SCAUG 2017 Annual Conference

Published March 17, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

This year we are excited to announce that we will be exhibiting for the first time at the 2017 SCAUG & LA RS/GIS Conference. Account Manager Corey Baker will be sharing the stories of three communities we’ve worked with to take a stand against the spread of vector-borne disease, zika virus. The City of New Orleans, LA, St. Tammany Parish, LA and Hillsborough County Public Works, FL have all implemented the GISinc Outbreak Surveillance and Control (OSC) Solution. Ask Corey about each community’s story; learn their challenges and solutions with Zika and find out if your community is prepared for an outbreak situation.

Chicago, IL Esri Mobile Workshop and GISinc Social

Published March 14, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

On April 5th, the Esri Chicago Office will be hosting a mobile workshop which will be followed by an afternoon social hosted by GISinc’s Account Manager, Tyler Prahl. Connect with him here to set up a meeting while he is in your area.

Atlanta Area Connect

Published March 14, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

Wendy Peloquin will be in the Atlanta, GA Area March 20th to 24th. Connect with her here to set up a meeting while she is in your area.

2017 Esri Developer Summit – Day Four Recap

Published March 13, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

Joel Brown

On the last day of the dev summit the ESRI folks do a closing session over lunch where they recap the week.  I think my favorite stat was that we drank about 4x more coffee than we did water throughout the week.  I know I was slamming afternoon coffees to get me through the late afternoon sessions!

If you have been following my blog posts over the past few days you’ll know I’ve been writing a lot about the JavaScript 4x API.  Today I’d like to leave a few closing thoughts on this topic.

– The 4x API is much improved but there is no quick or “easy” migration path for apps written with the 3x API. You need to read the compatibility matrix that ESRI provides and plan accordingly.

– The 4x API is built around specific programming patterns like the Acessor class and watchable properties. Learn these or you will be “Fighting” against the API.  The online docs are great for getting up to speed.

– The 4x API is very extensible but you need to know where the hooks are.  If you are integrating with other frameworks you need to understand the approaches for working with the Dojo loader and Dojo build system.  Again the docs are your friend here.

From The Desk of Chris Blinn: Hillsborough County Mosquito Control

Published March 10, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

In the early summer months of 2016, there was a steady stream of reports regarding the dangers from Zika.  Week by week we saw updates of trouble areas, who’s at risk, and what work was being done to create a vaccination.  Our fears quickly escalated once the first case of local transmission was reported.  It seemed to make the risk more real for many.  This includes local governments with vector control programs geared to prevent infections from spreading.

Recently, I spent some time at the Mosquito Control center in Hillsborough County, Florida.  Our mission was to deploy the Outbreak, Surveillance, and Control (OSC) Jumpstart.  The OSC Jumpstart is a focused rollout of ArcGIS Online solutions to streamline current workflows that vector control departments have in place.   Overall, the goal was simple – make the mosquito control group more effective so that they can work to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases.  The OSC Jumpstart, much like other Jumpstart programs we offer at GISinc, focuses on delivering a “Quick Win”, and a foundation for growth.  For Hillsborough County Mosquito Control, the quick win was more than one solution, but an implementation of the Esri templates for mosquito control.  These templates are focused on different workflows within mosquito control, and off the shelf they are a good first step to improving efficiency.

After an initial review of the applications, we identified some areas where current Mosquito Control workflows were not supported, and details were left out between the templates and Mosquito Control.  From these gaps, we created additional solutions to improve data collection for different inspections, and setup dashboards to improve transparency and data sharing between people and other departments.  At the end of the week, 20 applications supporting 10 solutions and workflows were implemented for the Mosquito Control.

Solutions for field crews, administration, and operations were put in place, and the relationship between each solution was clearly defined.  In just one week, paper-driven inspections were completely migrated to digital forms in Collector for ArcGIS, metrics were automatically displayed on Operations Dashboards to show usage of chemicals for treatments, planning applications allowed operations personnel to oversee what areas their trucks needed to spray each night using Web AppBuilder, and every solution, field, and piece of information was readily available by using ArcGIS Online to store and manage all items.  Now Hillsborough County Mosquito Control has the tools to be efficient, and provide a service to their citizens that helps reduce the risk for Zika and other vector-borne diseases.

2017 Esri Developer Summit – Day Three Recap

Published March 10, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

Heather Roberts

Survey123 has come a long way since it was in Beta last year and they have incorporated a lot of the features we’ve all been asking for.  Survey123 is a form-centric data gathering web and mobile tool.  When you create a survey, it will create a feature service to capture data entered into the application. What’s new is we can now use already existing feature services, and configure the survey questions against the existing fields. An existing survey can also be pointed to a new service layer without needing to recreate it.  We can also now edit existing data from already submitted surveys.  Existing surveys can be download to the mobile application to your inbox, where you can make edits to previously gathered data and resubmit.  These existing surveys can also be filtered using queries to select a subset of surveys to download.  Survey123 can also now perform calculations in the form, which allows the calculations to be conducted and populated on the form as data is entered.  Hosted feature layer views, new to ArcGIS Online, can now also be used in Survey123.

Some beneficial features have also been added to Open Data sites.  Multiple pages can be added to your site as links or buttons.  These can be used for separating your data into themes, departments, or issues your organization may be tackling. Also, available now on your site are brand new dynamic statistic cards and chart cards.   They are still working on the ability to host images in ArcGIS Online for Open Data without the tokens timing out, and should be available in a future release.

ArcGIS Pro is advancing with leaps and bounds and this is the year of ArcMap Equivalency where they are bringing the functionality of ArcMap and more to that of Pro, with a few exceptions that will come in 2018.  One change I am excited about that’s coming at 2.0 is multiple instances of the application.  This means you can have more than one project open at a time.  Feature linked annotation will also be coming with the new release, and we also got to put on 3D glasses to view the new Stereo and Oblique layers.  Some mid-term additions planned are the Utility Network and Real-time streaming with GeoEvent Server, and the long-awaited Parcel Fabric will be coming in 2018.

 Joel Brown

For me, day three at the dev summit was all about the ArcGIS for JavaScript API build system.   This is not the sexiest topic but it is still an important part of releasing a production ready web application.  It doesn’t matter how cool the app is, if your code is not optimized to load quickly to provide a good user experience.  I want to give a shout out to both the ESRI JS API development team and the professional services folks for presenting on this topic today.

ESRI provides a CDN hosted version of the JS API which is easy to reference and provides great performance.   However, many of us at GISinc work in environments where using the CDN is not allowed (e.g., federal contracts) or does not meet the customer requirements for some reason.  In these cases, we are left to build and deploy a local copy of the API.   The recommended workflow for this use case is to download the ESRI JS API  package via bower and run it through the Dojo build system with your code to create a concatenated, minified, and uglified “bundle” that contains everything you need for your JavaScript application.  If your code is structured right, the Dojo build system will traverse your AMD module dependency graph and do dead code removal so that only the code you actually use gets added to your production deployment bundle.

So, the above is all well and good but what happens if you already have an existing build system in place that is not using the Dojo build system and you want to start using the ESRI JS API?   If you are working with plain old JavaScript, then the easiest path forward is to just run everything through the Dojo build system.  This is usually going to work better than trying to push the ESRI JS API through an alternative build system.

Things get a bit more interesting if you are using TypeScript or ES6 with something like webpack.  Webpack does not do a great job of building the ESRI JS API.  It chokes on references to Dojo loader plugins that are littered through the ESRI source code.  The path of least resistance here is to actually exclude the ESRI JS API from your webpack build and run a separate build task that runs the ESRI JS API through the Dojo build system.  In this case, you will end up with a separate bundle just for the ESRI JS API.  An alternative approach is to use a custom loader library like esri-loader to wrap ESRI JS API modules imports.   This will skirt around the above mentioned Dojo loader plugin issue.  The primary downside to this approach is that it can be a bit unnatural to write code that uses a custom loader.

Overall, it was nice to see the ESRI folks dedicate so much thought to this topic.  With the explosion of available JS frameworks out there it is nice to get some guidance on how to make all of your code work together.  The ESRI JS API 4x documentation even has a section dedicated to this topic, so check it out if you are looking for more info.

 Patrick Scanlon

Today ESRI gave us some best practices surrounding GeoEvent server, GeoAnalytics Server, and the spatiotemporal big data store:

  1. The above capitalization was not a typo; ESRI keeps the spatiotemporal big data store in all lowercase to indicate that they consider it a component of ArcGIS Enterprise, therefore you can scale it to as many nodes as you want without incurring additional licensing costs.  Keep that in mind as you consider the architecture of your ArcGIS Enterprise deployment.
  2. Each should be installed on a dedicated box, and if possible GeoAnalytics Server and the spatiotemporal big data store should be installed on clusters of three nodes each.
  3. Many have wondered whether it is better to have fewer but more complex GeoEvent servers or a larger number of more simple servers.  Unfortunately, the least satisfying answer to any question, “It depends”, applies in this case.  ESRI recommends trying both and seeing which works better for your particular circumstances.
  4. GeoEvent Server clustering is brittle and difficult to maintain.  ESRI recommends that you avoid clustering GeoEvent Server for now; in 10.6 they plan to split out the Connection and Event Hub elements of GeoEvent Server which will make clustering a lot simpler.
  5. Make sure you have the same number of GeoAnalytics Server nodes as spatiotemporal big data store nodes.  The GeoAnalytics Server works by breaking up the analysis task into chunks and running them on multiple nodes in parallel and having the same number of nodes is the only way to ensure that there are no idle nodes while a GeoAnalytics job is in progress.

Look for more minimum requirements here.

Earlier this morning, Daniel Fenton showed off Koop, an open source, self-contained Node web application for consuming data from non-geographic third party APIs and making them available as GeoServices.  More info here.

Later in the day, Rahit Singh showed off how to use GeoAnalytics server via the ArcGIS Python API, and even mixed in some machine learning to do predictive analysis on the results, courtesy of scikit-learn.

George Bochenek was back, this time with Randy Jones, to demonstrate how to set up a build process for your JSAPI application and optimize for the fastest possible load time.  They recommended:

  1. GZipping your application, along with the associated change to your web server, which will save time transmitting it to the client
  2. Minify CSS, JS and HTML
  3. Shrink images to the size you are actually using.
  4. Configure your web server to utilize browser caching.
  5. Only synchronously load the bare minimum resources necessary. Add the “async” attribute to any script tags you know will take a long time to download so the browser can start rendering the page while it waits.
  6. Google Pagespeed can give you some good tips on how to speed up your web page.
  7. Running dojo build from the command line is cumbersome and error-prone.  Consider grunt-dojo.
  8. They have a dedicated tool for building a Web AppBuilder application here.

 Dan Huber

Today’s sessions were a pretty eclectic mix that covered everything from cloud hosting in Azure, all the cool things you can do with vector tiles, IoT support through GeoEvent and GeoAnalytics Servers coupled with the spatialtemporal data store, meetings with Esri staff on Insights and Big Data, a few ‘Best Practices’, and all capped off with a look at the Road Ahead for ArcGIS Enterprise.

Highlights from the day:

Using the Esri Cloud Builder application, you can easily instantiate new ArcGIS Enterprise servers in the Azure Cloud to support your Development or Production needs.  I’m glad I don’t have access to our Azure account because I know I would get in trouble for all the systems I would be spinning up.

Esri has produced a tutorial on how to use Insights for ArcGIS, complete with sample data to help get you going, I now just need to figure out where they are hiding it online.

Setting up the components that make up Esri’s IoT offering can be a resource intensive activity.   The spatialtemporal data store provided the biggest sticker show with their 32GB recommended memory requirement.  They say you can get away with 16GB, but it’s not recommended.

ArcGIS Enterprise Road Ahead

  • In 10.5.1, Portal will get the Shared Theme for Templates functionality currently available in AGOL, along with the ability to edit related tables from the hosted Web Map.
  • Philip Heede showed off the new Enterprise Builder installer they are working on, which will allow you to create a full stack ArcGIS Enterprise system (portal, web adaptor, server, data store) all through a single install wizard.
  • The team is working to create a new services-based data type to manage all the various types of Utility data.
  • The ArcGIS Python API will gain the ability to manage all components of a traditional stand-alone ArcGIS Server.

 Dan Levine

Couple of highlights today for me.   I sat in on a demo theatre presentation from the professional services team working on the Virtual Campus tools.  They have come a long way in a year and it is pretty exciting.  There has been a ton of work in developing best practices, tools, and workflows to support converting CAD and BIM data into usable floor plans in GIS at reasonable scale.  They have honed the process for developing navigation networks from the resulting data, so you can fairly easily create navigation routes within a campus. There are some nice standards for styling and publishing campus floor plans and standing them up in some standard Web Viewer Solutions.  Esri has clearly invested a great team of time and effort in all this and for those of us in the indoors market it is going to help tremendously.

Another highlight I had today was to get some quality time with Scott Morehouse talking about Virtual Reality and Augmented reality and where we both see it going.  I got to show him some of the VR work we have been doing with the Esri ArcGIS for VR Esri Labs prototype tool.  I wish I had gotten a picture of him with the VR Goggles on.  Opportunity lost.  Dang.

Finally, Dodge Ball.  We have fielded a team ever since the tournament started 8 years ago. This year was no exception.  We made it to the round of 8 for the first time, knocking out a 2 time champion along the way and getting knocked out by another 2 time champion that eventually won the tournament again.  It is always a great time to let your competitive juices flow in an athletic competition to break up the brain work we do all week.  Very nice touch to have the rest of the party outside, too.

2017 Esri Developer Summit – Day Two Recap

Published March 9, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

Patrick Scanlon

Today ESRI further clarified their strategy for scalable, distributed server-side architecture.  Mark Skinner from Nvidia spoke about how their CUDA-based hardware is helping all kinds of organizations run distributed processing.  Mansour Raad and Adam Mollenkopf showed off using WebGL to create a 3D mesh representing millions of records of data and how that data changes over time (you can read more about that here).  Finally, Adam Mollenkopf and Suzanne Foss demonstrated a practical approach to horizontally scaling GeoEvent Server, GeoAnalytics Server and Spatiotemporal Big Data Store using Apache Mesos and DC/OS.

One thing that was a great help to my personal day-to-day operations were the sessions on Web AppBuilder best practices.  Here’s a quick summary (the slides for the talk are here):

  1. The “libs” directory is there for you to store shared resources and utilities.  It is also handy for facilitating cross-widget communication; simply define functions that your publishing widget can call and raise events that your subscribing widgets can listen to.
  2. Keep your code outside the WAB folders and use grunt-watch or gulp-watch to copy your code into the WAB whenever you change it.
  3. Use a generator rather than creating WAB widgets from scratch.
  4. Write your widget using vanilla JSAPI and use the WAB widget to wrap it.  This ensures higher portability as well as ease of testing.
  5. Test your code outside the WAB
  6. Use the build tool when preparing to deploy to production.

Finally, this talk by Rene Rubalcava made me smile: How to integrate the ArcGIS JS API into other JS frameworks.  He covers Angular, Ember, React, Vue.js and Elm.  Definitely check out the slides for that talk here, there are code snippets for each framework.  There are additional resources on the topic can be found here.

Heather Roberts

We started off the day with a Keynote presentation from PubNub with Realtime Communication API and the streaming web.  Afterwards, most of my sessions have centered around the 10.5 ArcGIS Enterprise with some sessions in Web AppBuilder and Python. Below are some highlights from my sessions today.

The ArcGIS Python API can be used to script your Web GIS.  This includes Enterprise Integration such as Users, Roles, and Group management, Location Analytics using Imagery and Spatial Analysis, publishing content and for Big Data using Raster Analytics and Feature Analytics.  Python can also be used in Pro to share web tools in Pro as you would GP services in ArcMap.  The tools can be shared directly from Pro, or scripted to publish multiple services or to multiple servers.  Some considerations are python can be data greedy and is consolidated when published to the server. After publishing, it’s referenced in memory, so try to avoid absolute and relative paths when possible.

Web AppBuilder Developer edition in Enterprise deployments can be registered as an item in your Portal.  You can then share the application with your organization or export as a template for your organization to use.  You also have the option to disable the embedded Web AppBuilder in Portal so that you can use just the apps you want to use that have custom themes or widgets.

There are some considerations for best practices in ArcGIS Enterprise Performance and Scalability.  Mostly you need to consider CPU and RAM which becomes increasingly important as you increase the number of services. It’s important to also pay attention to slow services which typically result from publishing practices.

With ArcGIS Enterprise Security, it is strongly recommended to enable and use https, as browser support for http is diminishing and https is now required for geolocation over Chrome.  It’s also a consideration to disable the services directory on production if there is concern over scanner attacks.  With the new Portal to Portal Collaboration, you may want to consider only sharing service items, which are just a reference to your data, rather than data items, unless your intent is distributive data.

 Joel Brown

The ESRI JavaScript 3x API kind of has an attitude problem.  It’s not that its impolite, it’s just that it is very opinionated in its use of the Dojo JavaScript framework.  Anyone who has tried to theme the API and its assortment of API provided “dijits” is forced to delve into the world of Dojo whether they like it or not.  With the recent explosion of JavaScript frameworks and tools over the past few years it can be a real bummer to limit yourself like this.  That is why I was pleasantly surprised to see the 4x API take a more unopinionated approach.  The 4x API still uses Dojo but the use of it is less conspicuous and pretty much non-existent in the presentation layer.   I attended several sessions today that highlighted these improvements.

Perhaps the biggest improvement in this area is that widgets are no longer implemented as Dojo djits.   In fact, the widgets are now implemented using separate view and view model classes.  The default view pattern is inspired by Maquette JS and uses JSX but you can swap in your own implementation if you prefer something else.  Decoupling the view from the view model lets you use your own presentation layer without having to touch the widget behavior logic which is encapsulated in the view model class provided by the API.

Removing the dependency on Dojo digits also removes the need to account for Dojo related CSS when cooking up a custom theme or style for your app.  The default CSS at 4x is completely revamped and now follows the BEM naming convention.  This CSS pattern is designed to make CSS more readable, modular, and easier to reason about.  This is great for the use case where you just need to tweak the default CSS by overriding a few selectors.  If you need to do heavy duty theming, the SASS source code for the 4x API CSS is available as well.

Dan Huber

Day two of the Esri DevSummit started out with a great keynote from Todd Greene, CEO and founder of PubNub.   He covered the why and how we’ve become an always connected, instant response expecting society, and outlined the best ways to meet those consumer goals.   Having developed solutions in the past that required access and aggregation of real-time information, it was refreshing to see a company focused on providing 0.25 second worldwide latency with a five 9 update promise.   I am definitely going to become one of their clients/users.   Bringing it back to GIS, Esri is providing a PubNub “BLOCK” –  a customizable microservices for developers to use in the environment – that access their Geocoding services, with the goal of providing similar BLOCKs for Routing, Base Maps, and GeoEnrichment.    With all buzz about IoT going around lately, Todd was definitely a great choice for the keynote at this year’s event.

After the keynote, it was time to start focusing on the reason I’m attending this event – the sessions.  First on the schedule was an update on the new’ish ArcGIS Python API.   This was covered by Rohit Singh, the lead developer on the project and definitely their chief evangelist.  I am really looking forward to working with this library as it continues to offer the most functionality of all the ArcGIS libraries and provides the best responsive development environment when coupled with Jupyter notebooks.   I hope the other library maintainers at Esri start following the pattern this team is providing – or better yet, move their efforts into this one.

The second session was hosted by Bill Major and Cherry Lin and covered the work they are doing with the Chef deployment recipes for ArcGIS.   Maintaining a simple and repeatable deployment process has been a goal of mine for the past few years, and it looks like Esri is putting a good amount of effort in supporting this in their products.   I was a bit disappointed that they only gave a brief mention of what will be expected to be included with 10.5.1 to support automated deployments, so I guess I must wait for the UC to find out.

The ArcGIS Enterprise Security team gave a great presentation on the best practices for securing your ArcGIS Servers and Portals, complete with meaningful demonstrations on how the settings work and what goes wrong when you don’t follow them.   And if you haven’t checked them out yet, both Server and Portal provide python scripts that an admin can run to scan their systems to see if they are following these best practices.

The one session that disappointed me was the Performance and Scalability Best Practices talk provided by Andrew Sakowicz and Frank Pizzi.   While I enjoyed hearing Andrew’s anecdotes of ‘deployments gone wrong’, and appreciate the insight he provides from all his experience, I wish they would have not kept saying that their System Monitor tool suite was the best option to utilize.  The tool is only available through a Professional Services engagement, which means a lot of clients do not have access to it.

Things I learned:

  • Setting up Portal to Portal Collaboration only really works if both Portals utilize the same identity service. This limitation is fine for some of our clients, but not many of our Federal customers.  The issue lies with accessing the services – if the Portal you share with cannot access the services, the items you share will not have any value.
  • Configuring a relational database connection in Insights is not easy – and pretty much impossible if you have them admin services disabled on your ArcGIS Server’s web adaptor.   Scripting the setup and configuration may be the answer.

Stephanie Lindley

Test, baby, test 123!

Automated testing, something everyone talks about, but how often do we actually do it?

We all know how important testing is and how, the further along in development we get, the more expensive testing gets.

Do we as a company, TA’s, developer’s, SE’s and anaylst’s give testing a fighting chance? Do we implement unit testing upfront or include unit testing in our level of efforts? Do we know what the ROI is to do so? Or the problems it may alleviate?

I learned about visual unit testing with Spectre, where you take a picture before and after and using machine learning and artificial intelligence, it will spot the changes, giving you a visual representation of pass or fail. I thought was pretty cool and an 100% relevant.

Then they mentioned other software such as Selenium, WebDriver, RSpec, Cucumber (I was drinking this in my water).  Seems to be this is something we need to explore and implement in our applications, as the benefits outweigh the cost.

Dan Levine

Well, I spent much of my time getting smarter on the new Esri stack supporting Big Data/IoT and I gotta say I am impressed.  They have come a long way in the past few years. Recall Mansour in a demo theatre 3 years ago flying through the technology stack (at least 7 or 8 different solutions) to get to some sort of big data visualization or analysis.  Three weeks later, the same talk would have switched out 2 or 3 of those. The technologies were succeeding and failing fast.  Now the stack has settled and it feels like Mansour’s straight man and equally big brained colleague, Adam Mollenkopf, has been leading the implementation of a truly enterprise stack that can support the consumption, visualization, and analysis of just about any volume of data.  Adam introduced Project Trinity which was the technology in a configuration that allows for truly massive scaling.  It is truly mind boggling what the potential is for this as it becomes a product/service.

One other technology near and dear to my heart is VR and AR.  I was stoked to hear today that Esri Labs is on a rapid pace to push their ArcGIS 360VR to a product with an accelerated road map to continue enhancements and broaden the products for authoring and viewing results.  Further excited to see the investment into Augmented Reality.  I really think it will be common place in the near future to see field workers on the street using AR to streamline their work flows.

2017 Esri Developer Summit – Day One Recap

Published March 8, 2017 by Lori Page

Stephanie Lindley

I was asked by one of our colleagues last night why I was here…. seemed like a reasonable question since I’m not a developer, or Enterprise Architect or Solutions Engineer. I honestly didn’t have a proper answer queued up.

I have been thinking about it all day as I watched the lines of code scroll across the monitor during the plenary… (it was at least an hour before that happened) !

As I went from session to session, eating ice cream in between and trying not to worry how many new emails I was going to have to read later, something hit me from an earlier demo on story maps.

We, as TA’s, and the tech team often get pegged to assist marketing with write-ups on projects.  What if we used story maps to tell that story?! Seems like a win win, for us and our clients. We have the use case – problem, solution, a deliverable we can showcase and a pretty map!

So, to sum up my ramblings, i am here to get a better understanding of all the tools we have access to, how other people are using them and how to translate that into actionable items for the team and our clients.

Patrick Scanlon

Reading between the lines during today’s talks at Dev Summit, it seems clear that ESRI is anticipating a massive increase in the quantity of data housed and managed by ArcGIS, brought on, at least in part, by the rise of IoT.  Esri JS API 4.x provides WebGL support for all layers, ensuring that the browser can handle enormous numbers of graphics.  ArcGIS Enterprise’s GeoEvents and GeoAnalytics Server enables it to ingest and process data under increasing load.  And finally, the spatiotemporal big data store allows all that IoT data to be stored and queried on a horizontally-scalable cluster of nodes. When your organization starts handling IoT data, you can rest assured that ArcGIS will be up to the task.

Joel Brown

Today, I mainly focused on ArcGIS JavaScript API related tech sessions.  We are almost a year out from the initial release of the 4x API and the ESRI JS team has been working hard to reach feature parity with the 3x API.  I think this is a topic a lot of us have had our eye on.   With features still missing it can be a bit tricky trying to make sure the API can handle requirements for a new app or an existing app that you are porting from 3x to 4x.  One useful piece of info I learned about today, that can make this process a bit less painful, is the 4x API functionality matrix.  Shout out to the documentation team at ESRI because this matrix is top notch.

I also wanted to highlight some other tidbits of insight regarding new functionality and feature equivalence in the 4x API.  First of all, the 4x API should have full feature parity with the 3x API by the end of the year.  Secondly, the draw toolbar is currently being worked on and I am quoting the ESRI team, “will hopefully be ready by the ESRI UC.”  This should be a big win since it will enable draw related workflows like feature editing and markup layers.  Lastly, a lot of the functionality people have been waiting for has already landed in the API.   For example, feature layer editing is now available in the latest 4.3 release.  I recommend taking a look at the release notes for the current version of the 4x API for more info.

Heather Roberts

There were many exciting sessions presented today as we kicked off the Esri 2017 Developer Summit, starting with a Plenary session full of new announcements.  These included ArcGIS Arcade, an expression language that can be used across the Platform to control rendering and label text, what’s new at 10.5, new configurable apps that include shared theme templates and Insights for ArcGIS.

So, what’s new at 10.5?  With the release of 10.5 and the ArcGIS Enterprise, we now have a base deployment of ArcGIS Server, Portal for ArcGIS, ArcGIS Data Store, and ArcGIS Web Adaptor to create a Web GIS that can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid deployment model.  In addition, it can be licensed with a combination of server roles that includes GIS Server, Image Server, GeoAnalytics Server, GeoEvent Server and Business Analyst Server.  An exciting announcement with the release of 10.5 includes bringing the arc back in ArcGIS with the ability to now…. drum roll please…. publish TRUE CURVES in your feature services!  We can also register geodatabase views using the new Register with Geodatabase processing tool and batch geocode with a new Geocoding Tools server in the REST API.  Portal has some new improvements with the ability to access Living Atlas of the World content, GeoAnalytics Tools and Raster Analysis Tools can be enabled in the map viewer with deployments that include GeoAnalytics and Image Servers, and we now have Distributed GIS with Portal to Portal Collaboration.  The synchronization between Portals only occurs when items that have been modified or missing are exchanged, and this synchronization can be scheduled or scripted.

Map automation with Python in ArcGIS Pro uses the new module, which corresponds to the arcpy.mapping module for ArcMap.  When importing 10x map documents into ArcGIS Pro, each document gets a new project and you can designate whether to include the layout of the document in the import.  Multiple map documents can be consolidated into a single ArcGIS Pro Project as well.  Updating data sources in has been improved from ArcMap.  You can change folders as well as file and enterprise geodatabases.  Drilling down into projects can be accomplished by exposing the entire layer data source object model as a python dictionary which is useful when dealing with joins and relates. Previously this could only be accomplished through ArcObjects.  The expanded API has also exposed a good portion of symbology including the ability to change color and color ramps.  Renderers include Simple, UniqueValue,  GraduatedColor, and GraduatedSymbol with the ability to access items in groups.

Insights for ArcGIS is a powerful new browser-based workbench in exploratory analysis that combines analysis and visualization on cards that is linked, responsive and intuitive.  It creates dimensional models of your data behind the scenes so that when you drag and drop your layers onto the cards, it knows automatically how to render or chart it.  You have the ability to work with map, chart and table cards that are dynamic and give you new information as you go.   Your work is also documented, creating a workflow that is repeatable and shareable, with the ability to insert different data into your workflow.

Dan Levine

Well the 2017 Dev Summit is off and running. This year, Jim McKinney didn’t waste any time kicking things off. The Plenary went quickly into introductions of the entire 10.5 Stack and how to develop solutions with it.  The plenary ended with a brief session with Andrew Turner and Mansour Raad talking about a few of the projects working their way through the innovation process.  It was great to get insight into what the smart folks at Esri, who are unencumbered with product development responsibilities, are working on/ playing with.

I spent my afternoon in the GeoEvent Server/Iot and Insights sessions, as I am particularly interested in the Big Data/Spatial Analytics opportunities in front of us. It sure seems like the technology stack that is now available is not ready for the data wave that is here.  With the GeoEvent Server, Big Data Store, and Geoanalytics Server all reconfigured and available to independently scale as needed that the architecture is there.  I am hopeful that some best practices start emerging as we all start driving data and analytics through this architecture. I am hopeful that there will be some solid sizing guidance that will help us design the right size technology stack to support this type of work.  It is definitely going to be a learning experience.  Can’t wait.

Art Hadaad and Linda Biele’s session on Insights was great. Finally got the chance to see a slowed down walk through of how to actually use the application. They walked through step by step how the interface works, what the options are at each step, and even some best practices along the way.  I will be able to fire up our Insights instance when I get home and go to work exploring a couple of data sets I have been dying to pull apart.

Dan Huber

Day one of Esri’s 12th annual DevSummit is in the bag and the information fire-hose did not disappoint this year.  From the 9 pages of scribbling in the venerable little Esri notebook they hand out every year (wish they made it with the graph paper on both sides of the page), here are some the highlights I came away with this year from the Plenary.

In the ‘coming soon’ category:

  • Esri will provide an “Enterprise Builder” for ArcGIS Enterprise that will allow system admins to quickly deploy and configure a complete system.  This will most likely be based on the Chef recipes they are already supporting and will arrive with the 10.5.1 version release.
  • When ArcGIS Pro 2.0 is released, it will include a “Python Package Manager” built into the product that will allow users to easily add python libraries to the base install.
  • 2017 is expected to be the year with the JavaScript 4.x library finally achieves parity with the 3.x capabilities.   I will not be holding my breath on this one.

In the ‘available now’ category:

  • To make it easier to get started using their SDKs, the ArcGIS Developer program has expanded by now providing users with ‘labs’ to help understand how to work with data, design web maps and apps, or develop with the various SDKs.  Check it out at
  • For ArcGIS Online and Pro, Esri has provided a new expression language called ArcGIS Arcade intended to give a consistent way to manipulate layer styling and labeling across the ArcGIS platform.
  • Insights for ArcGIS is now available as a cloud hosted solution through the Esri Managed Cloud Services.    While it still feels like this application is more of a beta than a real product, the messaging on how it’s used and why has been improving and I think we will see greater adoption after this event.  Now if I can only figure out how much it costs….

There was not a lot to report on from the sessions I attended after the plenary.  I primarily focused on getting a better understanding of what is truly new with the ArcGIS Enterprise release, attending sessions on Insights for ArcGIS and GeoEvent server.

Esri Partner Conference 2017

Published March 3, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

Our leadership team will be in full presence at this year’s Esri EPC. We will reveal our new initiative for 2017 all week – As an Geospatial IoT (GeoIoT) Integrator, we’re combining the infinite capabilities of the Internet of Things (IoT) with our unmatched GIS expertise to provide GeoIoT solutions. What is GeoIoT? A best-in-class pairing of location technology and IoT integration that applies powerful spatial analytics for indoor positioning at a micro level. With GeoIot, the risk and the learning curve of integrating solution components is minimized with sensors, devices, platforms, data, back-end systems, and analytics with location-awareness. We are making the blue dot intelligent with GIS. For the first time, we will be exhibiting in the expo hall showcasing our GeoIoT capabilities. Make sure to come see us at booth # 135 to see our demos and ask us about joining our IoT VAR Ecosystem.

2017 GIS/CAMA Technologies Conference

Published February 27, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

We are happy to announce that we will be joining our Land Records services partner, Panda Consulting, in their booth at this year’s GIS/CAMA Technologies Conference. Panda Consulting is the industry leader for Parcel Fabric conversions and everything “parcels”. We are an industry leader for implementing Esri’s Web GIS pattern with local governments across the Country. As partners, we deliver turn-key services for Land Records modernization. GISinc Account Manager, Corey Baker, will be teaming up with Panda Consulting Founder Frank Conkling in Booth #21 next week. Make sure to stop by and learn more about our GIS modernization services.