The Story Maps Life Cycle

From custom beginnings to templatization: The evolution of a Story Map template

Story Maps can inform and inspire your audience. They combine interactive maps and multimedia content into elegant user experiences. One of the latest Story Maps—Geography Bee: A Global Gallery of Pollinators—uses the context of geography to present a spectacular collection of bee portraits by USGS scientist Sam Droege.

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Making GIS a Part of the Open Web

GeoServices provide a common API across all of GIS for users and developers to easily access information.

Today is GIS Day, an annual celebration and sharing to our communities about the use of geospatial technology to understand, affect, and engage with our physical world. You can join any of hundreds of local events around the globe to meet local experts, developers, analysts, government staff, and engaged citizens to learn about how to access open data and spatial analysis tools that help you make sense of complex relationships.

Common Services

At the interface of GIS is a commonly overlooked, but incredibly powerful mechanism that makes it possible to uniformly access data regardless of the underlying technology or source of the data. It is this interface which allows for a smartphone application to work with web sites and desktop analysis tools—meaning that people can use the user experience that most fits their needs but they are working from the same common information system.

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How Would You Determine the Value of Open Geospatial Information?

I serve on the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Advisory Board charged with providing independent advice to the US government on GPS-related policy, planning, program management, and funding.  When Lightsquared proposed operating an LTE network in a spectrum adjacent to the GPS spectrum with conditional approval by the FCC, our Board and others raised deep concerns about interference with GPS receivers.  The FCC subsequently revoked the conditional approval.  In anticipation of similar interference in the future, the PNT Executive Committee, made up of nine federal deputy secretaries, decided that, in consideration of the presidential directive to find more broadband spectrum, even if there might be interference with the GPS signal, our Advisory Board should be tasked with documenting the socioeconomic value of GPS services.  The subtle inference was that GPS might be a lesser priority than LTE and broadband access.

So, just how would you document the social and economic benefits provided by GPS?  GPS is used practically everywhere today.  GPS produces direct and indirect economic and social benefits, tangible and intangible.   Expand that thought to include all the geospatial applications in use today such as national security and safety of life.  Then include precision agriculture and water resource management and the use of mapping to improve decision making in emergency management, managing endangered species, conducting property tax assessments and verifying insurance claims.  Add in many more, including the geo-referencing of earth observation and remote sensing data.  Geospatial data is BIG data. Continue reading

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What about the Big Problem?

Don’t think you’re solving it. Know you are.

For decades, utilities have used some form of digital mapping system. It could be a CAD system, an automated mapping/facilities management (AM/FM) system, or a full-featured GIS. Yet the vast majority of utilities use the GIS mainly as a basis for network documentation. Sure, it often is the basis for asset management, outage management, and network design. That’s good. Utilities have come a long way from the old paper maps and awkward processes of keeping records up to date. Yet, many don’t see their GIS as a true mapping or location platform. They often don’t see it as one that extends into nearly every corner of the company.

Many senior executives still view GIS as just a component, albeit a vital component, of operations groups instead of a strategic tool to help run the business. Executives do not necessarily see the GIS as a strong tool in helping solve their big problems.  Continue reading

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Credential Creep in the GIS Field—For Good or for Ill?

A new generation of credentials herald better times ahead for adult education and workforce development.

Have you noticed the proliferation of GIS credentials?

Hundreds of GIS certificate programs, dozens of specialized master’s degrees, and even a few bachelor’s degree programs have sprung up at colleges and universities at an accelerating rate since the 1990s. The absence of standards and accountability for academic certification contributed in part to the rise of GIS professional certification programs. These credentials are conferred by a few professional societies rather than many individual academic institutions.

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From Bricks to Clicks: How Location Intelligence is Changing Retail

Location analytics helps retailers breathe new life into old strategies. 

Online shopping is well understood. We don’t only know how many people visit an online retail site. We also know that changing the size of a picture by a few pixels will generate more sales. We can even see if online shopping carts have been abandoned, what items people have viewed, and how long visitors have stayed on a page to calculate their interest in buying a product.

But when it comes to knowing how many people shop at a physical store, traditionally we scratch our heads. We’ve been trying to figure out those details for more than a hundred years. And don’t get me started on “dark shoppers”—customers that visit a store but don’t purchase. Unlike online shoppers, “dark shoppers” don’t leave an activity trail. There’s been a lot of talk about how in-store beacons will change this, but the jury’s out on how shoppers will respond. Continue reading

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The Meaning and Value of a Location Platform

Providing spatial functionality across systems and devices empowers organizations.

[Note: This is the latest post in our Managing GIS series.]

“Platform” is a trendy word these days when it comes to discussing technology.  According to Wikipedia, a Computing Platform is:

“…in the most general sense, whatever pre-existing environment a piece of software is designed to run within, obeying its constraints, and making use of its facilities. Typical platforms include a hardware architecture, an operating system (OS), and runtime libraries.”

No matter how you define it, we can all agree that a platform is powerful and can offer a lot in terms of support for business. Continue reading

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GIS to be Showcased at IUCN World Parks Congress

Esri and partners will display real-world solutions that address today’s conservation and development challenges.

Esri and partnering organizations will take part in the2014 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Parks Congress (WPC) which will be held 12-19 November in Sydney, Australia. Esri will be participating in the significant event to explain and promote the concept of GIS for landscape conservation and geodesign, a design framework for designing more sustainable cities and landscapes.

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Strengthening the Link between GIS and Science

An interview with Kevin Butler about the integration of ArcGIS and SciPy

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 and science, today at the Esri Ocean GIS Forum we’re pleased to announce the integration of ArcGIS with SciPy, a Python-based ecosystem of open-source software for mathematics, science, and engineering.

I recently caught up with Kevin Butler, a Product Engineer with the Geoprocessing and Analysis Team, to ask him a few questions about the integration between ArcGIS and SciPy. Continue reading

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What Does It Take to Build a Smart Community?

With a strong GIS platform, you can begin building a smart community today.

The term smart city has been gaining quite a bit of attention lately. Known by many names—livable communities, sustainable cities, resilient cities, and even smart nation or subsets like safe cities, healthy communities, and coastal resilience—the objectives are fairly similar, that is, to build a government that is more responsive, productive, efficient, transparent, and more engaging with its citizens. At Esri, we have opted to embrace two terms: smart communities and resilient communities. Building smart communities reflects national, state, regional, and local governments’ desire to improve quality of life. Building resilient communities relates to assisting governments in preparing for and recovering from man-made and natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, economic collapse, or climate change. Continue reading

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