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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GIS: Transforming Our World

To everyone who attended the 2013 Esri User Conference, I want to thank you for helping to make this year’s User Conference such a great success.  For those who could not attend, let me take a few minutes to give you an overview of my opening remarks on Monday morning.

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The theme of this year’s User Conference was “GIS: Transforming Our World.”  When I first started looking into this magical word transformation, I found something really profound.  It basically means change.  Changing in two ways–physical change as well as the perception of what we see.  And GIS has a lot of relevance to both of these kinds of change.  Your work as GIS professionals is physically changing the world through all kinds of activities.  But it’s also changing how we see things, and how we communicate them, which is driving changes in the way we understand and interact with our world. Continue reading

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Story Map Examines World’s Busiest Airports

Most of us have experienced busy airports when traveling, and this latest story map examines the 25 busiest airports in the world. Which airport do you think is the busiest? This story map presents some surprising and interesting results.

The story map is built using a just-released new storytelling “countdown” template, which you can download from ArcGIS Online or the storytelling with maps template gallery.

What stories can you tell using the countdown story map? Let us know! View lots more stories at the storytelling with maps website.

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From Story Maps to Information Maps

Story maps are very popular.  They combine web maps, text, and rich media content to create compelling applications that inform, educate, entertain, and inspire people about a variety of topics. Many story maps can be lumped into the “fun” category–stories about personal journeys, vacations, adventures, and sightseeing across the globe. Here’s an example: Skiing the Haute Route: Touring from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland:

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Transforming Essential GIS Skills

Over the years GIS has grown to cover a very broad horizon. It’s no longer the domain of specialized departments; instead it has become deeply woven into an organization’s fabric and extends to a very public and connected audience. The fact that we think differently today than in the past about how we use–and perhaps more importantly how we can use–GIS reminds us that we need to continue to evolve our skills in new directions, whether we’re seasoned GIS veterans, or simply trying to land that first job.

A recent e-mail from someone just beginning to to take their first steps into the GIS job market had me thinking about this again. They asked me whether they should take a course in Python to improve their GIS job prospects. Continue reading

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Sharing Information to Support Smart Grid

I recently co-presented a session on GIS and the Smart Grid to a group of about 150 folks from the gas and electric utilities and the telecommunications businesses. We thought it might be interesting to have the groups come together since as more and more utilities implement Smart Grid (electric and gas), there will become greater interdependencies on one another. We further thought that this session would be a great opportunity for each company to tell us their current practices on sharing data, problems and issues. The premise was, of course, that since ArcGIS is a platform which facilitates sharing of information, that both groups could give us feedback on how best to facilitate collaboration. Much to our surprise, the groups do not have much collaboration at all. In fact, they hadn’t really considered it very seriously. When I probed them further, I asked, well how do you share information with each other? One utility guy, perhaps, half-jokingly said that he bought his friend from the phone company a beer and that’s when they shared information.

The biggest take away from this session was this: the discussion on this topic hasn’t really started. It should. Continue reading

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Story Map Commemorates Historic Flight

Wiley Post was an accomplished American aviator, and the first to fly a fixed-wing aircraft around the globe in 1931, setting a record time of 8 days, 15 hours, and 51 minutes. Interestingly, the first around the world flight was made by Hugo Eckener in 1921, piloting the Graf Zeppelin and taking 21 days.

In 1933 Post repeated his flight, this time flying solo, and breaking his previous record with a time of 7 days, 18 hours, and 49 minutes. His plane, the Winnie May, is now on display at Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

You can learn more via an Esri story map that commemorates the 80th anniversary of Post’s feat by visiting the Smithsonian’s Air & Space website, or viewing the story map application.

Visit Storytelling with Maps to view more interesting story maps from Esri and the ArcGIS community.

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