Esri User Conference – Day 5

All good things must come to an end, and today was the last day of the conference. As many were packing up and leaving, I made sure to make it to the closing plenary to see what was going to be covered; it was actually quite nice, in the way that a lot of the major comments and critiques gathered during the conference from users were addressed. We were ensured that, moving forward, our feedback would be taken into account and the company would work hard to help find solutions to them.

In particular, licencing was a big issue, and something I’m unsure of as well. At UCL, we have access to many Esri technologies through the CHEST Agreement, but what about access to them for the community participants in our projects? What about licencing for any open source technologies we create that leverage Esri technologies as well? What of the licencing for any Apps we may create under AppStudio?

Anyway, there’s room for improvement. Reflecting on it, I’d say the major things I’m taking away from this conference:
-There are more geo-geeks out there than you’d think ;-D
AppStudio, Survey123, and Open Data are going to play important roles in the future – keep an eye on these
-Esri may be proprietary, but the GIS industry’s roots are in military (so let’s not be quick to judge), and some of the money from those initiatives fund global aid and outreach programs

But most importantly, I met some amazing people while I was there. Billy Haworth, the young scholar representing Esri Australia, is researching the role of Volunteered Geographic Information in Disaster Management (very much in line with our work in ExCiteS and it was a pleasure to meet and hang out with him. Werner Kuhn, Director of the Center for Spatial Studies, is not only a distinguished professional in our field, but also an extremely supportive person who I hope to collaborate with on projects in the future. Finally, I cannot close this post without mentioning the staff of Esri UK, who were so friendly, and in particular, Addy Pope, for all his help and kindness while I was there. It’s people that make your personal and professional journey in life rewarding, and I thank those in my life for making mine such a wonderful one.

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