The Aha! Moment—Turning Geographic Information into Insights

Geography is the basis of everything that happens, and using Insights for ArcGIS we can turn geography into something much more meaningful.

Geography is the foundation of GIS. It’s the “where” in the chemistry of “where, why, and how.” GIS turns geography into something much more meaningful. It enables us to transform location into geographic understanding. We can learn where things happen, and more importantly, why. By using GIS analysis we can turn “I know where” into “I know why” or “I understand.” In other words, we can turn geographic information into insight.

With that in mind, the announcement of a new application experience called Insights for ArcGIS at the recent Federal GIS Conference just might mark a milestone in the evolution of GIS.

In a similar fashion, Insights for ArcGIS represents not just an evolutionary step, but perhaps a revolutionary one. It empowers anyone to explore location-based data by applying interactive analysis to glean not only understanding, but insight. The proverbial aha! moment in true understanding.

Jack Dangermond unveils Insights for ArcGIS at the opening plenary of the 2016 Esri Federal GIS Conference.

At the 2016 Esri Federal GIS Conference, Jack Dangermond unveiled Insights for ArcGIS. Insights is the newest addition to the ArcGIS Platform, and a new experience that enables interactive analysis with your data, no matter the source, in a geographic context.                      


Insights using your Enterprise Data

Enterprise data like that found in data warehouses and geodatabases, unfortunately, often sits in silos. It’s underutilized and very difficult to analyze all at once. These data often present challenges that may surface with respect to performance (queries taking too long), usability (complicated tools), or accessibility (disparate data sources). A unique aspect of Insights for ArcGIS is that it integrates enterprise data. From the back-end system to the user experience, Insights is designed to solve these problems and allow users to actualize the potential in their enterprise data.


Integration of Multiple Data Sources

The power of Insights for ArcGIS comes from its ability to integrate a variety of data sources for your analysis, even if that data does not naturally have geographic context. Insights integrates and allows analysis on the following types of data

  • ArcGIS feature data
  • Geodatabases
  • Enterprise data warehouses
  • Big data
  • Real-time streams
  • Excel spreadsheets

Insights also leverages Esri’s vast ecosystem of data, including the curated and authoritative Living Atlas of the World. By including a wider variety of information in analysis, users can now find answers to questions that they previously couldn’t even think to ask.


Optimized for Performance From the Source

To ensure fast performance and a low-latency user experience, Insights for ArcGIS selects the most optimal way to query and work with your data. For certain types of data, it executes queries at the source. This means that you don’t have to wait for new derivative data to be created with each query or analysis. With other data sources, like big data, it can leverage the existing power of your analytics engines. All of this is orchestrated by Insights behind the scenes.


Interactive Analysis and Visual Data Exploration

Insights for ArcGIS also introduces a new paradigm for data exploration that is visually-oriented, intuitive and responsive. Users can drag-and-drop fields to introduce new data into their analysis. Maps, charts and tables that represent data are housed in cards, which can be linked to each other. Any action in one card can be visually reflected in the others. For example, if a data point is clicked in a chart, it can filter and update the view in other cards.

Since it is integrated with the ArcGIS platform, Insights provides many of the powerful analysis tools that users are familiar with (e.g., summarization, proximity, statistical and pattern analysis, and more). For visualization, users have access to thematic maps and the complete gamut of smart mapping capabilities.

Coming Soon

Insights will be released later this year. Early Adopter and Beta programs will begin in Q2 of this year. You can apply to participate in the Beta, and learn more about Insights today at www.esri.com/insights.

Bern Szukalski

About Bern Szukalski

Chief technology evangelist and product strategist at Esri, focusing on ways to broaden access to geographic information and helping users succeed with the ArcGIS Platform. On a good day I'm making a map, on a great day I'm on one. Follow @bernszukalski or email bszukalski@esri.com
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14 Comments

  1. kkarthikeyan says:

    When are we expecting the Beta release?

  2. rsingh1 says:

    hi, is this a paid application or free

    • Bern Szukalski Bern Szukalski says:

      Since Insights has not been released (or is even in Beta), the business model has not been published. It will require subscription access (meaning you will need an ArcGIS account), and will be administered via your organization, like Collector, ArcGIS Pro, and other ArcGIS apps are. Stay tuned for more details…

  3. svpelti says:

    Will Insights be available for ArcGIS Desktop?

  4. don.webb says:

    Will we be able to drop in statistical analysis code in the form of R, SQL, etc.? My Data Scientist with whom I work is inquiring.

    • Bern Szukalski Bern Szukalski says:

      At least with the upcoming initial release, custom analytic tools or queries won’t be directly supported. However, if those queries are made outside the context of Insights and are saved (for example as feature layers) then they can be leveraged in Insights.

  5. icfgis says:

    Hi Insights Team,

    So excited about this product. Any update on release timing? We’ve signed up for the Beta and are eagerly awaiting any new insight (sorry – couldn’t help it) on it’s availability.

    - Kevin Wright

  6. shady_abo says:

    can we use insight on premise ?