Tag Archives: Cloud
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 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
Following are a few notes from my talk at the 2012 Esri User Conference. You can watch the complete video here.
Geography is our platform for understanding the world. GIS is making geography come alive. GIS condenses down all of our data, our information, our knowledge, and our science into a kind of language that we can easily understand: maps.
Maps help us integrate and apply our knowledge. Maps also tell stories—stories about almost everything in our world. We need to harness the power of maps to design the future and create better outcomes.
I’m very confident that we can do this. One reason is that GIS itself is advancing; it’s getting more powerful and it’s getting easier to use. It’s evolving with lots of new capabilities. It’s moving to the cloud and becoming more pervasive. GIS has evolved mapping to a new level, creating geography as a platform.
The technology tides have shifted again and, as the notion of cloud computing is becoming mainstream across most industries, a new buzzword is emerging: Big Data. Never heard of it? Simply put, the term refers to the ever-growing mountain of data, generated from myriad sources, that organizations must effectively address.
For instance, according to a recent MeriTalk survey, 96% of Federal IT professionals expect their agency’s stored data to grow in the next two years by an average of 64 percent.
Big Data is often described using the Three “V”s: Velocity, Volume, and Variety. By example, let’s take a few of the real world case studies gathered by IBM and provided by Mike Rhodin, Senior Vice President at IBM Software Solutions:
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.
The cloud is growing in importance for GIS professionals, with cost efficiency, scalability, and flexibility as major drivers. We can see the beginnings of cloud options for many organizations with the ability to run ArcGIS Server in the cloud and also via Esri’s managed services in the cloud.
On a similar, but yet somewhat different and exciting frontier, ArcGIS Online is a key part of the Esri vision for ArcGIS in the cloud. However, up until recently the focus for ArcGIS Online has been on the data part of GIS – making and sharing maps, apps, and other resources, and organizing online communities.