Well I always intending on writing up about the EsriUK Scotland conference held in Perth this year. I’ve said before it’s been a great conference in a great town and this year was no exception. The speakers were all great with some notable highlights being (this is not an exhaustive list but ones that have stuck in my mind):
EsriUK: The live traffic count demo using a camera from a mobile phone roaming Perth and some machine learning algorithms ‘hats off’ for this amazing live demo on conference wifi. Shows how all our devices can be connected to scarily powerful cloud services to perform analysis for good… or evil.
There was also an interesting proof of concept demo from EsriUK (called ada I think) which walked people through a planning application type scenario.
RSPB Scotland: They talked about “Saving nature with drones” and actually a really inspiring use of drone technology for producing up to date high resolution terrain and imagery for habitat management. Also great uses for bird counts too! They produced a best practice for using drones guide which probably everyone should read which is here (not sure this is final official version but only one I could find online): Drones for GIS (PDF) Did you also know they have an opendata site? No neither did I!
South Lanarkshire Council: This presentation on “Protecting the quality of the air that we breathe” stood out for me because the presentation hosted by 3 presenters from 3 departments showed what GIS should be about. That’s joining of information and providing a powerful communication analysis and tool. Here was a great use of storymap to communicate serious ideas to a wide audience, here’s what can happen when departments talk and work together. I recommend you look at their storymap here.
EsriUK Education: Back to EsriUK again but here on their ‘Education Session’ I have a renewed interest due to being an new School Governor at my local primary school. Now I’m always of two minds about private large organisations providing free stuff to schools/education. I can hear the criticism of the open source movement loud and clear that a large company is perhaps abusing it’s position to increase it’s market share…. I know there are free (in money terms at least) programs teachers can use, I know a cloud solution (Esri is giving ArcGIS Online accounts away for free to schools) isn’t ‘true’ GIS in that it won’t teach the intricacies and science that’s required for a better understanding of the power of GIS and associated technologies. However I know that teachers and schools also don’t have the time and resources to manage installations, perhaps a managed solution from Esri is actually the best solution. Afterall those who are truly interested will seek out other tools to achieve what they need. Who among us started their journey into GIS with Esri technology and now use other software and tools to do better? I bet many of us. Shocking I know but sometimes all they want IS a map…
So that’s my small write up of the EsriUK Scotland conference, a smaller more intimate and frankly more comfortable conference than the larger EsriUK one in London they do in May… Perth is a lovely location and I hope they keep it there.
Finally I need to talk about the inspiring keynote from one of the Esri cartographic legends called John Nelson…. well no, I’m saving that for the next blog post as it deserves some nice maps that I made which he inspired me to make.