GIS Technology Enables Many Uses for Open Data

The tremendous support for open data demonstrated by this President has brought innovation and engagement to government and has been so impactful on citizen engagement.  Esri, the global smart-mapping leader, has been in lock-step with the Administration on all of their Open Data initiatives.  The ease of use of GIS technology has enabled our users to harness the power of open data in such creative ways.  From the City of Fayetteville, North Carolina whose police department opened more than a 100 data sets to their community as a result of the Police Data Initiative,  to DHS announcing HIFLD Open, which provided public access to over 250 datsets to help better prepare for upcoming disasters, to NOAA publishing their National Water Model to answer a call put forth by the White House Water Summit, we are blown away each and every day when we see what our users in the GIS community are able to do with this data.

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Esri Brings Smart Mapping to IBM World of Watson 2016

Esri’s gold sponsorship at the 2016 IBM World of Watson kicks off Monday, October 24 with a new chapter in the 30+ year partnership. Esri’s collaborative offerings with IBM’s analytics solutions and services will be unveiled during booth demonstrations and presentations throughout the week.

Esri and IBM customers and developers can now take advantage of Esri data and geographic information systems (GIS) technology in the IBM SoftLayer cloud and from IBM Marketplace and Bluemix. To speed startup and productivity, oganizations of all kinds can also leverage Esri managed cloud services in SoftLayer ranging from jumpstart to fully managed support.

Esri also integrates Watson Analytics and Weather Company data with its leading geospatial technology, as well as its global data library of demographic and business data, resulting in an integrated services approach that drives customer success.

“This expansion of our three-decade long partnership with IBM creates solutions that further accelerate scalability and performance,” said SJ Camarata, director of corporate strategies at Esri. “Now, Esri’s global data library and innovative technology in areas such as spatial analytics, big data mapping, and 3D visualization support increased levels of understanding in cognitive IoT applications and workflows.”

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Esri Announces ArcGIS for Server on the Microsoft Azure US Government Cloud

By Mike Quinn

Esri is excited to announce the availability of ArcGIS for Server on the Microsoft Azure US Government Cloud. ArcGIS for Server will allow users to deploy leading-edge GIS technology on Microsoft Azure virtual machines.

As the world’s leading enterprise mapping and spatial analytics platform, ArcGIS for Server provides a complete Web GIS environment for mapping and spatial analytics with ready-to-use maps and apps that can be shared and used by everyone in the organization.  ArcGIS for Server easily dovetails with other enterprise systems, including Microsoft Azure SQL and supports Azure security and compliance standards.  Mapping, analysis and geodata products can be readily used in apps for office and field workers, and for engaging and crowdsourcing communities.

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National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is on Saturday, October 22nd. Led by the U.S. Department of Justice, this day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for addiction to medications.

Join Walgreens in leading the fight against prescription drug addiction.  Using ArcGIS, Walgreens is helping consumers safely dispose of their medications at disposal kiosks in over 500 pharmacies across 35 state including Washington, D.C.

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Esri Among Leaders Exploring Future at White House Frontiers Conference


Last week President Obama hosted the first-ever White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh, an event co-hosted by the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. Esri was among many of America’s leading innovators invited to come together to discuss how … Continue reading

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Celebrating the Vital Role of Statistics in National Development

By Linda Peters

Today we celebrate World Statistics Day! And here at Esri, we’d like to take the opportunity to thank Statisticians around the world for their important contributions to making our lives better!  Statisticians – through the creation of official statistics – provide decisions makers with the facts and figures that inform and drive policies impacting millions of people on a daily basis.

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Characterizing and Protecting #UrbanWaters using GIS

By Adam Jenkins

Water is one of the vital sustaining components of all life. We as humans add to, subtract from, and interact with this dynamic, ever changing system on a regular basis. It’s important to maintain the health of the water system, especially where our impact is the most concentrated in areas that matter the most to humans: areas of high population.

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MOOCs Offer Significant Value

Earth Imagery at Work

Occasionally I’m disheartened when I meet someone who isn’t familiar with the term massive open online course (MOOC). But then I realize that’s a teachable moment, and I explain what MOOCs are and why they’re relevant and valuable.

MOOCs matter to GIS professionals because they help generate that content but also because they enhance participants’ geospatial skillsets while adding substance to their resumes. That’s significant value, especially in the context of today’s flagging economy.

What’s a MOOC?

A MOOC is an online course offered by a company, university, non-profit, or other provider. MOOCs are typically open to large numbers of students and are nearly always free. Those with a fee typically have a “free option” that has fewer bells and whistles.

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Imagery has so many uses

Show me my home! The human era of GIS begins          

Little more than a decade ago, seemingly the whole world snapped awake to the power of imagery of the earth from above. We began by exploring a continuous, multiscale image map of the world provided online by Google and other mapping companies. A combination of satellite and aerial photography, these pictures of Earth helped us to experience the power of imagery, and people everywhere began to experience some of what GIS practitioners already knew. We immediately zoomed in on our neighborhoods and saw locational contexts for where we reside in the world. This emerging capability allowed us to see our local communities and neighborhoods through a marvelous new microscope. Eventually, naturally, we focused beyond that first local exploration to see anywhere in the world. What resulted was a whole new way to experience and think about the world.

Initially, we zoomed in on our homes and explored our neighborhoods through this new lens. This experience transformed how people everywhere began to more fully understand their place in the world. We immediately visited other places that we knew about. Today, we continue by traveling to faraway places we want to visit. Aerial photos provide a new context from the sky and have forever changed our human perspective. This map tour visits selected areas in several communities where ultra-high-resolution imagery is available.

These simple pictures captured people’s imagination, providing whole new perspectives, and inspired new possibilities. Today, virtually anyone with Internet access can zero in on their own neighborhood to see their day-to-day world in entirely new ways. In addition, people everywhere truly appreciate the power of combining all kinds of map layers with imagery for a richer, more significant understanding.

Almost overnight, everyone with access to a computer became a GIS user.

A range of applications

By now, it’s apparent that imagery enables whole new perspectives and insights into your world and the issues you want to address. Imagery also has numerous advantages and capabilities.

Almost daily access to new information

Image collection is rapid and increasing. And access to imagery is increasingly becoming more responsive. Many satellites and sensors are already deployed with more coming all the time, collecting new data, adding to a continuous collection effort—a time series of observations about our planet. These image collections are enabling us to map, measure, and monitor virtually everything on or near the earth’s surface. All of us can quite rapidly gather much of the data that we need for our work. Imagery has become our primary method for exploration when we “travel” to other planets and beyond. We send probes into space and receive returns primarily in the form of imagery that provides a continuous time series of information observations. And it enables us to derive new information in many interesting ways.

Looking back in time

The use of aerial imagery is still relatively young. While imagery only began to be used in the twentieth century, it is easy to compare observations for existing points in time that reside in our imagery collections. In addition, we can overlay imagery with historical maps, enabling us to compare the past with the present.

Imagery data collections are becoming richer every day

Imagery is creating an explosion of discovery. Many imagery initiatives are repetitive and growing, expanding and adding to image databases for our areas of interest. ArcGIS is scaling out, enabling the management of increasingly large, dynamically growing earth observations. This points to the immediacy of imagery and its capacity for easy integration, enabling all kinds of new applications and opportunities for use—things like before-and-after views for disaster response, rapid exploitation of newly collected imagery, image interpretation and classification, and the ability to derive intelligence. Over time, many of these techniques will grow in interesting new ways, enabling deeper learning about our communities, the problems and issues we face, and how we can use GIS to address these.

Imagery enables powerful analytic capabilities

Imagery and its general raster format enable rich analysis using ArcGIS. And, in turn, these enable more meaningful insights and perspectives about the problems we want to address.


This post is excerpted from The ArcGIS Imagery Book: New View, New Vision. Imagery is suddenly a big deal, and those who are adept at finding it, analyzing it, and understanding what it actually means are going to be in demand in the years ahead. The purpose of this book is to help everyone from GIS professionals to app developers, and web designers to virtually anyone how to become smarter, more skillful, and more powerful appliers of image data. The book is available through and other booksellers, and is also available at for free.

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Visualizing Data on Asian American and Pacific Islanders

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) will be celebrated on Friday, October 7, 2016. Earlier this year, the Department of Education and the University of California, Riverside launched the Elevate: AAPI Data Challenge, inviting the public to show new ways to analyze, interpret, and present data about Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).

AAPIs are the fastest growing racial group in the USA, and the most diverse. Publicly available data sets include classification by national origin, such as Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, or Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. Quality of life may be enhanced for communities when they know about and participate in federal programs, so this challenge is one way to generate new insights.

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