GBS at the Esri Partner Conference and Developer Summit 2023: Key Learnings

GBS at the Esri Partner Conference and Developer Summit 2023: Key Learnings

GBS attended the Esri Partner Conference (EPC) and Dev Summit in Palm Springs this March. As a key provider of Esri consulting, development, and support services, as well as an Esri Gold Partner, it’s an important event for GBS to attend. The event enables us to keep up to date on the leading edge of the Esri platform, the growing technology stack, and Esri best practice.

As a company that is committed to staying abreast of the latest GIS technologies and trends, the event is always a valuable opportunity for the GBS team to network with other Esri partners, learn about new technology updates, and connect with Esri staff to discuss specific ideas and issues.

We had a team of 8 attend from across the wider GBS family, 5 from GBS NZ, 2 from GBS USA and 1 from GBS Korea.

Here are some key takeaways and highlights shared from the event:

Sustainability was a key theme

Driven by Jack Dangermond, Esri co-founder and President, sustainability, and using the Esri technology to help save the planet, was a key theme for the conference, especially the Partner Conference. An example of this was Asset Lifecycle Management – doing this well is an example of sustainability – running your city or utility efficiently, using the right products, at the right place, at the right time, minimising waste and operating safely.  We found this very relevant given that GBS has recently taken on reselling Cityworks in NZ.

Using Esri’s technology to model the natural and built worlds via digital twins, and the digital transformation of business, was also key to being able to operate more sustainably.  Esri are very enthusiastic and proud of the role their technology can take in helping to assure the future of the planet.

Technical demos and updates

GBS’s Jade Weideman saw technical demos that were applicable to our current work, saying she felt reassured of how she implements best practice, while also learning of new tools to use.

Some of the noteworthy tools and functions Jade mentioned include new Attribute Rule global variables, Package Manager in ArcGIS Pro, ArcPy improvements, improvements to Arcade, latest field (or Attribute) indexes on Hosted Feature Layers, and resources to explore such as blogs, help documentation, and code repositories. These demos and updates helped to generate new discussions and considerations on how to improve current GIS capabilities.

Meaningful Esri conversations

Another highlight for the team was the opportunity to have deep-dive discussions with Esri technical staff about specific topics such as Survey123, ArcGIS Online security (see, ArcGIS Pro, Python Notebooks, and Service Webhooks coming to Enterprise 11.1. 

Through these conversations, we received some great tips on how to solve specific problems or issues that will be advantageous to GBS and our clients. Additionally, the team gained valuable insights on what’s on the horizon, and the timeframes around new tools and functions that directly relate to our current projects and the support of existing solutions and customers.


The EPC and Dev Summit also served as a source of inspiration for the team, as it does each year for those attending. Jade and Pilgyu (of GBS Korea) mentioned that they were inspired by new and improved Esri functions, and they both said that they are looking forward to the following:

  • On going work relating to the creation and use of digital twins (for the natural and built world) plus SDK level support for Unreal Engine and Unity (i.e. your GIS layers live linked to virtual reality models)
  • Utilising more AI and Extended Reality
  • AI in Survey 123 – object detection and image classification on the fly
  • More support for automating more processes e.g. using Power Automate webhooks to trigger Survey 123 reports, webhooks for GP Services, Webhooks for Feature Services
  • Custom data feeds in Enterprise 11.1
  • Data pipelines
  • Portal Projects – Store your ArcGIS Pro project directly in Portal – will allow project collaboration.
  • Schema reporting in ArcGIS Pro
  • Item relationships in ArcGIS Online – being able to see these relationships to help manage ArcGIS Online content.
  • Enhanced capabilities for editing via ArcGIS Online and web applications.
  • Feature report service coming to Enterprise – maybe later this year.
  • Ongoing improvements to the Utility Network – 11.1 and 11.1 patches and ArcGIS Pro 3.1, more 3D support and mode data migration streamlining.
  • Model building is coming back into favour – and a web version!
  • Ability to run Esri Android apps on Windows 11 – Essentially Esri taking advantage of this capability via the Windows Subsystem for Android. 

The Esri Partner Conference and Dev Summit is always a highlight on the GBS calendar, and we’re happy to have been back in Palm Springs in person, after a few years of virtual events due to the pandemic. The GBS team are now using the insights gathered from the event to do what they do best; remaining at the leading edge of the latest GIS innovations in New Zealand and beyond.

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