Using Open Data to Create Impact Maps

On April 27, a severe weather outbreak began impacting the central United States and Mississippi Valley. Strong winds, large hail, and numerous tornadoes were reported. In Arkansas, one particular tornado resulted in heavy damage and numerous casualties. Fatality and injury reports have not yet been confirmed at the time of writing, and the formal impact assessment is underway.


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Resilience: Building Smarter, Not Stronger

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.

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Story Maps for “Bread and Butter” Applications

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Story Maps are fun, easy, and informative. Their popularity is documented by the many interesting examples you will find at the Story Maps Gallery. An enduring favorite of mine is not the most sophisticated, or provocative, or one that required … Continue reading

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

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

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Supporting the White House Climate Data Initiative

Yesterday the White House announced a Climate Data Initiative that encourages innovation from the private sector and the general public. It’s a call to use open government data on climate change risks and impacts in compelling and useful ways that help citizens, businesses, and communities make smart choices in the face of climate change.

At Esri, we agree that America stands at a critical juncture. We must tap into our innovation to cut the carbon pollution that causes climate change and affects public health. This includes efforts big and small. We need to increase clean, alternative fuels in our energy portfolio; develop more efficient vehicles; and design smarter cities that foster informed citizens willing to do their part. We need to encourage walkable communities with smart transit and easy recycling programs. Cities must look at all options available to them: updating building codes, adjusting the way they manage natural resources, investing in more resilient infrastructure, and planning for rapid recovery from damages when severe weather events occur. We must increase climate resilience to strengthen roads, bridges, and shorelines to better protect people’s homes, businesses, and way of life. Continue reading

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7 Open Source Projects You Should Know About from Esri R&D Center Portland

Terraformer Esri PDX

The Esri R&D Center in Portland, Oregon works on two main projects: developers.arcgis.com and the Esri Geotrigger Service. In our free time we also build and maintain open source tools to help us get our work done more easily. Here’s … Continue reading

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Esri Open Source: A Year On and Growing

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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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Roger Tomlinson, Geographer

It is with great sadness that I relay the sudden passing of our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Roger Tomlinson, on February 9, 2014, at the age of 80.

Roger was above all else a geographer and was always proud to say that. He loved GIS, the field that he invented, and was so pleased to come to Esri and help us in thinking through difficult problems. He had a passion for staying current with the most recent technologies and always had insights that none of the rest of us had. He also loved attending the annual Esri User Conference and the opportunity to both see and acknowledge the great work of GIS professionals from around the world. He always said that giving out the Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Awards was his favorite day of the year. Continue reading

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Denver Growing Smart with Spatial Technology

I’m here in Denver, Colorado for the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference (2/13-15/2014), a perfect location for an event that illustrates the importance of triple bottom line planning that addresses the environment, the economy, and the social sphere of culture, justice, and equity.

For more than ten years, Denver has been adding light rail and commuter rail to their transportation infrastructure to help reduce traffic and improve accessibility. In the last six years or so, a lot of work has been done to revitalize historic parts of downtown to increase its vibrancy and livability.  New shops and trendy restaurants have moved in; planters, trees, and artwork dot the streets; and in the summer, colorfully-painted upright pianos are randomly placed along the walking mall on 16th Street, with free bus rapid transit attracting the young and old to explore and maybe play a tune. Continue reading

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The 2014 Winter Olympic Story (Maps)

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The 2014 Winter Olympics are upon us, and there will be lots of stories to tell both during and after the games. Several ArcGIS story maps help tell different kinds of stories that complement and provide context for what we’ll … Continue reading

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