Category Archives: Technology
Analysis, 3D, Smart Mapping, and Other Trends Enable Us to Think About GIS Differently
The web continues to have an enormous impact on how we practice GIS and how we apply geospatial tools and capabilities to support our workflows and solve problems. It has fundamentally changed everything we do, and how we think. This trend has been evolving for years, but clearly has reached escape velocity and a new tipping point. No longer is the question “if” or “when” to embrace Web GIS, the question now is “how” to leverage the new opportunities and workflows it enables.
In an earlier post just after the 2015 Esri Federal GIS Conference, we covered the trending topics at that time. Here’s an update from the 2015 Esri User Conference, that focuses on how some of those trends have matured with new capabilities, and how a few new ones have arrived. Continue reading
If you were unable to attend the 2015 User Conference last week in San Diego, here is a summary of my plenary remarks about recent and coming improvements to the ArcGIS product.
ArcGIS is made up of a number of components: a server component, a desktop component, an apps component, and now a content component, an online component, and a portal component. That’s a lot of components, but in fact it’s all one integrated system.
Desktop is the component of this integrated system that most of you work with and are familiar with. It supports mapping, visualization, and analytics, and it now embodies two main applications: ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro. These two applications run side by side.
We’ve been putting a lot of resources into ArcGIS Pro, the new 64-bit environment for visualization, over the last several years. We continue to improve and support ArcMap, and will continue to do so for long into the future. And over time, the power of ArcGIS Pro will become more attractive.
During the plenary session of the 2015 User Conference last week in San Diego, I shared some of the big themes we are pursuing as we innovate the ArcGIS platform. For those of you who were unable to see the plenary, I’ll share some highlights of our work here.
ArcGIS is an integrated Web GIS that is supported by services. These are abstracted in a geoinformation model that’s managed by the portal, and then accessible by a number of apps, which are the growing part of this system.
As we continue to grow and expand the ArcGIS platform, our focus is on creating useful technology and supporting our users. In our work pursuing this goal, a number of themes have emerged. Continue reading
Today at the Esri User Conference in San Diego, Esri announced a new initiative to build a collaborative community for R and ArcGIS users.
Esri has been teaching and promoting integration with R at the User Conference and Developer Summit for several years. During this time we have seen significant increase in interest, and received useful feedback from our ArcGIS users and R users about a variety of needs and techniques for integrating ArcGIS and R. Based upon this feedback, we are working with ArcGIS and R users to develop a community to promote learning, sharing, and collaboration. This community will include a repository of free, open source, R scripts, geoprocessing tools, and tutorials.
I recently sat down with Steve Kopp, Senior Product Engineer on the spatial analysis team, and Dawn Wright, Esri’s Chief Scientist to talk about what this focus on building a bridge to the R community means for ArcGIS users and other users of R. Continue reading
Today, ArcGIS is more than a software product. It is a platform that takes advantage of organizations’ huge information inventories.
Platforms have changed the way society shares information, communicates, and collaborates. From Amazon to Apple, a variety of platforms on our devices remember who we are and call up the information we need to get the most out of our time. We move seamlessly from desktops, web browsers, tablets, and smartphones. Wouldn’t it be great if our professional platforms worked so smoothly?
The ArcGIS platform has three parts: Continue reading
I often find myself explaining aspects of map scales to people trying to use maps. They are interested in questions about how big something shown on the map is, or how far a distance measured on the map is, or the accuracy of features depicted on the map. As the creators of the maps we must understand the nuances of maps, so that the people who use them can use them appropriately. After all, with great power comes great responsibility!
One of the areas that I find confuses people is map scales, resolution, and minimum mapping units (MMU). Continue reading
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
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
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.
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