Tag Archives: Esri
At the foundation of Esri’s work are the belief and vision that geography is a science that creates a better understanding of our world. Using GIS, geography has also become a unifying framework for integrating many forms of digital information. GIS has now become an important technology in almost every field, improving efficiency, communication, and decision making. Our users have made GIS come alive in countless applications across thousands of organizations. I would like to both acknowledge and thank our users and partners for supporting Esri’s mission of evolving our GIS technology.
Over the last four decades, Esri has evolved both its business model and technology offerings through four distinct phases always focused on GIS software services and support.
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.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the Esri Insider blog launch. It all started on June 30th, 2011, with a simple little post about our (then) new Ocean Basemap. Since then, we’ve brought you more than 30 posts about Esri’s vision, technology trends, and other important and entertaining topics for geospatial professionals.
In terms of page views, the top 5 most popular posts to date have been:
- The Future Looks Bright for Spatial Thinkers
- GIS and The City 2.0
- The Intersection of GIS and Gaming
- GIS without the Box
- Telling Stories with Maps
What was your favorite post? And what would you like us to discuss next?
On a planet where 71 percent of the surface is covered by water, the oceans are critical for life itself. They feed us, regulate our weather patterns, provide over half of the oxygen that we breathe, and provide for our energy and economy. Yet only 5 to 10 percent of the ocean floor and of the waters beneath the surface have been explored and mapped in a level of detail similar to what already exists for the dark side of the Moon, for Mars, and for Venus.
GIS technology, which has long provided effective solutions to the integration, visualization, and analysis of information about land, is now being similarly applied to oceans. Our ability to measure change in the oceans (including open ocean, nearshore, and coast) is increasing, not only because of improved measuring devices and scientific techniques, but also because new GIS technology is aiding us in better understanding this dynamic environment. This domain has progressed from applications that merely collect and display data to complex simulation, modeling, and the development of new research methods and concepts.
For decades the public health field has generated incredible knowledge about what makes us sick. Public health agencies and authorities tell us in general what is good and bad for the general population, hoping that we will individually change our behaviors or pressure others to remediate assaults on our collective environments. Frankly, it’s a never ending job faced with difficult information choices, deaf ears, and mixed messages.
On the other hand, we have medicine at its apex of specialization, where doctors know a great deal about a few things and fewer know a little about everything. More problematic, however, is the new paradigm of a virtual physician in the palm of your hand: as society embraces the use of smartphones, people increasingly search for their own diagnoses and cures in absence of a more creative approach for bring public health knowledge into close proximity of personal medicine.
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:
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.
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.
Stories are a very important aspect of our society, and storytelling is one of the things that make us uniquely human. Stories convey important knowledge about the world around us, often in a simplified yet dramatic fashion designed for maximum impact. We have much to learn, remember, and understand in life, but wrap a great story around something and it will make an impression on us that lasts a lifetime.
So where do maps fit in the storytelling realm? I recently spoke with Allen Carroll, who left National Geographic about a year ago and is now ArcGIS Online Content Program Manager at Esri, about Story Maps—a new initiative he’s working on with David Asbury, Lee Bock, and Stephen Sylvia to integrate storytelling and maps.
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.