Electric Utilities Need Answers

GIS Responds to the Tough Questions

Electric utilities face a new world–one in which the infrastructure is aging along with the workers. The price of everything keeps going up. Customers want better and faster service, but some of them cannot pay their bills. Natural disasters seem to get nastier each year. Governments continue to dole out more and more regulations. The community wants better service, lower emissions, and fewer mishaps. It’s a political nightmare to raise rates. Plus, the new smart grid devices are smothering utility operators with data.

In short: utilities cannot continue to operate as they have been. Utilities need a better way to do business. GIS can help. Continue reading

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Story Maps Speak In Many Languages

Stories are spoken in many languages, and the same is true for Story Maps. The results of a story map competition held at the recent Esri France SIG 2013 conference offered some compelling examples for me.

The winning story map merged themes of culture with urban and industrial heritage, but my favorite was a photographic tour of the Paris Metro. This was a tough selection to make over my second favorite story map about the seasonal migration (or transhumance) of people and their sheep. Of course all of these story maps are in French. Continue reading

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What is CyberGIS?

cybergis

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, particularly … Continue reading

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Are We There Yet? Median US Household Income Recovering in 2013

“Are we there yet?”

Vacationing parents usually answer this familiar question with a resounding “No!” The inquiry also resonates with economists who agree that median household income in the United States is “not there yet.”

Median household income is nowhere near the pre-Great Recession figures. According to Esri’s Updated Demographics data, median household income was $53,150 in 2007. During calendar year 2008 (the first year after the start of the recession), median household income rose to $54,700. In the intervening years, median household income fell from $54,700 in 2009 to $54,442 in 2010, and dropped in 98 percent of US counties. In 2013, Esri’s Updated Demographics data notes that with a figure of $51,314, median household income is still in recovery, increasing by only $1,157 from $50,157 in 2012. Continue reading

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Smithsonian’s Story Map Examines the Shale Gas Boom

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is transforming communities across the US above shale rock layers that trap natural gas and oil. Fracking involves the injection of millions of gallons of water and other fluids into shale deposits under high pressure, causing fracturing of the surrounding rock and the release of gas through nearby wells. The extraction technique is controversial, and the resulting changes to nearby communities are argued as both good and bad.

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Making the Most of the ArcGIS Platform in Higher Education

Aaron Addison, Director of Data Services & GIS at Washington University in St. Louis, sent a provocative message to Esri’s “highered-l” listserv recently.  His subject line was “What to teach from ArcGIS platform?” “I have been involved with GIS instruction for over 20 years,” Aaron wrote, “and never have I been less clear where a newcomer to the field of GIS should concentrate their skills.”

It’s a good question, especially in light of the emerging centrality of ArcGIS Online as both GIS software-as-a service and a geospatial content management system. Here Esri’s Education Team responds with a vision of how today’s ArcGIS platform can be used to support introductory, intermediate, and advanced GIS education at the college level.

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Smithsonian’s Historic Look at Cities

spyglass

Among the current top stories on Smithsonian’s website is a “then and now” perspective of a handful of cities using David Rumsey’s historical maps and current aerial imagery in an interactive application. The applications were built using one of the … Continue reading

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USDA Adds People to Its Forest Inventory

At one time, researchers limited their forest ecosystems studies to biological and physical analysis. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service recognizes that humans are also part of the forest ecosystem. The condition of a forest greatly depends on how people think of it and the ways they want to use it.

Dr. Richard Guldin is the acting associate deputy chief for the USDA Forest Service’s research and development. In his keynote address at the Esri Forestry GIS Conference in May 2013, Guldin explained the role of GIS in tracking the health, productivity, and diversity of the nation’s forests. 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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Story Map Examines World’s Busiest Airports

Most of us have experienced busy airports when traveling, and this latest story map examines the 25 busiest airports in the world. Which airport do you think is the busiest? This story map presents some surprising and interesting results.

The story map is built using a just-released new storytelling “countdown” template, which you can download from ArcGIS Online or the storytelling with maps template gallery.

What stories can you tell using the countdown story map? Let us know! View lots more stories at the storytelling with maps website.

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