A Question of Scale, Resolution, and MMU

I often find myself explaining aspects of map scales to people trying to use maps.  They are interested in questions about how big something shown on the map is, or how far a distance measured on the map is, or the accuracy of features depicted on the map.  As the creators of the maps we must understand the nuances of maps, so that the people who use them can use them appropriately. After all, with great power comes great responsibility!

One of the areas that I find confuses people is map scales, resolution, and minimum mapping units (MMU). Continue reading

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Success through Data Science

How a start-up is helping big name brands cash in through spatial modeling and analytics.

Shawn Hanna, Managing Partner of Retail Scientifics

Finding a successful retail site doesn’t require a crystal ball, but it does take the ability to clearly see and understand what your data is really telling you. And this is a whole lot simpler and easier when you couple GIS technology with real-world experience.

Shawn Hanna, Managing Partner of Retail Scientifics, knows this well. For thirteen years, he was responsible for advanced analytics at Petco, helping the company with real estate, market planning, marketing, and pricing, all using location intelligence.

When Petco moved the company’s analytics function to Texas from San Diego, California, Shawn and several others decided to venture out on their own. They opened up a consultancy that performs analytics projects for retailers broadly. The group focuses on modeling, forecasting accuracy, ad hoc analytics, and other data driven projects. Continue reading

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Squeeze Play: Generation X is Stuck in the Middle

Sandwiched Between Baby Boomers, Millennials, Parents, and Kids

Since they were first identified, the huge Baby Boomer and Millennial cohorts have fascinated demographers and sociologists. As they moved through their lifestages, these two groups influenced life in the US; however, over the years, Generation X (GenXers) was stuck in the middle and largely ignored.

So, who are the GenXers? According to Pew Research, GenXers are stuck in the middle of everything. Demographically, they’re between the ages of 34 to 49; not old, but not young. Pew also notes that they are more racially and ethnically diverse than Boomers (61 to 72 percent), but less diverse than Millennials (57 to 61 percent).

Generation X households are scattered across the US. Some counties in the Greater Denver metro area count GenXers as more than 12% of the total population. Many GenXers also live in Clark County, Nevada (14% of 2,083,955 people) and Lexington County, South Carolina (14% of 278,599 people). However, only 7% of the 47,255 people in Whitman County, Washington are GenXers. This map shows where you can find GenXers by county in the US. View the interactive map.

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Location, Location, Location…Platform

Three companies describe how they use a location platform for commercial real estate.

Real estate is no longer just about “location, location, location.” It relies on location, information, and timing to identify and bring to completion the best developments. Having access to reliable, relevant, and timely location intelligence and insight allows real estate professionals to focus on the business at hand: delivering the best deals for all involved.

The right tools allow you to use insight, creativity, and objectivity to work out the best deal for you and your clients by applying the right information about particular locations to bring your vision to reality. Esri’s ArcGIS platform provides the tools and data you need to move on a decision quickly, and reap the benefits. Three different commercial real estate companies describe how they are able to address the business at hand using the ArcGIS platform. Continue reading

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Seeing is Believing: The Reach of Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management was one of the factors that helped us out of the middle ages. Where would we be today without the tools and processes to manage the flow of goods and services or the ability to utilize specialist’s skills and resources far apart from another? Chances are, we’d still be raising our own food.

While I admit that I have days when I fantasize about this type of simplicity, I like my cushy life too much to give up on essentials like Starbucks coffee. Plus, my family would quickly starve if we had to rely on my farming skills. So, it is good that instead of farming and foraging, I work for a software company instead.

Today, the flow of goods in the world relies heavily on bits and bytes shared among the world’s computers. Each day, software and computers control billions of dollars-worth of goods traded between countries. These goods—anything from livestock and produce to mobile phones and coffee beans—travel from farms and assembly plants to stores by truck, rail, air, and ship.  Supply chains link the world’s population tightly together; all our lives depend increasingly on timely and smooth operations and careful supply chain management.

Logistics centers keep the global supply chain moving.

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Cinco de Mayo: Celebrated in the US and around the World

Cinco de Mayo (May 5th), a national holiday in Mexico, marks the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, when against overwhelming odds, the Mexican Army defeated French forces. To commemorate the victory and acknowledge their ancestry, many Mexicans in the US and around the world will participate in parades, dancing, mariachi bands, and festivals that are part of the celebrations. Traditional Mexican food along with Dos Equis and Corona beer is often served or sold.

Thanks to American marketers, Cinco de Mayo celebrations are bigger in the US than in Mexico. Adding color and spice, this holiday has introduced cultural favorites such as piñatas, bright costumes, tacos, and Cinco de Mayo celebrations to mainstream America. For restaurants, grocery and party supply stores, and the food and beverage industry, Cinco de Mayo has become a much anticipated crossover event. In addition to the US population of Mexican descent, marketers have promoted Cinco de Mayo celebrations to everyone in the US, creating a major, revenue-generating juggernaut. Continue reading

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The New Era of Web GIS

Why the Workbook Getting to Know Web GIS Is This Year’s Must Read for GIS Students

With an estimated three billion people using the Internet, it’s no wonder that GIS is rapidly moving onto the web. Web GIS is becoming more popular within government agencies, businesses, and other organizations around the world as public demand skyrockets for services that include maps.

That’s why learning web GIS is a must, especially for students who plan a career in geospatial technology. To teach them the fundamentals, Esri recently published Getting to Know Web GIS, a new how-to workbook that teaches, step by step, how to build and share web GIS apps quickly and easily using the Esri ArcGIS platform. The apps can be used in a browser on any type of device, from the desktop to a mobile phone.

Getting to Know Web GIS, written by Esri senior web GIS application developer Pinde Fu, is a follow-up to the popular 2010 book Web GIS: Principles and Applications, which Fu cowrote with professor Jiulin Sun from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. After getting schooled in the basic concepts of web GIS, readers were clamoring for help to build web apps.

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Community Engagement Puts People First

Citizens become the environmental researchers and change agents for more ecologically healthy neighborhoods and communities.

GIS—and in particular, participatory GIS—is about communities locating themselves, spatially, according to the environment that shapes their lives. Participatory GIS is also about how communities locate themselves socially within society and finding ways to equalize imbalances around who makes decisions that determine how neighborhoods are planned and resources are managed.”

—Kirstin Miller, Executive Director of Ecocity Builders

If you want to change the quality of life in your city, you have to get people involved. The good folks at Ecocity Builders refer to this effort as “empowering ordinary citizens to claim a stake in their city’s future.” And one of the ways they make this happen is through their Ecocitizen World Map Project. Continue reading

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The Location of Things

In an era where nearly everything moveable, measurable, and monitorable, location has become a crucial component of the Internet of Things.

The buzz about the Internet of Things (IoT) is everywhere. You know the IoT: the notion of an always-aware network of sensors found in interconnected devices. Typically these sensors capture identity, status, and other relevant information. But for what value? Having a sensor alerting you to a device-based problem is no good—unless you know where to send a repair person. If a sensor alerts you to your colleague in trouble, it would be nice to know where to send help.

Location is a crucial component of the IoT, and geography gives the IoT its actionable value. That’s why I get even more excited about another new buzz phrase: The Location of Things.

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Five Compelling Story Maps for Earth Day 2015

At Esri, we believe that geography is at the heart of a more resilient and sustainable future. Governments, industry leaders, academics, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) trust us to connect them with the analytic knowledge they need to make these critical decisions that shape the planet. Our technology enables organizations to create responsible and sustainable solutions to problems at local and global scales.

Celebrated annually since 1970, Earth Day events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental conservation and protection. “The celebration of this day is important for Esri as an acknowledgement of our fragile planet, but also to recognize the work our staff and our users are doing to make the world a better place,” said Jack Dangermond, Esri founder and president. “Thank you for all you do.”

On this 45th anniversary of Earth Day, we invite you to take a few minutes to explore these five compelling interactive maps created using Esri’s story maps technology that detail how our planet is changing. Continue reading

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