Blog: The VertiGIS Partner Conference goes virtual

Written by Chris Wright, Geocortex Division Manager

What a year 2020 has been here in the UK, lockdown in March due to Coronavirus, which led to home schooling, working from home and no pubs to frequent!  How would I survive? More importantly what would happen to the VertiGIS Partner Conference?  With muting’s of the conference being held at Oktoberfest in Europe excitement was gathering.

Then it was announced; no Partner Conference…What would we do? How as a Partner community, would we voice our collective opinion, influence the roadmap and learn about the new exciting developments that are happening?

Of course, I should not have worried as a virtual conference was shortly announced.  But then again, how would it work, would it be useful?  With all these questions floating around in my mind I signed up to the four, two hour sessions taking place between 3pm and 5pm UK time, equating to 7am to 9am Pacific Standard Time, the sessions were also repeated later in the Canadian day.

One of the advantages of the virtual conference was the ability for several of my colleagues from across the business to also join in. Normally due to logistics, only two people would attend the physical event held in Canada, so this was a great opportunity for more of our team to be involved.

The VertiGIS Partner Team

The content was as usual very informative, with partners being able to ask questions as they arose, via the chat window.  One clever approach was the ability for the partners to take part in virtual votes to influence the roadmap.  In the past partners have been asked for input to influence the roadmap by sticking up post it notes.  Does this really work?  Well yes it does, last year as a group the Partners felt that developer SDK’s were a ‘must have’ and over the course of the past year these have appeared, fully documented with a bunch of examples to help.  During the voting this year Augmented Reality (where digital information is superimposed over the natural existing world) was a big winner with the partners, so watch this space for exciting developments!

Drew Millen CTO presented a very detailed picture of the current software stack and where this stack was heading.  Several of his colleagues presented deep dive sessions on individual products.  Drew talked through the product roadmaps.  In particular, Geocortex Web and Geocortex Mobile had me sitting up as these products offer some huge benefits and it’s great to see that our customers will be getting more out of their current investments.  One of the other highlights for me was the announcement of a new product which is called Item Manager. Item Manager is a tool which allows you to Manage your Portal content, via a simple to use interface.  The tool is a SaaS only tool and is used in conjunction with your Geocortex sub-domain. What’s more it’s free to use by any organisation that uses the Geocortex software.  You can see content in your Portal, edit it, clone it or delete it.

A screenshot of the Item Manager interface

VertiGIS continue their rapid software release program, with releases of the newer products averaging every 2 to 3 months.  Older products, such as Essentials and the HTML5 viewer will still get released but at a slower rate of 2 per year.

I asked my colleagues who attended the conference for their highlights, here are just some of the comments I received:

“The Technical track on (Thursday) went into a really good level of detail and demonstrated some excellent user cases – I found Inline particularly useful.”

“I liked how they showed that they had acted on the ideas that had been suggested and supported in previous partner conferences which I felt then gave me confidence when we were asked to suggest and support new ideas.”

“It was very useful to see the demos of the new software from the experts and hear some of the issues they had, how they overcame these and the useful tips/tricks that they could pass onto partners as a result of their experiences.  It was also useful to hear the questions raised by other partners about the software and the responses that followed.”

“Having never been lucky enough to attend the partner conference overseas, I was blown away at just how much information was shared and how interactive the conference was.”

“The amount of innovation and development VertiGIS have pumped into the Geocortex Product Suite is incredible. Having the opportunity to speak for 1Spatial customers and influence the development over the next 12 months is amazing.”

In summary, whilst there was no whale watching or the now famous brewery tour of Victoria, this was a thoroughly entertaining, informative and enlightening Partner Conference.  A big well done to Vince, Mark, Patrick and all the presenters for putting on such a great event.

If you would like to find out more about any of the above or have any requirements for training, please get in touch with us.

We also host a number of free and educational webinars throughout the year – please take a look at the schedule here.

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