Category Archives: Uncategorized

Imagery: Adding New Perspectives to GIS

Because imagery sees the earth in unique ways, this enables us to both view and analyze our world using multiple perspectives.

At the most basic level, imagery is simply pictures of the earth. Imagery can be immediate or taken across multiple time spans enabling us to measure and monitor change. Every image contains massive amounts of information and can be one of the most immediate ways to collect data.

When it’s integrated with GIS, imagery encompasses a broad collection of data about our world in the form of pictures from above—taken by satellites from space, aircraft flying over our cities, and collected by other sensors. Imagery represents the earth in digital pictures composed of millions of pixels. Satellite and aerial images are geo-referenced pictures that overlay focused areas of our planet. Continue reading

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From Open Data to Data Engagement

Beyond transparency and accountability, the ultimate goal of open government is to empower citizens by providing them with data in a meaningful context. 

The principles of open government and transparency suggest public access to information and, subsequently, scrutiny. Public scrutiny ultimately leads to accountability. Transparency and accountability together empower a public audience to weigh in on issues that matter to them, and provide an opportunity to influence decisions and hold the people making those decisions accountable.

When it comes to opening up GIS data, transparency is often cited as being a key driving factor in making that data available. But simply providing downloads for data is not enough, and in the grand scope of openness is somewhat meaningless. Continue reading

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GIS: Getting Inspections Smarter

An electricity manhole is a little room buried in the street or sidewalk and is where utility workers access electric cables, switches, and other dangerous stuff. (In the old days, the majority of workers were men, so the term “manhole” stuck.) When a cable fails, workers splice together new and old sections—inside these manholes. Workers enter the manhole through a round entry, usually covered by—you guessed it—a heavy manhole cover. Inside, manholes are hot, dangerous, and creepy. If a cable fails, it generates a lot of heat and sometimes fire. Any debris caught in the manhole will worsen the fire. And if things explode, those heavy manhole covers go flying.

The ArcGIS platform can help utilities better manage data and workflows, ensuring that inspections make sense and go off without a hitch.

To keep operations running smoothly, manholes should be inspected and cleaned of all debris. Continue reading

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Living Atlas Resources for Earth Science Week and Beyond

Bioclimates in and around the Eastern Himalayas

It is Earth Science Week! Since October 1998, the American Geosciences Institute has organized this national and international event to help the public gain appreciation and understanding of Earth Sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth. We want to … Continue reading

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Live from EGGC 2015: Startups Showcase – How Esri’s Startup Program Drives Change


Over the past 25 years, the annual Esri Electric and Gas GIS Conference (EGGC) has become the largest annual geospatial event for utility professionals in the world. This year’s conference focuses on how utilities can employ the latest GIS technology … Continue reading

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Lift that Stein to Oktoberfest!

See Where People Spend the Most on Beer

Beer lovers from around the world are gathering in Munich, Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest. In 2014, close to six and a half million people attended the festival and consumed 6.9 million liters of beer–that’s a lot of lifted steins!

For those who can’t celebrate in Munich, there are plenty of opportunities to lift a stein in the US. Among the most popular festivals are Oktoberfest Zinzinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio that attracts more than 500,000 people, followed by the Denver Oktoberfest that attracts more than 350,000 people.

Thousands of German-Americans probably brought the traditions of Oktoberfest with them when they moved to the US. Germans have been immigrating in significant numbers to the U.S. since the 1680s, when they settled in New York and Pennsylvania. The US Census notes that Pennsylvania has the largest population of German-Americans; 3.5 million people claim German ancestry — more than in Berlin. Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, has 348,979 German-Americans. Even though a large percentage of the Pennsylvania population is of German ancestry, beer preferences tend to vary by cities. For example, Pittsburgh residents drink regular and premium domestic beer more often than Philadelphia residents – probably because of the slightly higher median income in Pittsburgh; $38k compared to Philadelphia’s $35k. Philly residents buy beer in full-service restaurants four times more often than Pittsburgh residents; probably because Philly is a larger metro area with have more options to go out and 1.5 million people, compared to a little over 300,000 people in Pittsburgh. Philly residents spent $50,141,458 (total annual spending by all households) on beer away from home, compared to $12,823,149 spent by Pittsburgh folks. Continue reading

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Will This Back-To-School Shopping Season Hit or Miss?

Anticipation and Anxiety for Students and Retailers

As summer vacations end, students eagerly or anxiously anticipate a new school year, new teachers, and new friends. Retailers also anticipate the Back to School (BTS) season, hoping that fickle consumers will buy their merchandise.  The BTS category includes clothes, electronics, and school supplies for elementary, high school, and college ages.

When does BTS shopping begin? Traditionally, the BTS season began in late July and finished soon after school opened. This timeframe is longer now because some consumers prefer to replenish supplies throughout the year, or wait until the holidays to buy electronics and clothing.

Likelihood of using coupons (US average: 100).

Google Trends says that searches for back-to-school supplies and apparel are consistent across the country. It’s when consumers search that varies a lot, especially by region. For example, Google notes that searches for “bags and packs” tend to start in late June in the Deep South, expand westward, and then head to the Midwest and the Northeast. By mid-July, the whole country is in the market. Continue reading

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Mapping the Theme Parks Market

Leverage Esri’s Market Potential data to help tap in to this multi-billion dollar industry.

Visiting a theme park as a vacation destination or a special day trip is on thousands of people’s bucket lists. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) counts more than 400 amusement parks and attractions in the US. The IAAPA noted in 2011 that 25% of Americans surveyed had visited an amusement park in the last 12 months, and that 43% of indicated that they planned to visit an amusement park in the next year.

Theme parks are a multi-billion dollar industry. For example, in 2014, Disney Parks and Resorts was by far the largest amusement and theme park company in terms of global revenue. With revenues exceeding $15 billion US dollars, Disney generated almost six times that of its closest competitor, Universal Studios Theme Parks (source: Statista). Continue reading

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New App Puts the World in Your Hand

Field Notes – Earth uses the power of three new global maps to help answer important questions about our place in the world.

Esri is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Field Notes – Earth, a new smartphone app that uses three powerful new maps to help you answer important questions about your place in the world, such as:

  • What is your ideal climate?
  • Where does your food come from?
  • What drives your choice to live in a high or low density location?
  • …and much more.

Built using Esri’s AppStudio for ArcGIS, this free app shares the power of geographic information through a common language to describe in tremendous detail the landscape of planet Earth. Continue reading

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Smart Communities as Hubs of Innovation

Six strategies your community can employ to become a smart community.

Putting in place a GIS platform and open data strategy creates the infrastructure for information sharing, solution creation, and innovation. The most solution-oriented, economically competitive communities will find ways to make their GIS platform and open data initiatives actionable by others in the community. These communities will actively work to become a hub of innovation by engaging with NGOs, start-ups, academia, businesses, and citizens.

Encourage Start-Ups

Data provided by the local government can find innovative uses when put in the hands of local start-ups. Entrepreneurial thinkers are often willing to put time, energy, and resources into creating new solutions. If those solutions meet a real need, a small business can bloom and grow within the community, creating attractive new job opportunities. Continue reading

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