From the Exhibit Floor: Esri UC 2016

What was the most exciting attraction in the Exhibit Hall at the Esri User Conference 2016? Hard to say, as the 14,000+ attendees flocked to see the plethora of exciting exhibits from third party companies, and of course the numerous demonstrations of Esri products and services. Drones, imagery, field solutions, utilities, navigation, spatially enabled business apps, data management, all vied for an audience at the conference. Esri’s Drone2Map was a huge hit, and Collector for ArcGIS was a product that garnered an enormous amount of attention at its demonstrations and technical workshops, offering the promise of providing mapping to professionals in the field workforce that would in turn, improve the accuracy and currency of spatial data.


Esri’s Drone2Map


Oblong’s Mezzanine was probably one of the most stunning third party products in the exhibit hall. A collaborative, whiteboard/presentation immersive environment system in triptych or more – utilizing multiple high definition displays to provide a single shared workspace for users, where they can display documents, access news broadcasts, remote apps, and even connect from mobile devices. Mezzanine is described as an “info presence,” team-based, that can be used across distances. Each “room” supports 10 displays. This  was the first Esri conference the company had attended.

Oblong's Mezzanine

Oblong’s Mezzanine

There is a special elastic flow gestural device that leaves a tether to the previous view and allows users to manipulate what’s in the displays, to drive connected laptops and make snapshots to create new assets. Mezzanine is seen as complementary technology and can be powered by the ArcGIS platform.

SmartBetterCities’ new release of CloudCities virtual reality tool, can be imported from CityEngine,SketchUp and GoogleEarth. CloudCities is an online platform for hosting, sharing and visualizing smart 3D city models. The models are based on OpenStreetMap, are lightweight and used mostly by mobile users, with an easy drag-and-drop workflow. It was used in a development review at Harvard University urban campus in Kindle Square, where building sensors and monitoring were integrated into visualization.

The Drone Zone was the scene of numerous drones and drone software companies demonstrating their products’ abilities. Drone2Map is Esri’s new software product that requires an ArcGIS Online license, that can be used in a drone to grab imagery and take full motion video. From that, you can get a 3D point cloud and use it directly in your GIS model. The technical workshop on Drone2Map was so popular, it had to be closed to further participants. Other opportunities to learn about the product were made available throughout the conference.


SenseFly’s eBee

senseFly’s eBee drone can achieve ground resolutions of down to 0.8 in (2 cm) per pixel, much better than current satellite and manned aircraft can attain, with positional accuracy of approximately 2x GSC (this accuracy is made possible with ground control points with the survey-grade eBee RTK). The multispectral sensors used for the eBee are from Sequoia, who also provides sensors for Drone2Map. If you don’t have ArcGIS Online, this is an excellent alternative. Sequoia comprises two sensors: the multispectral sensor, which is similar to a camera comprising five sensors mounted underneath the drone, facing the crops (for use in agriculture); and the sunshine sensor, which is positioned on the back of the drone, facing the sky.

Harris Geospatial’s Instant Satellite Imagery Portal section of the Harris Geospatial Marketplace offers a faster, less expensive alternative to purchasing DigitalGlobe imagery directly from a sales representative.  The wait time for imagery download is now only a few minutes. More products have now been included that can be downloaded with the same speed:

–          NAIP Imagery

–          CityOrtho Imagery

–          GeoOrtho Imagery

–          SRTM Elevation Data

–          NED Elevation Data

–          Harris Gap Filled Elevation Data

In a conversation with Ron Bisio, vice president for Geospatial Business, Trimble, he talked about his role of bringing GIS, water, utilities, imaging and energy into one organization of 970 people.

“I see the geospatial technology adoption escalating in utilities, it’s always been a strong one,” said Bisio. “There’s a lot of asset management systems sold by multiple vendors. But before they can manage the asset they need to know where they are. Our tag line is ‘transforming the way the world works,’ but before you can do this, you need to know where everything is.”

Trimble now has as many engineers in software as they do in hardware. They come from a surveying and engineering background and seek the highest quality data out of drone systems for which they make both hardware and software. “We spend a lot of time putting the best cameras we can on these platforms, to make the platform stable.”

The company is focused on their core technologies, whether surveying or data capture, bringing new applications into these areas, and working on android devices that people can use in the field that are rugged and good platforms for data capture. In addition they are working with Esri on R1 and R2 receivers that are used in order to get most out of devices. Their infrastructure service,  like RTX Positioning Services helps customers get the precision they need.

SAP unveiled SAP Geographical Enablement Framework, powered by SAP HANA, which helps organizations enrich business applications with geographic data from GIS such as Esri ArcGIS.

Two points SAP wanted to make about HANA:

– continued interoperability in the Hana platform

– openness

The HANA platform supports layers and feature services that allows HANA to be an underlying data store processing engine for Esri. This  means that it connects to and pushes spatial queries into the HANA platform, achieving high performance, and total cost of ownership because you’re not having to move data back and forth. GIS analysts can actually leverage the HANA platform, spatial and non-spatial processing, and also it’s bidirectional in nature. You can develop custom applications and solution on the HANA platform and then call out to Esri for advanced geoservices such as drive time analysis or base maps or other location services that can be ArcGIS Online, etc.

To develop spatially enabled business applications, organizations can use the framework to:

  • Enable smooth integration and bidirectional navigation between SAP applications and Esri ArcGIS. Developers can use application programming interfaces (APIs) published by GIS systems to fetch geospatial data. Also, business data augmented with geometric attributes can be published as a service, so that GIS users can access SAP business data from within their GIS tools.
  • Embed a responsive map user interface (UI) in a business application to display both business and spatial data simultaneously to provide greater insight.
  • Store the geometry of any SAP business object in the SAP HANA platform and accelerate spatial data processing in memory to deliver real-time insights, enriched with spatial context, to improve decision making.
  • Visualize, filter and search for business objects — such as functional location, equipment, linear assets, notifications or work orders — on a map from within a spatially enabled application. From a desktop or a tablet, users can also drill down through multiple map layers to gain better insight.

Users will be able to consume spatial from third-party spatial solutions, as the solution is an open platform certified with the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) enabling organizations.

“Munich Re is one of the leading reinsurance companies in the world,” said Andreas Siebert, head of geospatial solutions at Munich Re. “We use spatial data processing capabilities in SAP HANA, in conjunction with predictive analytics, to assess risk — such as to identify natural hazard profiles for millions of locations around the globe, to efficiently coordinate loss adjustors after a major catastrophe or to calculate how many hospitals, schools and roads may be impacted by an impending hurricane or flood.”

GeoCom, developer of utility applications, has developed a new partnership to enter the U.S. market. The company’s applications provide very specific functions that aren’t covered by the Esri platform. Their new products will be available in the fall: ArcGIS Runtime SDK available on tablets disconnected in the field. They will be developing for the Utility Information Model that Esri is working on. Their next generation of products will be even more tightly integrated with the Esri platform.

TomTom City provides data for an in-car navigation app for government agencies. TomTom has compiled an amalgam of data over 90 days, on traffic jams, traffic flow, delay hotspots, custom probe counts. In the past, they did roadside surveys, car counts, that provides historical data. There are over 450 million connected GPS devices, 14 trillion anonymous GPS measurements in their database dating back to 2007.

With the live traffic data, road authorities and construction professionals can let users know about traffic disruptions.

Cityworks provides an infrastructure asset management system called Cityworks Server AMS/Asset Management System that enables organizations to manage their infrastructure assets with a built in workflow engine for service requests, work orders, and inspections to be configured for specific tracking and analysis requirements. Cityworks Server PLL (Permits, Licensing and Land) utilizing Esri services, provides tools for managing permits, engineering construction processes, planning and development applications, business licenses, and code enforcement. The week before the conference they released version 15.1 of this product.

At Esri UC, CoreLogic launched Structure Footprints, a more accurate viewpoint of structures in a parcel footprint, as well as geocoded rooftops, moving to a more granular level of accuracy. The products comes with structure point attributes, gross square footage, land use, and the year the structure was built. It will also let you know to add addresses associated with the parcel. Any of the data fields associated with datasets can be appended like the construction of pieces of property, and number of bedrooms. Structure Footprints is aimed at land management, oil and gas, pipeline planning, insurance, and hazards.

The Esri Federal Small Business Specialty Community provides the small business community with a new program to engage with Esri and increase GIS functionality with federal government opportunities. These small qualified businesses want to develop service offerings around the ArcGIS platform to grow their federal business. Companies participating include Blue Raster, LLC, FireWhat, Critigen, Voyager Search, Zerion Software, Clear Terra, GISinc, LandWorks, PTFS, R&K Solutions, Vestra Resources and PenBay Solutions.

PenBay Solutions’ Invision Facilities GIS solutions is built on the ArcGIS platform and organizes facility management geographically.

Zerion Software, creator of iForm Builder, has custom apps for advanced form building. It is integrated with ArcGIS Online and Esri as a whole, and can leverage with tools you’re used to.

In June, Voyager released version 1.9.8 of their award-winning Voyager Search software. In the new version, Voyager says it has made it easier to configure content in Navigo, its modern web app; extend its spatial content search; and improve the usability of its Navigo processing tools. Managing content in Navigo can now be done through the new personalized ‘My Voyager’ customization page, which allows customers to share saved searches and update display configurations through a drag and drop interface. Voyager’s goal is to build a catalog of all data, not just geospatial data.


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