GIS users had lots to cheer about in 2012, with major releases of software with important new capabilities. These deliveries have also set the course ahead for what’s to come in 2013. Here’s a quick look back on the past year, with a glimpse at the year ahead.
Clearly a significant release, and one of the best and most comprehensive updates in many years, the big milestone for Esri professional GIS users this year was ArcGIS 10.1, fulfilling many initiatives introduced in 2010 with ArcGIS 10.0. Beyond the new features and functions it delivered, ArcGIS was transformed, becoming a complete and unified system, with integrated online and mobile capabilities to support a variety of workflows and needs. Continue reading
Like it or not, we are all aging. In 2000, the median age in the United States was 35.3 years. By 2010, this number had increased to 37.0 years; today, the median age is 37.3 years. By 2030, seniors will comprise 20 percent of the total US population. In addition to people living longer, the jump in the US median age is also due to aging Baby Boomers.
Seniors are not one monolithic demographic cohort. From those aged 55 to those in their 80s and older, seniors have vastly different lifestyles, preferences, and spending habits. These differences become even more apparent when classified by demographics such as affluence, education, employment, and race/ethnicity. Data about product and media preferences, leisure activities, and shopping habits provides even more detail. Continue reading
“So many of the world’s current issues—at a global scale and locally—boil down to geography, and need the geographers of the future to help us understand them.”
“What is the capital of Madagascar?”
Unfortunately, that’s what most people think of when they hear the term geography.
“It’s boring,” they say. “It’s the study of useless information. It has no practical relevance to my life.”
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Geography is one of the most interesting, vibrant, and dynamic fields of study today. It’s also one of the most vital.
This past week (November 7-8, 2012), we held the first and only Esri Oceans Summit at Esri headquarters in Redlands. This was an invitation-only, high-level strategy workshop attended by intermediate to advanced ocean GIS analysts and developers, including many long-time users of Esri software. It was also an important deliverable of our new Oceans GIS Initiative.
More than 50 attendees triumphed over agency travel restrictions, budget cuts, busy schedules, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and other obstacles in order to be here with us at their own expense. They came ready to discuss with more than 40 Esri employees the various GIS functional requirements for ocean science, justification for and validation of such approaches, use cases, and the like. One major goal was for Esri to listen carefully to these attendees in order to help us move forward in our thinking about our approaches and our products to better serve ocean science and resource management. Esri employees came from all parts of the organization: Industry Solutions/Marketing, Core Development, Sales, Professional Services, and more.
Posted in Industry Focus
Tagged Dawn Wright, Esri, GIS, HDF, marine spatial planning, netCDF, ocean management, ocean science, oceans, Oceans & Maritime, OpenDAP, THREDDS
Driving change through GIS
The technology we use today, both in our work and personal lives, has become interchangeable. The smartphone that is available through any retailer today is as capable, or more capable, than what most people need for work. The computer that I used at my desk, just a few years ago, is less capable than the phone that I carry at my hip. One might say that we are holding onto an overabundance of computing potential in our very hand. Add to this the throughput broadband and 4G wireless networks allow. One only has to watch the news to see how citizens are reacting to this abundance of connectivity. Information about your family, friends, and business acquaintances is at your fingertips. So is information about your bank accounts, credit cards, hotel reservations, or a sale at your favorite store. But government is a different animal—it is cautious and slow to change. And it is this change that occupies the thoughts of many public leaders. Just as we’re growing to expect more information and answers at our fingertips, citizens’ expectations of government are also growing. Continue reading
A great map often starts with a great basemap. It’s the canvas upon which we paint our operational layers, providing context and bringing them to life. Esri has published many different kinds of basemaps, including Streets, Imagery, Topographic, and more. These basemaps are continually updated as new information becomes available.
One of the most popular basemaps (and the default ArcGIS Online basemap) is the World Topographic basemap, also known as the “Community Basemap.” It’s a GIS crowd-sourced basemap that compiles data from many GIS users that participate in Esri’s Community Maps Program.
The basemap is compiled from the best available sources, and includes boundaries, cities, water features, physiographic features, parks, landmarks, transportation, and buildings. Updates are published monthly, and you can find more details on ArcGIS Online.
Trooping into my room on the first day of school, my 8th grade geography classes would look above the board and see a sign:
- What’s where?
- Why is it there?
- So what?
I would tell them that they didn’t need to know a lot of facts for my class; primarily they needed thinking skills. They would build up their background knowledge by exercising those skills endlessly. We quickly began exploring.
Many of us are familiar with the term “cause-related marketing.” Sometimes the phrase is applied in a broad sense to any effort to increase public awareness of an important issue. A narrower definition is a campaign by a corporation to support a cause, either (cynically) to promote its own brand or (unselfishly) to lend its support to a worthy pursuit—depending on your point of view.
The Internet, the airwaves, and print media are rife with cause-related marketing. How many times, for instance, have you encountered ads by oil companies and automobile manufacturers touting their “green” practices? Cause-related mapping, on the other hand, is a far less common phenomenon.
What is cause-related mapping? It’s my own term, so I’m happy to propose a definition: It’s the use of maps, in combination with other rich media, to inform and engage the public in support of important causes.
Anyone who has participated in the annual Esri International User Conference or has pored over the annual Esri Map Book knows that geography and science touch our lives every day. It is incumbent upon we GIS professionals, and others we inspire, to clearly communicate the value and benefits of careers working with geospatial technologies. And this year’s Earth Science Week offers a great opportunity for the GIS community to come together and promote geospatial career pathways.
As we look at the current state of the world, imagine the future, and recognize that we and others must jump into the breach to tackle everything from local matters to global predicaments, we have always seen GIS and a geographic perspective as essential to helping steward local communities and the planet. This very much includes the geosciences community—from people seeking to solve energy sustainability issues to those helping ensure our planetary ecological footprint is softer to those contending with interrelated ocean and atmosphere changes. The Esri Education Program, a 20-year proponent of the use of geospatial technology in science education, has been attentive to this. Another great step forward is getting the geospatial industry to embrace and actively promote Earth Science Week and advance the geosciences career pathway.
A leapfrog opportunity
Despite the digital revolution, many public works departments are still in the paper age. Typically, these departments serve smaller communities and have yet to adopt GIS technology for a variety of reasons, including cost and complexity. The steps in implementing a traditional GIS include buying a system; converting paper basemaps; adding infrastructure layers such as roads, pipes, and wires; building applications; and training users, all of which is often too resource intensive. Cloud-based GIS removes these barriers. Continue reading