Category Archives: Technology

5 Tips to Help Maximize Your Use of ArcGIS Online

ArcGIS Online gives you everything you need to create interactive web maps and apps that you can share with anyone. With ready-to-use content, apps, and templates, you can be productive right away. From sharing your work with others to preventing accidental deletion of items and more, here are five helpful tips from Esri pros that will help you maximize your use of ArcGIS Online.


1. Get Your Story Map Noticed

You’ve worked hard to make a great Esri Story Map app. But now you want to make it easy for people, including Esri’s Story Map team, to find your work online.

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Enter the Esri Data Viz App Challenge

Have an idea for a cool app that showcases data visualization using the ArcGIS platform? Develop the app and enter it in the Esri Data Viz App Challenge, which was announced at the 2015 Esri Developer Summit.

The judges will be looking for visually stunning, interactive, and meaningful mapping applications that showcase the data visualization power of ArcGIS and tell a story. The top prize is $10,000 or the software equivalent. The competition closes at 5:00 p.m. (PDT) April 27, 2015.

Get all the details at esri.com.appchallenge.

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2015 Esri Developer Summit: Helping Developers Build Top Quality Geospatial Solutions

Geosolutions are desperately needed to solve the world’s big problems, Esri president Jack Dangermond told 1,800 people at the 2015 Esri Developer Summit (DevSummit). Esri and the developer community can work cooperatively to build technology to tackle these issues, he said.

More creative developers are needed to forge solutions, Dangermond said, encouraging the audience to nurture new talent by being a mentor.  “The interest we have is growing the next generation—we need more of you,” he said, opening the largest annual Esri developer event, which was held March 10-13 in Palm Springs, California.

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Six Trending Topics in Web GIS

Content, 3D, Story Maps, and Other Trends Offer New Opportunities to Re-imagine What’s Possible with GIS

The web has had an enormous impact on how we obtain information, connect with others, and work every day. Clearly GIS has also been transformed by the web—it’s enabling easier access, better workflows, and supporting diverse applications and new types of data, all leveraging flexible service-based architectures.

The web has also increased the value of GIS and the work we do as GIS professionals by making GIS pervasive and driving its importance to become an integral part of the decision making process. But the web has also added new challenges, creating not only demand, but also setting expectations and nudging us forward to consider what we do in new ways.

So what’s happening right now in web GIS? Here’s a few topics that are currently trending.

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Web GIS and Esri’s Massive Global Library of Content

Esri is now curating an enormous and rapidly growing library of ready-to-use maps, imagery, and geo-referenced data for the entire world. This online collection of authoritative content, together with the new Web GIS pattern, is having a huge impact on the way people use GIS. 

GIS has a long history of successfully adapting to new technologies, applications, customer types, and business models. From mainframes to minicomputers, UNIX workstations to PCs, desktops to the enterprise to the cloud, each round of technical innovation has led to countless advantages for users of the technology. Every one of these changes has extended the reach of GIS by making it more accessible and usable by more people and for more applications.

Esri is curating a massive library of ready-to-use data for the entire world.

Today, Web GIS together with massive online content is creating a major transformation in the use and access of GIS with simpler tools and information architecture.  Some of the major initiatives that are enabling this transformation include: Continue reading

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Three Ways Open Data is Already Benefiting GIS Users

Adoption of ArcGIS Open Data has big implications well beyond the Esri user community.        

According to Esri’s 2014 Open Data  year in review,  more than 750 organizations around the world have joined ArcGIS Open Data,  publishing 391 public sites, resulting in 15,848 open data sets shared.  These organizations include more than 100 cities, 43 countries, and 35 US states.  At the beginning of 2015, the organizations represented included 390 from North America, 157 from Europe, 121 from Africa, 39 from Asia, and 22 from Oceania.  More than 42,000 shapefiles, KML files, and CSV files were downloaded from these sites since July 2014.  Recently, we wrote about one of these sites, the Maryland Open Data Portal.  Another is the set of layers from the city of Launceton, in Tasmania, Australia. Continue reading

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The Spatially Enabled Enterprise

Using location data, mapping, and spatial analysis to get more value from your business system.

Business systems contain a gold mine of location data that’s just waiting to be tapped. Customer addresses, store locations, sales territories, and supply chains are just some of the data you can map, analyze, and deliver to users of your business system to enhance real-time decision making, improve operational efficiency, and facilitate collaboration across the enterprise.

In a spatially enabled enterprise:

  • Retail merchandisers can decide which products to buy based on local demographic and lifestyle data. Continue reading
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Real-Time Spatial Analysis

Everybody gather around the map and make better decisions in real time. 

You might think of spatial analysis as a process that can help you make sense of large amounts of current and/or historical information.  And you’d be right about that.  But spatial analysis works equally well in real time.

Imagine a metropolitan police department working to stay on top of everything that happens in a big city. Crimes, accidents, and traffic, along with all the mobile and stationary assets that they need to track come together to create an overwhelming task of real-time data collection and analysis.

But in law enforcement, time is of the essence.  They need to get a handle on all of this data—and fast.  They need to respond in the moment. The real-time data coming into their system needs to be understood and acted upon in real time. Continue reading

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Big Data: Keep it Simple, Keep it Small

Turning big data into knowledge is all about relevance and context

Big data may be all the rage these days, but it isn’t exactly new. In fact, Esri has been dealing with big data since the inception of digital mapping more than three decades ago.  When every contour, stream, street, rail line, park, building, or shoreline for the entire world is stored in an intelligent database, data doesn’t get much bigger than that.


Data as Big, Beautiful, and Living as the Earth

Back in 1992, Esri embarked on an ambitious campaign to create the very first seamless digital map and database of the whole world. This project—aptly named the Digital Chart of the World—converted paper maps of political boundaries, transportation lines, utilities, cultural landmarks, and more into a digital map product that could be viewed for the first time as something other than a pretty picture. In a world where CDs were still considered new and expensive storage media, and hard drives came in hundreds of megabytes, the 1.7 gigabyte database was not only huge, but it also challenged many computer specification and storage architectures. Continue reading

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Today’s GIS Forecast: Partly Cloudy

Firewalls protect web-based GIS from the dangers of the cloud

When I was interning at a power company, the utility industry had just adopted a revolutionary technology: SCADA. Today, SCADA is so common most people don’t even bother to spell out the acronym (supervisory control and data acquisition system). But back then, SCADA was controversial. It eliminated the need for substation operators.

Utilities staffed operators who could act immediately in an emergency. They closed breakers, put out fires, and called for help. They checked fluid levels and did maintenance, cleaning, and inspections. They made the rounds, took the readings, spoke to the dispatchers, and made sure everything ran smoothly. Continue reading

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