Parallels between the GIScience Community in the Early 1990s and the Current State of Data Science
I came of age in the early 1990s, as the technology driving geographic information systems (GIS) was beginning to successfully “handle” geospatial data at a range of scales and formats, and a wide array of information technology products emerged from an expanding GIS industry.
However, that small community struggled to reflect the diverse research efforts at play in understanding the deeper issues surrounding geospatial data, and the impediments to effective use of that data (see a GIS history timeline).
Deeper issues? Continue reading
Using ArcGIS as a system of record can help retailers navigate the global marketplace successfully
The retail world is expanding. According to an International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), 70 percent of the retail chains around the world are opening new stores this year. It’s a global phenomenon that is coming at a time when consumer expectations and habits are evolving at an unprecedented fast pace.
What is driving this growth? The ability to understand microdemographics, changes in distribution channels, and the power of the web seem to be the catalysts that are ensuring growth across a large scale. Retailers no longer need to be entrenched in a local environment to understand their customer base, build up brand, and grow sales. There has been no other time in history when a retailer could first open a store in San Francisco, a second in Sydney, and a third in Singapore in quick succession and expect to be successful.
By understanding where data comes from, anyone in a business can decipher knowledge quickly and make better decisions.
Teaching spatial thinking concepts and their practical application through hands-on exploration prepares today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs.
Spatial thinking is identifying, analyzing, and understanding the location, scale, patterns, and trends of the geographic and temporal relationships among data, phenomena, and issues. Spatial thinking helps us better understand our world and solve the tough problems we face today.
Geo-technologies—which include geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, global positioning systems (GPS), and web mapping—are the way we apply spatial thinking concepts to our everyday lives. In 2004, the US Department of Labor identified three rapidly growing fields for the 21st Century: Nanotechnology, biotechnology, and geo-technology. Teaching the concepts of spatial thinking and the use of geo-technologies to today’s students is important because it’s where the jobs are—and will continue to be in the future. Continue reading
Esri is now curating an enormous and rapidly growing library of ready-to-use maps, imagery, and geo-referenced data for the entire world. This online collection of authoritative content, together with the new Web GIS pattern, is having a huge impact on the way people use GIS.
GIS has a long history of successfully adapting to new technologies, applications, customer types, and business models. From mainframes to minicomputers, UNIX workstations to PCs, desktops to the enterprise to the cloud, each round of technical innovation has led to countless advantages for users of the technology. Every one of these changes has extended the reach of GIS by making it more accessible and usable by more people and for more applications.
Esri is curating a massive library of ready-to-use data for the entire world.
Today, Web GIS together with massive online content is creating a major transformation in the use and access of GIS with simpler tools and information architecture. Some of the major initiatives that are enabling this transformation include: Continue reading
GIS gives utilities a repeatable means of mitigating risk and minimizing surprises.
The probability that something bad will happen makes us think of our protectors: insurance companies. Insurance companies accumulate the combined risk of policyholders. Insurers lose money if bad things happen. They make money if bad things don’t happen.
Some say utilities are risk averse. It’s true that utilities historically are conservative. They avoid taking actions that could trigger unwanted consequences. The problem is, the cost of remaining conservative rises constantly. Given recent economic troubles, utilities must learn to avoid negative consequences while also avoiding overspending to do so. The situation gets worse when you consider utility infrastructure ages faster than many utilities can afford to replace. So as facilities enter disrepair, hazards abound. Reliability suffers.
What happens? Continue reading
Demographics, lifestyle, and spending data provide answers to the “Who, What, and How” questions that business owners need to ask.
When local Economic Development departments need to attract new businesses to fill empty sites, where do they start? The answer: Show ‘em some data!
Data about the types of people who live, work, and shop near a site is like gold to business owners, revealing incredibly valuable intelligence. To learn where a new site can be successful, business owners need answers to three basic questions about an area population:
Recent innovations in information, analyses, and science-policy linkages can help guide the planet towards a more resilient future.
For many of us when we think about the ocean, it’s a situation of “out of sight, out of mind.” In our limited awareness of the ocean, we see only the surface and think only of vast expanses of lifeless water, not realizing all of the complexities at play.
In fact, the ocean provides over HALF of the oxygen that we breathe. It regulates ALL of our weather patterns, it feeds us, and it provides for our energy and economy.
The ocean is a champion at absorbing human-derived (anthropogenic) CO2. Around half of all carbon dioxide produced by humans since the industrial revolution has dissolved into the world’s oceans. Coastal habitats store five times more carbon than do inland tropical forests. This has all helped to slow global warming.
So in reality, the ocean is vital to all of us, no matter WHERE we live. Continue reading
Advanced location analytics assist gas utilities in the face of growing demand—and growing competition.
Natural gas and electric distribution utilities compete to bring energy to homes and businesses for heating purposes. Today, these utilities continue a long-running battle to gain market share at the expense of each other. Stakes are high. Generally, the winner supplying energy for heating has some competitive advantage in supplying energy for hot water and cooking. But not necessarily.
At times, executives responsible for customer growth in natural gas distribution envy their peers in water and electric distribution. Virtually every household and business needs water and electricity for some purpose. That’s not the case for natural gas.
The convergence of five global trends—geo-awareness, geo-enablement, geotechnologies, citizen science, and storytelling—has the potential to offer geography a world audience.
Five converging global trends may present geography with world attention that may be unprecedented in the history of the discipline. These include geo-awareness, geo-enablement, geotechnologies, citizen science, and storytelling. Each of these recent trends is transforming the audience for geography and how geography is taught, perceived, and used.
Issues central to geography are now part of the global consciousness. Everyday objects are rapidly becoming locatable, and thus able to be monitored and mapped. Many tools and data sets that were formerly used and examined only by geographers and other earth and environmental scientists are now in the hands of the general public. Citizens outside academia are becoming involved in contributing data to the scientific community. Multimedia and cloud-based GIS have greatly multiplied the attraction that maps have had for centuries to tell stories. Continue reading
Using telematics smartly, we can create a better driving experience while using resources more effectively and increasing throughput on our roads.
What is telematics? Basically, telematics is the science of summarizing all information from mobile units, like cars, trucks, ships, and other vehicles, for sharing mobile data. Information about traveling speed, braking conditions, vehicle diagnostics, the temperature of a refrigerated container and more can be aggregated through a telecommunications network and distributed. Information from vehicles on the move can be used to make decisions on a moment’s notice. Every mobile device, every car on the road can become a sensor.
How will GIS help automated cars become a reality?