2012 Esri International User Conference

Q & A

Jump to questions and answers

Dear Esri User:


I'm pleased to share with you a series of questions to and answers from Esri on a variety of topics. We do this every year to keep you informed on our efforts in software development, products, education, and support; future plans in these areas; and thoughts on GIS and the industry as a whole. 


Our purpose for sharing this information is to help you be successful in your use of GIS. I hope you gain value from this information. Please feel free to share it with your colleagues.


Warm regards,

Jack Dangermond



View and print all questions and answers as one document

Jump to Q & A Categories


1. What is the meaning of this year’s User Conference theme, “GIS – Opening our World?”

2. What is the meaning behind Esri's new tagline, "Understanding Our World?"

3. What are the current trends in the GIS world and what is Esri's strategy with respect to them?

4. What is “big data” and how does it relate to GIS?

5. What are the big trends in open data as it relates to GIS?

6. What are the main business drivers for why GIS is so popular today?

7. As GIS becomes easier, what will be the role of GIS professionals?

8. How do you see GIS professionals connecting with other people in their organization who are interested in mapping?

9. I’m an individual looking to advance my GIS skills on my own time, what can Esri do for me?

10. Does ArcGIS integrate with other business applications?

11. What is Esri’s geospatial portal technology? How is it integrated with metadata?

12. Are Business Analyst and Community Analyst useful to GIS users?

13. How is ArcGIS Online useful to traditional GIS users?

14. What are the trends in spatial data infrastructure (SDI)? Is it practical?

15. Does GIS have value for kids? What kinds of things do students, teachers, and administrators do with GIS?

16. How do you contrast Google Maps and ArcGIS?


1. What is Esri's technical direction and strategy?

2. How is Esri doing?

3. What distinguishes the Esri family of products from consumer mapping?

4. Is Esri working on simplifying end-user licensing for software products?

5. What is Esri’s position about open source and its products?

6. What is Esri doing in social media?

7. How is Esri supporting integration of building information models (BIMs)?

8. How is Esri supporting GIS in the marine environment?

9. What are you doing to support K-12 schools?

10. What volunteer organizations does Esri support?

11. How does Esri collaborate with partners?

12. What is happening in the Esri business partner program?

13. How will Esri make itself more visible to universities and institutions of higher learning in Africa and sub-Saharan countries?

14. Why has Esri created a Story Maps web site?

15. Why is Esri always changing its software? We can hardly keep up with the releases and platform adjustments.

16. What are the general COTS software changes that Esri envisions over the next 5-10 years?

17. What is the Esri product road map?

18. Is the Esri direction to build solution templates a signal to the market that you are moving to build full end-to-end applications?

19. Can you describe Esri’s strategy of developing solution templates?

20. What is Esri's strategy for providing support across multiple devices?

21. Does Esri provide managed services?

22. When will Esri support ArcGIS for the Mac?


1. What does it mean that ArcGIS is a complete system?

2. What technology does Esri support for developers who wish to embed GIS and mapping into their desktop apps?

3. What is the status of linear referencing support for highway information management in ArcGIS?

4. What is the status of Esri's transportation data model?

5. Does Esri provide a geospatial-focused workflow management system?

6. How will Esri provide support for my lidar data in ArcGIS?

7. When will Esri provide full support for KML/KMZ?

8. How can I add spreadsheet data to my map?

9. What’s happening with cartographic enhancements in ArcGIS 10.1?

10. How does Esri software operate in virtual environments?

11. How is Esri leveraging electronic dissemination for its software products?

12. How do I transition to 10.1 without disrupting my current production workflows?

13. How does ArcGIS help me compile and organize address information in my organization?

14. Does the Address solution support national standards?

15. What are some of the big differences between version 10 and version 10.1?

16. Why should I migrate my desktop to 10.1?

17. Will version 10.1 require more resources? When I moved to 10.0, it required Windows 7 and significant RAM

18. How difficult will it be to migrate my applications and data from 10.0 to 10.1?

19. Will ArcGIS be supported on Windows 8?

20. Does map caching performance increase at 10.1?

21. 10.0 has bugs. Can you assure me that 10.1 has fixed these problems?

22. I am experiencing quality issues in ArcGIS 10.0 that are affecting my work. How is Esri working to make its software stable as well as functional?

23. How does ArcGIS work with Google Earth?

24. What is ArcGIS Runtime SDK?

25. When will Esri provide physical media for ArcGIS 10.1?

26. Do I need a new single-use authorization code for 10.1?

27. What is next after 10.1?

28. How does desktop GIS fit into the big picture moving forward?

29. What are some of the specific developments Esri will release in products?

30. Which Esri products are getting the most resources for further development?

31. Will VBScript ever go away, replaced by Python?

32. Which programming language should I invest in as an ArcGIS professional?

33. How important is Python to ArcGIS?

ArcGIS for Desktop

1. What is the future of ArcGIS for Desktop?

2. What new features are in ArcGIS 10.1 for Desktop?

3. What will be in the next release of ArcGIS for Desktop?

4. I would like to use full ArcGIS at home; can Esri include this as part of its home use program?

5. Why did Esri change the desktop editing environment with ArcGIS 10?

6. Why has Esri discontinued shipping ArcInfo Workstation?

7. What is the data reviewer for QA/QC?

8. What progress has Esri made with CAD data and GIS data compatibility?

9. What support is available for MicroStation?

10. When will ArcGIS for Desktop be able to take full advantage of 64-bit processing capabilities?

11. When will ArcMap be a multiple core application?

12. Does Esri have plans to provide advanced labeling (Maplex extension) as part of the core ArcGIS for Desktop?

13. Will it be possible to access Oracle SDO from ArcGIS for Desktop without using ArcGIS for Server?

14. What’s been done to improve performance with basemaps in ArcGIS for Desktop?

15. Are ArcGIS schematics useful for transportation modeling and representation?


1. What role can the cloud play in my ArcGIS implementation?

2. What does cloud mean for desktop and server users?

3. When should an organization implement an on-premise ArcGIS portal versus using ArcGIS Online services deployed in the public cloud?

4. Regarding ArcGIS for Server licensing in the cloud, will we see elasticity (true utility model) or legacy licensing persisted?

5. I would like to learn more about security in ArcGIS Online, how should I get started?

6. Can I keep my sensitive data protected and managed on premise behind my firewall and leverage ArcGIS Online capabilities?

7. I have security requirements, how do I decide to upload my data in ArcGIS Online or host it on premise behind my firewall using ArcGIS for Server?

8. What are Esri’s plans to support Federal security certifications?

9. Is ArcGIS for Server ready to deploy in my Private Cloud, and meet my security requirements there?

10. Can I deploy ArcGIS for Server in Microsoft Azure?

11. Are there new features in ArcGIS 10.1 for Server that will make it easier for me to deploy in the Amazon Cloud?

ArcGIS for Server

1. Can I develop web and mobile applications with ArcGIS and HTML5 now?

2. Given all the rumors about the future of Adobe Flex and Microsoft Silverlight, what is the future of the ArcGIS APIs for Flex and Silverlight?

3. What are the major enhancements of ArcGIS 10.1 for Server?

4. How does ArcGIS 10.1 for Server improve access to databases?

5. How does ArcGIS 10.1 for Server further support OGC standards?

6. How does ArcGIS 10.1 for Server enhance support for metadata?

7. What do I need to know to migrate to ArcGIS 10.1 for Server?

8. What is the future of the Web ADF and ArcGIS for Server Manager Web Applications?

9. Will 10.1 Desktop and Server applications support a 9.3/9.3.1/10 geodatabases?

10. What is the future of ArcIMS?

11. What does the future hold for the Geoportal extension?

12. Does ArcGIS 10.1 for Server include options for high-quality printing from the Web Mapping APIs?

13. What are Dynamic Layers and how will they benefit me?

14. How will an ArcGIS Online Subscription benefit my ArcGIS for Server deployment?

15. Does ArcGIS for Server Basic Edition now include basic web mapping capabilities?

16. Since I can use Feature Services at the ArcGIS for Server Basic edition, can I also perform simple editing with these Feature Services?


1. What are my options for deploying mobile GIS?

2. What is Esri’s strategy for releasing mobile products?

3. Does Esri plan to simplify the workflow for provisioning mobile projects to field devices?

4. When will ArcGIS for Windows Mobile support geometry editing?

5. Can I use ArcGIS for Windows Mobile with ArcGIS for Desktop?

6. How do I get my data on a smartphone/tablet device?

7. Will the smartphone/tablet technologies support offline usage?

8. What resources are available for developing mobile applications?

9. How difficult is it for me to develop applications that will run on multiple mobile platforms?

ArcGIS Online

1. What’s the vision for ArcGIS Online? What are its capabilities?

2. What are the basic capabilities of ArcGIS Online?

3. What will ArcGIS Online offer to ArcGIS users?

4. How does my existing ArcGIS technology integrate with ArcGIS Online?

5. How can ArcGIS Online help me extend the reach of my GIS?

6. What do you expect some of the issues will be regarding sharing GIS data and maps in ArcGIS Online?

7. How can I more easily share my map data on the web?

8. Does Esri plan on including data sharing (similar to a GIS FTP site) within ArcGIS Online?

9. When will it be easier to configure web applications in ArcGIS?

10. What is the difference between ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Online for organizations, and self-hosted ArcGIS for Server capabilities?

11. Does ArcGIS Online support feature editing?

12. How do users purchase ArcGIS Online?

13. Can I use ArcGIS Online personally?

14. How can Esri partners use the ArcGIS Online platform?

15. Can anyone register their web map or geoservices?

16. Can users share their data if they’re not a subscriber?

17. Who owns the content shared on ArcGIS Online?

18. What is Portal for ArcGIS?

19. What is the Esri Geoportal Server and how does it compare to ArcGIS Online?

20. Is ArcGIS Online like Google Earth and Google Maps?

21. How is Esri managing the larger-scale, high performance cloud environment?

22. Can international users subscribe directly to ArcGIS Online? How will pricing work?

23. How can I use ArcGIS Online when my organization (or country) restricts me from putting my data in a public cloud?

24. How does Esri envision that developers will leverage the ArcGIS Online platform? What are the opportunities?

25. How does ArcGIS Online support mobile access?

26. Can I try using ArcGIS Online for organizations on my own?

27. What are the capabilities of ArcGIS Online geocoding services?


1. What is Esri’s content strategy?

2. What data products do you provide?

3. Who owns the data that has been shared in ArcGIS Online?

4. What is Esri's plan for providing global demographic data?

5. What distinguishes Esri’s demographic data from other data vendors?

6. What data does Esri offer that is based on the 2010 Census?

7. What are the plans for enhancing the World Street Map?

8. What are the plans for the World Topographic Map?

9. Can I access Community Analyst data using ArcGIS for Desktop?

10. I’d like to include my imagery in Esri’s imagery basemaps. Is that possible?

11. Are you still including the Data and Maps DVD set with ArcGIS software?

13. What is the current status of the Community Maps Program?

14. What is new with the Community Maps Program and what is planned for the near future?


1. What are some of the enhancements to the geodatabase in ArcGIS 10.1?

2. Is Esri developing any procedures or tools to simplify geodatabase design?

3. Will Esri incorporate the Geodatabase Toolset (GDBT) into core at ArcGIS 10.1?

4. How has administration and management of multi-user geodatabases been enhanced?

5. When will ArcGIS support direct access to spatial DBMSs?

6. Does ArcGIS support PostgreSQL 9 at 10.1?

7. Does ArcGIS support SQL Server 2012 at 10.1?

8. Does ArcGIS support Oracle Exadata Database Machines and Oracle Enterprise Linux at 10.1?

9. Does ArcGIS support IBM’s Netezza database at 10.1?

10. Administering my enterprise geodatabase can be difficult. Are there any tools coming that will help with this process?

11. We make use of topologies within our organization, but find it limiting because we cannot make schema updates without checking in all versions and then dropping and recreating the topology. When can we expect this to change?

12. Will forward compatibility be supported at ArcGIS 10.1?

13. Will it be possible to access data from Oracle Spatial with ArcGIS for Desktop or ArcGIS for Server without registering with the geodatabase?

14. What is happening to ArcSDE?


1. I tried to upgrade my FGDC CSDGM metadata with ArcGIS 10.0 for Desktop, but I lost a lot of metadata content. Is this working now?

2. How does ArcGIS support the FGDC CSDGM standard?

3. Are the FGDC CSDGM and North American Profile (NAP) metadata standards supported, and how?

4. Are any new metadata capabilities provided with ArcGIS 10.1?

5. What is next for metadata support in ArcGIS?

6. What is the difference between the brief ArcGIS Online description and the full metadata available with ArcGIS for Desktop?

7. When I publish or share an item using ArcGIS Online, can that item have full, detailed metadata?

8. Does ArcGIS 10.1 support the INSPIRE Metadata Directive?

9. Does ArcGIS 10.1 support the ANZLIC standard?

10. Can I customize the ArcGIS metadata editor to support my local requirements?

11. Managing metadata in ArcGIS 10.0 seems to be more difficult than in earlier versions of ArcGIS. What is Esri doing to address these issues?

12. What ArcGIS software do I need to successfully edit and manage my metadata?

13. Does ArcGIS support the ISO metadata standards?

Spatial and Network Analysis

1. What are the key improvements of spatial analysis in ArcGIS 10.1?

2. What does Esri mean by “sharing analysis” and why would I use it?

3. What are the new capabilities in spatial statistics in ArcGIS 10.1?

4. What improvements have been made in the ArcGIS Geostatistical Analyst extension at 10.1?

5. How is the ArcGIS Network Analyst extension being enhanced?

6. What other improvements are being made to geoprocessing in ArcGIS 10.1?

7. How has geoprocessing performance improved in ArcGIS 10.1?

Image and Raster

1. What are the improvements in ArcGIS regarding working with imagery?

2. What is the best way to manage imagery?

3. What is the best way to serve imagery?

4. Is Esri making large collections of Landsat data available?

5. Are there new raster analysis functions?

6. How does mosaicking work?

7. Is Esri going to provide tools for better use of oblique imagery?

8. How are users applying imagery in GIS?

9. My satellite imagery can be awkward to work with because it requires so many steps to see a good image. What is being done?

10. What new image processing capabilities are being added to ArcGIS at 10.1?

11. How does lidar play into your current image strategy?

12. I have unprocessed imagery files that I have collected. Can I send those raw images to Esri for publication?

13. How does ArcGIS support radar imagery?


1. How is lidar data supported in ArcGIS 10.1?

2. Is Esri going to support building interiors?

3. What are Esri’s plans for CityEngine, 3D, and 3D web services?

4. What is the road ahead for implementing 3D GIS capability within ArcGIS 10.1 and beyond?

5. Is Esri planning to develop a full 3D editor for its “multi patch” data model?

Specialized GIS

1. What is Community Analyst and how can I use it?

2. What is Business Analyst?

3. How can GIS departments take advantage of Business Analyst Online?

4. What is ArcGIS for Transportation Analytics?

5. What is Esri’s solution for redistricting?

ArcGIS Explorer

1. What is the role of ArcGIS Explorer Desktop in ArcGIS?

2. What are the new features of ArcGIS Explorer Desktop?

3. What is the difference between ArcGIS Explorer Desktop and ArcGIS Explorer Online?

Location Analytics

1. What is Esri's strategy with respect to supporting business intelligence?

2. What is Location Analytics and what is Esri doing in this market space?

3. What is the market for Location Analytics?

4. What is Esri Maps for IBM Cognos?

5. How can I use ArcGIS with my SAP system?

6. What parts (modules) of SAP ERP are commonly integrated with the ArcGIS system? Is this integration done at the server level?

7. How is Esri taking advantage of the new in-memory hardware technology from SAP? Will you support integration? What is the functionality of this solution?

8. What is Esri Maps for Office?

9. What is Esri Maps for SharePoint?

10. What is the cost for Esri Maps for Microsoft Office and SharePoint?


1. How does Esri support developers?

3. What new developer technology is Esri releasing?

4. Is VBA supported at ArcGIS 10.1?

5. Is there a shift away from developing APIs for desktop users and towards mobile users?

6. Is the ArcObjects SDK for Java still a good choice for me if I am building a new application?

Solution Templates

1. What is Esri’s solution templates initiative?

2. I’m confused why Esri has multiple data models for water, wastewater and stormwater on your website. Which is the correct data model to use now?

3. Can you describe Esri’s efforts in building templates?

4. Do I need to use the Local Government Data Model as is or can I modify it to suit my needs?

5. What is ArcGIS for Local Government?

6. What are the benefits of ArcGIS for Local Government?

7. Does ArcGIS for Local Government incorporate content and cartography standards?

8. Why is Esri developing ArcGIS for Local Government?

9. What is the Local Government Information Model and why is it important?

10. Can ArcGIS for Local Government be localized and used in my country, or is it just for North America?

11. How has the Resource Center changed as part of the ArcGIS 10.1 release?

13. Hundreds of water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities face similar business issues. Can utilities and Esri work together to create common solutions and share them among the community?

14. How is Esri supporting the land records community?

15. What role do partners play in the ArcGIS for Local Government solution?

16. What is ArcGIS for Emergency Management?

17. How can I get started with ArcGIS for Emergency Management?

18. What templates are available with ArcGIS for Emergency Management?

19. What is ArcGIS for the Military?

20. Can I use ArcGIS for the Military in mobile operations?

21. Can I use the same maps and data for all of my mission applications?

22. Can I use ArcGIS for the Military on my secured network?

Interoperability, Standards

1. Is ArcGIS open?

2. What is the current level of support for OGC and ISO/TC211 standards?

3. What is Esri doing to make ArcGIS open and interoperable?

4. Can you give me a description of the REST service being developed by OGC? What does it mean for users?

5. Will Esri support the recently released FGDC address as standard?

Support and Feedback

1. I work outside the United States and use my local Esri distributor for technical support. What is Esri doing to standardize its support worldwide?

2. I've heard numerous mentions of the ArcGIS Ideas portal. What is this?

3. What is the best way to give feedback to Esri about ArcGIS?

4. I’d like help in the implementation and operation of my GIS. What options are available to me?

7. Why doesn’t Esri use the same Global ID across all of their customer-facing systems?


1. What types of training does Esri offer?

2. How does Esri support professional standing through certification?

3. Will I be required to recertify at version 10.1?

4. Does Esri see a value in GISP certification?

5. What are my options for learning ArcGIS 10.1?

6. We have a limited training budget. How can we keep current with Esri technology and get the most training value for our GIS staff?

7. I am new to ArcGIS and need guidance on which training to take. How can I determine which training is right for me?

8. I'm a GIS manager and I'm having trouble selling executives on my staff training budget. Do you have any tips for how I can make them see the value of training?

9. I have taken Esri instructor-led classes over the years, and I noticed that your course offerings for ArcGIS 10.1 all seem to have new titles. Why?

10. Does Esri Press offer e-books?