Category Archives: Uncategorized

Student Loan Debt Spreads to Retirees

For many Americans, the rise in student loan debt means slowing economic recovery, delaying lifestage changes, and even postponing retirement.

Usually considered an issue that impacts only recent college graduates, new studies find that student loan debt is growing among pre-retirees and even those who have already retired. The 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) notes that the rise in student loan debt is pervasive and affects nearly every age group. Families with education loans increased between 2010 and 2013, continuing the long-term trend of rising education debt. Forty-five percent of all American families have outstanding student loans, up from 33 percent in 2007. Between 2001 and 2013, education debt increased from 22.4 percent to 38.8 percent for young families—a household headed by someone younger than age 40.

How is this situation impacting the overall US economy?


Delaying Growth

Because of their student loans, many younger people are delaying home ownership, marriage, and having kids until their finances improve. Because most of this group aren’t establishing their own households now, growth of the broader economy remains sluggish. Many aren’t buying houses, or items such as furnishings, baby/children’s products, or home improvement/construction materials.

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3 Ways to Approach Community Engagement with GIS

Geography can serve as a starting point for building strong, long-lasting relationships with communities.

“Our business is about building friendships and enduring relationships. The culture of our agency is merely a reflection of the work we do.”

—Larry Norris, CEO of Lewis Communications, Matthew Porter, Lewis Communications: “Putting People First,” Communication Arts, March/April 2015.

Have you ever been walking through your neighborhood and seen a geyser of water shooting up from a broken sprinkler head, or a fallen tree branch lying in the middle of the street, or a tagger’s graffiti scrawled across a bus stop shelter, and wondered how you could notify the right people to come and take care of it? It’s common that people lack the tools to facilitate community engagement.

Geography can serve as a starting point for building a community engagement strategy. And, GIS technology can provide you with the tools you need to accomplish it. Maps and spatial analytics form a sort of universal translator that allows us, as individuals, living and working in communities, to build strong, long-lasting relationships with other people in other communities simply by sharing geographic information. Continue reading

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Map Gives New Insights into Global Population

Esri’s World Population Estimate, a new probability surface that estimates the location and count of people throughout the world, is now available in ArcGIS Online.

Esri has been producing a global population estimate in ArcGIS Online for several years. This data is in the form of point features with population counts and characteristics assigned to each point; and it is used behind the scenes in apps such as Business Analyst Online, Community Analyst, and Esri Maps Apps. That may sound simple, but those points are big data; with nearly a billion locations represented. The Geographic Data Enrichment tools depend on those points as the basis for describing the characteristics of local populations in countries lacking a census or countries that do not make detailed census data available.

World Population Estimate map for Jakarta, Indonesia.

Based on this earlier point data work, Esri released the World Population Estimate (WPE) in December 2014. WPE takes the form of a raster surface, which is far easier to make available in ArcGIS Online and use in analysis models than the previous point data. Continue reading

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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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Americans Love Movies!

Movies come in many different genres, and data identifies the people who watch them.

Ever since the first grainy black and white images flickered silently across a screen, movies have fascinated Americans, and the love affair continues unabated today. The movie industry is a major contributor to the US economy. According to Statista, by the end of 2014, the movie industry generated $564 billion in sales in the US. Over the next four years, this figure will grow to $679 billion. PricewaterhouseCoopers says that by 2018, total revenue generated by US filmed entertainment will rise to $39.16 billion, from $31.12 billion.

Drama, comedy, romance, action, horror, or family movies—each category has devoted fans. Esri’s Market Potential and Tapestry Segmentation data was used to create this interactive map of the US by county that shows areas where movie fans are located along with basic demographics and their favorite genre. See where your county ranks for each category.

This interactive map of the US shows areas where movie fans are located along with basic demographics and their favorite genre.

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Data Drives Economic Development

Demographics, lifestyle, and spending data provide answers to the “Who, What, and How” questions that business owners need to ask.

When local Economic Development departments need to attract new businesses to fill empty sites, where do they start? The answer: Show ‘em some data!

Data about the types of people who live, work, and shop near a site is like gold to business owners, revealing incredibly valuable intelligence. To learn where a new site can be successful, business owners need answers to three basic questions about an area population:

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Telematics is the Future

Using telematics smartly, we can create a better driving experience while using resources more effectively and increasing throughput on our roads.

What is telematics? Basically, telematics is the science of summarizing all information from mobile units, like cars, trucks, ships, and other vehicles, for sharing mobile data. Information about traveling speed, braking conditions, vehicle diagnostics, the temperature of a refrigerated container and more can be aggregated through a telecommunications network and distributed. Information from vehicles on the move can be used to make decisions on a moment’s notice. Every mobile device, every car on the road can become a sensor.

How will GIS help automated cars become a reality?

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Top 10 Reasons to Share Your Data with ArcGIS Open Data

Releasing your open data means much more than making a file download site to meet government transparency requirements.

Publishing your data as open data makes your community and the whole world a better place to live. Open data enriches the programs and applications created by software developers. It stimulates local, regional, national, and international economies. Open data is eradicating polio and combating Ebola. Open data helps scientists and researchers better understand the universe and make life better for all of us.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is using ArcGIS Open Data to help combat the deadly Ebola virus.

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Top 10 Esri Insider Blog Posts of 2014

Content, Open, and Managing GIS make Big Splashes

Esri Insider provides a platform for Esri’s thought leaders and visionaries to share with you the new ideas and trends that they see in GIS. As 2015 kicks into high gear, we’d like to take a moment to stop and take a look back at the stories that struck a chord with you. These are the ten most popular posts of the Esri Insider blog for 2014.

10. Strengthening the Link between GIS and Science, by Matt Artz, November 5, 2014

This interview with Kevin Butler, Product Engineer with the Geoprocessing and Analysis team, details the integration of ArcGIS with SciPy, a Python-based ecosystem of open source software for mathematics, science, and engineering.

9. Attention GIS Managers: New Strategies for New Times, by Adam Carnow, September 22, 2014

This post, from our Managing GIS series, outlines the skills and strategies required to be a successful manager of today’s modern GIS department. Continue reading

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3D is in the Air at the Geodesign Summit

Annual Event to Showcase 3D Visualization and Design Solutions for a Complex World

3D visualization and design using GIS technology will be one of the main themes at the Geodesign Summit, which returns later this month to Esri headquarters in Redlands, California.

People are visual creatures who see the world in three dimensions. It makes sense that 3D technology should play an increasing role in making the complex easy to understand. The complexity of the many layers of spatial and non-spatial information that can go into a geodesign workflow requires that information be communicated in intuitive media so people understand it more easily.   When 3D technology is used with intuitive media, both non-technical and technical observers can better grasp the behavioral and aesthetic impacts of proposed change in the context of the world around them. Continue reading

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