The ArcGIS Product: An Integrated System

If you were unable to attend the 2015 User Conference last week in San Diego, here is a summary of my plenary remarks about recent and coming improvements to the ArcGIS product. 

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ArcGIS is made up of a number of components: a server component, a desktop component, an apps component, and now a content component, an online component, and a portal component. That’s a lot of components, but in fact it’s all one integrated system.

Desktop

Desktop is the component of this integrated system that most of you work with and are familiar with. It supports mapping, visualization, and analytics, and it now embodies two main applications: ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro. These two applications run side by side.

We’ve been putting a lot of resources into ArcGIS Pro, the new 64-bit environment for visualization, over the last several years. We continue to improve and support ArcMap, and will continue to do so for long into the future. And over time, the power of ArcGIS Pro will become more attractive.

The desktop component of the ArcGIS product provides tools for mapping, visualization, editing, and analysis, and we are continually working to simplify and improve this environment.

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Creating Useful Technology and Supporting Our Users

During the plenary session of the 2015 User Conference last week in San Diego, I shared some of the big themes we are pursuing as we innovate the ArcGIS platform. For those of you who were unable to see the plenary, I’ll share some highlights of our work here. 

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ArcGIS is an integrated Web GIS that is supported by services. These are abstracted in a geoinformation model that’s managed by the portal, and then accessible by a number of apps, which are the growing part of this system.

ArcGIS is an integrated Web GIS platform providing mapping, analysis, data management, and collaboration capabilities both on the open Web and on-premises.

As we continue to grow and expand the ArcGIS platform, our focus is on creating useful technology and supporting our users. In our work pursuing this goal, a number of themes have emerged. Continue reading

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Building a Solid Foundation for a Smart Community

While there are many new data sources and analysis techniques available today, GIS is not new to most communities. GIS capabilities have been used within government departments for decades in order to make the delivery of community services more efficient and effective. Governments have shown significant return on investment (ROI) when they use GIS technology to solve problems. King County, Washington, staff use GIS applications to improve operations in more than 42 county agencies. Dr. Richard Zerbe, an economist at the University of Washington, conducted a study measuring the ROI of the King County GIS program during the 18-year period between 1992 and 2010 and found that the county accrued net benefits between $776 million and $1.7 billion during that time.

“Our GIS service is an example of a high-performing IT service that is providing a large amount of customer efficiency for the investment. The GIS service is a model that we want all our services within King County IT to aspire to.” — King County Chief Information Officer Bill Kehoe Continue reading

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Empowering GIS Professionals and Transforming Organizations

GIS is evolving, and a whole new pattern is emerging. Web GIS integrates many innovations and provides everyone with the geographic advantage.

If you were not able to attend the 2015 User Conference last week in San Diego and hear my opening remarks on Monday morning, I’d like to share my thoughts about how GIS is evolving. 

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GIS is being influenced by and integrating with all kinds of new innovations such as faster computing, big data, the cloud, smart devices, and distributed processing.

At the same time, we are measuring everything that moves and changes on the planet with drones, Lidar, sensors, and other new tools.

These two forces are coming together to provide a platform for a whole new generation of apps. This new pattern is called Web GIS.

Web GIS provides us with a whole new window into our information through applications that are easy, 3D, and analytic. These applications are not just casual things, but reach deep into geographic knowledge and apply it. Continue reading

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Applying Geography Everywhere

The purpose of the Esri User Conference is to get people together and build a network, teach each other, and create understanding.  For those who attended the 2015 User Conference this week in San Diego, I want to thank you for everything you did to help make this year’s conference such a tremendous success.  For those who could not attend, I’d like to take a few minutes to give you an overview of my opening remarks on Monday morning.

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This year’s conference theme is “Applying Geography Everywhere.”  And I’d like you to really think about these three words.

The world that you and I live in is increasingly challenged. Population growth, pollution, over-consumption, unsustainable patterns, social conflict, climate change, loss of nature…these are not good stories.

One asks the question of themselves from time to time: “Where’s this going to go? Is this really sustainable?” And clearly it’s not if we continue the patterns that we’re on. Continue reading

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Seven Ways GIS Enables Smart Communities

Leaders can leverage GIS to get a complete picture by viewing, mapping, sharing, analyzing, and acting on information about their community.

To get a clear view, community leaders must seek first to understand:

  • What and where are the community’s needs?
  • What is the status of available resources?

Smart communities are already getting a comprehensive view of needs and resources by using GIS and even incorporating realtime sensor data and 3D visualization. Citizens and businesses are using open data and increased governmental transparency to collaborate and drive innovation. When you can see the entire, community-wide landscape, it is much easier to identify gaps in service or areas that need to become more livable, sustainable, and resilient. That clear view can be seen from a GIS platform — a way to view, map, share, analyze, and act on information about the community. Continue reading

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Building a Bridge to the R Community

Today at the Esri User Conference in San Diego, Esri announced a new initiative to build a collaborative community for R and ArcGIS users.

Esri has been teaching and promoting integration with R at the User Conference and Developer Summit for several years. During this time we have seen significant increase in interest, and received useful feedback from our ArcGIS users and R users about a variety of needs and techniques for integrating ArcGIS and R. Based upon this feedback, we are working with ArcGIS and R users to develop a community to promote learning, sharing, and collaboration. This community will include a repository of free, open source, R scripts, geoprocessing tools, and tutorials.

I recently sat down with Steve Kopp, Senior Product Engineer on the spatial analysis team, and Dawn Wright, Esri’s Chief Scientist to talk about what this focus on building a bridge to the R community means for ArcGIS users and other users of R. Continue reading

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Applying Geography Everywhere: Ten Big Ideas

A new hands-on website and a print book help seasoned GIS practitioners and newcomers to GIS learn to make GIS web maps, work with mobile apps, and much more.

Cover image courtesy Stamen Design.

People around the world are discovering that online maps do more than direct consumers to stores or help travelers navigate from point A to point B. Maps communicate important information that help organizations make decisions. That’s why Esri published The ArcGIS Book, an easy to comprehend guide to learning 10 big ideas about web mapping and how to use the Esri ArcGIS platform to put those ideas into action.

The ten big ideas explored in The ArcGIS Book are:

  1. Maps, the Web, and You: Power and possibility with Web GIS
  2. Cartography is for Everyone: New ways to make, see, and use maps
  3. Tell Your Story Using a Map: Inform, engage, and inspire people with story maps
  4. Great Maps Need Great Data: Creating and using authoritative geographic data
  5. The Importance of Where: How spatial analysis leads to insight
  6. Mapping the Third Dimension: A change in perspective
  7. The Power of Apps: Focused tools that get work done
  8. Your Mobile GIS: The GIS of the whole world plus a live data sensor in your pocket
  9. Real-Time Dashboards: Integrating live data feeds for managing operations
  10. GIS is Social: Web GIS is the GIS of the world

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Smart Communities: Meeting the Challenges

New advancements in technology and data collection can help communities successfully tackle challenges by working smarter instead of harder.


Demographic, economic, and other changes are presenting communities with unprecedented challenges and opportunities. And there are reasons to be hopeful. A combination of smart technology and smart people can drive the development of smart communities. 


Change is a Constant

Demographic shifts and fiscal fluctuations impact communities around the globe, prompting community leaders to adapt by changing the way they think and operate. Continue reading

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Smart Policies Lead to Smart Nations

Maps help policy makers consider all aspects of issues and communicate their positions to fellow government leaders and citizens.

Policies reflect a nation’s identity—its values and ambitions. In our modern, interconnected world, understanding policy issues and making the right decisions are critical to creating a sustainable world. When it comes to issues like climate change, use of natural resources, energy, healthcare, and economic growth, policy makers need a way to see all of the factors at play and potential impacts. How will their decisions impact people today and 10 years from now? As leaders from all levels of government consider key issues, they are turning to GIS.

Unlike any other technology, GIS takes big data and makes it easy to understand. Maps can show where money is being spent—is it going to areas of greatest need or to well-heeled neighborhoods? Maps can show where resources are harvested and how that impacts surrounding lands. Maps helps policy makers consider all aspects of issues. Once they have a deep understanding of an issue and take a stance, maps help them communicate their position to fellow government leaders and citizens. Continue reading

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