Monthly Archives: June 2012

Esri Insider: The First Year

Today marks the one year anniversary of the Esri Insider blog launch.  It all started on June 30th, 2011, with a simple little post about our (then) new Ocean Basemap.  Since then, we’ve brought you more than 30 posts about Esri’s vision, technology trends, and other important and entertaining topics for geospatial professionals.

In terms of page views, the top 5 most popular posts to date have been:

  1. The Future Looks Bright for Spatial Thinkers
  2. GIS and The City 2.0
  3. The Intersection of GIS and Gaming
  4. GIS without the Box
  5. Telling Stories with Maps

What was your favorite post?  And what would you like us to discuss next?

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What’s the Cost of a Power Failure?

Measuring the impact on customers

This year, New England had one of its worst late season storms in recent history. Heavy snow brought down trees, which in turn, brought down many power lines. Some people were out of power for more than a week. In March, a fire in a substation shut off power to the historic Back Bay section of Boston for several days. The blackout left hotels, office buildings, and subway stations dark and shuttered some of the most exclusive shops in the city. Continue reading

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Multi-dimensional Mapping: The Civil War Story Map

Ongoing sesquicentennial observances have heightened interest in a topic that millions of Americans have always found spellbinding. The saga of the Civil War seemed an ideal opportunity to test some techniques for timelines, animations, and search functions tied to interactive maps.

The “Battlefields of the Civil War” map was the latest in an ongoing effort to show how intelligent maps can help users explore subjects over both space and time. We’re also seeking to give users different options for browsing, navigating, and discovering content—even within a single story map. Continue reading

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Linear vs. Non-Linear Storytelling: The Map Tour Template

We’ve been developing story maps for over a year now, and from the start we’ve defined the term liberally. Many, even most, of our stories are non-linear; that is, they allow the user to browse and wander through the story at will. We’ve organized these stories using elements such as headlines, text blocks, map legends, and user interfaces that help guide the user through the map. But there’s no “correct” sequence by which users are supposed to navigate through these story maps.

Traditionalists might insist that a story is by nature linear. Written or oral stories are in fact linear narratives. Even stories that jump back and forth in time are written and read in a linear fashion. The mediums of text and the spoken word require it: you can’t tell, read, or listen to a story all at once, or back to front, or at random. It’s at least theoretically possible, perhaps, but doing so makes comprehension difficult.

Continue reading

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Esri’s Ocean GIS Initiative

On a planet where 71 percent of the surface is covered by water, the oceans are critical for life itself. They feed us, regulate our weather patterns, provide over half of the oxygen that we breathe, and provide for our energy and economy. Yet only 5 to 10 percent of the ocean floor and of the waters beneath the surface have been explored and mapped in a level of detail similar to what already exists for the dark side of the Moon, for Mars, and for Venus.

GIS technology, which has long provided effective solutions to the integration, visualization, and analysis of information about land, is now being similarly applied to oceans. Our ability to measure change in the oceans (including open ocean, nearshore, and coast) is increasing, not only because of improved measuring devices and scientific techniques, but also because new GIS technology is aiding us in better understanding this dynamic environment. This domain has progressed from applications that merely collect and display data to complex simulation, modeling, and the development of new research methods and concepts.
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