ESRI UC: 2009 Monday Morning
The Flight In
On the flight in last night I read an interesting article, “Re-Engineering the Earth” in The Atlantic. For a mainstream magazine, some of the ideas seem a bit drastic. Incidentally, James Fallows, the editor of The Atlantic is from Redlands. Small world indeed. This year’s theme is GIS Designing our Future. Jack may not condone some (or any) of the ideas published by his neighbor, but far fetched ideas may make people more receptive to grass roots oriented designs.
The Presidents Award
Jack awarded the ESRI “Presidents Award” to Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. O’Malley delivered a very inspiring acceptance speech, repeating often a request he often hears when citizens see Maryland StateStat for the first time: “Can you show me my House?“.
He didn’t say what answer was provided. I doubt Maryland has funding to digitize 3D house models for all its residents.
GeoDesigning Our Future
Jack later talked more about Designers who do GeoDesign to create a future that is deliberate and intentional. Often he would mention the important role GIS Professionals would play in the GeoDesign process.
There is a lot of mention about using the cloud to share data and templates. The Author-Serve-Use paradigm will be strenghtened. However no mention of allowing the Authoring step to be performed from outside the firewall.
While ESRI’s install base has grown, I suspect their market share has shrunk when considering the proliferation of Google and Bing mapping apps. To regain market share I think ESRI really needs to support Authoring from outside the firewall. All the spinning globes make it easy to forget that, as Thomas Friedmann put it, we live in a flat world. Most of the potential GeoDesigners scattered around the globe lack the money to attend the UC, much less purchase ArcGIS Server and the hardware necessary to run it. If they could connect to the cloud, and author apps via thin client, they just might let the geospatial apps market grow a long tail.
For example, my thumb hurts from assembling drip irrigation in our back yard over the weekend. Drip irrigation hardware is expensive. A good irrigation design would save me money (and thumb pain). In response to the drought, the San Antonio Water System has imposed once a week watering restrictions, however daily drip irrigation is allowed.
A web site where I could voluntarily digitize My House (including My Yard) would be useful. The governor would then have an answer: if your house isn’t in the system go ahead and digitize it yourself.
Once I’ve voluntarily entered my data into the site using cloud-based GeoDesign applications, I could search and purchase apps that perform things like irrigation design analysis. The app would do things like determine optimum dripper size (gallons/hour) for the types of plants and soils in my yard. Irrigation hardware vendors would likely be interested in buying ad space on these pages.
Cloud technology should allow an enterprising GeoDesigner in a village on the other side of the planet to Author an irrigation design app that I could purchase and use for my backyard.