On January 15th we held our Annual Kick-Off – a conference-style event at our headquarters in Victoria – where each team at Latitude Geographics shared their strategies for the year ahead and we set our 2016 plans into motion.

Of course, we let ourselves have a little bit of fun after the event as well.

As we looked back on 2015, we realized just how big a year it was. We welcomed 26 new Latituders to the company (which led us to take over an additional floor in our head office’s building), established new programs to share our technology with educational and non-profit organizations, built targeted, industry-specific solutions, launched more features and capabilities in our core product than ever before (we also added a new product while we were at it!), and made some important new partnerships.

Here’s a Top 10 list, in hotly contested order, of the notable developments at Latitude Geographics in 2015 that will have a big influence on the work we all do with Geocortex in 2016. (Well, this post actually contains the first five entries in our list... we will post the second part next week.)

10. Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 and Feature Parity (+)

When Google definitively deprecated support for Silverlight in their Chrome web browser in September 2015 faster than anyone expected, we were closing in on our goal of feature parity with previous-generation technology. A huge number of client migrations took place in 2015, and aggressive development of Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 features was our #1 focus over the year.

2015 saw two massive releases of our HTML5 viewer (2.4 and 2.5), with 40+ new capabilities and enhancements, including (for example): visualization options for point features including heatmaps and clustering, out-of-the-box buffering support, accessibility enhancements for end-users with disabilities, using geolocation/GPS to create features, the addition of a fully pre-configured toolbar with context-sensitive tools and stateful toggle buttons, drill-down map tips for all devices, and a brand new UX for handheld devices.

In the coming weeks, we will ship Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 2.6, which includes an improved “save/open project” feature, and brings us to primary feature parity with our Silverlight viewer. Some features are no longer required, while others are niche and flowed into the product as a result of specific professional services work.  Many features have been enhanced and enriched for next generation, and there are a bunch of completely new features for customers to get acquainted with.

9. Geocortex Support Center Upgrade

We launched a completely overhauled and modernized the Geocortex Support Center in September 2015. New features include improved search capabilities, the ability to post ideas (including up/down-voting), and the ability to submit and monitor support cases more easily. Customers can also contribute to the community and find information related to specific products, which have their own forum, knowledge base, code gallery, video, and product download sections.

8. Geocortex Decision Support via a Houston Advanced Research Center Collaboration

The Environmentally Friendly Drilling Systems (EFD) Program, managed by Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), focuses on providing unbiased science and developing solutions to address issues associated with oil and gas development. HARC, the University of Arkansas, and Latitude Geographics collaborated on a multi-year project, which completed in November 2015, to help create software for accessible geodesign related to well pad placement.

Our work with HARC resulted in the development of Geocortex Decision Support, which is centered on a collaborative, familiar interface that allows project team members to interact with GIS data without needing to be GIS experts. Users can share maps with other users in the organization, provide input on siting decisions via comments, and view/respond to tasks assigned by others.

While the impetus for this project was to help the energy sector make environmentally-conscious decisions, it is clear the foundation of Geocortex Decision Support can help any industry that has a need for project teams to collaborate with spatial data. Some exciting customer conversations have already begun.

7. Geocortex for Educational Use & Geocortex for Non-Profit Organizations

Esri provides amazing, no-cost access to ArcGIS technology for use by K-12 institutions, and low-cost access for post-secondary educational use. Inspired by this, we rolled out a complementary program in 2015 to help remove barriers to access for educators and students who’d benefit from integrating Geocortex technology into their curriculum and research.

At the same time we launched the Geocortex for Educational Use Program, we also created the Geocortex Non-Profit Organization Program. We believe deeply in the importance of organizations that strive for positive social and environmental change; there are many organizations in the non-profit/charity sector that have talented people and great mandates, but as registered non-profit organizations, have limited funds with which to procure software like ours. Our hope is that this program will make it easier for them to do their valuable work.

You can inquire about the Geocortex for Educational Use Program or Geocortex Non-Profit Organization Program by emailing us at education@latitudegeo.com and nonprofit@latitudegeo.com respectively.

6. Schneider Partnership & ArcFM Web

In July, we jointly announced our partnership with Schneider Electric at their user group meeting in San Diego, with news that our Geocortex Essentials software would soon be integrated into Schneider Electric’s ArcFM™ solution. This partnership allows utilities to develop useful, targeted applications to quickly empower field workers, streamline business processes, manage assets and analyze data.

Officially released in November, ArcFM Web extends the capabilities of Schneider Electric’s GIS solutions using core Geocortex technology.

Schneider’s ArcFM solution has long been the industry standard for utilities that are looking to leverage the benefits of GIS solutions. Now, with a little support from Geocortex Viewer for HTML5, ArcFM Web provides customer access across devices. This is a new partnership that we expect will blossom in 2016.

Stay tuned for the second half of this list, which we will post next week!