Last year, two of my friends (also student associates of Esri Canada) went to the 2016 Esri’s Developers Summit. When they came back, they said to me, “You should really go to this conference next year. You’re gonna love the experience. Plus, it is even more beneficial for you since you have some development background.” I actually didn’t think I’d be able to go the following year due to potential time conflicts with my dissertation and TA work. In response to ‘did I enjoy the Developers Summit?’ … the short answer: Absolutely. The longer answer, out of my past conference experiences from different organizations, this one [Esri’s Developers Summit] is by far hands down the best I’ve attended. Some of you may ask, “What makes this particular conference unique from others?” Well, I’m glad you’d ask because showcasing my experience to you should be convincing enough for you to attend.
Please note though, this conference is best suited for those that are either current developers or are interested in becoming a spatial developer or computer scientist and would like to learn some of the sweet spatial programs and tools Esri has to offer.
For starters, this conference is located in Palm Springs, CA. If you live in the northern states or in Canada, like me, and want to take a break from cold, gloomy weather as well as from work, then this conference is for you. The conference is usually held in early March, which is a perfect timing to go since the weather is always sunny with dry heat in the upper 80s [30 – 32 C]. Want to experience all climates in one environment but still be in the desert vicinity? Find a time after the conference and take the aerial tramway – it’s one of the cheapest, but well invested touristy thing to do. At 8500 ft, there are snowy trails to explore, a restaurant to eat, and breathtaking view of Palm Springs on the balcony.
For student associates, this is a wonderful opportunity to attend and expand your current knowledge of GIS and development. From the showcasing, not only will you learn some of the latest products and technologies Esri has to offer, but it gives you the opportunity to network with the staff. Lastly, both the sessions and showcases, will certainly spark your ideas for the ECCE App challenge, any upcoming hackathons, or a change in methods for your research. Certainly, this applies to me. I’m planning to change one of the methods in my dissertation research as well as altering strategies for the app challenge.
Another amazing thing about this conference is the work-social balance. While the main purpose of this conference is to learn and network, it also caters some fun too! In my case, I got to know some of the Esri Canada staff/attendees. The last night of the conference included a mini-carnival, catered unlimited food and drinks, and had a dodgeball tournament, which if your team wins you get free entrance tickets to attend to one of the world’s largest developer conference hosted by Esri at San Diego.