2023 Esri UC Top Takeaways

Blue Raster's 2023 Esri UC Highlights

Our team is back from one of the most exciting annual events, exhibiting at the 2023 Esri User Conference in San Diego! Blue Raster has attended nearly every User Conference since 1999—and this year was one of the best! This year Blue Raster had 8 colleagues attend and now that were back, here are some of our favorite highlights:

2023 Esri UC

Meeting conference attendees, clients, colleagues, and friends at Blue Raster’s Booth

Did you get a chance to stop by Blue Raster’s booth this year? (Hint: Are you still wearing your cool Blue Raster sunglasses? Are your Crocs properly studded with Blue Raster jibbitz?) This year we had over 500 people stop by the booth to learn more about how Blue Raster visualizes data that shapes our world. Thanks for stopping by!

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The 2023 Esri UC Plenary Session

Longtime friend of Blue Raster, and founder and CEO of Esri, Jack Dangermond kicked off this year’s Plenary session “GIS – Creating the World You Want to See”, to give us updates on all the new products and feature enhancements of ArcGIS tools. He guided us on a tour of how Esri is incorporating AI into geospatial workflows, meshing different data formats into real-world solutions (including 3D drone-imagery and augmented reality), and continuing to add advanced functionality to our favorite existing Esri products like ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Online.

We also got to hear from inspiring thought leaders and innovators who shared their experiences using GIS to improve the world. Our team was moved by Kadaster’s work creating tactile maps for the blind and visually impaired community and enraptured by Dr. Steve Boyes (National Geographic Society) exciting freshwater studies in the Okavango Delta.

2023 Esri UC plenary
2023 Esri UC plenary

Blue Raster’s Fish Taco Night

A beloved Blue Raster tradition, we hosted our annual Fish Taco Night on Tuesday. We had a great turnout where we took over a beachside roof-deck to enjoy tasty fish tacos (a San Diego delicacy) and few cold beverages while looking out over the Pacific Ocean. Thanks to everyone who came out for this 2023 Esri UC event!

2023 Esri UC Fish Taco Night

Conference Social Events and Balboa Park Party

After long days of technical sessions, connecting with attendees at the booth, and meeting with clients and colleagues during the 2023 Esri UC, our team had to get serious about having fun at the several conference social events! Since Blue Raster works in so many different industries our team split up to divide and conquer the socials focused on Sustainable Worlds, AEC, Business, State and Local Government, Women in GIS, and Young Professionals Network. Blue Raster is known for our geospatial work and achievements, but we are also a really fun group of people to have at your social event 😊


Meeting with clients in person

As the largest GIS conference in the world, many of our clients and collaborators were also in attendance. We used the opportunity to meet in person to talk about ongoing and future projects with some of the people we’ve only known virtually. And while we love the benefits of serving clients remotely, it’s always more fun to say hi in person!

Technical Sessions and User Presentations

Three days is not enough time to attend the hundreds of technical sessions throughout the conference—especially when there were so many topics and tools our team was excited to learn about! Luckily, many of the sessions were recorded and will be available to view online soon. Here are some of the favorite sessions our team attended (hopefully the wide range of topics and tools shows how varied our expertise is):

Advanced Map Automation with Python - GIS Analyst Anna Wegbreit attended this session because of the advanced map automation our team has been working on with AAA. Wow! It was so exciting to see an overflowing room of other cartographic professionals who use ArcPro, Python and arcpy to automate their map creation processes. One takeaway is using the CIM to get and set super fine-grain details in the properties of production maps and layouts.

ArcGIS Parcel Fabric: Introduction to Record Driven Workflows -  Don’t let “introduction” fool you, this session was highly technical and advanced, especially if you use Parcel Fabric like we do at Blue Raster! This session was highly informative, with a focus on Parcel Fabric Records, which are a keystone component of the Parcel Fabric Information Model.

Map Wizardry and Thematic Mapping - If you’ve ever gotten to attend a session with John Nelson and Ken Fields, you know that not only are they hilarious, but their maps and overall approach to cartography and map-making are truly inspiring.

Team bonding

We love working with our remote team virtually, but the UC was a great opportunity to bond with our colleagues in person. We had a great time going out after the conference for food, drinks, and fun. Italian food, a dueling pianos bar, and a hidden speakeasy are just three easy places to get to know your colleagues better.


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