Thinking Online

So I now have ArcGIS 10.1 running on my workstation. I started an installation and had a hiccup with authorizing my license file. One call to support led me to just sit back and wait for a couple of weeks. A patch was released but I’ve been too busy to worry about it. Today I decided to worry, applied the patch, and it’s working. So let me weave a tale of the death of the license server.

As I’ve been playing with 10.1  it’s led me to do some thinking. I should most likely do more thinking before I write this down.

I’ve been doing a lot of this “thinking” about GIS, and work, and things in general. I started doing this a while back – ’92 or ’93. Not as long as some but it does make me feel like a fossil in others. As I’ve worked this year I’ve run across several interesting things: the arcview 3.x series still is being used, a number of people are still running 9.3.x, and a large percentage are just getting to 10. Now 10.1 is here. I’m pretty sure at every release there’s always been wide array of software out and about. To me though it feels really wide at the moment.

10.1 is a bit different. I’ve been playing this afternoon instead of working. My current head scratcher has become “is it different enough”. I grep up editing data and fixing problems (and I dealt a little with an enterprise environment). All the releases since 9.3 have been excellent at editing. 10 is good. 10.1 should be the same. So what does ArcGIS 11 look like? Like 10.1…or 10.4…..or 10…or 9.3. There are a number of changes in 10.1 – but not as many as I thought. That’s not a knock by any stretch – I couldn’t code my butt with both hands if you put a gun to my head. So as a ArcGIS aficionado what do I tell the organization looking to upgrade.  As a GISP what do I tell the org looking to upgrade…..  Yeah – I know. I’m thinking too much.

When I took my first ArcGIS 8.0 class, I remember banging my head against a stupid windows NT workstation going “Game Over”.  At that moment ease of use was taking over and workstation was on it’s way out. I’ve listened to the hype as of late, I’ve been reading whatever comes out, and I’ve been paying attention to some things happening in the industry.

So I found an online short and sweet description of the 10.1 release from ESRI. I used Wordle to make a word cloud.

Organizations, Online, GIS, Professional, Users, Web, Maps. Sharing data is a good thing. I’ve argued more than I care to admit that it was more important to share the data than to charge for it. It makes me wonder if we’re starting to see the end of a desktop development piece. Editing is as good as it’s going to get. ArcGIS Destkop starts to morph in the online direction. From here on out it’s all about pushing data to Server and ArcGISOnline.

So with that………

  • From here on out there will be no major editing goodies – there will be small things but nothing groundbreaking. A buffer is a buffer and a clip is a clip. Editing is Editing. Editing hasn’t really been that ground breaking for a while. Desktop embraces more and more ArcGISOnline.
  • If anything kills shapefiles it will be spatialite. The Geodatabase format won’t. ArcGIS will never embrace spatialite in the same way it’s ignoring PostGIS because of SDE. If you can edit a shapefile there’s no reason to upgrade to the next arc version, in my opinion, past 9.3 (I know topology is important – but I can’t find a client that understands it).
  • So for me it all comes down to online – Want to make an online map easily. ArcGIS Server…..but more importantly ArcGISOnline. There’s the rub. That’s what kills Arcview 3.x. That’s what makes people want to upgrade. If it doesn’t – then Arcview 3.x dies out when windows won’t run it….but then again Windows XP won’t ever die. There becomes a point in your ESRI Life where you need the latest and greatest to push data to the “cloud”.
  • ArcGISServer and ArcGISOnline morph at some point and become one. ESRI Pushes into the Server Hosting market. ArcGISOne will be your one stop shop for everything.
  • Some organizations buy into it. Some don’t. Your ESRI life as you know it moves online.
  • And the license server finally dies because all this authorizing a license file gets old…just let them do it.

…and you’re one good hiccup away from sheer unadulterated panic.

Silly – I know – but I do tend to over think things.

…and where does that leave me? I have no freakin’ clue.