The ArcGIS Platform: An Architecture Overview

Enterprise implementations typically include a mix of software technology and data sources carefully selected to satisfy specific operational business needs.

[Note:  This is latest post in our series about Managing GIS.]

The ArcGIS platform includes an integrated mix of software developed to satisfy a full range of GIS user requirements. All of these components are designed as a system to work together within an integrated enterprise GIS environment. This is the big picture of what ArcGIS has to offer in building an enterprise GIS. ArcGIS is the overall platform, and the components of this platform work together to satisfy a variety of specific business needs.

An overview of the ArcGIS platform component architecture.

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Keeping It All Together

Esri’s 2015 Resolution for Vertically Integrated Gas Companies

This time of year, it’s customary to settle on a New Year’s resolution. That resolution often leads to a wish list.

Companies—especially vertically integrated gas companies—have asked Esri to prioritize a special wish. Vertically integrated gas companies need a pipe-network feature that enables both a linear-referencing network and a geometric, or facility, network.

We have some good news. Esri is rolling out two solutions:

Here are three reasons we need ALRP and UPDM. Continue reading

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Big, Bad Data

Context is crucial in making big data useful, and the key to that context is often location.

Move over, smart grid. A new buzz phrase has bumped you out of first place in utility IT: big data.

As with smart grid, no one really knows what big data means. We know it’s big in information technology, though. And I’m even not sure that the term “big data” is even grammatically correct.

I recently interviewed a candidate for a job and asked him what he knew about GIS. In his response he mentioned big data perhaps 10 times and smart grid only seven. I concluded that big data was now bigger in the utility IT space than smart grid. 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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Evolving the GIS Profession

Four Guidelines for the New GIS Professional

The GIS platform helps you visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends. As a GIS professional, you make the GIS platform valuable and successful. You are the champion of geography-based decision making across your organization. You define and drive the adoption and application of spatial technologies.

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The Evolution of GIS Software

From tightly scripted software code to the cloud, understanding our history can help guide us in building the technology of the future.

[Note:  This is latest post in our series about Managing GIS.]

There is much we can learn from our past. Each technology advance has been a tradeoff between heavier processing loads and deploying software that was easier to build and maintain. Faster hardware processors and improved network bandwidth provide opportunities for more software innovation. As platform and network capabilities improve, new advances in software move technology forward at an increasingly rapid pace.

Software development history gives us insight into the basic principles that guide us in building the technology of the future. The figure below provides a high-level overview of the major GIS technology changes over the past 20 years. Continue reading

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Creating a Sustainable GIS

A COTS-based approach insures your applications will stand the test of time.

[Note:  This is latest post in our series about Managing GIS.]

 

“Government agency leaders recognize that pre-recession business models are not sustainable, and are willing to pursue radical service changes by making targeted IT investments.”

Gartner, Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for Smart Government, 2013

This quote from Gartner is one I use frequently, because I think it says a great deal about our situation in the GIS industry today.  The game plan we used in the late 2000s is no longer sustainable.  Even if GIS professionals don’t immediately recognize it, IT and agency directors do, and they are ready to spend money on it.  In this installment of our Managing GIS series, we’ll take a look at why that is and how it impacts today’s GIS professionals when it comes to applications. Continue reading

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Selfies: More than Just Photos

Singles who can afford to spend on themselves have become a formidable consumer market.

In 2013, Oxford Dictionaries announced that selfie, defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website,” was their Word of the Year.

But there’s another definition.  Economist Edward Yardeni uses “selfies” to describe singles who can spend on themselves or save for later because they’re not supporting a family, saving for college, or paying off a mortgage. William Frey of the Brookings Institute states in the City Families; Suburban Singles report, “More than 80 percent of nonfamily households are single persons living alone; of these, more than one-third are 65 years and older.” More than 125 million people are single in the US; more than half of all US adults are unmarried. From seniors to Millennials, selfies are found in every age, race, and income group. Continue reading

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Big Data: Keep it Simple, Keep it Small

Turning big data into knowledge is all about relevance and context

Big data may be all the rage these days, but it isn’t exactly new. In fact, Esri has been dealing with big data since the inception of digital mapping more than three decades ago.  When every contour, stream, street, rail line, park, building, or shoreline for the entire world is stored in an intelligent database, data doesn’t get much bigger than that.


Data as Big, Beautiful, and Living as the Earth

Back in 1992, Esri embarked on an ambitious campaign to create the very first seamless digital map and database of the whole world. This project—aptly named the Digital Chart of the World—converted paper maps of political boundaries, transportation lines, utilities, cultural landmarks, and more into a digital map product that could be viewed for the first time as something other than a pretty picture. In a world where CDs were still considered new and expensive storage media, and hard drives came in hundreds of megabytes, the 1.7 gigabyte database was not only huge, but it also challenged many computer specification and storage architectures. Continue reading

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Resolving the Challenges Facing National Mapping Organizations

To address private sector competition, organizations need a strong platform to support customer needs. 

While national map, chart, and data production (MAPS) organizations have long been recognized as the source of authoritative maps and mapping data, they are currently struggling to retain that unique position and, consequently, their funding, due to increased competition from the private sector.

Commercial map providers not only have the ability to quickly collect mapping data but also to package and distribute it in a way that resonates with businesses and government agencies. Because these commercial map providers are able to bring together data and services and deliver them on the Internet and in mobile environments, customers expect the same capabilities from their national MAPS organizations. MAPS organizations must move from solely being data providers to integrating and delivering information products including maps, data, web services, and apps, using a common platform delivered through Web GIS. Continue reading

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