Before highlighting today’s keynote address at the Esri Survey Summit I wanted to make a few observations. Attendance continues to decline, but I thought that the presentations were informative and that they packed a lot of content into the first day without it being too commercial. Laser scanning and LiDAR were barely mentioned. That will be the focus of tomorrow’s 3D Mapping and LiDAR Forum.
One of the common themes was a lifecycle approach to asset and data management, noting that Esri is strong at supporting planning and operations, but weak on engineering. The move to the use of mobile applications was noted by a company that has 400 iPads in the field on a single project and by the mobile products manager for Esri. Richard Nava gave an impressive presentation on low distortion coordinate systems and software that his company Geedop is developing.
But by far the most impressive talk was the keynote by Brian Matsubara who leads Amazon Web Services – AWS. Amazon is on a mission to be the earth’s most customer-centric company. They look at their web services as a utility – just like electricity or water. They are currently growing AWS on a daily basis at a level equal to what it took to support their retail business when it was a $5 billion a year company – mind boggling.
Brian noted that by using AWS companies can reduce risk by experimenting frequently and “failing quickly at low cost.” He also noted that Amazon has had 27 price reductions in the cost of using AWS.
When Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos is asked what he thinks is going to change the most in the next 10 years he notes that a more important question is what is not going to change, because that is the area where he wants to invest his efforts.
From the looks of the marketing program Esri and Amazon are working closely together on delivering “GIS in the Cloud.” It’s a good match.