Monthly Archives: February 2017
At Esri’s 2017 Federal GIS Conference in Washington, D.C., Esri President Jack Dangermond received a small medal for having made a big difference, and two local organizations were very happy.
The Youth Environmental Science (“YES”) Award is given annually by Youth Learning as Citizen Environmental Scientists (“YLACES”), a non-profit organization that supports science education for youth. The award includes a $10,000 grant to an organization engaging youth as active citizen environmental scientists, and Esri chose the Jane Goodall Institute’s “Roots & Shoots” program.
The focus of YLACES is getting students engaged in inquiry-based, experiential science. “For 25 years, Esri has helped K12 students gather, analyze, interpret, and present data about the world, thereby equipping students to better learn science by doing science,” said YLACES president Dr. Dixon Butler. “Esri has made powerful tools available for free for educators around the world, from ArcVoyager to public ArcGIS Online, and provided training so teachers could do this. This commitment has made a difference.”
Many businesses have gleaned great returns by looking at operations through the lens of geographic science. The largest wins take on mythical status, as the impacts can be so profound that users want to keep the secret behind these rewards from competitors.
A few eye-opening anecdotes have come to light, including ones about the following:
- A global parcel delivery company that eliminated left-hand turns and implemented other distance- and time-saving measures for better routing that saved thousands of miles across the company’s fleet and hundreds of millions of dollars annually
- A national home repair service that improved its efficiency to the point that it could consolidate the number of call centers by two-thirds with an initial cost savings of $9 million and ongoing yearly savings of close to $50 million
- The chain of coffee shops that scrutinizes the link between store location and performance and finds per-store improvements with effects that are compounded across the chain’s network, including such results as how moving one store just one mile would gain a $10 million increase in yearly sales
At the heart of these wins, and many more, is an enterprise location strategy with Esri’s geographic information system (GIS) mapping software at the hub. GIS integrates with existing customer and enterprise systems, bringing location data, proven algorithms for analysis, and tailored applications to extend insightful information to the front lines of decision-making. Businesses use this powerful platform to reveal deeper understanding of their data.
The recently launched Esri Location Strategy for Business web pages contain information and tools to give every business user a taste of the kinds of spatial analysis available. The new Discover Local Insights application gives visitors a free ZIP code search for some of the key local psychographic variables that help reveal the values, opinions, interests, and lifestyles of customers.
“The application falls into our strategy of providing actionable information for business,” says Robby Deming, Esri marketing program manager. “It helps to show how Esri’s vast business and demographic data can provide even greater insight when combined with data that businesses already hold.”
Esri Tapestry Segmentation provides the power behind this application. Tapestry data contains the classification of all US residential neighborhoods, broken down into 67 unique segments based on demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. This data, along with more than 10,000 added Esri data variables, conveys a wealth of local insight.
In addition to presenting the psychographic segments, both the 15-minute drive-time area and five-mile-ring buffer area around the ZIP code can be overlaid on the map. These geoenriched polygons give users a greater sense of place while illustrating the intuitive and interactive nature of geospatial business analysis.
This free tool is available as a web application to any interested business. Work is under way to create a mobile-friendly version as well as to enable this application to be embedded in any website. Some of the functions being planned for development include the ability to compare ZIP codes side by side and generate drive times or buffers from any point on a map.
Many businesses have used these kinds of tools for decades to better understand their customers. The early adopters are now combining what they already know with new data feeds from in-store sensors, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and other sources. Live information, such as weather conditions or social media mentions, can also be visualized to get up-to-date insight into factors that impact local business decisions.
“We’re using the Discover Local Insights application to give businesses a practical example of the powerful knowledge they can access through a location strategy,” says Deming. “Any commercial business that wants to know more can sign up for a free location strategy assessment, which includes a half-hour conversation with our technical and commercial business experts. We want to help people understand how their peers are driving business benefits from location technology. In addition, we’ll also provide them with a potential road map for developing their own location strategy that matches their business objectives and needs.”
How to Grow Property Tax Revenue Fairly and Equitably
By Brent Jones, Esri Land and Cadastre Global Industry Manager
In many parts of the country, the death knell for tax hikes has sounded. While wages and other costs rise, no new revenue from raising property tax rates is likely to come as local governments work to keep those rates fixed. The good news is that new revenue can be generated with up-to-date property data and modernized GIS technology.
New mandates, requirements, and efficiency tasks often require governments to add new software and capabilities in an attempt to stay current. Compounding this, the technology that citizens use daily has raised their expectations of how local governments deliver services. At minimum, they expect to access maps and data fast on all their devices. These expectations put us at odds with budgetary realities.
Increasing revenue without raising taxes isn’t a pie-in-the-sky idea. Consider today’s assessors. Many of them use external data to ensure property data is accurate and current. They’re bringing in more money by discovering untaxed improvements. Using affordable new data services like NearMap and DigitalGlobe, assessors can get a current bird’s eye view of what’s actually on the ground and compare it with their existing property data. New change detection services streamline this process.
With new apps like Esri Photo Survey, assessors can rapidly collect up-to-date street level photographs with low-cost, consumer-grade cameras. By combining field force management and routing tools in Workforce for ArcGIS with field appraisal management practices, local governments are increasing revenues and decreasing operating costs with minimal investments in software and data services. Many assessors don’t realize that they already own these tools and capabilities as part of the ArcGIS platform.
Valuation appeals are costly to defend. Current, accurate data coupled with advanced analytics enables assessors to gather and present the evidence to support defensible values. Insights for ArcGIS delivers new capabilities to see undiscovered trends and patterns delivering better communication with taxpayers to maintain trust of the assessment process. Today’s GIS marries spatial data with advanced analysis on all devices, eliminating the expense of long-term support cost and the need to create custom applications.
There are practical and systematic ways to improve revenue from real property. If you’re not using all of your GIS capabilities, perhaps it’s time you do. Follow the lead of many assessors who use maps, data, and analysis for discovery. It’s the fair and equitable thing to do.
For more information, see the ArcGIS for Land Records white paper.
By Lee Johnston, Director of Local Government Sales
Few events provide the ability to network and learn from some of the nation’s best and brightest IT professionals like the Esri Public Sector CIO Summit. This annual event is expected to bring together more than 100 public sector CIOs from across the nation and Esri personnel to collaborate, innovate, and discover ways to spark change using geographic information system (GIS) technology. The 2017 summit, to be held at Esri’s headquarters in Redlands, California, March 29–30, will focus on how GIS supports newer IT trends influencing governments, including the following:
- Effectively engaging citizens
- Open data
- Digital workplaces
- Real-time tracking and sensor data/Internet of Things (IoT)
- Business intelligence, analytics, and data-driven decisions
- Smart machines
- Agile application development
- Recruiting/Developing your workforce
Rapid advancements in technology—such as new mobile applications, sensor-based data collection, the cloud, and software-defined architecture—are transforming how governments do business. Additionally, many governments are seeking new, effective means of engaging, communicating, and sharing information with staff and citizens more effectively and consistently. And, in many parts of the country, IT organizations face a workforce that is aging, and they are looking for ways to attract new talent. CIOs are increasingly aware of the silver tsunami (aging government employee population) and how managing and preparing for staff are as important as the technology itself.
“The Esri Public Sector CIO Summit is a great way to benchmark your GIS operations to what other cities and counties are doing around the country. I always come back with ideas and new ways of doing business that helps us gain value out of [our investment] and increase the value of GIS to our organization.” — Steve Reneker, CIO, Riverside County, California
It’s no secret that we learn best in a collaborative environment where we can compare stories and approaches. The summit provides an opportunity for you to learn firsthand how other IT professionals are responding to these same trends, goals, and challenges, and because this is a national event, CIOs are able to share and gather ideas outside their typical local sphere of influence.
“As a first-time attendee of CIO Summit last year, I have learned that the Esri platform is a versatile business tool that enables our organization to make better decisions and save money. It provides not only comprehensive information at a glance but also capability of business application. Our GIS solution for animal control unit is a perfect example.— Ed Jin, CIO, Yuma County, Arizona
My granddaughter, Gloria, interviewed me for a school project. One of her questions was, “Where were you when you asked your wife [her grandmother] out for your first date?” I, of course, remember it like it was yesterday. I answered, “It was in a phone booth in Harvard Square in Cambridge.” She looked at me quizzically and asked, “What’s a phone booth, Pop?” Her phone was tucked away in her back pocket.
Funny how fast things disappear from our collective memory.
When I first worked for a power company, one of my projects was to fix the many issues with the mapping department. Back then, everything was manual: the drafting, the reproduction, and the distribution of prints of the ancient paper maps. Those old things were notoriously out-of-date. The field offices had stacks of map sheets that needed to be filed. Most of the field supervisors kept their own sets of marked-up map prints. It was a mess.
A lot has happened since the launch of the Federal Small Business Specialty (FSBS) in 2016, as we will be celebrating the first anniversary of the program at the upcoming Esri Federal GIS Conference in DC on February 13-14, 2017. Here are a few of the highlights from 2016, and what to expect at Fed GIS from Esri’s small business partner community next week.
With over 70 partners in the FSBS to date (See our public storymap of the FSBS partners here), we have an amazing community of small business partners who provide a wide range of GIS services, including agile development of applications designed to meet Federal Government agency requirements.
A key part of the FSBS program is to enhance our partners’ technical expertise through a series of ongoing workshops as well as webcasts on emerging, newly introduced Esri technology, so they can deliver cutting edge solutions and learn best practices for implementation. In 2016, partners were able to experience hands on workshops in the areas of web apps, Portal for ArcGIS (which is now included in the newly released ArcGIS Enterprise), as well as developing mobile applications with ArcGIS Runtime SDKs.
Implementing and configuring Esri’s Enterprise GIS Portal is a common area of expertise partners wish to develop and have an opportunity to deliver to customers. John Steed, Director of Geospatial Services, Tesla Government Inc., explained, “We recently integrated Esri’s Portal into our information platform and the field users are thrilled. By implementing a web app presentation in our platform, we present all the widgets our users want while still controlling the information presentation with custom permissions.”
Esri’s Drone2Map for ArcGIS application was another big area of interest for partners to understand how they could work with this technology to tap into this fast growing market. “The Esri FSBS team’s commitment to partner growth has supported our entrance in the emerging industry of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) data collection. By providing webcasts, software, and technical expertise Esri and the FSBS team have enhanced our ability to deliver outstanding geospatial products and services to our clients,” said Adam Campbell, GIS Project Manager, Geospatial Consulting Group International, LLC.
Here is an image from a project GeoCGI performed in the Fall of 2016. The photo is an Archaeological Site next to James Madison’s Montpelier in central Virginia. The orthomosaic was processed using Drone2Map