2013 Esri International User Conference

Q & A

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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


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

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

3. Where do you see the GIS industry in the next 10 to 20 years? How will this affect Esri?

4. With web mapping becoming pervasive, what is the role of the GIS professional? Where are the opportunities?

5. Given the popularity of mapping today, what is Esri’s strategy? What should GIS professionals do?

6. How are users implementing the new web services pattern of GIS?

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

8. What does Esri mean by a "living atlas of the world?"

9. What are story maps and how do I use them?

10. What are some common GIS data foundations and how does Esri's data fit into and begin to leverage the work of others?

11. How can I educate my senior management on the benefits of GIS technology? My managers see GIS and GPS as "great for creating maps." How can I communicate to them the value of GIS beyond maps?

12. What's going on with geodesign?

13. What should GIS professionals focus on as the foundation for their delivery of GIS services?

14. Can you refer me to good documentation on ROI for GIS?

15. I work with people who use tables, graphs, and basic statistics to visualize and analyze their data, but they don’t use maps or think about data spatially. How can I change their minds?

16. Our campus would like to see examples of how GIS is used as a kind of middleware, its powerful tools used to report on things like contract and grant revenues by room, efficiencies of researchers regarding indirect cost recovery, etc.

17. What does Esri mean by a "spatial university?" Is this happening around the world?

18. What does Esri see as the future of crowdsourcing for data creation? Especially as it relates to mobile GIS application.

19. What is GeoEnrichment?

20. What is a map? How is it useful?

21. What is the Urban Observatory?


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

2. How is Esri doing?

3. Where do you see GIS and your business heading in the next 5 years?

4. What distinguishes Esri’s software from consumer mapping?

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

6. What is your commitment to K-12 education and particularly urban youth?

7. What volunteer organizations does Esri support?

8. Does Esri provide managed services?

9. Can Esri advise me on how to get the most value out of my organization’s investment in GIS technology?

10. What is Esri doing to enhance its linear referencing solutions?

11. What is Esri doing in social media?

12. What is Esri doing to support Open Government initiatives?


1. What does Esri mean by calling ArcGIS a platform?

2. The magnitude of change with each new release is too much. We would like to see a much slower pace with your service packs. Can you share your strategy of releases going forward?

3. I hear a lot about Big Data and Hadoop, what are they?

4. How is Esri integrating ArcGIS with big data technology?

5. Can ArcGIS help me meet the FAA Airports GIS mandate?

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

7. Does Esri ArcGIS integrate with OSIsoft PI and how?

8. When will ArcGIS move to using Python 3.x?

9. When will ArcMap support true multi-core processing/rendering/calculating etc?

10. How can cluster analysis become less art and more science? For instance, coding optimal cluster identification strategies based on local distributions.

11. When will ArcGIS support conversion between vertical coordinate systems?

12. What is Esri doing to address U.S. security compliance needs at 10.2?

13. What is Esri doing for supporting secure deployments of the ArcGIS 10.2 platform (Online, Server, Desktop)?

14. What security feature enhancements have been made to the ArcGIS 10.2 platform?

15. How can the ArcGIS platform help me organize my statewide data for MAP-21?

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

17. How can I manage my bathymetry data with Esri technology?

18. What is the future of ArcGIS Explorer Desktop and ArcGIS Explorer Online?

ArcGIS for Desktop

1. I would like to use full ArcGIS at home; does Esri offer a home use program?

2. I am currently running ArcGIS 10. Should I upgrade to 10.1 or go ahead with 10.2?

4. What will be involved in migrating my implementation from 10.1 to 10.2? Will I have to write new application code? Are there changes in the fundamental data model?

5. What new features are in ArcGIS 10.2 for Desktop?

6. I am an existing desktop user. There is a lot of buzz about ArcGIS Online and Web GIS. How do I get involved?

7. My organization already has an ArcGIS Online account. How do my desktop users get involved?

8. What is Esri doing to help streamline and modernize map production?

9. We are considering using the Parcel Fabric for parcel management. What improvements have been made? Can I use COGO with it?

10. What is the data reviewer?

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

12. What is version 11, is that the next ArcGIS release?

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

14. When will ArcMap be a multiple core application?

15. Will ArcMap Desktop work in a disconnected environment with ArcGIS Online?

16. A recent Windows 7 upgrade caused significant issues with ArcGIS for Desktop. What happened with this?

17. Will ArcGIS Online’s new global geocoding service be available for ArcGIS for Desktop users? If so, which versions will it support?


1. What is Web GIS and why does it matter to me?

2. Are Web GIS and ArcGIS Online the same thing?

3. As an ArcGIS for Desktop user, does Web GIS really matter to me?

4. What is Esri doing to help desktop users benefit from Web GIS?

5. I am interested in getting my organization started with Web GIS. Does Esri have any support options to help me implement Web GIS either in the cloud or on premise?

6. What is Esri doing to help ArcGIS for Server users embrace Web GIS?

7. My organization has server and desktop, and cannot use ArcGIS Online. How do I get Web GIS for my organization?

8. My organization already has a Named User License for Portal for ArcGIS. How do my desktop users get involved?

ArcGIS for Server and Portal for ArcGIS

1. What is new in ArcGIS 10.2 for Server?

2. What is Portal for ArcGIS?

3. As an ArcGIS for Server user, why should I care about ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS?

4. My organization has server and desktop, and cannot use ArcGIS Online. How do I get Web GIS for my organization?

5. My organization already has a Named User License for Portal for ArcGIS. How do my desktop users get involved?

6. As an ArcGIS for Server user, should I build my ArcGIS organization on top of ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS?

7. Can I keep my sensitive data protected and managed on-premises behind my firewall and leverage ArcGIS Online capabilities?

8. Can I search ArcGIS Online web maps from my own Portal for ArcGIS?

9. Can I create web maps that use ArcGIS Online services with my Portal for ArcGIS extension?

10. Is Portal for ArcGIS something that Esri Professional Services has to implement or can a customer install it themselves?

11. What is ArcGIS GeoEvent Processor for Server?

12. What does it take to upgrade from ArcGIS 10.1 for Server to ArcGIS 10.2 for Server?

13. What's the process for a current Portal for ArcGIS customer to upgrade to 10.2 once it is released?

14. Is ArcGIS for Server ready to deploy in my private cloud and meet my security requirements?

15. What are Esri's plans to support ArcGIS for Server in the Microsoft Azure cloud?

16. What is Esri doing to improve support for OGC specifications in ArcGIS Server?

17. How can I use ArcGIS Data Reviewer for Server in my work?

ArcGIS Online

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

2. How will ArcGIS Online expand? What will the capabilities be?

3. We are using the ArcGIS Online basemaps with both your desktop software and online in web maps. What is Esri doing to improve performance of these maps for us?

4. My organization uses a traditional client server model for its GIS with low levels of communication to the Internet which is not yet adequate enough to support everything we want to do with ArcGIS Online. How can my organization leverage the value I see in this technology in an environment with limited connectivity?

5. Is there a plan for a beta program for ArcGIS Online? It has become a critical tool for our organization and it would be nice to be part of the process, to ensure existing functionality remains so as not to impact operations and use of ArcGIS Online.

6. As a mapping organization with a mission to create traditional map products, how can I use ArcGIS Online and other new Esri technology to help me meet my mandate?

7. Will volunteered geographic information gathering be supported via ArcGIS Online?

8. Where can I find more information about subscription costs to ArcGIS Online?

9. Can Esri provide credit usage information for individual users/subscribers?

10. What new content enhancements will be made to ArcGIS Online?

11. Are there changes to the costs of using ArcGIS Online credits?

12. Who owns the content shared on ArcGIS Online?

13. Will Esri be adding any historical maps?

14. Can international users subscribe directly to ArcGIS Online? How does pricing work?

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

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

17. Does Esri plan to create regional versions of ArcGIS Online (e.g., Europe, Asia) to address in-country requirements for data storage?

18. Can Esri develop a simple Mac-based viewer for ArcGIS Online?

19. How does Esri support hosting my custom applications and data? Can you host and manage my GIS for me?

20. Can Esri help me with the set up and best practices for my ArcGIS Online organizational account?

21. What are ArcGIS Online analytics?

22. Will it cost credits to use ArcGIS Online Analysis tools?

23. Can I perform ArcGIS Online analysis on any web map layers?

24. Will Esri host my geoprocessing services in ArcGIS Online?


1. What is Esri’s mobile strategy?

2. What apps has Esri recently released and are any more coming soon?

3. What is coming in the next version of Collector for ArcGIS?

4. When will Esri’s apps support offline map use on smartphones and tablets and how will I get data to my device?

5. As a developer can I build apps with offline capabilities?

6. What resources are available for developing mobile applications?

7. Will ArcPad and ArcGIS for Windows Mobile be integrated with ArcGIS Online and Portal?

8. What will be included in the next release of ArcPad?

9. When will Esri support native Mac OS and Mac hardware?


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

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

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

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

9. What is the status of the World Elevation services in ArcGIS Online?

10. How are you improving your basemaps?

11. Why does the imagery basemap turn off and indicate "no data available" when zooming in? This is very problematic as Google and Bing do not do this and when creating websites within our organization the non-GIS users don't understand and question why we don’t use Google or Bing instead.

12. Will Esri support non-ArcGIS Online basemaps?


1. What are some of the enhancements to the geodatabase in ArcGIS 10.2?

2. What are some of the enhancements for databases in ArcGIS 10.2?

3. Last year Esri said that there were no plans to release a new version of the Spatial Data Server (SDS) technology at 10.2. What replaces SDS?

4. Does ArcGIS support the Teradata database at 10.2?

5. We continue to use personal geodatabases in our organization due to our in-house knowledge of Microsoft Access. What are your plans for ongoing support?

6. What is going to happen to the SDE command line tools? Will you be continuing to add to the Geodatabase Administrative toolset?

7. Is there technical support for the File Geodatabase API?


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

2. Does ArcGIS support the ISO metadata standards?

3. What is the 'brief ArcGIS Online description'? Can items that are published or shared have full, detailed metadata?

Spatial and Network Analysis

1. What improvements have been made in the ArcGIS Spatial Analyst extension at 10.2?

2. What improvements have been made in the ArcGIS Geostatistical Analyst extension at 10.2?

3. What are the new capabilities in spatial statistics in ArcGIS 10.2?

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

5. What other improvements are being made to geoprocessing in ArcGIS 10.2?

6. What are the improvements with ArcGIS Analysis and Geoprocessing Resource Center?

Imagery and Rasters

1. What new image functionality has been implemented in ArcGIS 10.2 and how does it compare with other image processing tools?

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

3. What is the best way to manage imagery?

4. What is the best way to serve imagery?

5. Are there new raster analysis functions?


1. How can I easily create 3D services out of 2D data?

2. Can you contrast and compare the 3D visualization in platforms such as Google and Apple with your approach, on the desktop and on the web?

3. When will ArcGIS support the ability to fully edit 3D objects?

4. What can I do with raw lidar data?

5. How is lidar data supported in ArcGIS 10.2?

6. Is Esri going to support building interiors?

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

8. What is the road ahead for implementing 3D GIS capability within ArcGIS 10.2 and beyond?

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

Specialized GIS

1. What is Business Analyst?

2. What is the future of Business Analyst Desktop?

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

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

Location Analytics

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

2. Why is it critical to have a Location Analytics strategy for my organization?

3. What are some primary use cases for Location Analytics in an organization?

4. How can my GIS department benefit from Location Analytics?

5. What enterprise business systems does Esri geo-enable?

6. How is Esri’s mapping different from mapping in other business systems?

7. What is the market for Location Analytics?

8. How does Location Analytics enhance CRM solutions?

9. What is Esri Maps for SharePoint? How is it different from ArcGIS for SharePoint?

10. What is Esri Maps for Office?

11. Does ArcGIS integrate with other business applications?

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

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

14. 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?


1. How does Esri support developers?

2. What is Esri’s overall strategy with the ArcGIS web APIs?

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

4. What are the plans for creating a configurable map viewer (no programming) using the JavaScript API?

5. What updates are planned to the Web APIs over the next 6 months?

6. What is the future of Silverlight? Is there any way to automatically transfer my Silverlight applications to JavaScript API?

7. It seems that Esri is moving toward open source projects and applications on GitHub; how does this benefit me and how can I get involved?

9. What new developer technology is Esri releasing?

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

11. Is the ArcObjects SDK still a good choice for building custom desktop GIS applications?

Solution Templates

1. What is Esri’s solution templates initiative?

2. Can I use ArcGIS Online with the Solution Templates?

3. What is ArcGIS for State Government?

4. What is ArcGIS for Public Gardens?

5. What is ArcGIS for Local Government?

6. What is ArcGIS for Utilities?

7. What is ArcGIS for Emergency Management?

8. What is ArcGIS for the Military?

9. What is ArcGIS for the Military - Land Operations?

10. What is ArcGIS for the Military - Maritime Operations?

11. What is ArcGIS for the Military - Domestic Operations?

Interoperability, Standards

1. What is Esri doing in the open source area?

2. Will Esri continue its support for open standards? How will you provide open access for Esri data formats (both file and network based)?

3. What is Esri doing to support Open Government initiatives?

4. Is ArcGIS interoperable?

5. What OGC standards does ArcGIS support?

6. I understand Esri published the GeoServices REST API, what does this mean?

7. What is the GeoServices REST API?

8. I understand work was underway to make the GeoServices REST API an official OGC standard and has stopped. What happened?

9. How does the ArcGIS 10.2 enterprise security integration use standards?

10. Does ArcGIS support metadata standards?

11. Does Esri support IHO S-57 standard? What about the emerging S-100 series of standards?

12. Does Esri support Aeronautical Information Exchange Format (AIXM)?

13. Is Mil-STD 2525 supported by Esri?

14. Where does the Data Interoperability extension fit in Esri’s wider interoperability story?

15. Does Safe Software’s FME product line work with ArcGIS?

16. How do AutoCAD users work with ArcGIS?

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

3. How can I better utilize Esri Technical Support?

4. Can I purchase the ability to contact Esri Support on a pay-per-incident model?

5. How can I get bugs that I am impacted by prioritized?

7. I have trouble finding information. Esri has multiple portals. There is esri.com, arcgis.com, customers.esri.com, Training.esri.com and others. Would Esri be able to simplify this?

8. I need help implementing my GIS. Can Esri point me toward organizations I can contact for help?

9. I’d like to embed Esri staff at my office to help with implementation and operation of my GIS. Will Esri do this?

10. What is the Premium Support program?


1. What types of training does Esri offer?

2. How do I go about getting basic GIS training for my staff?

3. As a GIS professional, what two or three skills should I learn that will enable me to be the most useful and marketable? (Python, Javascript, SQL, etc?) I'd like to know what to learn that will be relevant for the foreseeable future.

4. How can Esri customize training by industry?

5. Are you going to have a MOOC GIS Course?

6. How does Esri support professional standing through certification?

7. Does Esri offer e-books or digital magazines?

User Conference

1. What should a first-time attendee of the User Conference absolutely not miss?

2. Can I get the User Conference agenda prior to the conference?

3. What is Esri doing to be green at the User Conference?

4. Is wireless access available at the San Diego Convention Center?

5. I am trying to connect with other people who are attending the UC. How can I find other attendees with similar interests to mine?

6. Is there someplace I can go or someone I can talk to at the Conference about a technical issue?

7. Is there an insider's guide to San Diego this year?

8. Who will be the keynote speaker this year?