Top 10.2 Take-aways from the Esri International Developer Summit

Esri program manager Jim McKinney (left) and Esri president Jack Dangermond welcome developers back to Palm Springs.
Esri program manager Jim McKinney (left) and Esri president Jack Dangermond welcome developers back to Palm Springs.

An always-live ArcGIS platform that updates frequently and powers groundbreaking, real-time GIS and location-aware apps generated serious buzz at the 2013 Esri International Developer Summit (DevSummit).

Speaking to 1,600 developers in Palm Springs, California, Esri president Jack Dangermond called the platform with its cloud, web and mobile apps, server, and desktop parts “transformational.”

“This is a big year for us. It’s probably one of the most interesting years in our history,” Dangermond said. “We’ve been working on developing a whole new generation of technology. This technology is about transforming GIS as we know it into a platform. The opportunities there are immense to be able to configure and take geography and geographic understanding everywhere.”

To highlight the platform message and other salient points made during the week, Esri’s DevSummit team members put their heads together and compiled this list of take-aways from what’s always a memorable event:

Take-away 1: It’s All about Real People

Database tuning, web services, security, geostatistics, and debugging of apps—these are all important and were well covered at the DevSummit. But this year, special emphasis was placed on showing how organizations can truly make useful information products and tools available to many different kinds of audiences. Do your maps communicate? Does your app serve an obvious purpose? In inspiring talks, Esri director of software development Scott Morehouse and design usability expert Jared M. Spool explained how to make your work more relevant to people. Watch Morehouse’s presentation, The ArcGIS Platform, and Spool’s keynote speech, Anatomy of a Design Decision.

Jared M. Spool described five basic types of design.
Jared M. Spool described five basic types of design.

Take-away 2: Sensors, Real-time Feeds, and GIS

ArcGIS GeoEvent Processor for Server, an ArcGIS for Server extension, will give you the ability to connect into, process, and visualize real-time data feeds. Scheduled for release with ArcGIS 10.2 in June 2013, ArcGIS GeoEvent Processor for Server will let you bring information from sensors in the field into your everyday GIS work. That means you can visualize relevant events on a map as they happen and analyze and respond to them. All in real time. Watch this demonstration by Esri’s Adam Mollenkopf.

Take-away 3: Location Analytics Apps and Real-time Social Media

The ArcGIS platform can be embedded into enterprise business systems so a wealth of data can be viewed and analyzed in maps rather than just reports and charts. The platform can also be extended to work with real-time information through web browsers. Case in point: analyzing social media, such as Tweets, to get real-time, on-the-ground information and sentiment. Watch the video.

Take-away 4: Maps in Your Smartphones and Tablets Go Offline

You can use the new ArcGIS Runtime SDKs to build powerful mapping applications that combine the power of accessing online GIS services with letting you work offline when needed. ArcGIS 10.2 will enable use of maps in disconnected mode: you will be able to display, query, and even edit maps while disconnected. In fact, some useful additional bits such as routing will be enabled as well. Watch Will Crick’s demonstration in the video Building Apps with ArcGIS Runtime SDKs.

Amber Case, director of the Esri R&D Center in Portland, Oregon, speaks at the DevSummit about location-aware apps.
Amber Case, director of the Esri R&D Center in Portland, Oregon, speaks at the DevSummit about location-aware apps.

Take-away 5: Location-Aware Apps

What could your app do if it knew where it was? The ArcGIS Geotrigger service, scheduled for release in July 2013, will allow you and your organization to build location-aware applications. All you have to do is include the Geotrigger service in your application and define what kind of messages or notifications your users should receive when they get to a certain place. A cloud-based solution optimized for building apps on consumer devices without battery drain, the ArcGIS Geotrigger service opens up a whole new world of opportunities to make apps smart about geography in a nonintrusive and elegant way. Watch Location and the Future of the Interface, a talk by Amber Case, director of the Esri R&D Center in Portland, Oregon.

Take-away 6: Web Mapmaking Gets Better and Better with ArcGIS Online

Esri’s Jeremy Bartley demonstrated some new, cool things you can do with ArcGIS Online including adding Esri Map Layers—ArcGIS for Server services published by Esri—such as demographic information and live traffic for the United States and Europe. Watch the video.

Take-away 7: GIS Tools for Hadoop

Working with big data is a challenge because of the volume, velocity, and variety of the data, says Esri’s Mansour Raad. But it’s gotten easier with Esri’s recent release of GIS Tools for Hadoop, which you can use to spatially analyze, visualize, and interactively query big data. Watch Raad’s demonstration.

Take-away 8: Check Out the ArcGIS for Developers Website

Stop and visit Esri’s new ArcGIS for Developers website, meant to help you get started developing apps for users with or without an ArcGIS Online subscription.

“This is the place to go if you are a developer working with the ArcGIS platform,” says Euan Cameron of Esri. It gives you introductory information and code snippets you can take and put into your applications, plus documentation for the APIs Esri supports: JavaScript, iOS, Android, REST, and many more.

The action was fast and furious during the popular dodge ball tournament.
The action was fast and furious during the popular dodge ball tournament.

Take-away 9: Esri Is on GitHub!

Visit GitHub to check out the latest activity in the open source community. You’ll find more than 75 projects—such as samples, apps, utilities, and solutions—and over 150 members from Esri actively participating. Social coding will allow you to follow projects and members to keep up-to-date with all the latest activity. Fork and clone any of the projects, or jump right in and make a pull request to contribute. Check out the apps in the 100-lines-or-less-js code challenge. Phil Leggetter, Stan McShinsky, and Ognian Samokovliyski won first, second, and third place, respectively.

Take-away 10: Going HTML

More than 65 percent of the web developers who attended the DevSummit use the ArcGIS API for JavaScript. All JavaScript sessions were standing room only—clearly a sign, isn’t it?

Take-away 10.2: The team Much ADO about Balls won this year’s dodge ball tournament, reports Esri ArcGIS program manager Jim McKinney. Congratulations to the players, who were rewarded with free passes to the 2014 DevSummit.