The first day.. and things to my mind are a little different from previous years..
Jack’s vision in terms of the Geoweb seems little changed from last year – the focus this year is on “managing the earth’ using GIS. Although no mention was made of the development of google maps, ESRI are clearly responding with the development of a new version of ArcExplorer which works in very much the same way as google earth, but which is also a client to corporate data and high-end geoprocessing via web based arc-engine services.
The new ArcExplorer is not part of the 9.2 code-stream so potentially could appear soon, although I believe the version demonstrated today was very much a prototype and there is still a lot of engineering to do.
The plenary sessions although in the same hall as last year was set up differently with three huge widescreens in front of the 14,000 visitors.
Another new technology demonstrated was the ESRI image server a solution acquired by ESRI from Prompt GmbH, I saw this demonstrated at Map Middle East and was very impressed by the technology then as it is quite a compelling solution. The idea here is to storage imagery either satellite or aerial in a raw format as files and then process them on the fly as they are displayed. The solution is very fast allowing terabytes of imagery to be explored with ease from within ArcGIS or as explained this morning by many other GIS clients!!
Rather than traditional product demos, the new features in the next release of ArcGIS 9.2 were demonstrated using scenarios from particular markets, cartography, parcel management etc. – and introduced by John Calkins rather than David Maquire.
The biggest cheer seemed to come for the new ability to load data directly into ArcGIS from Microsoft Excel, sometimes it is the simple things that really make a big difference !!
The biggest news I think seemed to go unnoticed by most people, amongst the enhancements to the server components of 9.2 is the ability to query ArcSDE data via a standard SQL interface, does this really mean that SDE binary data is at last becoming more accessible. If this is the case it will go a long way to reassuring organisations like mine who have always preferred the more open interfaces exposed by Oracle Spatial.
Written and submitted from the W Hotel, San Diego, using the hotels broadband network.