The Southeast 500 - not a race, but rather the approximate number of attendees at this year’s Esri Southeast User Conference in Jacksonville, Florida (formerly Southeast Regional User Group – SERUG). Overall we felt like it was another positive sign that State and Local Governments are on the road to recovery from previous years of economic challenges. While most of the attendees hailed from Florida and Georgia, there was user representation from every state in the southeast region.
ArcGIS Online continues to be a major focus for Esri
ArcGIS Online was definitely the hot topic for Esri this year. In fact it was mentioned so many times that we may have actually overheard the front desk employees of the hotel talking about it when we checked out on Wednesday. To start the plenary session, Mike Dyer did a demo during his opening remarks, showing how he could import a spreadsheet of conference attendees into ArcGIS Online. He followed by showing the various ways the existing ArcGIS Online applications could be used.
Esri continues to pour resources into this initiative and users appear to understand it more and more. With ArcGIS Online and Esri’s other initiative, ArcGIS for Local Government, Esri has provided a comprehensive platform to solve the most common problems in state and local government:
· do more with less;
· easily deploy maps & apps;
· become more relevant – support the business;
· the need for quick wins;
· suffering from paralysis (have stagnated);
· support for the increasing demand of citizen engagement.
Our biggest take away from the show is that the Esri platform and vision are all there for GIS shops to maximize their Esri software investment and support the business of Government. As a service provider in this industry, this is very exciting. In a very short period of time we can help a local government go from absolutely zero location technology to web and mobile applications. It wasn’t very long ago a jump like that would have taken years let alone months.
We felt like users are really getting it and conversations we had in the hallway and breakout sessions were evidence. Esri’s messaging of targeted, focused applications is starting to resonate with users. There were conversations about users creating web maps for specific projects or to support a specific business function. In fact we had one conversation with a user and their journey from custom applications that had handcuffed them in the past to becoming a pure out of the box shop. This is a result to the work that Esri has done by creating targeted focused applications and making them available to the user community. Overall, the break out sessions, plenary, and socials were intimate and a fun atmosphere of learning.