Category Archives: Vision
Next-generation techniques are already changing the way we do science. Recently the National Academy of Sciences convened a Workshop on Identifying Transformative Research in the Geographical Sciences. Given that so many of the challenges that we currently face are place-based … Continue reading
Temperature shifts, stronger and more frequent storms, drought, fire, and floods… We’re already seeing the effects of climate change manifested in many ways. These changes are placing critical habitats at risk, shifting ecosystems, reducing water supplies, creating health concerns, and … Continue reading
New Tools Will Help Us Meet the World’s Challenges
We try to predict the future every day. You think about what the weather might be like. You think about what might happen with your favorite sports team. You think about what the future might hold for you.
Beyond prediction, some of us are actually engaged professionally in creating the future. Because as Peter Drucker said, “The best way to predict the future is to create the future.”
Every issue from pollution to habitat to biodiversity and beyond has a geographic component, and thus can be studied in the field. Because the world is rapidly changing, and because large organizations have cut back on many of their field staffs, much of the critically needed field data can and should come from citizen scientists.
What is “citizen science”?
“Citizen science is scientific research conducted, in whole or in part, by amateur or nonprofessional scientists, often by crowdsourcing and crowdfunding.”
Consider the major environmental issues of our 21st Century world: Coastal erosion, air, soil, and water pollution, urbanization, desertification, habitat loss, invasive species, and Continue reading
In Al Gore’s latest book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, he points out that it took nearly all of human history–some 200,000 years–to create the first billion people. It took only 12 years to create the last billion. We currently welcome about 1.5 million people to the planet every week, mostly in developing countries.
For the first time in recorded history, more than 50% of humanity now lives in cities. By 2050, some 80% will live in cities. Urbanization is already having a profound impact on our lives, yet we have little understanding of the unintended consequences.
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
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
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
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.
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