Hi everyone!

It is Manpreet from UW again and this time, I would like to discuss what I was able to take away from the Esri Canada User Conference that was held in Toronto, Ontario on October 10 and 11 in 2018. I was able to only attend on the first day of the conference unfortunately, and not the second day due to TAing duties for a first year Geomatics course at UW. However, I was able to learn many new ideas on the first day and I hope I can implement them in my work as I continue my master’s.

The first part of the conference involved a massive plenary presentation with all attendees. I was able to take away a few key ideas relating to what I will be doing during my project. There are many different applications such as Community Hub that is available for citizen engagement and ArcGIS Urban that is designed for smart cities and urban development. There are also mobile applications that can be used in the field such as Collector, Survey123, Workforce, Navigator and Explorer. I have had the opportunity to use Collector and Survey123 during a fourth-year undergrad course in GIS at McMaster University. Survey123 has unique functionalities with Webhooks and Flows such as Microsoft Flow with email. It also has a Trigger action when the survey starts. The Tracker App is used for tracking users.

After lunch, there were break-out sessions each hour. I found these to be very useful. The first one that I attended was the Hub Approach in the city of Brampton, Ontario, which is designed to engage the community and link to the government. I found this to be relevant because Brampton is where my permanent residence is, and I was amazed to see this approach that I am looking to use in my master’s research being implemented in my city. I hope to connect with the group working on this in Brampton in the future. The group conducting this approach is hoping to go beyond technology and start a discussion with community partners. This initiative is designed to assess gaps with data work flows, put together initiative teams and repurpose maps, apps and municipality websites. They are using Brampton Open Data to pull everything together. The Brampton GeoHub contains apps, maps, stories and data and the GeoPortal involves data, maps, analysis and collaboration. This initiative is known as the Brampton Vision 2040. Brampton Open City Data is being designed to be given to high school teachers to implement in curriculums and assignments, so GIS can be introduced to students at the high school level, instead of university, where I was first introduced to it. The main goals of this initiative are to promote collaboration and engagement, increase access to information, focus on business value, focus on new governance and think about quick wins.

The second session I was able to attend was a Crime Analysis session by the Toronto Police. I found this session interesting as I found out the Police uses JavaScript and Python to conduct different analyses on reported crimes and further improve their services. These two coding languages are ones I hope to practice further with my project, so it was amazing to see a police perspective on using these languages from reported crime analysis.

The last session I was able to attend was on improving programming skills in Python and JavaScript. I found this session to be useful as I am still a beginner in both languages, but I hope to learn more. This session involved introductions to Python and JavaScript. The presenter outlined using Visual Studio Code as an IDE and working with ArcGIS Pro. Visual Studio code can be used to edit Python code and be combined with ArcGIS Pro using ArcPy. ArcGIS Online can be used with the ArcGIS API for Python. On the other hand, I was introduced to Script Developer for using the ArcGIS API for JavaScript. GitHub can be used for sharing code and for source control in Web App Developer Edition. This is software that I was able to use during the App Challenge at a beginner level, which I hope to expand upon for next year. Custom themes and widgets can be created using the ArcGIS API for JavaScript. The presenter focused on showing examples in which each of these programming languages can be used. I hope to implement some of these ideas when creating my own web app for my project and for the next App Challenge.

Unfortunately, I was only able to attend on the first day of the conference. Next time, I hope to attend both days because I believe I missed out on some amazing sessions on the second day of the conference this time around.