Author Archives: Keith Mann

Keith Mann joined Esri in 1990. Currently, he works in Product Marketing as part of an integrated team of Product Managers and Product Engineers focusing on ArcGIS for Server. Prior to joining Esri, he worked as a GIS Manager at the Bureau of Land Management, a Community Planner for the U.S. Forest Service, and a Research Coordinator at the Center for GIS Research at Cal Poly Pomona. His educational background includes a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning and a B.S. degree in Art.

Recent Posts

Community Engagement Puts People First

Citizens become the environmental researchers and change agents for more ecologically healthy neighborhoods and communities.

GIS—and in particular, participatory GIS—is about communities locating themselves, spatially, according to the environment that shapes their lives. Participatory GIS is also about how communities locate themselves socially within society and finding ways to equalize imbalances around who makes decisions that determine how neighborhoods are planned and resources are managed.”

—Kirstin Miller, Executive Director of Ecocity Builders

If you want to change the quality of life in your city, you have to get people involved. The good folks at Ecocity Builders refer to this effort as “empowering ordinary citizens to claim a stake in their city’s future.” And one of the ways they make this happen is through their Ecocitizen World Map Project. Continue reading

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Spatial Analysis Promotes Effective Community Engagement

Empowering People with Spatial Analysis Tools

According to the MapAsheville website, “Priority Places is a free, interactive mapping tool provided by the City of Asheville to strengthen strategic economic development and planning activities. The mapping tool facilitates business siting, neighborhood renewal and real estate development by enabling the identification of optimal locations for activities.”

The website prompts users to select the criteria that matter most, weight each factor’s importance, and create a “priority map” based on the those choices as well as custom reports on a host of demographic data. It then uses weighted map overlay analysis to create heat maps of sites that best meet chosen criteria. Continue reading

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3 Ways to Approach Community Engagement with GIS

Geography can serve as a starting point for building strong, long-lasting relationships with communities.

“Our business is about building friendships and enduring relationships. The culture of our agency is merely a reflection of the work we do.”

—Larry Norris, CEO of Lewis Communications, Matthew Porter, Lewis Communications: “Putting People First,” Communication Arts, March/April 2015.

Have you ever been walking through your neighborhood and seen a geyser of water shooting up from a broken sprinkler head, or a fallen tree branch lying in the middle of the street, or a tagger’s graffiti scrawled across a bus stop shelter, and wondered how you could notify the right people to come and take care of it? It’s common that people lack the tools to facilitate community engagement.

Geography can serve as a starting point for building a community engagement strategy. And, GIS technology can provide you with the tools you need to accomplish it. Maps and spatial analytics form a sort of universal translator that allows us, as individuals, living and working in communities, to build strong, long-lasting relationships with other people in other communities simply by sharing geographic information. Continue reading

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Data Drives Economic Development

Demographics, lifestyle, and spending data provide answers to the “Who, What, and How” questions that business owners need to ask.

When local Economic Development departments need to attract new businesses to fill empty sites, where do they start? The answer: Show ‘em some data!

Data about the types of people who live, work, and shop near a site is like gold to business owners, revealing incredibly valuable intelligence. To learn where a new site can be successful, business owners need answers to three basic questions about an area population:

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Real-Time Spatial Analysis

Everybody gather around the map and make better decisions in real time. 

You might think of spatial analysis as a process that can help you make sense of large amounts of current and/or historical information.  And you’d be right about that.  But spatial analysis works equally well in real time.

Imagine a metropolitan police department working to stay on top of everything that happens in a big city. Crimes, accidents, and traffic, along with all the mobile and stationary assets that they need to track come together to create an overwhelming task of real-time data collection and analysis.

But in law enforcement, time is of the essence.  They need to get a handle on all of this data—and fast.  They need to respond in the moment. The real-time data coming into their system needs to be understood and acted upon in real time. Continue reading

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Speaking the Language of Spatial Analysis

Asking questions and developing answers using a common vocabulary leads to better decision making.

As discussed in a previous post, spatial analysis can be viewed as a kind of common language used across an organization. It starts with a set of questions, such as Where are things located in the world?, What is nearby?, and How are things connected?, and then sets about answering those questions by leveraging the power of GIS.

Imagine a bank with a number of different branch locations, along with locations of all the customers they service in a specific geographic region. The bank can use spatial analysis to better balance its service to these customers based on drive time analysis and delineate geographic areas with similar capacity. Continue reading

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