Category Archives: Technology

Creating Useful Technology and Supporting Our Users

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. 

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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.

ArcGIS is an integrated Web GIS platform providing mapping, analysis, data management, and collaboration capabilities both on the open Web and on-premises.

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

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Building a Bridge to the R Community

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

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Five Ways to Get the Most out of Your GIS Platform

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?

As the industry standard in GIS, the ArcGIS platform gives you a three-part information system that transforms your data into actionable intelligence.

The ArcGIS platform has three parts: Continue reading

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A Question of Scale, Resolution, and MMU

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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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