What Do Americans Do on the Fourth of July Weekend?

They get outdoors, fire up the grill, find great sales, and watch fireworks, presenting a great opportunity for US businesses.

The Fourth of July weekend is a popular weekend for families to start celebrating summer. Many families go hiking, camping, picnicking, hit the beach, grill outdoors, snag the best shopping deals and discounts, and see fireworks. Businesses that attract people’s attention and provide the must-haves for these summer activities often see an increase in business. But how do you get the attention of a busy shopper on the go, who is already bombarded with deals and offers before summer even starts? You need data intelligence to learn more about people’s behaviors and lifestyle choices so you can send the right deal at the right time. You need to answer questions such as: Where are the outdoorsy people? Where do the consumers live who spend the most on grilling essentials? Where are the best ZIP codes to target for direct mail coupons? Using Esri’s demographics and lifestyles data in Business Analyst Online, you can easily and quickly answer these questions. Let’s take a look: Continue reading

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Rip Up Those Old Paper Maps

Pop quiz! What’s the difference between a paper GIS and a digital GIS display?

“You can fold the paper plot, but you can’t fold the display.” That’s the most common answer. That’s also the problem.

Many people still view GIS displays as less convenient ways to see GIS plots. When I worked for a power company, we built special cabinets in the dispatch center just to hold our medium-voltage operating map sheets. That’s because we’d plotted our sheets on nonstandard sizes, so the standard file cabinets didn’t work. When we converted from our old, hand-drawn operating maps to GIS maps, we just plotted the new map sheets to look exactly like the old ones. And we plotted them on the same size paper as the old paper maps. Why? So they could fit in our custom file cabinets. If we could have recreated coffee stains on the GIS plots, we would have. Everything—the symbols, annotation, line weights, and of course plot sizes—were the same on the new as on the old map sheets.

Our underlying basemap grid was also a throwback to some arbitrary system from early in the previous century. Change it? Get out of town! Continue reading

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It All Comes Down to Communication

Five story maps show how governments can increase awareness and inform the public on matters of resilience and sustainability.

“It all comes down to communication,” I thought to myself as I imbibed the words of mayors and other elected officials at the National League of Cities’ Resilient Cities Summit this past May.

For two days, I had the pleasure of listening to eighteen city mayors and executives express their desires for their cities to be more sustainable and resilient.  They also articulated their frustrations about the roadblocks that seemed to inevitably arise.  I came away with little desire to ever be an elected official (tough job!), but also with a strong desire to help them.  But how? Continue reading

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The Evolution of Esri’s MOOC Program, Part III

Looking into the Future                             

David DiBiase is Director of Esri’s Education Outreach team and former Director of the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute at Pennsylvania State University. I recently had the opportunity to chat with David about the importance of offering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as part of Esri’s well-established education program. In the third and final part of our discussion, David talks about the future of the MOOC program at Esri. [Read the first and second parts of our discussion.]

Baumann: What’s in the future for MOOCs at Esri?

DiBiase: Many students express excitement about the capabilities of ArcGIS Online, and appreciation to Esri for offering the course. Many are experienced ArcGIS users. Many others are new to Esri. The company is pleased with the response. We plan to offer Going Places with Spatial Analysis two or three times in 2015, depending on demand.

By summarizing data in different ways you can reveal patterns, answers questions and support further analysis.

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Carl Steinitz Honored for Excellence in Landscape Architecture Education

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recently announced its 2015 honors recipients. The honors will be presented at the president’s dinner on November 9, held during the 2015 ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO in Chicago. Among the honorees is Prof. Carl Steinitz, who will receive the Jot D. Carpenter Teaching Medal for significant and sustained excellence in landscape architecture education. I wanted to share some personal experiences and thoughts on Carl as an educator who had a profound impact on the direction of my life.

Prof. Carl Steinitz at the 2014 Geodesign Summit in Redlands, California.

I was a student of Carl Steinitz’s in 1968‐1969 at the Lab (later called the Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis) in the Graduate School of Design (GSD) at Harvard. Continue reading

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The Evolution of Esri’s MOOC Program, Part II

Developing Support for the Program         

David DiBiase is Director of Esri’s Education Outreach team and former Director of the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute at Pennsylvania State University. I recently had the opportunity to chat with David about the importance of offering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as part of Esri’s well-established education program. In part II of our discussion, David talks about developing support for the program. [You can read the first part of our discussion here.]

Baumann: Did you have any difficulty getting the project approved and pulling together the Esri team to create and manage the MOOC?

DiBiase: No, it was really just a matter of timing. I met with Esri president Jack Dangermond and Education Services division director Nick Frunzi early in 2014. I presented the idea that we could create a free online course that would enable thousands of learners to “test-drive” the spatial analysis tools in ArcGIS Online. They agreed to support it on the spot. Continue reading

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Simple Real-time Dashboards Built with Story Maps

From traffic cameras to scientific sensors, story maps are a fast and simple platform for creating real-time dashboards that let the viewer see sensor data in geographic context.

New technologies are emerging and combining to enable the real-time collection and sharing of data. The result is a dynamic platform for real-time visualization, analysis, and understanding of our world.

Esri offers many options for the consumption of real-time data across the ArcGIS platform. A simple and effective—yet often overlooked — tool for the display of real-time data is Esri’s story maps technology.

Let’s take a quick look at four examples of real-time dashboards built with story maps. Continue reading

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Wedding Bells Aren’t Ringing for Millennials

They’re Saying “I Don’t” to Marriage Now, Due to Finances, Employment, and Societal Changes

For decades, the $55 billion wedding industry banked on “young and in love” couples to fill its coffers. June brides historically provided the top revenues. However, Millennials have now turned that premise on its ear, leaving thousands of wedding planners, caterers, florists, and others scrambling for opportunities among other age groups.

Just 26 percent of Millennials are married today. Millennials aren’t against marriage; they just want to be financially secure and have better jobs before they tie the knot. Pew Research says that most unmarried Millennials (69%) say they would like to marry, but many, especially those with less income and education, are concerned about their lack of a solid economic foundation. Many young adults, particularly recent college graduates, are burdened with debt and under-employment. Economic hardships of young adults may be one reason that so many have been slow to marry. The Census Bureau notes that between 2009 and 2013, 30 percent of Millennials were living at home with their parents, and that more than 60 percent have never married.

Millennials comprise nearly half of the total population of 208,225 people in Brazos County, Texas. Conversely, Sumter County, Florida has the oldest median age of any US county; only ten percent of the population of 116,645 is Millennials. View the interactive map.

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Mobilizing GIS to Boost Climate Resilience

How understanding the geography of climate change protects your health

From droughts and tsunamis to heat waves and earthquakes, extreme weather and geologic events caused by climate change jeopardize the world’s infrastructure and resources. Will your health be next?

The health risks associated with climate change are already evident. For example, over the past three decades, the percentage of Americans with asthma has more than doubled. Understanding the geography of climate change is critical to mitigating detrimental health effects and creating a vibrant and sustainable future.

Esri is committed to helping communities work smarter to become more livable and, as a result, more resilient to climate change. That’s why Esri supports the White House Climate Data Initiative. By unleashing the power of GIS to build more resilient communities, people can better analyze and visualize data to understand and reduce these impacts. Continue reading

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The Evolution of Esri’s MOOC Program, Part I

Recognizing the Potential for Implementing a MOOC Program at Esri

David DiBiase is Director of Esri’s Education Outreach team and former Director of the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute at Pennsylvania State University. I recently had the opportunity to chat with David about the importance of offering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as part of Esri’s well-established education program. In part I of our discussion, David talks about first recognizing the potential for implementing a MOOC program at Esri.

Baumann: You recently introduced MOOCs to Esri’s education program. Tell me how this came about.

DiBiase: Well, it wasn’t just me. I had the idea, but nothing would have come of it without the cooperation of leaders and staff members across the company.

We’ve followed the lead of several higher education institutions that introduced MOOCs about maps and GIS. The largest of those so far is “Maps and the Geospatial Revolution” offered by Penn State through Coursera. Continue reading

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