Observations from the ESRI User Conference Plenary and a look ahead at ArcGIS 9.4

Yesterday afternoon at the ESRI UC, attendees were treaded to a treat from Jack Dangermond as he spent some time describing what may come as we look ahead to ArcGIS 9.4 – this was a treat as Jack rarely discusses what’s coming down the road. Funny that he provided the disclaimer that people should not ask exactly when any of these items will be implemented… makes sense!
I found it interesting how Dangermond did indeed refer to GIS being a the tool that we all use to do our real work… reminds me of a panel discussion several years ago at GITA that I took part in when we were asked to discuss whether GIs was a profession or a tool… I guess you can be the judge of that one!
With his team of software development experts at his side, the following items were pointed out as possibly coming at 9.4:- A more colorful UI – if you use Vista and Office 2007 then you’ll know what I mean. At 9.4 look for a similar look and feel including the ribbon navigation area, a scrollable section near the top where you access tools and add-on apps.- Show/hide draggable Table of Contents – always a handy feature to conserve your screen real estate- Smooth panning and zooming- Desktop search – this is way cool and will enable you to search you machine of local network for data… I could have used this one 10 years ago!- Email your map to a colleague- A simple create features tool… even I could create appealing cartographic features on my map using this!- Set field access and visibility properties- A handy cut/split polygon tool (lots of applause on this one)
Simply put, at 9.4, working on your projects will be as simple as drawing on a map! Fast performance on the server will be realized.
A tip to users, in Q1 2009 you can also look for an updated release of ArcGIS Explorer (r 600). One of the most exciting features will be the ability for users to easily change their base map by selecting a new one from a web service… this is way cool!
I could go on but it’s now time to run off to the morning session!

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