Our Insights

My Top 3 Takeaways from ESRI UC 2019

July 12, 2019

By Robert Krisher
Senior GIS Consultant, POWER Engineers

The theme of this year’s Esri User Conference was “See What Others Can’t.” In that spirit I’d like to recap my top three takeaways from the conference if  you weren’t able to attend — or even if you were but are recovering from the firehose of information presented at the San Diego Convention Center this week.

#1: ArcGIS Enterprise

Esri continues to invest significantly to make ArcGIS Enterprise a robust platform for modern utilities. They emphasized this by not only showcasing the power of ArcGIS Insights and Story Maps, but also by talking about some of the work they’ve done to improve the platform’s performance and scalability. The most exciting piece of news was reducing memory usage of ArcGIS Server by 95 percent! I actually covered this in a post two months ago. There are still some caveats for utilities (since shared pools don’t allow for Server Object Extensions), but that’s a footnote for geeks and architects to worry about.

#2: Arcade

Anyone who attended the conference or who has been following the Esri product for the past year has heard Esri mention Arcade, but what is it? Arcade is a new technology Esri has developed and implemented in their software to allow for responsive, dynamic behavior in their desktop, web and mobile platforms. Esri has continued to lean into this strategy by adding more functionality to Arcade including the ability to support standalone databases, to update related features for things like labeltext, and even (in an upcoming release) to look at the values of a feature before and after an edit operation. What does this mean to the average utility user? It means that Arcade is turning the GIS into a responsive, dynamic and more intelligent system capable of reducing editing times and maintaining data quality without burdening the user.

#3: Utility Network

Once again, this year Esri demonstrated that they’ve made great strides with the Utility Network and they’ve got big plans for it in the near term. During the conference Esri announced that the first electric distribution utility had deployed into production with the Utility Network, showing that the industry is recognizing the capabilities of the solution even as Esri continues to build out this feature set. The latest models for electric, gas, and water were released adding in long-requested features to model substations and cathodic protection systems. On the road map for Esri they announced support for Utility Network on mobile devices (ArcGIS Runtime) as well as support for a “single user” Utility Network for small utilities that allows the entire platform to be run locally on a file geodatabase.


I want to thank everyone for all the hard work they put into their demos and presentations at the UC. I’m always blown away by the scale of this conference and the passion of those who attend. I hope to see many of you in October at GeoConX in Atlanta, but even if I don’t, you’re always encouraged to message me directly on LinkedIn or email any questions you may have.