Community Engagement Puts People First

Citizens become the environmental researchers and change agents for more ecologically healthy neighborhoods and communities.

GIS—and in particular, participatory GIS—is about communities locating themselves, spatially, according to the environment that shapes their lives. Participatory GIS is also about how communities locate themselves socially within society and finding ways to equalize imbalances around who makes decisions that determine how neighborhoods are planned and resources are managed.”

—Kirstin Miller, Executive Director of Ecocity Builders

If you want to change the quality of life in your city, you have to get people involved. The good folks at Ecocity Builders refer to this effort as “empowering ordinary citizens to claim a stake in their city’s future.” And one of the ways they make this happen is through their Ecocitizen World Map Project. Continue reading

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The Location of Things

In an era where nearly everything moveable, measurable, and monitorable, location has become a crucial component of the Internet of Things.

The buzz about the Internet of Things (IoT) is everywhere. You know the IoT: the notion of an always-aware network of sensors found in interconnected devices. Typically these sensors capture identity, status, and other relevant information. But for what value? Having a sensor alerting you to a device-based problem is no good—unless you know where to send a repair person. If a sensor alerts you to your colleague in trouble, it would be nice to know where to send help.

Location is a crucial component of the IoT, and geography gives the IoT its actionable value. That’s why I get even more excited about another new buzz phrase: The Location of Things.

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Five Compelling Story Maps for Earth Day 2015

At Esri, we believe that geography is at the heart of a more resilient and sustainable future. Governments, industry leaders, academics, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) trust us to connect them with the analytic knowledge they need to make these critical decisions that shape the planet. Our technology enables organizations to create responsible and sustainable solutions to problems at local and global scales.

Celebrated annually since 1970, Earth Day events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental conservation and protection. “The celebration of this day is important for Esri as an acknowledgement of our fragile planet, but also to recognize the work our staff and our users are doing to make the world a better place,” said Jack Dangermond, Esri founder and president. “Thank you for all you do.”

On this 45th anniversary of Earth Day, we invite you to take a few minutes to explore these five compelling interactive maps created using Esri’s story maps technology that detail how our planet is changing. Continue reading

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Student Loan Debt Spreads to Retirees

For many Americans, the rise in student loan debt means slowing economic recovery, delaying lifestage changes, and even postponing retirement.

Usually considered an issue that impacts only recent college graduates, new studies find that student loan debt is growing among pre-retirees and even those who have already retired. The 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) notes that the rise in student loan debt is pervasive and affects nearly every age group. Families with education loans increased between 2010 and 2013, continuing the long-term trend of rising education debt. Forty-five percent of all American families have outstanding student loans, up from 33 percent in 2007. Between 2001 and 2013, education debt increased from 22.4 percent to 38.8 percent for young families—a household headed by someone younger than age 40.

How is this situation impacting the overall US economy?


Delaying Growth

Because of their student loans, many younger people are delaying home ownership, marriage, and having kids until their finances improve. Because most of this group aren’t establishing their own households now, growth of the broader economy remains sluggish. Many aren’t buying houses, or items such as furnishings, baby/children’s products, or home improvement/construction materials.

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Breaking Down Barriers

Enhancing internal and external collaboration with the ArcGIS platform.

In the novel You Can’t Go Home Again, mid-20th-century American author Thomas Wolfe fictionalizes his hometown. Wolfe’s main character gets into trouble, angering the townsfolk of his hometown. I can relate.

I grew up in a blue-collar city, where the main claim to fame was that at one time it was the most densely populated city in the United States. That meant packed houses and city streets. You could say that I grew up on the streets of this very crowed city. Shortly after marrying and having a child, my wife and I moved to the suburbs. Later, my career became running electric operations for the power company that covered my old home town.

About 15 years ago, my hometown City Council invited me as a special guest at the chamber. Residents packed the public session; I felt certain at least a few might have gone to high school with me.

The residents weren’t happy. I felt like Wolfe’s character. Continue reading

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Local + Global = Real Estate Success

A collection of data, maps, and apps powered by ArcGIS Online is one broker’s not-so-secret key to success. 

John Schultz is a commercial real estate broker in Baltimore, Maryland. With a drive to help retailers continually find their next location, John juggles a lot in any given day: site reviews, lease negotiations, market tours, and much more. And he works in multiple markets, with multiple clients. He’s also a strong family man who’s committed to making time for his wife and two kids.

How does he keep up? He works smart.

John Schultz, a partner at MacKenzie commercial Real Estate Services, knows maps make smart business colleagues.

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Two Mapping Forums for Advanced Users and Senior Executives

For more than 30 years, the annual Esri User Conference (Esri UC) has brought together thought leaders to share the latest innovations and applications in geographic information system (GIS) technology, which seems limited only by the imagination.

Interest in GIS has grown exponentially over the years, which, in turn, has attracted more and more people with varying backgrounds and expertise to the Esri UC. As a result, attendees began demanding coinciding events specific to their particular areas of interest. Esri’s mapping and statistics team will be staging two forums at the Esri UC this summer to meet the needs of users whose business is mapping and GIS data production. Continue reading

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Spatial Analysis Promotes Effective Community Engagement

Empowering People with Spatial Analysis Tools

According to the MapAsheville website, “Priority Places is a free, interactive mapping tool provided by the City of Asheville to strengthen strategic economic development and planning activities. The mapping tool facilitates business siting, neighborhood renewal and real estate development by enabling the identification of optimal locations for activities.”

The website prompts users to select the criteria that matter most, weight each factor’s importance, and create a “priority map” based on the those choices as well as custom reports on a host of demographic data. It then uses weighted map overlay analysis to create heat maps of sites that best meet chosen criteria. Continue reading

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Thematic Mapping with Hexagons

Want to be “in” the cool club?  Use hexagons to visualize your data.

Over the last few years we’ve seen more and more maps that use hexagons.  They have become “cool”.  Why is that?  Well, hexagons and other regularly shaped features allow you to normalize geography for thematic mapping rather than be constrained to using irregular shaped polygons created from a political process (for example, county boundaries, census tracts, zip codes, etc.).  And this is VERY useful because of the massive disparity in some of these shapes.

For instance, if you create a thematic map using US counties, the county where I live disproportionately stands out as it the largest county in the US and is 20,105 square miles (52,070 km2), or slightly larger than the states of New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island combined.  Using appropriately sized regularly spaced shapes helps solve this disparity of perception.

Left: Population Density show with Counties. Right: Population Density shown with Hexagons.

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Understanding ArcGIS Pro

Esri’s ArcGIS Pro has reinvented desktop GIS. That may seem like a bold statement, but when you understand why it was built, you see that it is true. It was designed and built from the ground up to fit the needs of the modern GIS professional based on input from the GIS community. In order to meet the requirements that were put forth by the worldwide community, Esri had to start fresh with a completely new architecture and lay a solid foundation that would allow performance and experience to be the guide. This is why a new application was needed, a reinvention based on your ideas and needs, and this is why ArcGIS Pro exists.

ArcGIS Pro is a truly 64-bit desktop application that takes advantage of your modern hardware for maximum performance and smooth map and 3D scene displays. It has a vibrant, contextual interface that serves you with the right tools at the right time, and anyone who has spent time looking for tools knows, this is fantastic. You can now do exciting new things like design and edit in 2D and 3D in one place, work with multiple displays and layout designs, and publish finished web maps directly to ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS. Continue reading

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