Category Archives: Technology

Capitol Spotlight on GIS and Policy

Last week Jack Dangermond joined Esri’s policy team to host the first GIS and Policy event at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center. Nearly 100 policymakers convened to learn firsthand how the growing community is using GIS to inform and disseminate public policy.

Congress and its staff are increasingly relying on digital over print information sources, and naturally that drives demand for interactive data products. Most recently, this has led the Congress’s research institution, the Library of Congress, to expand its web GIS offerings. The Congressional Research Service’s GIS Team provides Congress and its staff with many GIS services, including cartographic maps, geodata, and interactive web maps. This shared geospatial analysis enables policy makers to identify how features intersect with proposed policy, and sometimes how those features intersect with a member’s geography.

Maps Communicate Complex Policy

Many communications, digital directors, and press secretaries use web maps to compliment legislative text. Offices are finding that a compelling, trustworthy map noticeably increases the number of times a story is picked-up and shared. Some are using maps to communicate complex policy ideas in an easy to understand way. Readers can identify with policy on a map, understand its impact at the local level, and decide how to act. For example, Senator Wyden’s Medicare Beneficiaries with Chronic Conditions interactive web map enables readers to understand how the standard of care for Medicare beneficiaries with three chronic conditions varies by local geography.

Visitors to Senator Wyden’s webpage can click on this interactive map and see the number of Medicare beneficiaries suffering from chronic disease in each state.

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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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Expanding Opportunity with Open Data

Esri joined the White House, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Census Bureau, eight cities, and more than a dozen developers last month to kick-off the Opportunity Project. The project aims to expand access to opportunity to every American, across every geography, using open government data.

The ArcGIS platform highlighted at the White House Opportunity Project event in March.

In the months leading up to the launch, the Esri team supported the federal agencies and White House to create accessible, highly usable digital tools, and to integrate the opportunity data into existing tools in the ArcGIS Platform.

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Collaboration When It Counts: Esri Partner Technology Addressing Domestic Terrorism

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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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What Will Your Drone Do For You?

Drone2Map Turns Your Drone Into an Enterprise Productivity Tool

A new desktop app from Esri turns raw still imagery captured by drones into professional 2D and 3D imagery products. Drone2Map for ArcGIS means that affordable imagery is available on demand for land analysis, infrastructure inspection, and monitoring events such as natural disasters and environmental changes.

“Drones are an emerging technology with the potential to revolutionize how we work across many industries,” said Esri president Jack Dangermond, who announced the beta release of Drone2Map for ArcGIS at the Esri Federal GIS Conference earlier this month in Washington, DC. “We built Drone2Map for ArcGIS to give people the ability to process, use, and share imagery — all within ArcGIS.” 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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The Aha! Moment—Turning Geographic Information into Insights

Geography is the basis of everything that happens, and using Insights for ArcGIS we can turn geography into something much more meaningful.

Geography is the foundation of GIS. It’s the “where” in the chemistry of “where, why, and how.” GIS turns geography into something much more meaningful. It enables us to transform location into geographic understanding. We can learn where things happen, and more importantly, why. By using GIS analysis we can turn “I know where” into “I know why” or “I understand.” In other words, we can turn geographic information into insight.

With that in mind, the announcement of a new application experience called Insights for ArcGIS at the recent Federal GIS Conference just might mark a milestone in the evolution of GIS.

In a similar fashion, Insights for ArcGIS represents not just an evolutionary step, but perhaps a revolutionary one. It empowers anyone to explore location-based data by applying interactive analysis to glean not only understanding, but insight. The proverbial aha! moment in true understanding. Continue reading

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FedGIS 2016: Innovation that Inspires Change

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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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Real-Time Dashboards: How Are They Used?

A vast amount of data is created every day from sensors and devices: GPS devices on vehicles, objects, and people; sensors monitoring the environment; live video feeds; speed sensors in roadways; social media feeds. What it means is that we have an emerging source of valuable data. It’s called “real-time” data. Only recently has the technology emerged to enable this real-time data to be incorporated into GIS applications.

The real-time GIS capabilities of the ArcGIS platform have transformed how information is utilized during any given situation. Real-time dashboards provide actionable views into the daily operations of organizations, empowering decision makers and stakeholders with the latest information they need to drive current and future ideas and strategies.

Dashboards answer questions like:

  • What’s happening right now?
  • Where is it happening?
  • Who is affected?
  • What assets are available?
  • Where are my people? Continue reading
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DIY Rapid Photo Survey of Entire Neighborhoods

Technology advances so quickly that it’s mind blowing sometimes. Look at the proliferation of drone technology, for example. In mid 2015, Amazon formally asked the FAA for permission to test their commercial drones for use in delivery of packages in 30 minutes or less. Personally, I don’t think I’d mind having my veggie burrito delivered by a friendly drone. Just kidding. Kind of.

For sure, there are real societal concerns that have to be addressed when any new technology is introduced. Issues of privacy, safety, security, and even social equity come to mind. The recent incident of hobbyist drones shutting down airspace above forest fires, resulting in the stopping of aerial bombardments of fire retardants, is a good case in point.

Navigating these issues will be tough, but soon enough, laws and regulations will catch up with the new technology, and then, the proliferation and use of UAV’s will skyrocket, just like GPS did. There are lots of positives to be gained in the planning discipline when this happens. For example, planners should be able to use UAV’s to rapidly conduct condition assessments of neighborhoods and inventory assets, just like people are already doing for ranches, wetlands, natural areas, and mining operations now. Continue reading

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