2017 Esri Developer Summit – Day One Recap
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.
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.
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.
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 arcpy.mp 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 arcpy.mp 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.
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.
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.
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 https://developers.arcgis.com/labs/
- 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.