Esri Southeast User Conference Recap

By: Kevin Stewart, Sonny Beech, Rachel Ankersen

The Southeast 500 – not a race, but rather the approximate number of attendees at this year’s Esri Southeast User Conference in Jacksonville, Florida (formerly Southeast Regional User Group – SERUG).  Overall we felt like it was another positive sign that State and Local Governments are on the road to recovery from previous years of economic challenges.  While most of the attendees hailed from Florida and Georgia, there was user representation from every state in the southeast region.

ArcGIS Online continues to be a major focus for Esri

ArcGIS Online was definitely the hot topic for Esri this year.  In fact it was mentioned so many times that we may have actually overheard the front desk employees of the hotel talking about it when we checked out on Wednesday.  To start the plenary session, Mike Dyer did a demo during his opening remarks, showing how he could import a spreadsheet of conference attendees into ArcGIS Online. He followed by showing the various ways the existing ArcGIS Online applications could be used.

Esri continues to pour resources into this initiative and users appear to understand it more and more.  With ArcGIS Online and Esri’s other initiative, ArcGIS for Local Government, Esri has provided a comprehensive platform to solve the most common problems in state and local government:

·         do more with less;

·         easily deploy maps & apps;

·         become more relevant – support the business;

·         the need for quick wins;

·         suffering from paralysis (have stagnated);

·         support for the increasing demand of citizen engagement.

Our biggest take away from the show is that the Esri platform and vision are all there for GIS shops to maximize their Esri software investment and support the business of Government.  As a service provider in this industry, this is very exciting.  In a very short period of time we can help a local government go from absolutely zero location technology to web and mobile applications.  It wasn’t very long ago a jump like that would have taken years let alone months.

In Conclusion

We felt like users are really getting it and conversations we had in the hallway and breakout sessions were evidence.  Esri’s messaging of targeted, focused applications is starting to resonate with users. There were conversations about users creating web maps for specific projects or to support a specific business function.  In fact we had one conversation with a user and their journey from custom applications that had handcuffed them in the past to becoming a pure out of the box shop.  This is a result to the work that Esri has done by creating targeted focused applications and making them available to the user community.  Overall, the break out sessions, plenary, and socials were intimate and a fun atmosphere of learning.

GISi team pictured left to right: Kevin Stewart, Rachel Ankersen, Sonny Beech

GISi team pictured left to right: Kevin Stewart, Rachel Ankersen, Sonny Beech

About GISi
Geographic Information Services, Inc. (GISi), is a professional services GIS consulting firm established in 1991 and headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. The GISi team consists of highly experienced, educated professionals known for thought leadership and mission-critical thinking in the fields of geography, planning, environmental science and information technology. GISi is an industry leader in the innovative use of geospatial technology. As a professional services organization with strong technical capabilities and a culture of service excellence, GISi has an unparalleled reputation of enabling customer success. GISi helps organizations turn data into insight by leveraging spatial technology merged with tabular data for visualization and analytical capabilities. Additionally, GISi's sole focus is helping organizations derive maximum value from their ESRI investment through installation, configuration, data processing, custom development, and training services. GISi maintains a strong relationship with ESRI and has been a member of its Business Partner Program for more than 15 years. GISi has been honored by ESRI eight times in the last seven years for its innovative work in the ArcGIS environment including the inaugural ESRI Foundation Partner Award, Southeast Region Business Partner of the Year, and Most Valuable Programmer (MVP) Award for six years running.

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