Category Archives: Technology

When Open Data Isn’t Useful Data

Four Common Problems with Open Data, and How to Fix them with ArcGIS Online

Organizations create and manage a vast amount of data. Many of these organizations, such as government agencies, desire or are required to share certain data with the public. This data, when freely available for people to obtain, use, and redistribute, is called open data.

Open data is important for transparency and fostering innovation. Open data is also important for ensuring data integrity.

But just being “open” often isn’t enough–your open data also needs to be useful data. Continue reading

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Building the Most Detailed Population Map in the World

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

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Looking for Park Space: Spatial Analysis with ArcGIS Online

ArcGIS Online is remaking GIS. We already take for granted how easy it is to make maps about anything and share them with anyone. And it’s not just maps. Data is becoming a social product, too. Partly through crowdsourcing (as Joseph Kerski recently wrote about here), and partly through projects like ArcGIS Open Data that help organizations offer their data like ice cream from a truck on a hot day.

But if GIS were a polygon, it would be a triangle: its vertices are maps, data, and analysis. Many people assume all analysis still has to be done in ArcGIS for Desktop. And it’s true that when it comes to geoprocessing tools, ArcGIS for Desktop is like Home Depot—it has everything you could possibly need (although you don’t always find it right away). By comparison, ArcGIS Online is like a good neighborhood hardware store. The inventory is smaller but it’s carefully chosen and more than meets your everyday needs. Continue reading

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Does EarthCube Hold the “Keys to the Kingdom” of Earth Science Data?

Updated May 31, 2014

With all the recent excitement and good hopes over the White House Climate Data Initiative, and the ongoing progress of the Group on Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), there is another huge data initiative that bears mention: EarthCube.

I have used the word “initiative” for EarthCube but it has also been described as a vision, as a multi-faceted, multi-layered partnership, and also as a “virtual organization.” As such, it bears quite a bit of resemblance to the international GEOSS, but is much more US-based, having been conceived and currently funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF). Continue reading

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7 Open Source Projects You Should Know About from Esri R&D Center Portland

Terraformer Esri PDX

The Esri R&D Center in Portland, Oregon works on two main projects: developers.arcgis.com and the Esri Geotrigger Service. In our free time we also build and maintain open source tools to help us get our work done more easily. Here’s … Continue reading

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The Face of Our Earth: Esri’s New Partnership with GEOSS

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Last Update: July 31, 2014 In early January, we heard quite a bit about the polar vortex (not a new term, by the way) as North America struggled with some of the most frigid and dangerous temperatures seen in a … Continue reading

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What is CyberGIS?

cybergis

In an earlier post, I had mentioned Esri’s involvement in the large National Science Foundation-funded project known as CyberGIS, which aims to establish a fundamentally new software framework via a seamless integration of cyberinfrastructure, GIS, and spatial analysis/modeling capabilities, particularly … Continue reading

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Smithsonian’s Story Map Examines the Shale Gas Boom

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is transforming communities across the US above shale rock layers that trap natural gas and oil. Fracking involves the injection of millions of gallons of water and other fluids into shale deposits under high pressure, causing fracturing of the surrounding rock and the release of gas through nearby wells. The extraction technique is controversial, and the resulting changes to nearby communities are argued as both good and bad.

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Understanding Our World with Landsat Data and ArcGIS

Landsat data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) is one of the best sources for understanding and analyzing changes to our world that have occurred over the last 40 years. With the launch of Landsat 8 in February of this year, the continuity of the program is assured into at least the next decade. Esri continues to support making Landsat imagery and image processing part of our platform and has recently added more capabilities to ArcGIS that make it even easier to analyze and enhance Landsat data.

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The New Age of Real-Time GIS

GIS is a platform for understanding our world. In the past, the data that fueled GIS was typically created to represent the state of the geoscape at a specific moment in time (“historic” or “current”; or “future” to represent a future modeled state). While this data has proven valuable for countless GIS applications and analyses, even the “current” snapshot falls out of sync with the real world quickly. In today’s fast-paced, constantly changing world, the “current” snapshot is outdated almost as soon as it is created.

A number of new technologies are combining to enable the real time collection of data, and the sharing of that data in real time with GIS. The result is a dynamic platform which enables real time visualization, analysis, and understanding of our world. This is the new age of real-time GIS. Continue reading

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