Category Archives: Industry Focus

Telecom of the Future

Predicting the future is always a risky business, but a safe bet in telecommunications is that technology will be at the core of what the future promises for the industry. It wasn’t too long ago that the telecom industry lived in a copper world and the dominant service was voice. Fiber, mobile, and IP technologies have ushered in a perception where it seems like anything is possible as long as you can solve the insatiable demand for more bandwidth. This ability to meet future demands will be sorely tested if we are to believe the Gartner forecast that there will be almost 20 billion connected devices supporting the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2020.

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Collaboration When It Counts: Esri Partner Technology Addressing Domestic Terrorism

Smart City Tech Summit Social

Since 2013, more than 160 active shooter situations have taken place in the United States. Imagine for a moment if those incidents could have been prevented through the use of modern technologies such as mapping software, drones, social media analysis … Continue reading

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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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Federal Innovation in the Spotlight

More than 4,800 people gathered at the 2016 Esri Federal GIS (FedGIS) Conference to share how government agencies are innovating with GIS. Attendees and speakers talked about making data more accessible and actionable, collecting imagery with drones, and expanding use of cloud technology and mobile apps to more seamlessly execute their missions and better serve their end users.

Keynote speaker and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) Deputy Director Sue Gordon shared how NGA is opening non-classified data, including making digital elevation models available, to the public for the first time. Like many federal agencies, NGA is increasingly implementing in a cloud environment and using mobile apps to enhance resource sharing. Doing so supports missions and will support safety at events like the upcoming 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Across the more than 125 sessions, users demonstrated how GIS is providing the framework for applying geography to critical decision making. Here are the top four takeaways you should know: Continue reading

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Jefferson’s Quilt

Stitching Together the Fabric of the American West

Flying over the western US, you can’t help but notice the vast patchwork of square parcels of land. Perhaps the largest subdivision in the world, these six-mile square townships, each containing 36 sections, have a storied history and colorful cast of characters who braved the Wild West to survey millions of acres.

That riot of rectangles we see from the stratosphere is Thomas Jefferson’s vision realized. How we manage that patchwork isn’t common knowledge, but it’s pretty cool.

The Quilt Keepers

In addition to being the stewards of the country’s natural resources, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) also manages these shifting squares. Specifically, it collects, records, and shares the data on all of the corner locations that make up the Public Land Survey System (PLSS). Continue reading

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Why Don’t More People Vote?

I can remember turning eighteen and being so anxious to vote for the first time in the presidential election.  It never occurred to me that others did not feel the same way.

It wasn’t until I was an employee of a southern California city, heading up a GIS team, that the notion that people did not vote came to light.  In a meeting with the City Clerk, she explained that many times, people simply did not know where to go vote.  She told me that on election night, city staff would field hundreds of phone calls asking where to vote.  I later learned people even contacted the local library to find an answer to this question.

As a city employee, I felt the need to do something about this.  My team and I developed a polling place look-up tool and proudly placed it in the hands of the city clerk, elections volunteers, and library staff.  The tool allowed themselves and the public to search for polling stations on maps, on a computer. Using this tool, they were able to handle  hundreds of calls at lightening speed, getting voters to their polling place.

This all took place a while ago.  But even with the advancements in web applications and smart devices, the problem of not knowing where to go vote still persists nationwide.  Continue reading

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Whereabouts and the Elections

In looking back on the last month, two items have occupied my thoughts, our whereabouts, and the upcoming elections.  These two items may seem unconnected, dissimilar, or even odd, but I’ve come to the conclusion that we don’t think about them enough, together.

Whereabouts to Placemaking

Whereabouts: There is much talk today about getting people interested in and, in general, persuading people to consider and think about their whereabouts.  Their whereabouts at home, at work, and as they are out-and-about in their community, living their lives.

The term placemaking is an overarching idea for improving one’s neighborhood, community, or city.  To be heavy-handed, it is trying to reinvent how people can make their place in the community.  Placemaking compels us to consider, in our civic interactions, our whereabouts; our places occupied by, our home, our neighborhood, and our community where we live with our fellow citizens.

Collin County, Texas is helping voters find polling stations with the shortest wait times using Esri’s Polling Locator template applications with updates from Esri partner GISi. Part of the ArcGIS for Local Government solution, this application allows voting citizens in the County to locate the most convenient polling place in their area.

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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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FedGIS 2016: Innovation that Inspires Change


In less than one day over 4,000 professionals gather at the 2016 Esri Federal GIS Conference (FedGIS), February 24-25, to explore ground-breaking ways government uses geospatial technology to solve the world’s greatest challenges. Join our community and Esri President, Jack … Continue reading

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Simultaneous Access with the Location Platform

Smashing Information Silos and Connecting People with the Data They Need

When I worked for the power company, I liked to ride around town with my colleague Paul.

Paul was a troubleshooter, an on-call worker who hung out in his bucket truck, waiting for something to go wrong on the grid. While the job may sound like a cakewalk, troubleshooters were almost always busy. Once someone reported a problem, Paul would get a call from the dispatcher and then race to the location of a power failure. He would quickly locate where the failure occurred; radio in an assessment of the damage; and, if possible, fix the problem.

Many of the issues troubleshooters encountered were caused by tree limbs falling on the exposed lines, causing a short circuit and blowing a fuse. Another common problem occurred when unwitting squirrels would use the power lines as a convenient path from one source of nuts to another. (The squirrels usually didn’t make it.) Each time, Paul would uncover the burned tree limb on the ground, or find the fried squirrel, then figure out which fuse blew and replace it. Problem solved in most cases. Continue reading

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