GIS: The universal language
To understate the obvious, there appears to be a communication gap in many public works departments between information technology (IT) and what could be called operational technology (OT). However, clear communication between these departments is critical for the successful completion of city projects. Continue reading
The earth’s climate is changing, leading to serious problems for humanity in areas such as food security, health, and public safety. We need to adapt swiftly. But where do we start? Should we reinforce or rebuild existing structures? Or should we abandon existing settlements and relocate the population in some cases? And how can mass rebuilding/relocation efforts be best accomplished from human, environmental, and economic perspectives?
Geodesign is a framework for understanding the complex relationships between human-designed settlements and the changing environment, for quickly planning ways to adapt existing communities and build new ones in a more sustainable manner. This methodology helps us assess risk, identify change, create synergies, develop strategies, adapt to change, and monitor the results. Geodesign takes an interdisciplinary, synergistic approach to solving the critical problems of future design—to optimize location, orientation, and the features of projects at local and global scales.
In celebration of Earth Day, Disneynature is releasing its latest true-life adventure called CHIMPANZEE. The film follows Oscar, a young chimpanzee with an entertaining approach to life who overcomes several obstacles. More than just an entertaining movie, it’s also an opportunity for you to learn more about chimpanzees, and ultimately play a role in their conservation.
The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) has long history of using geospatial technology to help conserve chimpanzee habitat and support surrounding communities. Dr. Lilian Pintea, JGI’s Director of Conservation Science, explained their approach at the recent Eye on Earth Summit:
What have we learned after 100 years?
On April 15, 1912, more than 1,500 passengers and crew aboard the RMS Titanic perished at sea in one of the most infamous maritime disasters in all of human history. She was the largest ship afloat at the time, but the location of her wreckage remained a mystery until 1985. Many have seen similarities between the sinking of Titanic and the struggles of the gigantic cruise ship Costa Concordia, which ran aground off the coast of Italy almost 100 years later. Continue reading
The recent Esri Developer Summit (DevSummit) in Palm Springs brought together thousands of developers and GIS professionals from all over the globe. Attendees learned more about building and successfully launching applications built upon the portfolio of tools, components, and software that Esri offers, and had a chance to network and exchange ideas with development team members and peers.
Many Web and mobile developers outside the mostly GIS-oriented community that attended the DevSummit may not be as familiar with these solutions, but they certainly should be, and this was my theme at a recent keynote at the Where 2012 Conference.
Integrating enterprise data
For many Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and roadway agencies, the days of rapid highway construction have passed. DOTs now primarily focus on preserving existing investments and maximizing the performance of built infrastructure. Effective decision making with respect to the mix of operational improvements, investments to advance safety, and maintenance spending requires access to a wealth of information to help drive these decisions. And while almost all of this data is available within these larger organizations, few have been successful at bringing that information together in ways that could help foster more intelligent decision making. Continue reading
Technology and the great recession have changed retailing forever. Gone is “Clonetown USA” with its repetitive retail landscape replaced and redesigned to engage the customer on their own terms. Today, it’s all about doing business locally, bringing your store to the customer rather than thinking the customer is inclined to seek you and your products out at your store. AppFire caused a major media buzz when they announced in January 2011 that the average Smartphone user spends just over three quarters of their 84 minutes a day using maps, social networking, and other activities immersed in the Web. The least important thing we now do with our phones is talk!
Smartphones have empowered the tech-savvy consumer and as a result stores are porous. According to the Mobile Movement Study, 95 percent of smartphone users have looked for local information and 70 percent use smartphones while shopping in-store to price compare or find the best place to purchase a product. For the retailer the most important statistic is that about the same number visit the business they search and 53 percent actually purchase.
Since the dawn of humankind, people have sketched maps on cave walls and rocks. These maps documented and communicated important geographic knowledge, and helped our ancestors make better decisions about the critical choices that determined their survival or demise.
Fast-forward to the 1960s. Computers had arrived on the scene and were beginning to be used to help us solve increasingly complex problems. “It was not until the IT revolution brought new hardware and software, removing earlier constraints, that hopes could begin to be realized and modern GIS could take shape,” Prof. Brian J. L. Berry of the University of Texas, Dallas says in an article titled “Quo Vadimus?” in the upcoming Spring 2012 issue of ArcNews. “And take shape it has, creating the extraordinary new interdisciplinary area of geospatial information science.”
More than 50% of the 7 billion people inhabiting our planet now live in cities, a number projected to grow to more than 75% during this century. The growth of cities as the center of the human world was highlighted when “The City 2.0” was awarded the 2012 TED Prize. “For the first time in the history of the prize, it is being awarded not to an individual, but to an idea,” the TED committee stated. “It is an idea upon which our planet’s future depends.”
Clearly cities will play an increasingly important role in our future survival. Cities offer easier access to services, and urban dwellers are more efficient consumers of limited resources. Cities are human destiny. But as our cities become more populated and more numerous, how do we best manage this complexity?
We need to start thinking about cities in a different way.
Back in 2008, the term “cloud computing” was barely a glint in the eye of most technology companies. Perhaps they used SalesForce.com and Gmail, but tossing around the “cloud” terminology wasn’t really de rigueur.
Now it’s hard to imagine tech discussions without some reference to it at least once in conversation. Seems like it’s everywhere – or at least the terminology is.
In 2009, Esri hitched its geo-wagon to Amazon Web Services (AWS) as our primary cloud provider. But the general consumer audience was much more familiar with shopping experiences through Amazon.com rather than cloud hosted services off of AWS. Fast forward less than three years, and things certainly have changed. AWS has established itself as separate and different from Amazon.com, with a brand synonymous with “cloud” as a globally-known public cloud infrastructure service provider. And in 2010, Esri announced the availability of ArcGIS Online, initially supported by AWS infrastructure under-the-hood, to bring the ubiquity of a public cloud platform to the geospatial community.