Author Archives: Matt Artz
Esri is compiling a human geography database of demographics and statistics about all countries in the world and mapping this data using an innovative methodology.
Sociodemographic data is a valuable asset for businesses, governments, and society. Describing and understanding the human geography of the world requires tools to assimilate data in a statistically valid way that will allow for meaningful decision making.
Traditionally, people are counted in a census. But a census is time-consuming, costly, and does not collect the types of statistics at the level required to address today’s complex societal issues. Continue reading
On Tuesday, July 9th, 2013, more than 130 GIS professionals came together in San Diego, California for the 4th annual GIS Managers’ Open Summit. The GIS Managers’ Open Summit is an “unconference“-style event designed to help GIS managers, business and technology strategists, and other decision makers attending the Esri User Conference to engage in conversations with their peers on topics that relate to business efficiencies, ROI, managing data, and much more.
The day opened with a brief motivational talk by the “father of GIS,” Roger Tomlinson, who emphasized the importance of the work that GIS managers do. He was followed by Greg Babinski, president of URISA, who talked for a few minutes about the work that URISA is doing to establish a GIS Management Institute and develop a GIS Management Body of Knowledge. Continue reading
Atlases have long been used by people to help navigate and understand our world. A traditional atlas consists of a collection of static maps portraying various aspects of geography, bound together in book form and updated with new information at long intervals. The geography covered, in terms of both themes and extent, is set in stone for any given atlas, and the thematic information is typically created and authored by a select few authoritative sources.
These traditional atlases have served us well for many hundreds of years. But today, the world is changing rapidly, and it’s difficult for traditional atlases to keep up with the pace of that change. To help us keep pace with our evolving planet, our concept of what exactly constitutes an atlas must also evolve. Continue reading
Kevin Johnston has been part of Esri’s software development team for more than 20 years, focusing on the ArcGIS Spatial Analyst extension and various aspects of dynamic and statistical modeling. In addition to working at Esri, Kevin does volunteer conservation work on a variety of conservation projects, including elephant-movement models for Amboseli National Park in Kenya, snow leopard corridor models in Nepal, and agent-based models of cougar movement in Arizona. With the release of a new book he edited called Agent Analyst: Agent-Based Modeling in ArcGIS, I asked Kevin to share some basic information on agent-based modeling and how the GIS community might leverage it in their projects. Continue reading
“So many of the world’s current issues—at a global scale and locally—boil down to geography, and need the geographers of the future to help us understand them.”
“What is the capital of Madagascar?”
Unfortunately, that’s what most people think of when they hear the term geography.
“It’s boring,” they say. “It’s the study of useless information. It has no practical relevance to my life.”
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Geography is one of the most interesting, vibrant, and dynamic fields of study today. It’s also one of the most vital.
GIS technology has evolved from a tool for specialized professionals to a platform that can be used “by everyone.” An important component of this more far-reaching platform is the development and release of Solution Templates that are designed to facilitate GIS throughout the organization.
“Our goal is to provide things that help people be successful,” said Damian Spangrud, Esri’s new Director of Solutions. “But the landscape is changing—the types of people we are serving, how they are using our technology, and even the definition of what is ‘success’— everything is changing. As we started to think about where GIS fits in this new landscape, the questions we started asking ourselves were: What kinds of things can we give people so that they can tailor their ArcGIS system to be more successful? And how can we help them share their GIS investment with everyone across the organization?”
Dr. Stephen Ervin is as vibrant as his day of birth—Mardi Gras. Like the celebratory day itself, Ervin is animated, larger than life, and full of contagious energy. He has spent two decades working at Harvard University teaching courses, speaking at conferences, and authoring books about his passion—the intersection of computing, design, and science. “Geodesign has taken over my life,” Ervin chuckles.
The Assistant Dean for Information Technology at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Director of Computer Resources, and lecturer in the Department of Landscape Architecture, Ervin still somehow manages to find time to evangelize and promote the principles of geodesign in various ways around the world.
For many years, Bill Miller directed the development of Esri’s training and support infrastructure. Later as an engineer/architect, he was intimately involved in the design of Esri’s state-of-the-art corporate headquarters and conference center. Perhaps his best-known contribution to the GIS community was development of the ModelBuilder environment released as part of the ArcGIS Spatial Analyst extension. More recently, he came out of retirement to rejoin Esri and head up a new Geodesign Services effort.
Miller’s vision for the integration of geospatial technologies with the design process was long shared by a group of people that included UC Santa Barbara’s Michael Goodchild, Esri President Jack Dangermond, Harvard University’s Carl Steinitz, and a handful of others. Miller took the first step towards making this vision a reality when he assembled a small team to develop ArcSketch, a free sample extension that allowed users to quickly sketch features in ArcGIS. ArcSketch was Esri’s first small step toward what is now commonly referred to as “geodesign.”
“That’s another thing we’ve learned from your Nation,” said Mein Herr, “map-making. But we’ve carried it much further than you. What do you consider the largest map that would be really useful?”
“About six inches to the mile.”
“Only six inches!” exclaimed Mein Herr. “We very soon got to six yards to the mile. Then we tried a hundred yards to the mile. And then came the grandest idea of all! We actually made a map of the country, on the scale of a mile to the mile!”