It's that time of year - when geogeeks from every industry descend on the heart of San Diego, California to soak up the sun and marvel at the latest advancements in Geographic Information System (GIS) software that Esri has to offer. You may have already guessed, but I am talking about the Esri International User Conference...or Esri UC, for short.
For those who do not know or have not yet graced the halls of the San Diego Convention Center outside of cosplaying events, Esri UC is the company's largest conference of the year bringing together 10,000 to 16,000 (or more?) of your closest geo-friends. Clients and business partners alike get to take a gander at all the latest iterations of the ArcGIS platform and see real-life user case studies play out before them on stage and in semi-spacious rooms. It is a time of glee, a time of knowledge, a time of training, and a time of purely paralyzing awe. Emphasis on paralyzing.
This year's show was held July 9th to 13th and was my fourth time (maybe?) being in the fray of things. Over the last few years, my company has been stationed on the Expo floor, showing off our own technology and chatting with clients. That in itself can be its own flavor of overwhelming, but that may just be because my introvert qualities and incessant-need-to-control-things always get the best of me. This year we decided to stick with simply presenting our humble findings on developing methodology for migrating enterprise spatial data stores from ArcMap to ArcGIS - which you can find out more about here. Because of this, it meant that this year was the first time since my internship at Esri that I got the chance to roam free...well, free-ish. The swarm of bodies does have its own gravitational pull.
Coming back this year with the opportunity to attend more sessions and chat with people outside of the Exhibition Hall made me remember just how crazy it can be for those who do not know what there is to dig in to at the show. For that reason - as well as a practice in pushing myself over my own hump of introvert drain - I wanted to put together a few things to make sure you do (or do not do) whether it's your first time or 20th*.
*If it's your 20th, please just go chill wherever you damn well please. You have earned this right.
10 WAYS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THE ESRI USER CONFERENCE
Meet the Mastermind
Technical Writer Extraordinaire. Cartographer and Art Lover. Hater of fragmented sentences.