Earlier this month Web AppBuilder was released with ArcGIS Online and the Portal for ArcGIS extension to ArcGIS for Server, allowing users to build powerful GIS apps that run on any device! Now with the release of the Developer Edition, … Continue reading
From an Esri Insider blog post by Matt Artz and Kevin Butler Geography is the science of our world, and GIS is a foundational technology for helping us to better understand that science. To further strengthen the link between GIS … Continue reading
This month the Esri Defense team launched a series of ArcGIS for the Military GitHub Repositiories to share source code for our web, desktop, and mobile applications. For those that aren’t familiar with GitHub, it is a code sharing and … Continue reading
You may not know this, but the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex source code has been on GitHub since version 2.5 of the viewer. The ArcGIS API for Flex samples source code were also recently published to GitHub. The Esri Flex … Continue reading
In a recent blog post we released a code sample for integrating MongoDB data with the ArcGIS system. This blog entry will help you use the code sample with an existing Mongo DB database in three steps: downloading and compiling the code sample, pre-processing your data, and preparing your MongoDB database for use with ArcGIS.
To build on the success of recent Developer Summit in California, we’ve decided to take the event on the road. Esri will be hosting 3 Dev Summits in Europe this September.
I hope developers from all over Europe and the world will come together in Rotterdam, Berlin or London (all 3 if you want). The technical sessions will focus on becoming more effective at building web, mobile and desktop applications. Senior Esri development staff will be presenting so you’ll get a chance to see what’s coming next. Registration information will be available soon but mark your calendar now and plan to join us in Europe.
Unhackathon #2: TED Prize City 2.0 Equality Challenge: Esri Promotes Spreading Economic Opportunity To All
On April 6th and 7th 2012, Mix and Stir Studio hosted its second Unhackathon. The ambitious target: Use design-driven technology to spread economic growth created by small businesses throughout an entire city, and better connect social services with citizens who need them most. Together with TED City 2.0, the Equal Justice Initiative, officials from the City of San Francisco, and California College of the Arts, Mix and Stir brought people together to emphasize the distinctive approach to solving problems from the design-first angle. Technical Professionals, Business Strategists, and Designers brainstormed for two days to conceptualize solutions that might create more awareness among underserved populations of various government services and opportunities available to them.
The event kicked off Friday night with a social gathering for folks to mingle and introduce themselves. An experienced panel of professionals then discussed what they have learned from working closely with people living near poverty level.
The panel outlined various characteristics that develop amongst people living under these conditions. Daily life at the povery level is fluid – unstable and unpredictable. Uncertainty about the next meal or the next address makes it very difficult to meet appointments to learn about government servces. No fresh food. No health clinics. No open spaces. No green spaces. No affordable housing. No safety. Impoverished neighborhoods suffer from a lack of resources. Residents want security, a neighborhood where they don’t have to worry about being shot. They want what most people want: affordable housing, reliable means to pay bills and educate their children, and good health. These obstacles do not create just hopelessness or desperation, but also genuine community. People show extreme courageousness to keep going; creativeity to solve problems; collective pain and loss leading to strength and sense of kinship; extraordinary ability to communicate at the neighborhood level. Their own stories excite them. They have passion for each other and each other’s families.
In the context of creating solutions, the panel explained the difficulty making data from different agencies available to low-income residents and the complexity of utilizing it. It’s out there, but there’s no consistency or uniformity with it. Visualizing it or traversing it at a one-stop-shop is impossible. People providing it lack knowledge to present it so it’s easy to retrieve answers to the questions underserved populations have: Where do I get affordable housing? Where is affordable health care? Where can I get healthy food?
Unhackathon #2 brought people together and set the stage for creative minds to conceptualize solutions to this information gap. Designers, Business People, and City Officials have attempted this before, and often. Commonly designers fail because they approach problems from their own perspectives. Approaching problems from the daily poverty perspective differs than coming at them from a position of security like most folks in the center of designing solutions. And the perpetual enemy that often accompanies people trying to serve those in need rears its head often: Expectation of gratitude. The Perspective Disparity can lead to solutions that don’t fit and may lack vision, empathy, and understanding of people’s wants and needs.
So the Unhackathon attendees went to work. They formed teams and developed concepts. Proposed solutions considered what people living in poverty want, have and have access to. Esri sent professional representatives to participate as team members in developing possible solutions: Brenda Wolfe, a Product Manger working with Community Analyst; Amadea Azerki, a Solution Engineer with the California Regional Office, Shannon McElvaney a Consultant/Project Manager with GeoDesign Services; and John Yaist, a Technical Lead with the EDN Group. These Esri employees with their experience and backgrounds in location information helped incorporate spatial thinking to influence the business and design aspects of potential solutions.
Solutions focused on easing major pains for low-income populations – getting information and getting to places to investigate available government services. Design solutions ranged from text-based systems to mobile classrooms and service vehicles to local partnering networks. The judges chose to award three concepts with focused mentoring to further present the ideas for a chance at $10,000 TED City 2.0 Grant.
These 3 concepts were:
- Ping –Think TaskRabbit meets Avon Online. This software platform allows a community leader to organize, manage and provide contracts to home-based entrepreneurs via text message.
- Pop-Up Skill Shop – This concept pairs the owners of vacant, rundown buildings with a green design/build contracting service that apprentices low income youth in an equity share arrangement.
- Mobile Services Mall – Think Taco truck meets City Hall. This van comes outfitted with externally mounted computer terminals and will drive and park at central locations like neighborhood churches to provide the low income community with access to city, county, or federal services they might not know about or be able to find.
These winning ideas focused on making it easy for residents to access the service. The problems the Unhackathon addressed often focused on location: Where could someone find what they need? The event allowed Esri to demonstrate its practical approach to solving problems to an audience inexperienced in application of spatial software, tools, and data. An event like this provides a forum to open minds and increase awareness of how maps and a person’s sense of place can be critical components in the design of solutions that are widely applicable and easy to implement against real problems. Unhackathon attendees seemed excited about the possibility maps provide for visualization in the design process. Esri’s support of these Unhackathons will prove valuable for exposing what maps can do as problem-solving tools.
Written by John Yaist
The Defense & Intelligence Development team will be at the 2012 Esri Developer Summit.
Don’t miss the Introduction to ArcGIS for Defense pre-summit seminar, Monday, March 26 (1:15pm – 2:30pm). This seminar is a chance to learn about ArcGIS for Defense and the downloadable maps and apps we’ve built to meet the needs of defense organizations.