Ouch, my head hurts … and driving on the right-hand side of the road has nothing to do with it! After seven days in Palm Springs, initially at the Esri Partner Conference and then the Esri Developer Summit, I feel like I have been drinking from a fire hose!
I set out for California on a mission to find information on three GIS ‘hot topics’. Always keen to under-promise and over-deliver, I’ve come home with five key take-aways from this inspiring, and I’ll admit sometimes overwhelming event.
Most desktop GIS users have been waiting for ArcGIS Pro to mature to a workable level that meets their business process needs before committing the migration from ArcMap. I believe that maturity is very near, if not here already! It was very evident that ArcGIS Pro is at the heart of both Enterprise AND ArcGIS Online platforms, and is the focus for Esri’s ongoing development efforts.
Some of the factors that suggest it’s time to get serious about moving on from ArcMap include:
- ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap are close to parity. Esri shared the current indicating which capabilities are flagged for near-term (next release or two), mid-term (next two or three releases), and long-term (in the plan but no certain time frame) development. Parcel fabric, which is often at the top of the power user’s wish list, is expected to be released this year.
- Publishing Dynamic feature tiles. Whilst Vector Tiles Services has been supported since 10.5, its become much more powerful by 10.6 now supporting vector tiles within print products.
- BIM Integration through Autodesk partnership. Expect new functionality soon around native file access to Autodesk Revit files in ArcGIS Pro.
All new functionality is only being developed in ArcGIS Pro, making it the central publishing hub for all Enterprise and Online users, and an integral part of your business moving forward. This also means our old faithful ArcMap’s days are numbered. Whilst it will be maintained under extended support for another four years or so yet, it won’t have any new functionality incorporated.
With time on our side, I suggest a migration strategy that involves running ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap in tandem to allow for training and upskilling of your administrators and power GIS users, while also retaining access to functionality that has not yet made the ArcGIS Pro cut. If you are about to upgrade to 10.6, now may be a good time to consider your migration options.
ArcGIS Utility Network Management is an extension for ArcGIS Enterprise. The vision is to provide utilities and telecoms with location-based data and asset management, plus network modeling, editing, and analysis at a level of detail never before possible.
I’m particularly excited by this, not only for the possibilities it opens up for Clarita’s clients in the utilities space, but also because it suggests a growing commitment from Esri to adopting a Service Oriented Architecture in their new product development efforts. With so many of our clients dependent on complex systems integration, this would be welcome news and something I’ll be watching over time.
This video provides an excellent demonstration of the functionality to expect from the Utility Network – in this example, running a trace to identify customers impacted by an outage in an electricity network.
Overall however, it seems Utility Network Management is still at a base level of functionality and is not yet ready for more mature operations to consider migrating. Water, Electricity and Gas models are published, with Sewer and Stormwater to come later in 2018.
I believe that adopting ArcGIS Utility Network Management will be a major step forward for our utility clients, once the surrounding technology matures to an operational level. I advise monitoring the development roadmap over the coming 12-24 months for the introduction of new functionality, including Asset System Integration in particular. I’m looking forward to keeping you updated through this blog.
Insights for ArcGIS
Insights for ArcGIS is now supported on both Enterprise and ArcGIS Online platforms. Clarita considers analytics and the ability to harness data for informed decision making to be one of the key factors defining the maturity of an asset management operation. Insights for ArcGIS Online takes business intelligence to a whole new level for organisations who want to improve analytics on spatial, and non-spatial, data to better understand what’s happened, what’s happening right now or what is likely to happen within a location context.
Portal for ArcGIS
Portal for ArcGIS is the core product within the Enterprise suite – think of it as your private GIS cloud platform, operating from within your own environment.
There are two core data storage technologies at the centre of Portal for ArcGIS – DataStore and Spatiotemporal Big Data Store. Most new Esri technology is built on these data storage environments, so even if you’re not using Portal right now, you can expect it to become a bigger part of your Enterprise solution in future. In particular, the Utility Network, WebApp Builder, Collector and Survey 123 already require Portal for ArcGIS.
The beauty of Portal for ArcGIS is that it allows Enterprise and Online elements to be kept in continuous sync, which means you don’t need to be limited by client-server thinking when imagining new opportunities for sharing data and collaboration beyond the boundaries of your organisation. It’s also free to implement for Enterprise License Agreement customers!
I wrote earlier this year about changes in the Esri licensing model and what they mean for Enterprise clients. Attending the Partner Conference and Dev Summit really confirmed for me that an organisation using ArcGIS Online as their corporate “Cloud GIS” environment is probably paying up to $140/user/year too much! With operational costs on everyone’s agenda, it’s worth assessing your licensing against your business requirements to ensure you’re making the most of your investments and not paying too much.
For organisations using ArcGIS Online, a new budgeting facility has been introduced, allowing subscription credits to be distributed equitably across your users, by applying an upper limit. I recommend enabling budgeting for each member, ensuring all users have equal access to the organisations credits.
I may be back in Australia, but I’m not sure my feet have touched the ground yet! I intend to post on some of these topics in further detail in the weeks ahead. As always, please reach out if there’s a topic you would particularly like to learn more about.