Given that cloud is now one of the most used technology buzzwords of the decade, it's not surprising that the 2012 Esri International User Conference (Esri UC) will offer an impressive number of cloud sessions on the agenda.
Many of you are, of course, interested in figuring out the best ways to take advantage of this new computing model. Some of you, like Dana Nibby from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, are interested in the resource capabilities the cloud offers.
"Working in the cloud puts customers in a 'Goldilocks' zone for accessing just the right amount of resources," Nibby said. "It enables public-sector employees to operate like startup entrepreneurs, who've always had to do more with less."
Others see the cloud as a way to boost collaboration within and between organizations. Brian Mac Sharry, a spatial data and GIS officer for the European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity, said he's excited about the ability to do his work from anywhere: "A possible future where I can access and work on my data over the web without having to be at my office computer is very interesting to me."
Esri will address these issues, and more, at this year's Esri UC. These sessions will be more than just a primer or introduction to the cloud. During this year's presentations, Esri's technical staff will equip attendees with the information and answers needed to successfully implement cloud solutions.
For the geospatial technologist with one foot in cartography, this means addressing the design challenges associated with dynamically changing web maps. You will see some great web designs, but better yet, you will also hear from Esri's cartographic experts as they explain design rationale, lower-level technical challenges, user experience and interface strategies for telling your story, and implementation techniques for building great web maps. If you're a web developer, these sessions should be a high priority.
You'll also see many sessions about ArcGIS Online offered to expose people to the wide variety of functionality in Esri's Software as a Service (SaaS) offering. Highlights will include demonstrations about using your own logos and images to craft well-designed symbols and pop-up windows and how to move your on-premises maps from ArcGIS for Desktop into an ArcGIS Online organizational account, a new offering that allows you to tailor ArcGIS Online to your business or agency.
Of course, questions about the value and validity of cloud and geo are still swirling, so there will be sessions that take a candid look at deploying ArcGIS for Server in the cloud. Topics that will be covered range from data upload latency and information exposure to the benefits that many seek to attain in the cloud, such as elastic scalability and low cost and resource requirements. Models and platforms for deploying ArcGIS in the cloud will also underscore the business value that the cloud can provide but will be grounded by topics surrounding costs, cloud infrastructures, and other realities when adopting a cloud ecosystem.
Perhaps 2012 will be the year you turn a buzzword into your blueprint for success. See you at the Esri UC cloud sessions!