Breaking Down Barriers

Enhancing internal and external collaboration with the ArcGIS platform.

In the novel You Can’t Go Home Again, mid-20th-century American author Thomas Wolfe fictionalizes his hometown. Wolfe’s main character gets into trouble, angering the townsfolk of his hometown. I can relate.

I grew up in a blue-collar city, where the main claim to fame was that at one time it was the most densely populated city in the United States. That meant packed houses and city streets. You could say that I grew up on the streets of this very crowed city. Shortly after marrying and having a child, my wife and I moved to the suburbs. Later, my career became running electric operations for the power company that covered my old home town.

About 15 years ago, my hometown City Council invited me as a special guest at the chamber. Residents packed the public session; I felt certain at least a few might have gone to high school with me.

The residents weren’t happy. I felt like Wolfe’s character. Continue reading

Posted in Industry Focus | 1 Comment

Local + Global = Real Estate Success

A collection of data, maps, and apps powered by ArcGIS Online is one broker’s not-so-secret key to success. 

John Schultz is a commercial real estate broker in Baltimore, Maryland. With a drive to help retailers continually find their next location, John juggles a lot in any given day: site reviews, lease negotiations, market tours, and much more. And he works in multiple markets, with multiple clients. He’s also a strong family man who’s committed to making time for his wife and two kids.

How does he keep up? He works smart.

John Schultz, a partner at MacKenzie commercial Real Estate Services, knows maps make smart business colleagues.

Continue reading

Posted in Industry Focus | Leave a comment

Two Mapping Forums for Advanced Users and Senior Executives

For more than 30 years, the annual Esri User Conference (Esri UC) has brought together thought leaders to share the latest innovations and applications in geographic information system (GIS) technology, which seems limited only by the imagination.

Interest in GIS has grown exponentially over the years, which, in turn, has attracted more and more people with varying backgrounds and expertise to the Esri UC. As a result, attendees began demanding coinciding events specific to their particular areas of interest. Esri’s mapping and statistics team will be staging two forums at the Esri UC this summer to meet the needs of users whose business is mapping and GIS data production. Continue reading

Posted in Industry Focus | Leave a comment

Spatial Analysis Promotes Effective Community Engagement

Empowering People with Spatial Analysis Tools

According to the MapAsheville website, “Priority Places is a free, interactive mapping tool provided by the City of Asheville to strengthen strategic economic development and planning activities. The mapping tool facilitates business siting, neighborhood renewal and real estate development by enabling the identification of optimal locations for activities.”

The website prompts users to select the criteria that matter most, weight each factor’s importance, and create a “priority map” based on the those choices as well as custom reports on a host of demographic data. It then uses weighted map overlay analysis to create heat maps of sites that best meet chosen criteria. Continue reading

Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

Thematic Mapping with Hexagons

Want to be “in” the cool club?  Use hexagons to visualize your data.

Over the last few years we’ve seen more and more maps that use hexagons.  They have become “cool”.  Why is that?  Well, hexagons and other regularly shaped features allow you to normalize geography for thematic mapping rather than be constrained to using irregular shaped polygons created from a political process (for example, county boundaries, census tracts, zip codes, etc.).  And this is VERY useful because of the massive disparity in some of these shapes.

For instance, if you create a thematic map using US counties, the county where I live disproportionately stands out as it the largest county in the US and is 20,105 square miles (52,070 km2), or slightly larger than the states of New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island combined.  Using appropriately sized regularly spaced shapes helps solve this disparity of perception.

Left: Population Density show with Counties. Right: Population Density shown with Hexagons.

Continue reading

Posted in Technology | 3 Comments

Understanding ArcGIS Pro

Esri’s ArcGIS Pro has reinvented desktop GIS. That may seem like a bold statement, but when you understand why it was built, you see that it is true. It was designed and built from the ground up to fit the needs of the modern GIS professional based on input from the GIS community. In order to meet the requirements that were put forth by the worldwide community, Esri had to start fresh with a completely new architecture and lay a solid foundation that would allow performance and experience to be the guide. This is why a new application was needed, a reinvention based on your ideas and needs, and this is why ArcGIS Pro exists.

ArcGIS Pro is a truly 64-bit desktop application that takes advantage of your modern hardware for maximum performance and smooth map and 3D scene displays. It has a vibrant, contextual interface that serves you with the right tools at the right time, and anyone who has spent time looking for tools knows, this is fantastic. You can now do exciting new things like design and edit in 2D and 3D in one place, work with multiple displays and layout designs, and publish finished web maps directly to ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS. Continue reading

Posted in Technology | 11 Comments

Esri and the Scientific Community: Year in Review/The Year Ahead

Science at Esri continues to be an exciting initiative where we are concerned with supporting both basic and applied science, while also recognizing that there are many major themes of compelling interest to society that will drive scientific research for the next two decades. Thus we view science as helping us to understand not only how the Earth works, but also how the Earth should look (e.g., by way of geodesign), and how we should look at the Earth (i.e., by way of Earth observation in varying forms and the accompanying data science issues of analysis, modeling, developing and documenting useful datasets for science, interoperating between these datasets and between various approaches). In addition to supporting the science community, we seek to do good science at Esri ourselves, as it underpins much of what we do as an organization. This is helping us to evolve ArcGIS into a comprehensive geospatial platform for science; a platform that supports research project management and collaboration, spatial analysis, visualization, open data, and communication of science, all at multiple scales (i.e., from individual researcher to lab workgroup, to multi-department, multi-university, university-to-agency collaboration, to citizen engagement).

You can always track the totality of the Esri science initiative at esriurl.com/scicomm,Hot! but in this post I’ll share some highlights from 2014, and as we near the end of 2015′s first quarter, talk about the immediate road ahead. Continue reading

Posted in Industry Focus, Vision | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3 Ways to Approach Community Engagement with GIS

Geography can serve as a starting point for building strong, long-lasting relationships with communities.

“Our business is about building friendships and enduring relationships. The culture of our agency is merely a reflection of the work we do.”

—Larry Norris, CEO of Lewis Communications, Matthew Porter, Lewis Communications: “Putting People First,” Communication Arts, March/April 2015.

Have you ever been walking through your neighborhood and seen a geyser of water shooting up from a broken sprinkler head, or a fallen tree branch lying in the middle of the street, or a tagger’s graffiti scrawled across a bus stop shelter, and wondered how you could notify the right people to come and take care of it? It’s common that people lack the tools to facilitate community engagement.

Geography can serve as a starting point for building a community engagement strategy. And, GIS technology can provide you with the tools you need to accomplish it. Maps and spatial analytics form a sort of universal translator that allows us, as individuals, living and working in communities, to build strong, long-lasting relationships with other people in other communities simply by sharing geographic information. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

16 Things We Can Do to Increase Geoliteracy

Many of the big issues the world is facing today are fundamentally tied to space and place—they are geographic issues. To grapple with these issues requires a population that can assess and use geographic information to make wise decisions—in short, a geoliterate population. Creating a geoliterate population requires cultivation in three essential areas: core content, geographic tools, and the geographic perspective.

Core content. While core content is important, it is often maligned, perhaps because it is often equated with memorization of facts for examinations. Geography’s core content is richer than mere facts—and much of it is systems thinking: ecosystems, and systems of climate, culture, watersheds, oceans, land use, governments, and many more. Core content focuses include learning about natural phenomena such as how ocean currents affect climate, and cultural phenomena, such as sense of place.

Continue reading

Posted in Industry Focus | Leave a comment

5 Tips to Help Maximize Your Use of ArcGIS Online

ArcGIS Online gives you everything you need to create interactive web maps and apps that you can share with anyone. With ready-to-use content, apps, and templates, you can be productive right away. From sharing your work with others to preventing accidental deletion of items and more, here are five helpful tips from Esri pros that will help you maximize your use of ArcGIS Online.


1. Get Your Story Map Noticed

You’ve worked hard to make a great Esri Story Map app. But now you want to make it easy for people, including Esri’s Story Map team, to find your work online.

Continue reading

Posted in Technology | Leave a comment