vector basemap frequently. Best yet, in keeping with the open data model, the Esri OpenStreetMap Vector Basemap will be freely available to any user, so this basemap will not be limited to ArcGIS Organization members!

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