Michigan Partners with Esri to Lead the Way in Smart Communities

By: Christopher Thomas

One of the most important challenges in managing and providing public services today is the effective sharing of data among departments. The Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB), located in Lansing, Michigan, has taken a huge step in empowering their staff by choosing Esri to host and manage all their imagery data.

Esri provides the integration platform and framework for managing imagery services that the state required for greater efficiency and collaboration. Key stakeholders across multiple departments and partner agencies can now share common authoritative geospatial data.

The Esri solution will serve up to 25 terabytes of data for services and products common to all areas of the government. This data will be managed by the Center for Shared Solutions (CSS), an office within DTMB, which provides leadership, technical expertise, and sharing of geographic information in the state. The department also provides more than 60 statewide mapping datasets hosted on the ArcGIS platform for every state-run entity in Michigan.

By hosting and managing imagery services in the Esri cloud, the state of Michigan will now be able to provide a data resource and shared understanding, enabling more informed decision making.

For more information how government agencies use Esri technology to foster innovation, visit esri.com/stategov.

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What are mosaic datasets?

Collections of images

The recommended data structure within ArcGIS to manage and process imagery is the mosaic dataset. A mosaic structure enables significant big data capabilities for large, even massive, image collections. Each mosaic is composed of a number of related raster datasets, enabling you to keep your original individual image files on disk and to access them as part of a larger, integrated single collection. Mosaics are used to create a continuous image surface across large areas. For example, among other scenarios, you can use mosaics to handle coverage of very high-resolution image files for an entire continent. Or you can manage an entire historical map series for a nation for every year and every map scale. You can even manage huge multidimensional collections of time series information for earth observations and climate forecast modeling (often referred to as 4D). Creating mosaics is straightforward. You can point to a series of source georeferenced image files and automatically assemble a mosaic in minutes where each image acts as a tile within the collection.

Managing extremely large collections

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Are you ready for the storm?

Flooding is one of the most costly natural disasters that government agencies endure. Floods are a great risk to people and property. Knowing ahead of time that a flood is going to happen, what will be flooded, who will be affected, and how to respond is of great importance to reducing loss of life and property.

Does your organization have the capabilities, resources, and tools it needs to weather any storm and safeguard your community? In this blog you will find three critical steps that help you to prepare for and respond to flooding events.

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The Importance of Location Analytics in Supporting the Space Planning Capability

Space planning is a key component of the merchandising process. At Esri, we consider space planning in merchandising as those capabilities that support the allocation of space and placement of products in the retailer’s stores.

Best-in-class retailers tightly integrate space planning with their assortment planning and fulfillment capabilities. The amount of space given to a category or product drives the shelf stock by store, which is used, along with demand forecasts and available inventory, to calculate need for fulfillment and ordering.

There are two key capabilities that space planning teams in merchandising support: macro space and micro space.

Macro Space Planning                                                                                                                

Retailers typically will create macro space plans that describe the layout of their stores at the category level. This process is hierarchical in nature; store planners and merchants tend to start at the total store and divide up available store space into by merchandise divisions or departments. They will then further break down their space into categories.

For example, in a big box retailer, a department might be Pet Care. Categories within pet care might be dog food, cat food, cat litter, small animal and pet beds, leashes and accessories. Store planning teams will determine the total amount of store footage to allocate to Pets, and to each category. Considerations will be store performance by category, aisle and fixture configuration and the relationship between highly trafficked and less trafficked store locations.

Micro Space Planning

Once the department and category space allocations have been made the micro-space team takes over. Also called planogramming, micro space planning is the process of creating fixture-specific schematics that store merchandisers use for seasonal and new product sets in their stores. Planograms describe the number of facings a given product might have on a shelf, how many items to put on the shelf, what signage is needed, what shelf labels are needed, and where to place them.

How Esri Can Support Space Planning

One of the key strategies that brick-and-mortar retailers are trying to solve today is localization, how to make their individual stores more relevant to the communities and neighborhoods they serve. To accomplish this, retailers need to intersect attributes and data about customers, products and location in order to create a full understanding of who is shopping in their stores and, just as importantly, who is not. Being able to effectively leverage this data enables retailers to more successfully engage and retain their existing customers while creating assortments or marketing messages to reach new customers and grow market share by leveraging their existing investments in store square footage.

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Modeling: What can patterns tell you?

Some problems demand you go beyond exploring the data into quantifying relationships or formally testing hypotheses. This is where modeling comes in. Spatial modeling allows you to derive new data from values of existing data layers and to predict what might happen and where. Modeling often takes you into the realm of developing specialized workflows through programming. Creating scripts and automated workflows lets you efficiently query and process large amounts of data and implement more complex algorithms. Increasingly, the value of sharing methods and code through the web allows you to create complex workflows without the need to develop all the components. Knowledge is being shared by putting the real power of spatial analysis into the hands of more people.

Modeling Processes

With an understanding of the processes at work in the natural or human environment, additional features can be modelled from spatial data. Using an elevation surface, for example, you can derive information and identify features that were not readily apparent in the original surface, such as contours, angle of slope, steepest downslope direction (aspect), shaded relief (hillshade), and visible areas (viewsheds). You can model the flow of water across Earth’s surface, deriving runoff characteristics, understanding drainage systems, and creating watersheds.

This GIS app shows how GIS was used to model areas that cougars would be likely to traverse through the mountains and wildlands near Los Angeles. Wildlife conservation experts stress the need to identify safe corridors, including natural bridges, so the big cats in isolated populations can find each other.

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Archaeologists Use a Drone and a Dog to Map a Dig

By: Angela Lee

In Sweden, Kalmar County Museum archaeologists Nicholas Nilsson and Fredrik Gunnarsson used Esri technology to unearth a moment frozen in time.  Using data captured by a drone, a web app, and a dog with a keen sense of smell, the archaeologists mapped a fort and its houses as well as the violent fate of the people who lived there.

In the 5th century AD during Europe’s turbulent Migration Period, on the island of Öland off the coast of Sweden many ring forts were constructed, mainly as a places of refuge during times of war.  Many gold artifacts have been found on the island, including gold coins given to islanders for serving as mercenaries in the Roman army.  The area surrounding the Sandby Borg ring fort had an unusually high concentration of these gold coins.

Concentration of gold coins (solidi) on Öland, Sweden

In 2010, locals alerted the Kalmar County Museum that the Sandby Borg ring fort was being looted.  The Museum conducted a metal detector survey in order to save any remaining artifacts.  They found some amazing items, including jewelry caches containing large gilded brooches.  Why would these items be left behind?  Because of this mystery, the Museum began excavating Sandby Borg.

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A new level of cool

The Arctic Ocean Basemap

Over the past few years, Esri’s Ocean Basemap team has noted the world’s scientific attention shifting north. The receding sea ice and increased vessel traffic within the Arctic Ocean is coming front and center in discussions within the marine and maritime communities. To support the communities, Esri’s Ocean Basemap team developed the Arctic Ocean Basemap.

The Arctic Ocean Basemap (left) uses a special projection that is optimized for study of this region covering the northern latitudes of the globe from 90 to 50 degrees north. This (and the companion imagery version) is designed to be used as a basemap for overlaying other data for the Arctic region, such as this example (right) featuring sea ice extent and oil exploration data on top of the polar basemap.

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Archaeologists Use a Drone and a Dog to Map a Dig

By: Angela Lee

In Sweden, Kalmar County Museum archaeologists Nicholas Nilsson and Fredrik Gunnarsson used Esri technology to unearth a moment frozen in time.  Using data captured by a drone, a web app, and a dog with a keen sense of smell, the archaeologists mapped a fort and its houses as well as the violent fate of the people who lived there.

In the 5th century AD during Europe’s turbulent Migration Period, on the island of Öland off the coast of Sweden many ring forts were constructed, mainly as a places of refuge during times of war.  Many gold artifacts have been found on the island, including gold coins given to islanders for serving as mercenaries in the Roman army.  The area surrounding the Sandby Borg ring fort had an unusually high concentration of these gold coins.

Concentration of gold coins (solidi) on Öland, Sweden

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The EPA Wants its Workforce to Think with Maps

By Scott Ball

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), responsible for protecting human health and the environment, has enabled 15,000+ staff members access to mapping tools. With this technology, EPA workers can create maps right from the data they have stored in Microsoft Excel. These maps serve as powerful tools for communication that can be shared with colleagues and embedded Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.

“Imagine if you could take a spreadsheet that contains a list of Brownfield sites and their street addresses and with the click of a button, turn it into an interactive map that could be used in reports, presentations and websites. ArcGIS Maps for Office enables users to take geographical data from an Excel spreadsheet and create a map to more easily communicate the message behind data.” - Ann Dunkin, Chief Information Officer

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UC Maps Shine Once Again

By Mark Harrower

We are living in an exciting age for GIS and cartography, with maps being used in new ways, to solve new kinds of problems, and across the technology spectrum. To celebrate the ubiquitous nature of maps, Esri User Conference (Esri UC) attendees are invited each year to share their work in GIS and cartography. Hundreds of Esri users display their very best mapping efforts in the Map Gallery at the Esri UC during the week and it represents a remarkable collection of work.

This year, nearly 700 maps were submitted for the Map Gallery. A select number of qualified Esri judges are privileged to evaluate and assess these entries each year.

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