Category Archives: Community Development
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.
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.
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.”
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
Estimates place the crowds who are expected to turn out in the nation’s capital for the inauguration of Donald Trump at anywhere between 700,000 and 2 million, in addition to related events and protests. In order to help people stay informed, Esri and the District of Columbia Department of Transportation have created an interactive map using geographic information system (GIS) technology, combined with resources such as aerial high-resolution photos and street-level LIDAR imagery.
Users can access the map via any online browser or wireless device such as a smartphone or tablet, where they will be able to see important location information like addresses, street closures, transit stops, medical aid stations, and warming tents.
During rush hour on August 1, 2007, sections of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, began to collapse and fall into the Mississippi River, killing 13 people and injuring another 145. This was only one of a series of high-profile bridge failures that have resulted in lives being lost. The cause, according to many experts, is that the United States has been systematically underinvesting in infrastructure and maintenance for some time. In fact, recent figures indicate that state and local spending on infrastructure is at a 30-year low.
Effectively addressing America’s infrastructure needs begins with knowing where to make the most strategic investments. And that is where GIS can play an important role in understanding the condition of our infrastructure, where the largest bottlenecks occur, and where dollars should be targeted for the greatest benefit to the nation’s economy.
By Clint Brown – Director, Product Engineering, Esri
At Esri, we believe that geographic information system (GIS) technology provides a critical framework for understanding, communicating, and organizing information about our world. Underpinning our work at Esri is the belief that applied geographic science provides a powerful medium for understanding complex challenges and that, through the application of GIS, we can explore possible solutions. In light of this, we have been closely tracking the process of establishing the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), creating capabilities that will help create and monitor the SDG data indicators. We believe that Esri’s ArcGIS platform is highly relevant as an applied toolset to achieve the goals set forth in the 2030 Agenda.
This story map is about the use of GIS to support SDGs. Visit sdgs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=c921e7d2cfef4c8ab98b839e27eda74a.
A primary goal of GIS is to provide a framework for organizing and communicating the collective global knowledge about our world and the impact of human activities. GIS and maps are used in all fields across every nation, providing a universal language for communicating and sharing ideas and insight. They offer the unique capability of integrating many different kinds of data. GIS uses spatial location and digital map overlays to organize the content of our world. And overlays can be used to integrate information and analyze relationships among and between all SDG initiatives.
City Website Empowers Citizens and Businesses with Open Data and Apps
Long Beach, California, just launched a comprehensive data hub called DataLB, which makes the city’s data available to the public online. Using Esri’s geographic information system (GIS) platform, DataLB enables citizens, businesses, and academic institutions to use civic data to improve decision-making.
Since 2014, Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia has been committed to implementing Esri technology within the city to display data in maps and make information easily discoverable and shareable between departments over the web. DataLB extends these capabilities to the public with an easily accessible website that connects people with the civic initiatives that benefit them. For instance, in the case of Measure A, which invested $150 million in Long Beach infrastructure, parks, and public safety, the hub has made all the data on the initiative available via a public story map. This visual tool includes interactive maps showing where funds will be used for specific improvements. And BizMap, a new application, allows the public to look up and export business license information in Long Beach’s business improvement districts and areas.
“DataLB will make huge amounts of city data accessible to the public, staff, and anyone who is interested in learning about or improving our community,” said Garcia. “Long Beach is doing more than just making data public. We are actually making it easy for people to see data in maps and use the site and apps to track public works, open new businesses, and find other resources.”
As a public engagement tool, DataLB reveals city data that was previously only accessible to internal staff. The hub also contains apps specifically designed to enable citizen engagement. For instance, Long Beach is working on an initiative to gather data using Esri’s Survey123 for ArcGIS that may be used in a future information product in order for the hub to visualize the impact of homelessness in Long Beach. This will help public safety and welfare agencies better allocate resources.
Today, December 18, the world celebrates International Migrants Day, an observance initiated by the General Assembly of United Nations to raise awareness of the large and increasing number of migrants in the world, and the unique issues they face. It is also an opportunity to recognize the contributions made by these millions of migrants to the economies of their host and home countries, and to promote respect for their basic human rights.
To mark this year’s International Migrants Day, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is calling on the international community to come together and remember the refugees and migrants who have lost their lives or have disappeared while trying to reach safe harbor after arduous journeys across seas and deserts.
IOM, in collaboration with Esri, has created Migration Flows – Europe Story Map, to give a comprehensive view of migrants’ paths and their unique struggles.
These days we could all use a little more understanding. As noted by Lord Anthony Giddens, former Director of the London School of Economics: “We live in the most interconnected world in history. Yet at the same time, the world is driven by conflicts, dislocations and uncertainties – an unsettling and disturbing mixture of huge opportunities and existential risks.” It is for this reason that the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences (CIPSH) jointly established 2016 as the International Year of Global Understanding (IYGU).
The aim of IYGU has been to promote better understanding of how tangible, local actions can have truly global impacts in tackling such critical challenges as climate change, food security and migration. Although human actions have created these global challenges, human actions can also provide the best solutions. One of the founders and architects of the IYGU, Prof. Benno Werlen of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany explains: “We want to build bridges between global thinking and local action. Only when we truly understand the effects of our personal choices – for example in eating, drinking and producing – on the planet, can we make appropriate and effective changes.” Indeed, if individuals know what their day-to-day routines actually mean for the entire planet, they can take appropriate action.
So how can young people get involved? One great way is to enter the IYGU Story Maps Competition to tell their own stories of how local, everyday actions can help us all understand how to work together to solve the problems of our increasingly globalized world.