Category Archives: Technology

Community Engagement Puts People First

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

Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

Spatial Analysis Promotes Effective Community Engagement

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

Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

Thematic Mapping with Hexagons

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.

Left: Population Density show with Counties. Right: Population Density shown with Hexagons.

Continue reading

Posted in Technology | 2 Comments

Understanding ArcGIS Pro

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

Posted in Technology | 8 Comments

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.

Continue reading

Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Technology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

Continue reading

Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

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.

Continue reading

Posted in Storytelling with Maps, Technology | 3 Comments

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

Posted in Technology | 3 Comments

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

Posted in Technology | Leave a comment