Once again, I greatly enjoyed this year's ESRI Federal User Conference - I was able to make it to several sessions Thursday and Friday... Perhaps will post more on this, as time permits.
- Buzzword: VGI. Volunteered Geographic Information. a/k/a crowdsourcing. All pointing to the OpenStreetMap paradigm- Given the phenomenal success of OpenStreetMap in supporting base mapping for humanitarian efforts in Haiti, along with the fluid and adaptable nature of its key/value pair model, which was utilized for tagging crisis-related features, such as landslides, collapsed buildings, road obstacles, refugee camps and so on - how can one NOT talk about OpenStreetMap? Great to hear about OpenStreetMap being used in ArcGIS. But... the pundit in me asks, how transparent is this? Is it "importing OSM data"? That's great for many applications. But what of emergency response applications? Given the dynamic nature of OpenStreetMap, "import" might not cut it. How about direct, native OSM support? That I need to investigate further. But then, comes the other, far more important piece of VGI - the participatory piece? Can/will ArcGIS 10 support direct editing of OSM? And outside of OSM, how much robust ArcGIS 10 capability for participatory GIS exists right out of the box?
- Offshoot: Citizen-centric science. I understand Audubon demonstrated eBird - interesting - a year ago, I contributed a proof-of-concept to the eBio conference in London, demonstrating harnessing social media such as Twitter to allow citizen science participation to allow folks to record observations of various species in the wild, toward such ends as assessing biodiversity, invasive species, and so on. I tied this in with web services such as GBIF's lookup services to, for example, translate between common names and scientific name, and so on. This, in turn, tied in to other sources such as Flickr, and combined, wherever possible, with available geographic information, for providing feeds and display in, for example Bing Maps or other platforms. Great to see this coming along... I'd be interested in looking at the Audubon effort more closely, along with further exploring the model for vetting and validating inputs.
- The Cloud... Evidently a big focus on cloud hosting, the new partnership between ESRI and Amazon, and "rent ArcGIS Server by the hour". I think this is an interesting model and have been harping on this for years. Geodata services hosting at this point is nothing esoteric, and could/should essentially be commoditized *cough* GeoServer *cough*. But... where the less-well-charted and more-interesting territory still lies is not in just serving up data. ArcGIS Server is frankly often too much tool to waste on just serving up map layers and tiles. Where I see the opportunity for ArcGIS server is in true ANALYSIS, MODELING and so on. Web-based geoanalytical services and geoprocessing services. We need a good model, and some good strategic thinking in the community of how the long-range picture of all of that will look.
- ArcGIS for iPhone... That was another feature of ArcGIS 10 noted by some who attended the Plenary... Sounds great, but... I want to know more about how it operates, and more importantly, how customizable, configurable, how many features and functionalities it supports. Hopefully someone can shed some light there...
I am looking forward to spending this week in Washington DC, despite any further threats of snow (1"-3" expected tonight)... Living in Northeastern Pennsylvania, 1 to 3 inches of snow is no big thing. But the 30+ that hit the Washington area last week are astounding. Hopefully, much of the prior accumulation is now under control.