Mr. Dangermond Answers Your Questions

It’s that time of year again, where Jack takes a couple minutes out of his busy schedule to answer all those important questions about Esri. As always, I pull out some of the better questions and answers so that you don’t have to read the whole thing.

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

We always come up with a new theme to help us sell t-shirts, mugs and mouse pads.

Q: What are the current trends in the GIS world and what is Esri’s strategy with respect to them?

Here are the current trends where we think we lead:

  • Platforms: ArcGIS for XX is everywhere.
  • Crowdsourcing: We like crowdsourcing now.
  • The Cloud: Yea boy!
  • GeoDesign: By putting Geo in front of design, we make it our own. Those stupid CAD users still think they design worlds. In reality, they just design sewer systems.
  • Big Data: It’s data, but bigger.
  • Location Analytics: We read about this in Wired Magazine just last month.

Q: As GIS becomes easier, what will be the role of GIS professionals?

You’ll become a chair moistener in Sector 7G.

Q: Does ArcGIS integrate with other business applications?

Seriously, all you really care about is Excel, but here is a list of other names you might have read about in Business Week.

Q: What is Esri’s geospatial portal technology? How is it integrated with metadata?

We ignore James’ advice and name everything portals.

Q: How is ArcGIS Online useful to traditional GIS users?

Users can do everything they normally do with their “out of maintenance” ArcView license, but have to actually pay to use it. Party is over free-loaders!

Q: How do you contrast Google Maps and ArcGIS?

While they are quite different in that everyone uses Google Maps and nobody uses ArcGIS…

Q: What is Esri’s technical direction and strategy?

We are going to spend money on R&D so that nobody can compete against us. Seriously, who is our real competitor?

Q: How is Esri doing?

Personally we are a little stressed out working on the UC, but the vacation after will be well earned.

Q: What distinguishes the Esri family of products from consumer mapping?

You call that a GIS?

Q: What is Esri’s position about open source and its products?

If you use GDAL, you need to thank us. Plus we figure out a way to mention ArcGIS Viewer for Flex in an open source question. That’s how awesome we are.

Q: How is Esri supporting integration of building information models (BIMs)?

Not possible, but we’ve got partners who will spend your money.

Q: What is the Esri product road map?

GIS goes to 11!

[editor’s note: how did they answer this question without saying “cloud”?]

Q: What is Esri’s strategy for providing support across multiple devices?

If you buy ArcGIS for Server, you can use our apps on iOS and Android to view it. Real client/server stuff that makes you think back to the 1980’s. Plus we’ve got a weird Mac App Store application on its way so we can say we are in the Mac App store.

[editor’s note: they do realize that Mac’s have web browsers, right?]

Q: What does it mean that ArcGIS is a complete system?

It means don’t look elsewhere.

Q: When will Esri provide full support for KML/KMZ?

We do, it’s called Safe Software FME.

Q: How can I add spreadsheet data to my map?

Automagically of course.

[editor’s note: I bet this was the number one question asked by the average Esri user]

Q: How is Esri leveraging electronic dissemination for its software products?

Automagically of course.

[editor’s note: seriously, who wrote that question like that? What are we, a bunch of university professors around here?]

Q: What are some of the big differences between version 10 and version 10.1?

Well first off, we put a “.1” at the end…

Q: Why should I migrate my desktop to 10.1?

Because if you don’t, all this cool stuff you’ll see at the Esri UC won’t work for you.

Q: Will ArcGIS be supported on Windows 8?

ArcGIS for Metro, sounds lovely doesn’t it?

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

No, but you can assume 10.1 has bugs, even new ones. Have fun finding them!

Q: What is next after 10.1?

If we give you native 64-bit on the desktop, will you stop bugging us?

Q: Will VB script ever go away, replaced by Python?

Despite the writing on the wall, you losers won’t stop using it. Bless your hearts.

Q: Which programming language should I invest in as an ArcGIS professional?

Python, python, python…

Q: What role can the cloud play in my ArcGIS implementation?

It can easily quadruple your monthly costs.

Q: What does cloud mean for desktop and server users?

It means that when it rains, it pours. Think about it!

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

Our business model is based on legacy licensing.

[editor’s note: seriously when will you get on board with a solution I can actually implement?]

Q: 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?

We have a professional services team ready and willing to help you figure that out.

Q: Can I deploy ArcGIS for Server in Microsoft Azure?

No, stop asking.

[editor’s note: Stop it, Amazon does everything you want]

Q: What is the future of ArcGIS Desktop? Will it be replaced by ArcGIS Server?

No, we’d prefer you pay for two products separately.

Q: What will be in the next release of ArcGIS for Desktop?

ArcGIS 11, it will do everything you want until we drop those features.

Q: Why has Esri discontinued shipping ArcInfo Workstation with the 10.1 release?

Because all the guys who wrote it have died.

Q: What progress has Esri made with CAD data and GIS data compatibility?

While it doesn’t really do anything, ArGIS for AutoCAD is a free tool to get you to stop asking.

Q: When will ArcGIS for Desktop be able to take full advantage of 64 bit processing capabilities?

This release could take a while!

Q: Can I develop web and mobile applications with ArcGIS and HTML5 now?

Not only that, you can also use Dojo!

Q: What is the future of the Web ADF and ArcGIS for Server Manager Web Applications?

Seriously, the Web ADF was our bad…

Q: What is the future of ArcIMS?

Not, good at all.

Q: Did I hear correctly that ArcGIS for Server Basic Edition will include basic web mapping capabilities?

Why yes you did, your ears still work.

Q: What are my options for deploying mobile GIS?

Well you’ll probably want to use Google or Apple, but here is a list of products we’ll talk about that you probably won’t use.

Q: How do I get my data on a smartphone/tablet device?

By using a new piece of software called a web browser.

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

Easier than you think, but don’t use Flex.

Q: What’s the vision for ArcGIS Online? What are its capabilities?

ArcGIS Cloud Online is Esri’s open cloud platform for GIS cloud organizations to web-enable cloud their maps and cloud related geographic cloud information for cloud sharing with cloud their users.

Q: What are the basic capabilities of ArcGIS Online?

You can view maps. That’s pretty basic, right?

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

Layer Packages lock you in to our software. Thus you’ll want to use them. We’ve been waiting to mention them.

Q: What is the difference between ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Online for Organizations, and self-hosted ArcGIS for Server capabilities?

We suck at names and we understand why you are confused. We ourselves don’t know the difference between ArcGIS.com, ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS for Server in da cloud.

Q: Can I use ArcGIS Online personally?

What are you, stupid?

Q: What is Portal for ArcGIS?

We love to name things in weird ways. Rather than keeping with the normal “ArcGIS for…” naming convention, we throw things around in different ways.

Q: Is ArcGIS Online like Google Earth and Google Maps?

In some ways yes, it is a thing.

Q: Can international users subscribe directly to ArcGIS Online? How will pricing work?

You’ll wish you lived in the good old USA after talking with your local distributor.

Q: What is Esri’s content strategy?

We view data as driving software sales. Thus we give away data our partners want to sell in hope you users will buy more of our software.

Q: Who owns the data that has been shared in ArcGIS Online?

Unlike Google, you own your data and we won’t sell ads around it.

Q: What distinguishes Esri’s demographic data from other data vendors?

In a blind study, nobody could see the difference between the data because they were blind.

Q: When will ArcGIS support direct access to spatial DBMSs?

We do with 10.1, but we still want you to use our geodatabase format.

Q: What is happening to ArcSDE?

It died and not too many people noticed.

Q: What is the best way to manage imagery?

Well ArcGIS of course.

Q: What is the best way to serve imagery?

Well ArcGIS of course.

Q: What is the role of ArcGIS Explorer Desktop in ArcGIS?

Wait, we know the answer to this. Just give us a minute.

Q: Is VBA supported at ArcGIS 10.1?

No but we’ve got work arounds because you people haven’t been listening.

Q: Is ArcGIS open?

It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is, jerk.