Author Archives: Matt Artz

Matt Artz
Matt Artz joined Esri in 1989. In his current role as GIS and Science Manager, he helps communicate the value of GIS as a tool for scientific research and understanding. He writes extensively about geospatial technologies and manages the GIS and Science blog. Prior to joining Esri he worked as an Environmental Scientist at a large science and engineering consulting company, on such diverse projects as highway noise modeling, archaeological impact assessment, and chemical weapons disposal. His educational background includes an M.S. degree in Environmental Policy and Planning and a B.S. degree in Anthropology and Geography.

Recent Posts

Eight Maps for World Water Day

Our water supply is finite. From areas of abundance to places struck with drought, ensuring access to a clean, reliable source of water is critical.

World Water Day is an international observance and an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference. World Water Day dates back to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development where an international observance for water was recommended. The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day. It has been held annually since then.

Maps help us protect water supplies and their integrity by understanding how human behaviors impact the natural system, document water sources and quantify their capacity based on current and historic data, and then share the story of the water system through engaging maps so everyone can see how today’s actions affect tomorrow’s water system. Continue reading

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New Map Sets Framework for Describing Ocean Ecology in Unprecedented Detail

As a follow on to a comprehensive global Ecological Land Units map that Esri and the USGS released in December 2014, a new global Ecological Marine Units (EMU) map will be available in the coming months. To better understand the significance of the new global EMU map and the data behind it, I recently met with Dr. Dawn Wright, Esri’s chief scientist, to find out more about why this map was created and how it will be used.


What is the
Ecological Marine Units map?

The Ecological Marine Units (EMU) map seeks to portray a systematic division and classification of physiographic and ecological information about features in the ocean. The project is a new undertaking of Esri in collaboration with Dr. Roger Sayre of the USGS, the Marine Conservation Institute, NatureServe, the University of Auckland, GRID-Arendal, NOAA, Duke University, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and many other partners.

EMUs rendered at the bottom of the water column.

Continue reading

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Program Computers, or Save the World?

It’s a decision many students are faced with as they prepare themselves for the working world: Do you pursue a career in technology (and get paid accordingly)? Or do you travel a more altruistic path, helping people and the environment?

It’s a tough decision. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.

Northern Illinois University recently published a story titled Under-the-radar careers that lists “six careers that you might not be familiar with—but you might want to consider.”

So what’s the #1 “under-the-radar” career?

GIS Analyst/Technician. Continue reading

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Seven Apps to Help Build Healthier Communities

A healthy community starts with a modern approach to curating health and human services information, improving collaboration, streamlining processes, analyzing trends or issues, and communicating and engaging with the public. Geographic information system (GIS) technology leads the way, giving you the location-based intelligence and spatial analysis capabilities you need to build and maintain a healthy community.

There are endless opportunities to apply GIS across the broad spectrum of health and human services. Here are seven apps you can easily deploy to leverage the power of GIS to help make your community healthier today.


1. My Health Services

My Health Services is an app that helps residents locate a health facility and obtain information about services provided within their community from a smartphone, tablet, and desktop computer. The app is typically used by residents in a community, but it can be used by others to locate a health facility near them. Continue reading

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Nine things you didn’t know you could do with Story Maps

There’s lots of unique and interesting ways to use Story Maps—some obvious, and some not so obvious

Story Maps let you combine authoritative maps with text, images, and multimedia content, and make it easy to harness the power of maps and geography to tell your story. Story Maps can be used for a wide variety of purposes; for advocacy and outreach, virtual tours, travelogues, delivering public information, and many more. You can browse a large collection of examples by visiting the Story Maps Gallery.

Many of the ways you can use Story Maps are obvious, but others aren’t. Here’s a list of nine things you can do with Story Maps that you might not have thought of before. Click the image to open the Story Map. Continue reading

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Eight Ways Communities Can Make Elections Smarter

Empowering the Democratic Process with Intelligent Mapping

Elections are the foundation of democratic society. 21st century elections leverage technology at every step in the process to insure accuracy, openness, timeliness, and fairness.  From operations and public outreach to redistricting and campaigning, intelligent maps effectively serve the public and meet expectations.

Here are eight things you can do today to leverage the power of geographic information systems (GIS) technology to make elections smarter in your community.


1. Locate Early Voting Centers

Early voting centers allow participation by voters who may not be able to vote on the set Election Day. The availability and hours of operation for early voting centers can vary by jurisdiction, and registered voters are more likely to participate in a given election when they can find an early voting center located conveniently near their home or place of business. Continue reading

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New App Puts the World in Your Hand

Field Notes – Earth uses the power of three new global maps to help answer important questions about our place in the world.

Esri is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Field Notes – Earth, a new smartphone app that uses three powerful new maps to help you answer important questions about your place in the world, such as:

  • What is your ideal climate?
  • Where does your food come from?
  • What drives your choice to live in a high or low density location?
  • …and much more.

Built using Esri’s AppStudio for ArcGIS, this free app shares the power of geographic information through a common language to describe in tremendous detail the landscape of planet Earth. Continue reading

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Building a Bridge to the R Community

Today at the Esri User Conference in San Diego, Esri announced a new initiative to build a collaborative community for R and ArcGIS users.

Esri has been teaching and promoting integration with R at the User Conference and Developer Summit for several years. During this time we have seen significant increase in interest, and received useful feedback from our ArcGIS users and R users about a variety of needs and techniques for integrating ArcGIS and R. Based upon this feedback, we are working with ArcGIS and R users to develop a community to promote learning, sharing, and collaboration. This community will include a repository of free, open source, R scripts, geoprocessing tools, and tutorials.

I recently sat down with Steve Kopp, Senior Product Engineer on the spatial analysis team, and Dawn Wright, Esri’s Chief Scientist to talk about what this focus on building a bridge to the R community means for ArcGIS users and other users of R. Continue reading

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Journalists Embrace Story Maps

Advancements in mapping and GIS technology have created a new medium for interactive storytelling and reconnecting people to place.

Maps have long been a valuable tool used by journalists to illustrate and enhance written stories. And with new advancements in mapping and GIS technology, the use of maps in the media now has even more potential for engaging with audiences.

Story maps let you combine authoritative maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content. They make it easy to harness the power of maps and geography to tell your story.

Journalists are already starting to embrace story maps as a powerful new medium that lets them tell engaging stories.  And it’s easy, too. There’s absolutely no programming required to build a story map: simply choose the best application template for telling your story and start building it interactively.

Let’s take a look at how some journalists have leveraged the power of story maps to help tell their stories. Continue reading

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Simple Real-time Dashboards Built with Story Maps

From traffic cameras to scientific sensors, story maps are a fast and simple platform for creating real-time dashboards that let the viewer see sensor data in geographic context.

New technologies are emerging and combining to enable the real-time collection and sharing of data. The result is a dynamic platform for real-time visualization, analysis, and understanding of our world.

Esri offers many options for the consumption of real-time data across the ArcGIS platform. A simple and effective—yet often overlooked — tool for the display of real-time data is Esri’s story maps technology.

Let’s take a quick look at four examples of real-time dashboards built with story maps. Continue reading

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