Category Archives: Vision

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

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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Esri Open Source: A Year On and Growing

arctocat

Esri has several initiatives developing an open platform. A year ago, I blogged about our foray into consolidating our code and the GIS community to GitHub as our forum for sharing, and indeed actively working, on open-source code. At the time … Continue reading

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

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Last Update: March 29, 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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The Geodesign-Biomimicry Connection

Jack Dangermond studied under Ian McHarg and Carl Steinitz, the combination of which took the manual overlay method of designing with nature from paper to the digital world using computers in 1969. His hope was that GIS would become a framework for modeling earth’s systems so they could be managed more sustainably. In 1995, Jack called GIS “the nervous system of the planet,” foreshadowing what I think GIS is on its way to becoming. Geodesign–an iterative design method that uses stakeholder input, geospatial modeling, impact simulations, and real-time feedback to facilitate holistic designs and smart decisions–is the natural evolution of that vision.

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The Climate Change-GIS Connection

Climate change and its effects are fundamentally geographic challenges that require a geographic approach, where we endeavor to understand the constraints a changing climate imposes upon the terrestrial and aquatic systems we depend.

Geography is a powerful multidimensional framework enabling scientists to explore data layers, discover emergent new patterns, and test alternative scenarios; so we can understand the risks, develop proactive adaptation strategies, and increase society’s long-term resilience to climate change through policy modification. Esri is committed to providing tools to accelerate the global community’s ability to access content, do analyses and share results. Continue reading

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What is CyberGIS?

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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. The … Continue reading

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GIS: Transforming Our World

To everyone who attended the 2013 Esri User Conference, I want to thank you for helping to make this year’s User Conference such a great success.  For those who could not attend, let me take a few minutes to give you an overview of my opening remarks on Monday morning.

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The theme of this year’s User Conference was “GIS: Transforming Our World.”  When I first started looking into this magical word transformation, I found something really profound.  It basically means change.  Changing in two ways–physical change as well as the perception of what we see.  And GIS has a lot of relevance to both of these kinds of change.  Your work as GIS professionals is physically changing the world through all kinds of activities.  But it’s also changing how we see things, and how we communicate them, which is driving changes in the way we understand and interact with our world. Continue reading

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From Story Maps to Information Maps

Story maps are very popular.  They combine web maps, text, and rich media content to create compelling applications that inform, educate, entertain, and inspire people about a variety of topics. Many story maps can be lumped into the “fun” category–stories about personal journeys, vacations, adventures, and sightseeing across the globe. Here’s an example: Skiing the Haute Route: Touring from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland:

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Esri and the Scientific Community

Updated: March 25, 2014

At Esri we are concerned with supporting basic and applied science, but we also recognize that there are many major themes of compelling interest to society that will drive scientific research for the next two decades. And thus we view science as helping us to understand much more than solely how the Earth works, but how the Earth should look (e.g., by way of geodesign), and how we should look at the Earth (i.e., by way of Earth observation in varying forms and the accompanying data science issues of analysis, modeling, developing and documenting useful datasets for science, interoperating between these datasets and between various approaches). Continue reading

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A Living Atlas of the World

Atlases have long been used by people to help navigate and understand our world.  A traditional atlas consists of a collection of static maps portraying various aspects of geography, bound together in book form and updated with new information at long intervals.  The geography covered, in terms of both themes and extent, is set in stone for any given atlas, and the thematic information is typically created and authored by a select few authoritative sources.

These traditional atlases have served us well for many hundreds of years.  But today, the world is changing rapidly, and it’s difficult for traditional atlases to keep up with the pace of that change.  To help us keep pace with our evolving planet, our concept of what exactly constitutes an atlas must also evolve. Continue reading

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