We are thrilled to announce that Geocortex has been officially designated by Esri as a Release Ready Specialty partner!
The Release Ready Specialty certification recognizes companies approved by Esri who are constantly keeping pace with their technology, have strong industry expertise, offer solutions, services or content based on the latest Esri software releases, and help users make smarter overall decisions using the ArcGIS® platform.
We want our customers to feel like they’ve made the most of their investment in Esri, and a major part of that is ensuring that they are always aligned and optimized with Esri’s constantly-evolving technology. By working closely with Esri, Geocortex has provided compatible software with every major and minor release of ArcGIS within 10 business days of general availability since the release of ArcGIS 9.3. Further, Geocortex ensures customers can take advantage of new patterns, APIs and platforms that evolve as part of Esri’s development of ArcGIS.
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of checking out Esri’s Partner Conference (EPC) and DevSummit in Palm Springs, where Esri shares their plans and technology direction for the year ahead. Latitude Geographics has attended the EPC and DevSummit for the past 13 years; although I have been with Latitude for 16 years, this was the first time I took part. As the lead Business Analyst on our ArcGIS Implementation Services team, it was a particularly great year for me to be there and take in all of the information Esri had to offer.
I took some time to go through my notes from this year’s event, and wanted to share with the Geocortex community what I saw as 2017’s main themes.
Unification of the ArcGIS message
One thing that stood out immediately to me was that the ArcGIS message has consolidated under the umbrella of the new ArcGIS Enterprise terminology (introduced at ArcGIS 10.5). In recent years, I’d heard about individual components of the ArcGIS platform – Portal for ArcGIS, ArcGIS for Server, and the rest of the individual stack components; while all the individual components are still there and still very powerful, the updated messaging around ArcGIS Enterprise has simplified things and brought everything together. Each “piece” feels much more like contributing technologies to a cohesive whole, rather than individual software components.
Maturity of the ArcGIS platform
Related to the unification theme above, there is a noticeable increase in maturity of the complete ArcGIS platform. Some exciting capabilities have started to come into their own over the past year (e.g. ArcGIS Insights and ArcGIS GeoAnalytics Server), and this maturity makes the ArcGIS platform an even more compelling, comprehensive GIS solution. Single-user, high-power desktop GIS isn’t exactly what I’d call a dinosaur just yet, but it’s sure looking grey compared to the new distributed and connected GIS computing paradigm Esri has introduced.
On-premises options for ArcGIS Enterprise
During the DevSummit this year, it seemed to me that there was a heavy focus on on-premises options for ArcGIS Enterprise. ArcGIS Online was still a focus, but I expect that the attention towards on-premises installation, configuration, tuning and management is reflective of the number of organizations that simply need to host their GIS infrastructure themselves. I probably shouldn’t use the term ‘on-premises’ -- quite often ArcGIS Enterprise is best implemented inside Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Azure – ‘self-hosted’ is perhaps better terminology.
Discovering useful tools and tactics
Finally, I must say that so much of the value for me at this year’s Partner Conference and DevSummit was all the bits of information I picked up related to many different areas of the Esri ecosystem. From learning about tools that I wasn’t aware of (like Koop), to valuable brainstorming and UX wireframing techniques, to tips and tricks for working with Geodatabases (hello extracting coded value domains!), this year’s event was a treasure chest of useful nuggets of information.
I can’t wait to see what else Esri has in store for us, and I look forward to working with our customers on more successful ArcGIS and Geocortex implementations as the year continues to unfold!
Esri’s ArcGIS 10.5 is now available and we’re excited for what it has to offer Geocortex customers. This major release not only includes stability enhancements and improved functionality; it represents a big leap forward for Esri’s emerging Web GIS pattern, and makes it significantly easier for organizations to begin taking advantage of the modern pattern’s powerful capabilities.
ArcGIS Enterprise: A Major Advancement in the Server Platform
ArcGIS Server is being renamed to ArcGIS Enterprise. Beginning at 10.5, ArcGIS Enterprise licensees will be able to take advantage of the ArcGIS Server, Portal for ArcGIS, ArcGIS Web Adaptor, and ArcGIS Data Store components under one license. The transition to ArcGIS Enterprise is straightforward and will continue to provide customers with deployment flexibility; you will now be able to deploy a complete web GIS in your own infrastructure.
New ArcGIS Membership Levels
Another important advancement in 10.5 is the introduction of new membership levels. Level 1 membership is for users who only require viewing privileges for maps and apps that have been shared with them through the organization. Level 2 membership is for members who require the ability to view, edit, create and share content.
The new membership levels make web GIS more cost-effective and allow you to better tailor your deployments. You can learn more about the new membership levels here.
Geocortex & ArcGIS 10.5
Our product development and QA teams have been testing ArcGIS 10.5 pre-release software extensively over the past couple months, and we are very pleased to announce that the Geocortex product suite is completely compatible with 10.5.
Geocortex Essentials provides seamless integration with Portal for ArcGIS, and can leverage both web maps and map services (secured and anonymous) stored in Portal for ArcGIS or ArcGIS Online. One of the most powerful implications is that if a protected web map is used to build a Geocortex viewer application, the application will honor the security and prompt users to log-in with their ArcGIS identities.
Let us Help
We think that there has never been a better time to consider making the move to a modern web GIS. Geocortex will increasingly include tie-ins, dependencies, and value adds to Portal for ArcGIS and ArcGIS Online; the release of ArcGIS 10.5 makes it much easier for you to take advantage of the new pattern.
Many organizations may not be fully equipped to deploy modern Geocortex and Esri technology. Our ArcGIS Implementation Services team can help you navigate the transition, and fast-track effective deployments of Portal for ArcGIS and related technologies.
At Latitude Geographics, we enjoy the rituals of preparing for the biggest annual event we attend: The Esri User Conference. One of these rituals I particularly enjoy is poring over Esri's meticulously prepared, pre-conference publication, called the Esri UC Q&A.
Each year it provides meaningful insights into Esri’s themes, message, strategy, and concrete development plans, and its coverage is extremely broad.
The 2016 edition emphasizes a key theme that is increasingly relevant to partners like us, and all organizations that use ArcGIS: the Web GIS pattern.
Rather than paraphrasing, I’ve captured some of the key questions that thoroughly describe Web GIS:
What is the big idea with Web GIS? Esri’s response to this question describes an ambitious, global vision with comparisons to the Internet itself. This certainly is a ‘big idea’!
What is the Geoinformation Model, and why is it important? Most of the information in this answer is provided via the ArcGIS Online Help link provided. All software systems start with some sort of ‘model’. It’s great to see the formalization of the term Geoinformation Model to describe the building blocks of portals and Web GIS.
What is a web map and why is that important? I think that web maps form the central currency of ArcGIS Online, Portal for ArcGIS... and therefore a Web GIS. While Geocortex currently consumes web maps, we’re also doing a lot of engineering work right now to make web maps even more integral to our software.
At Latitude, we’re laser focused on building software that complements Web GIS implementation approaches. Geocortex integrates with ArcGIS Online and Portal for ArcGIS, it consumes web maps and other aspects of the Geoinformation Model, and leverages ArcGIS identities to personalize app experiences and provide the right content to the right users. We spent a considerable amount of time discussing Web GIS at our own user conference in May, and are committed to helping our customers understand it as it continues to influence technology changes.
Another interesting takeaway from the Q&A is how Esri’s position of ArcGIS Server is evolving. No, I’m not referring to this (I have no comment on that), there’s a far more interesting question worth a read, and a re-read: How would you describe ArcGIS for Server today? Succinctly, we’re seeing ArcGIS for Server positioned as all aspects of the Web GIS that might run on premise, including the traditionally independently positioned Portal for ArcGIS, and server extension products. ArcGIS Server is far more than just the GIS server in its classic form, and it's empowering to think of it as a the on-premises component of a broad-reaching Web GIS.
We’re excited about heading down to San Diego next week to and talk about all things Web GIS with Esri and our customers! Come visit us in Booth 311, and visit our event page to sign up for some of the presentations, demonstrations, and get togethers we have planned.
Esri first publicly previewed their upcoming ArcGIS WebApp Builder in the last few weeks, ending months of community speculation. Though we haven't been able to talk about it, Latitude Geographics has had visibility on this project for some time now. Advance information makes a real difference for our planning, and we’re grateful for the early access we've received from Esri as part of our close ongoing partnership.
We see the ArcGIS WebApp Builder (which we expect will be discussed in-depth at the Dev Summit in Palm Springs next week) as a necessary and very positive development for the Esri community, and we’re confident that the opportunity for Latitude Geographics to add compelling value to the viewer equation remains fundamentally unchanged.
For us, being complementary (and not competitive) is key. However, that’s not to say there isn’t going to be some overlap. When we first architected our HTML5 viewer more than two years ago, we made decisions to separate the structure and plumbing of the viewer from the reusable components (modules/widgets) that live within it. This “framework design” is a common way of building software systems, and Esri is taking a similar approach with the ArcGIS WebApp Builder. So while there is some overlap in the underlying viewer frameworks, there’s also exciting potential to pick and choose reusable components from either viewer to best suit project requirements.
As always, our strategy is to help customers get even more done today, while keeping customers closely aligned with core Esri technology. We’re excited about Esri’s ArcGIS WebApp Builder. Our planned integration will open up a large new market of potential customers, avoid redundant development over time, and maximize alignment.
If you’re looking for something more specific or definitive right now in terms of scope and timelines, we can’t provide that just yet. The reality is that our work can’t get ahead of the realities of how (and when) real-world technology develops. The future has yet to unfold, but rest assured we're watching closely and we'll be there to help you make the most of it.
Now that our own user conference has wrapped up, we are looking forward to the next big event on our calendar: the 2013 Esri International User Conference. If you are attending the conference, you will be able to find us throughout the week in a number of ways.
Scheduled demo at the 2012 Esri User Conference
1) Exhibit Hall, with Scheduled Demos
Tuesday, July 9 @ 5pm
Wednesday, July 10 @ 5pm
Please visit us Tuesday through Thursday in the exhibit hall at the Geocortex Exhibit (#2301). Latitude staff will be on hand to answer questions, provide demos, and listen to feedback and ideas. We will be delivering scheduled demos at 5pm on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, during which you can get a first look at our very latest technology. We value the time that we get with our customers and partners in person, so we hope that you will come by and say hello.
2) Annual Geocortex Picnic
Wednesday, July 10 @ 12pm-2pm
Our annual picnic is on again this year, located in Embarcadero Marina Park South. Take a walk outside and enjoy a fully catered lunch on the green. This is an event that we really look forward to each year, with great food and great people. Enjoy a break outside and an opportunity to rub elbows with Geocortex staff, fellow customers and partners. This is a very popular event with our community, so please RSVP as soon as possible to ensure you can get a seat at the table*.
* table not included
3) Geocortex Technology Update
Tuesday, July 9 @ 11am-12pm in SDCC Room 31C
Steven Myhill-Jones (President and CEO) and Drew Millen (Geocortex Product Manager) will be presenting the Geocortex Technology Update to clients and partners. The session will include a tour of key developments, our product roadmap, and a Q&A period.
Think of this free 45-minute webinar as a highlight reel of the most noteworthy Geocortex product development that occurred in 2012, with emphasis on technology that is available right now for you to implement at your organization in the coming year.
Wednesday, January 9th 2013 @ 10 AM Pacific Time
Drew Millen (Geocortex Product Manager) and Steven Myhill-Jones (Latitude Geographics President and CEO)
Please register now for this webinar; registration will close on January 7th.
We are eagerly awaiting the 2012 Esri International User Conference taking place in San Diego, CA from July 23rd to 27th. As always, Latitude Geographics will be there. Be sure to visit us at booth 1808 in the exhibition hall.
The conference represents a great opportunity for Esri users to get inspired, make connections, and learn about the very latest Esri technology. We also have a number of events planned:
Geocortex Technology Update (Tuesday July 24 at 10 AM) : Geocortex clients and partners are invited to join us for the Geocortex Technology Update, which provides insight into our product plans.
Geocortex Picnic (Wednesday, July 25th at noon): We're pleased to invite our clients, partners and prospective clients to our Geocortex Picnic. Enjoy a casual meal of pulled pork sandwiches, cornbread, beans and coleslaw while enjoying the company of fellow members of the Geocortex community. RSVP quickly! Space is limited and has filled up quickly.
Scheduled Demonstrations (Tuesday and Wednesday at 5 PM): Take in a live demo of the Geocortex Viewer for HTML5 at our booth. Attendees will get a sneak peek of the upcoming 1.1 release.
A frequent discussion topic between Latitude Geographics team members and our customers is the Esri release plans for ArcGIS for Server 10.1, and Esri’s plans to deprecate ArcIMS (details at the Esri blog).
On October 12, we will be providing a free webinar to provide guidance on migrating from ArcIMS to ArcGIS for Server. We will also demonstrate an approach that can help accelerate this migration by gaining efficiencies in the design, development and maintenance of web-based mapping applications.
Jack’s a guy who knows what’s up, so I was keen to hear his thoughts. The video includes Jack’s perspective on how economic conditions have been impacting organizations that use GIS and the vendors who serve them.
At the five minute mark he notes a trend around big custom one-off implementations done by integrators getting questioned these days, with COTS (Commercial Off the Shelf) solutions that do 90% of what folks want right out of the box being put in their place. Though we’ve observed it at a much smaller scale than what Jack is referring to, as a company that offers COTS solutions on top of ESRI’s COTS technology, this is a trend from which we’ve certainly been benefiting.
From global to sector-specific trends, the interview covers considerable ground. Definitely a worthwhile ten minutes.