Creating and Customizing a Story Map — From a Non-GISer

Our friends at GISi recently published a great post about how one of their non-GIS people created a story map. One of our writers had just created a Halloween-themed story map and we thought it would be interesting to learn more about his experience.

Guest Post by Robby Deming

As a writer, I never thought I would create a story map. I have some technical knowledge, but the artistry and rich functionality behind some of our story maps just seemed way out of my reach. After creating The Geography of Horror story map, I’m now proud to say that I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only is it easy to create a story map, but it’s also relatively easy to put your own unique touch on one.

The Geography of Horror

The hardest part about creating this map? Collecting data on nearly 250 movies.

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Urban Planning and the DNA of the City

A city looks and feels the way it does because of human intention. Early civilizations built their settlements next to waterways, designing them to accommodate this resource accessibility and their own survival. During the beginning of the industrial revolution, cities were planned with ever-evolving rules ensuring that city streets were wide enough to accommodate the full turn of a horse and carriage. In this way, the values of the people were encoded into the very DNA of the city.

A complex built environment can be reduced to three basic elements: links along which travel can occur, nodes representing the intersections where two or more paths cross and public spaces form, and buildings where most human activities take place. The functionalities of place are all defined by rules and procedures, which make up the core design vocabulary of a place.  Procedural design techniques automatically generate urban designs through predefined rules which you can change as much as needed, providing room for limitless new design possibilities. Continue reading

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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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