Highlights of the Esri UC 2020 – Day One

This is the 40th annual Esri UC (user conference), the first being held in Redlands California, the home of Esri’s HQ, with only 15 users. But it rapidly expanded in subsequent years, moving to the San Diego Convention Center where it has been held for many years. Now in 2020, the UC has gone virtual—with over 80,000 people connected.

Founded in 1969, Esri software is deployed in more than 350,000 organizations including 90 of the Fortune 100 companies, all 50 state governments, more than half of all counties (large and small), and 87 of the Forbes Top 100 Colleges in the US, as well as all 15 Executive Departments of the US Government and dozens of independent agencies

The message this year, and a focus of the day-one plenary presented by Esri Co-Founder and President Jack Dangermond, is “Interconnecting Our World”—Meaning interconnecting people, activities, science & creating understanding. Dangermond emphasized the following:

Our world is a connected system, but it is in trouble. The challenge for us is to address, even though this will take the rest of our lives.

Geography and GIS will be essential in creating a geospatially literate world moving forward.

Esri UC 2020: Awards Announced

  • “Making a Difference Award” – Johns Hopkins (Covid 19 Resources) – billions of map transactions last month—this woke up the world to GIS.
  • “Enterprise GIS” – The Louisiana Department of Transportation
  • “Enterprise GIS” to Enel Green Power – doing pioneering work in renewables, one of the largest renewable energy companies in the world.

Esri UC 2020: Product Highlights

Map Viewer updates (this is like a new app):

  • Color blind, friendly symbolizing options, and options for dark backgrounds
  • Map viewer introduces dot density for symbology
  • You can use Map Viewer with existing maps
  • Clustering now available
  • It uses the latest JavaScript API allows for client-side rendering
  • Cartographic blending provides a Photoshop like capability for blending styles and data

ArcGIS Pro:

  • Map graphics (drawing) now added
  • Chart symbols added                    


  • Collections added
  • Optimized for mobile
  • New storyteller role


  •  Improved Arcade (Esri script language) support
  • Data sources performance

Spatial Analytics:

  • 200+ new tools
  • Time series forecasting
  • New suitability modelling
  • Built in scheduling

AI and ML:

Imagery and Remote Sensing:

  • Visual Analytics
  • Multi dimension tools
  • Drone integration
  • Deep Learning Tools
  • Exploitation & visualization

Drone Mapping:   

  • Flight planning
  • Cloud SaaS
  • SiteScan (in the cloud) fleet management


  • Voxels – 3D Cubes “n-dimensional GIS”
  • New visual effects
  • Plugins for game engines
  • Machine Learning in 3D GIS
  • Mesh Processing

Real-time Visualization and Analytics:

  • Cloud native
  • High velocity
  • Cloud based

Data Management:

  • Geodatabase improvements

Field Operations:

  • PKI sign in
  • Location tracking
  • Offline capability
  • Field Maps app, integrating apps (like Collector and 123) into one (this summer)

ArcGIS Online:

  • Analytics for IoT
  • Notebooks
  • Extensions for image hosting (coming soon)

App Builders:

  • Experience builder optimized
  • Geocards buildings blocks for organizing geographic knowledge
  • Cross native and now available to non-developers

ArcGIS for Developers:

  • Usage metrics
  • Data hosting options (not just Esri sites)
  • New simplified REST API
  • Game engine plugins
  • Support for OpenLayers, leaflet, and other open source services

ArcGIS Indoors:

  • Space planning
  • Room Booking
  • ArcGIS Online integration

Stay tuned!

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