Looking Back at Esri UC 2019

Every July, Esri hosts its annual User Conference in sunny San Diego, California. Rumors say that attendance was at a record level this year, and it certainly set records for Mapillary. Six members of our team gathered from five different cities around the world to represent Mapillary. Aside from the world-class team at our exhibition booth, our latest demos and case studies helped make for a very busy week talking to new and potential customers.

Half of our Esri UC team Half of our Esri UC team

While a majority of Mapillary contributors are community members, a significant segment of Mapillary imagery is uploaded by customers including cities and local government, engineering firms, and transportation agencies. These are the people using Mapillary to enhance their GIS tools, acquire a street-level view of their projects and download automatically extracted datasets to enhance their understanding of the landscape. At the Esri UC we get to meet these customers in person, sometimes after only being in contact by phone and email for months. One of our most enthusiastic and best appreciated customers, Steven Hewett, even stood alongside our team explain to conference attendees how Mapillary has helped him map Clovis, NM.

Steven Hewett talks Mapillary Steven Hewett talks Mapillary

In years past, we’ve relied on visitors stopping by our exhibit at the Esri UC in order to learn about Mapillary, or talk about their ongoing experience with our tools and data. This year, however, we hosted a Mapillary gathering one evening in San Diego’s charming Gaslamp Quarter, inviting users and customers to come meet the team, ask questions, and hear from people solving challenges with Mapillary. We had representatives from Esri, Arizona DOT, City of Detroit and Trimble who provided short presentations on how they have been using Mapillary and how others can use for their daily GIS workflows.

Mapillary meetup at Esri UC 2019

Back on the conference floor, there was much to observe. As an Esri partner, it’s crucial for us to stay up to date on the latest happenings in the world of Esri software. The Mapillary add-in was one of the first created for ArcGIS Pro, and we’ve been pushing boundaries with our Web AppBuilder Widget, our vector tile compatibility, and our increasingly large datasets.

As customers stopped by our booth, almost everyone interested in Mapillary stated they were using ArcGIS Pro, Web AppBuilder Developer Edition, or Portal. This is a big change from previous years, where many were still sticking with ArcMap, and ArcGIS Server was still preferred over Portal. Right now, we’re looking at how to adapt our add-in for ArcGIS Pro 2.4 (we support up to 2.3 for now), while we’re also anticipating some changes for us as Esri rolls out the ArcGIS Experience Builder alongside the Web AppBuilder. As it stands, Mapillary is ready to bring customer imagery into the existing GIS tools, and we plan to keep our applications up to date with the latest Esri software.

Mapillary widget for Web AppBuilder Mapillary widget for Web AppBuilder

Another notable integration that made its debut came not directly from Mapillary, but instead was developed by the Geocortex team to bring Mapillary imagery into Geocortex Essentials. This demo is available on request, but isn’t officially offered as a product yet. Get in touch with the Geocortex team to learn more.

The demand for street-level imagery is making Mapillary more relevant than ever. This year, we’ve seen an increasing number of transportation agencies uploading imagery to Mapillary, while dialogue is expanding to explore how Mapillary can be more closely integrated with Linear Referencing Systems (LRS). Mapillary is also being increasingly influential in cases of asset management, water and irrigation, road quality assessment, parks and trail mapping, real estate, insurance, and disaster response. We met GIS users from these industries and many more.

A barrier to entry for GIS users interested in Mapillary has always been the cost of a camera and equipment, as well as understanding the right camera for the job. Mapillary now offers a high-resolution and high-performance dashcam that is ready for mapping, but we also highlight the increasingly affordable prices of such cameras as the GoPro Fusion (360 degrees) and GoPro Hero 7 Back. Having cheaper, better cameras available means more GIS customers can start capturing without obstacles. In addition, we are continuing to increase functionality for the Mapillary for Drivers capture mobile app, which helps you track your mapping inside an area of interest and coordinate driving routes to capture imagery fast and effectively.

Go Pro Fusion in Clovis, New Mexico

We are also looking for more ways to increase accessibility of the data that Mapillary extracts from imagery. Currently, it is available with a subscription for download as a GeoJSON, Shapefile, or File Geodatabase. We are investigating how to also port your data directly to your ArcGIS Online account, so you can view it in a GIS tool as a hosted feature service.

Overall, we can see that Esri is increasingly moving toward online apps, 3D GIS, and interconnectivity between apps on both the desktop and the web. Esri is also supporting more diverse external data sources—including imagery—and focusing on how AI, machine learning, and automation can make GIS more powerful.

Meanwhile, it seems apparent from the Esri UC exhibitors and attendees that government, private, and nonprofit organizations are all looking for more advanced and intelligent geospatial technology to help them solve today’s more difficult problems, in ways that were possible just a few years ago. There is a demand for lower-cost, highly automated solutions that are accessible to small teams with limited budgets, but also for scalable solutions that can solve problems just the same across entire states as in city streets.

Mapillary for ArcGIS Pro Mapillary for ArcGIS Pro

The two most crucial ways these needs are being addressed are through more creative and powerful integrations among GIS companies, and increasing literacy about coding and technology among GIS users. Mapillary’s integrations include some of the most cutting-edge applications of machine learning on this planet, as well as scalable methods for image capture and data collection. While our integrations are aimed at GIS users of all levels, we are also constantly expanding the tools available to GIS developers with better APIs, mobile SDKs, and code samples. Overall, we’re continuing to be a leader in pushing geospatial technology to its limits, and it is clear that the industry is aligned with us.

We’d like to extend a sincere thank you to all who stopped by our evening event as well as to those who came to chat with us at our booth at the Esri UC. We hope to continue the engaging conversations started at the UC as the year goes on, and by this time next year we are looking forward to solving more challenges, forging stronger relationships, and mapping the world together.

/Chris, Solutions Engineer

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