Author Archives: Esri Insider
It’s easy to be discouraged these days. Every day, critical habitats are fragmented, communities are shattered by conflict, and essential natural resources are squandered. But remember what Mr. Rodgers said about bleak world news: “Look at the helpers.” Helpers are everywhere—especially in the Sustainable World Community (SWC). That community works tirelessly to fix the 17 major problems that threaten global sustainability.
In 2015, members of the United Nations (UN) committed to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity by agreeing to a ratified list of objectives called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDGs include specific targets that can easily be hit within the next 15 years with the coordination of the SWC.
From Tuesday through Thursday at the 2017 Esri UC, members of the community will show exactly what they’re doing in the Sustainable World Community showcase. The showcase is an opportunity to prove that geospatial science is helping. We’re deeply committed to supporting organizations that use GIS as the launching point to fulfill the UN’s mission.
Despite their diversity, all 36 members of the SWC share a common goal to meet the challenges inherent in the SDGs. But because the Sustainable World Community consists of a wide spectrum of organizations that work across multiple topics, it’s good to know who does what for which goal. Goal 1, No Poverty, for instance, includes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Participants working on goal 2, No Hunger include Catholic Relief Services and the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research. Organizations working toward goal 16, Peace and Justice Strong Institutions include Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining and Halo Trust. Of special importance are the organizations that provide subject matter expertise and guidance across many partner organizations. The organizations working on goal 17, Partnerships for the Goals include Development Gateway, International Joint Commission of the US and Canada, National Geographic Society, National Tribal Geospatial Support Center, Org Hunter, and URISA GISCorps.
Please join us at the Sustainable World Community Showcase during the Esri User Conference to see how our customers radiate help across the globe. Visit the Esri demonstration tower to meet the helpers and see The Science of Where in action.
GIS integrates everything. In three words, this is what Clint Brown, Esri’s Director of Product Engineering, more eloquently explained in his article earlier this year where he outlined the value of using GIS as the platform to fulfill the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It provides a universal language that scientists, statisticians, policy makers, corporations, and citizens can all use and understand. This common framework is essential in order to address the many complex and interrelated challenges the world faces as they will require unprecedented cooperation across our global communities.
In order to elaborate on how GIS technology’s ability to integrate everything can be used to better understand, organize, and communicate information to maximize the impact of Sustainable Development efforts, we are presenting a webinar series outlining how you can apply the Science of Where to this work.
We will kick things off on June 29th with the first webinar focusing on “GIS Solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals”. Through real world examples, this webinar will provide an overview of how GIS can help plan effective programs that target the areas most in need, monitor and evaluate the performance of those resources and investments to maximize impact, and strengthen partnerships and collaboration with partners, beneficiaries, and stakeholders.
The remaining webinars in the series will dig deeper into each of these topics:
“Planning Effective Programs — Planning and Prioritizing Sustainable Development Investment/Activities” will present technologies and methodologies that can help focus activities for greater effect by optimizing staff and budgetary resources.
“Measuring Your Impact — Monitoring & Evaluation for Sustainable Development Programs” will look at ways to collect and analyze results data in order justify spending resources, secure future funding, and iterate and improve the way we operate.
Finally, “Strengthening Partnerships — Engaging Stakeholders and Beneficiaries” will explore the ways GIS tools and apps can help you increase your effectiveness in connecting with stakeholders.
In addition to showing off the latest technology, we have lined up a list of guest speakers who will be sharing their own stories of successes and lessons learned.
If you’d like more information visit our landing page for more information or better yet, register now to get the latest information regarding event times and guest speakers.
By Florian Brandi-Dohrn, AED-SICAD
Connecting renewables to the grid is a complex workflow and process for utilities. For instance, where does one place outlets for electric cars without endangering grid stability and energy provision security? Or, for a new residential area, how does one plan the new lines and connect them to the grid intelligently? These manual processes deserve a better way, especially in an era of continuous digitalization of our core processes. Thankfully, we developed the UT Smart Apps to solve just this challenge.
The PLAN module allows you to create planning projects and scenarios. Design as many scenarios as you like and draw the grid for each scenario as you like. Add the load, or the generated energy at each end point, and use the CAD-like construction tools to be sure that each point is at the right location.
Second, the CALC module allows you to start a network calculation (e.g., a load flow) with one simple click. Most importantly, this network calculation runs directly on your precious, low-voltage GIS data. . Using the CALC module, you can simulate various planning scenarios. In addition, you can simulate switching scenarios in case you’d like to re-configure the grid due to new, planned assets.
Finally, the EDIT module allows you to update the switch status. The correct switch status is an important aspect in the use of these Smart Apps, because the correct topology is a very important piece of information for the network calculation. For ease of use, many users have combined all this functionality into one convenient web app.
Why Use UT Smart Apps?
Those DSOs working with the UT Smart Apps cut down in the technical evaluation of new service points, new renewable plants, or simply electric outlets for cars. Some current users report getting 95% of their technical evaluations down from 15 hours to just 30 minutes. And of course, all technical evaluations are now properly documented, allowing for each decision to be backed up with a proper document detailing the load flow calculation that was run.
The UT Smart Apps save utilities millions of dollars per year, thanks to their dramatic reductions in time spent manually calculating the impact of grid connections. On average, the apps help planning engineers shave 15 hours off the assessment of new grid connections, especially for renewable sources.
AED-SICAD is partnering with Esri Platinum Partner SSP Innovations to implement the UT Smart Apps at U.S. utilities. Find AED-SICAD and SSP in the exhibitor hall at the 2017 Esri User Conference in San Diego, booths 927 and 926. Don’t hesitate to ask either of them about the UT Smart Apps in person.
By Matt Ball, Esri Writer
The Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities has transitioned from an analog to an entirely digital workflow to manage and maintain its water, storm water, and streetlight operations. While it’s hard for some office personnel to remember working with paper maps, some field personnel clearly recall their experiences.
Try riffling through paper on a cold snowy morning, looking for the right mapbook to locate a meter. If the meter was installed less than six months ago, it likely hasn’t made it into your book. If you do find the location in one book, you’ll need to grab another book for more detail.
The first book gives you the block and the side of the street, while the second measures the distance from the curb. Unfortunately, the meter you need to service isn’t showing up in the second book. Work needs to be done, so days can’t be wasted getting an updated map. It isn’t long before you exit the cozy cab of your truck and start digging.
Written by Mike Dyer, Business Development Lead
Where? This is perhaps the most common question in government. Where informs our decision-making. Where improves our operational efficiency and quality of service to citizens. Where also enhances civic engagement.
Governments of all sizes recognize the critical role that spatial data plays in developing smart communities. Most governments have had GIS implementations in place for years, but CIOs today are looking for the practical knowledge they need to modernize those implementations that help enable smarter government.
If you have ever camped, hiked, or fished in a national forest, you probably picked up a visitor map at the forest’s office. The first-rate cartography of these pocket maps is sure to get you to your favorite campground or … Continue reading
Esri participated in the first UN World Data Forum , which took place January, 15–18, 2017, in Cape Town, South Africa. This forum convened to explore innovative ways to measure global progress and inform evidence-based policy decisions on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is a plan of action agreement among heads of state and government. Esri joined data statistics experts from government, national statistical offices, the private sector, academia, civil society, and international organizations to discuss interactive platforms that improve the use of data for sustainable development.
As retailers in 2017 continue to face headwinds, the competition is more challenging than ever. Customers are empowered by 24/7 access to the global marketplace. For many retailers, new store growth has slowed, so sales and margin growth are increasingly being driven more by incremental growth from existing stores. To continue to excel in this environment, every business should be mindful of three trends in retail big data:
- Sustainable growth – To grow sales in their existing stores, retailers must find innovative ways to reach customers and drive loyalty.
- Connected consumers – As consumers have become accustomed to growing transparency around the prices and quality of what they buy, retailers must find new ways to engage with and earn the loyalty of their customers.
- Explosion of big data – With the Internet of Things (IoT) maturing, retailers must leverage the vast amounts of useful data available within the network of devices and sensors that are connected online.
Retailers already have access to myriad data from sources like point of sale (POS), mobile devices, inventory management systems, and in-store sensors. As useful as this data is on its own, real insights happen when retailers can connect disparate data to see the conditions that bring success. And one powerful way to do this is by viewing data through the lens of location. Maps enable people to instantly spot and explore patterns and relationships in data.
Location is the common thread of data and enables decisions to be made about matters such as where to position existing merchandise and where to site new stores. Spatial analysis also allows retailers to more efficiently drive traffic through stores by effectively using the data typically only used in the online shopping environment. By tapping into insights derived from in-store sensors and customer mobile devices, retailers can make better decisions about where to allocate goods and employees in a strategic way that is targeted to consumer behavior. Forming a business strategy that leverages integrated location data helps retailers match the in-store customer experience with what consumers experience when shopping online. This is made possible by analyzing demographics, buying patterns, and customer movement in the context of space and time.
Spatial analysis is the key to understanding where, when, and why things happen. With this insight, retailers can engage existing and potential customers and spur in-store sales.
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.