Driving Business Integration with GIS

GIS professionals should take the lead on SAP/GIS integration projects.  It’s good for business, and it’s good for GIS. 

GIS teams often ask me how to integrate mapping features into SAP enterprise applications. The question usually comes up right after they find out that their IT department is moving all legacy business data sources to SAP.

Unfortunately, this “who moved my cheese” scenario often results in the GIS team simply reestablishing links to the same old data. In doing so, they are essentially paving the same old cow paths, rather than seeing the move to SAP as an opportunity to make the processes that drive the business more efficient.

Leading an innovation-focused collaboration with the SAP team and business stakeholders can deliver productivity-enhancing business process improvements, and a higher profile for the GIS team within the enterprise. Continue reading

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What is up with the Weather?

Climate change is here, and geospatial tools are already helping us adapt to the “new normal.”

It is hard to believe that as the Polar Vortex returns to North America bringing snow and subzero temperatures, meteorological offices in the UK, Australia, and other countries around the world announced that 2014 was the hottest year on record. Records dating back to 1659 tell us that eight of the UK’s top ten warmest years have occurred since 2002.

Soaring temperatures and high winds in Australia last year fueled some of the worst bushfires in more than 30 years. According to a recent report by Climate Council, a climate change research group based in Australia, changing weather, a growing population, and the proximity of vulnerable assets in bushfire-prone areas have increased the risks to lives and property. The cost of these bushfires is estimated to run into hundreds of millions of dollars each year. It is expected that Australia needs to double the number of firefighters by 2030 to cope with this threat.

Ironically, record warm weather like Australia’s dry spells and drought in California are mirrored with increasingly severe wet weather, including cyclones, in the Pacific and Atlantic hurricanes. Continue reading

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Follow the Five Patterns of Business to a Successful GIS

Deploying solutions to support all five patterns insures that your organization will get the maximum ROI from your GIS.

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

If you have been following the development of the ArcGIS platform, you may already be familiar with the “five patterns of business.”  They are:

  • Data Management
  • Planning & Analysis
  • Field Mobility
  • Operational Awareness
  • Constituent Engagement

These five patterns are common to all organizations.  If you are an ArcGIS platform user, then it is important that you understand these patterns, because they are driving the development of the platform.  Because these five patterns are common to all organizations, and Esri can provide a location platform that supports all of them, any organization can get the benefits of GIS in just about everything they do. Continue reading

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The Future of Web Maps in Next Generation Textbooks

Integrating interactive web maps with other digital content will make “nextgen” textbooks come alive.

Textbooks are changing, and so is the textbook industry, which accounted for almost $14 billion in US sales in 2013. The high cost of printed texts is driving the change. The Student Public Interest Research Group estimates that full-time US college students spend nearly $1,200 per year on textbooks, on average. Mounting public concern about the high cost of education in general, and textbooks in particular, is forcing publishers away from printed books toward a new generation of less expensive digital products. Esri is interested in the future of textbooks because they affect millions of young people every year, and because of the potential to make textbook maps come alive. Continue reading

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Insight beyond the Numbers

Location analytics lets you visualize your key performance indicator data on maps.

Russ was one of my favorite bosses. He was the president of the utility I worked at. I ran electric operations. Russ was an accountant, a bean counter by training. I was (and am) an electrical engineer. Yet we agreed on almost everything about running a gas and electric utility.

Russ once told me that there are only four things you have to do to be successful at running a utility. Only four? Yes. Make money, keep customers happy, keep employees happy and safe, and stay out of trouble. Continue reading

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Real-Time Spatial Analysis

Everybody gather around the map and make better decisions in real time. 

You might think of spatial analysis as a process that can help you make sense of large amounts of current and/or historical information.  And you’d be right about that.  But spatial analysis works equally well in real time.

Imagine a metropolitan police department working to stay on top of everything that happens in a big city. Crimes, accidents, and traffic, along with all the mobile and stationary assets that they need to track come together to create an overwhelming task of real-time data collection and analysis.

But in law enforcement, time is of the essence.  They need to get a handle on all of this data—and fast.  They need to respond in the moment. The real-time data coming into their system needs to be understood and acted upon in real time. Continue reading

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Top 10 Esri Insider Blog Posts of 2014

Content, Open, and Managing GIS make Big Splashes

Esri Insider provides a platform for Esri’s thought leaders and visionaries to share with you the new ideas and trends that they see in GIS. As 2015 kicks into high gear, we’d like to take a moment to stop and take a look back at the stories that struck a chord with you. These are the ten most popular posts of the Esri Insider blog for 2014.

10. Strengthening the Link between GIS and Science, by Matt Artz, November 5, 2014

This interview with Kevin Butler, Product Engineer with the Geoprocessing and Analysis team, details the integration of ArcGIS with SciPy, a Python-based ecosystem of open source software for mathematics, science, and engineering.

9. Attention GIS Managers: New Strategies for New Times, by Adam Carnow, September 22, 2014

This post, from our Managing GIS series, outlines the skills and strategies required to be a successful manager of today’s modern GIS department. Continue reading

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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.

Continue reading

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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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