Category Archives: Technology

The Science of Where for Sustainable Development Webinar Series

GIS integrates everything. In three words, this is what Clint Brown, Esri’s Director of Product Engineering, more eloquently explained in his article earlier this year where he outlined the value of using GIS as the platform to fulfill the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It provides a universal language that scientists, statisticians, policy makers, corporations, and citizens can all use and understand. This common framework is essential in order to address the many complex and interrelated challenges the world faces as they will require unprecedented cooperation across our global communities.

In order to elaborate on how GIS technology’s ability to integrate everything can be used to better understand, organize, and communicate information to maximize the impact of Sustainable Development efforts, we are presenting a webinar series outlining how you can apply the Science of Where to this work.

We will kick things off on June 29th with the first webinar focusing on “GIS Solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals”. Through real world examples, this webinar will provide an overview of how GIS can help plan effective programs that target the areas most in need, monitor and evaluate the performance of those resources and investments to maximize impact, and strengthen partnerships and collaboration with partners, beneficiaries, and stakeholders.

The remaining webinars in the series will dig deeper into each of these topics:

“Planning Effective Programs — Planning and Prioritizing Sustainable Development Investment/Activities” will present technologies and methodologies that can help focus activities for greater effect by optimizing staff and budgetary resources.

“Measuring Your Impact — Monitoring & Evaluation for Sustainable Development Programs” will look at ways to collect and analyze results data in order justify spending resources, secure future funding, and iterate and improve the way we operate.

Finally, “Strengthening Partnerships — Engaging Stakeholders and Beneficiaries” will explore the ways GIS tools and apps can help you increase your effectiveness in connecting with stakeholders.

In addition to showing off the latest technology, we have lined up a list of guest speakers who will be sharing their own stories of successes and lessons learned.

If you’d like more information visit our landing page for more information or better yet, register now to get the latest information regarding event times and guest speakers.

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Wish You Had an Easy Web App to Save Millions?

By Florian Brandi-Dohrn, AED-SICAD

Connecting renewables to the grid is a complex workflow and process for utilities. For instance, where does one place outlets for electric cars without endangering grid stability and energy provision security? Or, for a new residential area, how does one plan the new lines and connect them to the grid intelligently? These manual processes deserve a better way, especially in an era of continuous digitalization of our core processes. Thankfully, we developed the UT Smart Apps to solve just this challenge.

Some of the leading DSOs are using the UT Smart Apps. These JavaScript-based web clients running in the Esri Portal come in three modular flavors:

PLAN
The PLAN module allows you to create planning projects and scenarios. Design as many scenarios as you like and draw the grid for each scenario as you like. Add the load, or the generated energy at each end point, and use the CAD-like construction tools to be sure that each point is at the right location.

CALC
Second, the CALC module allows you to start a network calculation (e.g., a load flow) with one simple click. Most importantly, this network calculation runs directly on your precious, low-voltage GIS data. . Using the CALC module, you can simulate various planning scenarios. In addition, you can simulate switching scenarios in case you’d like to re-configure the grid due to new, planned assets.

EDIT
Finally, the EDIT module allows you to update the switch status. The correct switch status is an important aspect in the use of these Smart Apps, because the correct topology is a very important piece of information for the network calculation. For ease of use, many users have combined all this functionality into one convenient web app.

Why Use UT Smart Apps?

Those DSOs working with the UT Smart Apps cut down in the technical evaluation of new service points, new renewable plants, or simply electric outlets for cars. Some current users report getting 95% of their technical evaluations down from 15 hours to just 30 minutes. And of course, all technical evaluations are now properly documented, allowing for each decision to be backed up with a proper document detailing the load flow calculation that was run.

The UT Smart Apps save utilities millions of dollars per year, thanks to their dramatic reductions in time spent manually calculating the impact of grid connections. On average, the apps help planning engineers shave 15 hours off the assessment of new grid connections, especially for renewable sources.

AED-SICAD is partnering with Esri Platinum Partner SSP Innovations to implement the UT Smart Apps at U.S. utilities. Find AED-SICAD and SSP in the exhibitor hall at the 2017 Esri User Conference in San Diego, booths 927 and 926. Don’t hesitate to ask either of them about the UT Smart Apps in person.

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Paving a Path to Smart Communities

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.

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Gaining Local Insight for Business

Many businesses have gleaned great returns by looking at operations through the lens of geographic science. The largest wins take on mythical status, as the impacts can be so profound that users want to keep the secret behind these rewards from competitors.

A few eye-opening anecdotes have come to light, including ones about the following:

  • A global parcel delivery company that eliminated left-hand turns and implemented other distance- and time-saving measures for better routing that saved thousands of miles across the company’s fleet and hundreds of millions of dollars annually
  • A national home repair service that improved its efficiency to the point that it could consolidate the number of call centers by two-thirds with an initial cost savings of $9 million and ongoing yearly savings of close to $50 million
  • The chain of coffee shops that scrutinizes the link between store location and performance and finds per-store improvements with effects that are compounded across the chain’s network, including such results as how moving one store just one mile would gain a $10 million increase in yearly sales

At the heart of these wins, and many more, is an enterprise location strategy with Esri’s geographic information system (GIS) mapping software at the hub. GIS integrates with existing customer and enterprise systems, bringing location data, proven algorithms for analysis, and tailored applications to extend insightful information to the front lines of decision-making. Businesses use this powerful platform to reveal deeper understanding of their data.

The recently launched Esri Location Strategy for Business web pages contain information and tools to give every business user a taste of the kinds of spatial analysis available. The new Discover Local Insights application gives visitors a free ZIP code search for some of the key local psychographic variables that help reveal the values, opinions, interests, and lifestyles of customers.

The Discover Local Insights application provides an interactive tool to help businesses understand how to use the power of geographic science to better understand their customers.

“The application falls into our strategy of providing actionable information for business,” says Robby Deming, Esri marketing program manager. “It helps to show how Esri’s vast business and demographic data can provide even greater insight when combined with data that businesses already hold.”

Esri Tapestry Segmentation provides the power behind this application. Tapestry data contains the classification of all US residential neighborhoods, broken down into 67 unique segments based on demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. This data, along with more than 10,000 added Esri data variables, conveys a wealth of local insight.

This short description of the Exurbanites segment can be explored further. Click image to see full four-page report of this segment.

In addition to presenting the psychographic segments, both the 15-minute drive-time area and five-mile-ring buffer area around the ZIP code can be overlaid on the map. These geoenriched polygons give users a greater sense of place while illustrating the intuitive and interactive nature of geospatial business analysis.

This free tool is available as a web application to any interested business. Work is under way to create a mobile-friendly version as well as to enable this application to be embedded in any website. Some of the functions being planned for development include the ability to compare ZIP codes side by side and generate drive times or buffers from any point on a map.

Many businesses have used these kinds of tools for decades to better understand their customers. The early adopters are now combining what they already know with new data feeds from in-store sensors, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and other sources. Live information, such as weather conditions or social media mentions, can also be visualized to get up-to-date insight into factors that impact local business decisions.

“We’re using the Discover Local Insights application to give businesses a practical example of the powerful knowledge they can access through a location strategy,” says Deming. “Any commercial business that wants to know more can sign up for a free location strategy assessment, which includes a half-hour conversation with our technical and commercial business experts. We want to help people understand how their peers are driving business benefits from location technology. In addition, we’ll also provide them with a potential road map for developing their own location strategy that matches their business objectives and needs.”

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Why Attend the Esri Public Sector CIO Summit?

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

 

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The Federal Small Business Specialty Marks First Anniversary at Esri Fed GIS Conference

A lot has happened since the launch of the Federal Small Business Specialty (FSBS) in 2016, as we will be celebrating the first anniversary of the program at the upcoming Esri Federal GIS Conference in DC on February 13-14, 2017.  Here are a few of the highlights from 2016, and what to expect at Fed GIS from Esri’s small business partner community next week.

With over 70 partners in the FSBS to date (See our public storymap of the FSBS partners here), we have an amazing community of small business partners who provide a wide range of GIS services, including agile development of applications designed to meet Federal Government agency requirements.

A key part of the FSBS program is to enhance our partners’ technical expertise through a series of ongoing workshops as well as webcasts on emerging, newly introduced Esri technology, so they can deliver cutting edge solutions and learn best practices for implementation.  In 2016, partners were able to experience hands on workshops in the areas of web apps, Portal for ArcGIS (which is now included in the newly released ArcGIS Enterprise), as well as developing mobile applications with ArcGIS Runtime SDKs.

Implementing and configuring Esri’s Enterprise GIS Portal is a common area of expertise partners wish to develop and have an opportunity to deliver to customers.  John Steed, Director of Geospatial Services, Tesla Government Inc., explained, “We recently integrated Esri’s Portal into our information platform and the field users are thrilled. By implementing a web app presentation in our platform, we present all the widgets our users want while still controlling the information presentation with custom permissions.”

Esri’s Drone2Map for ArcGIS application was another big area of interest for partners to understand how they could work with this technology to tap into this fast growing market.  “The Esri FSBS team’s commitment to partner growth has supported our entrance in the emerging industry of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) data collection. By providing webcasts, software, and technical expertise Esri and the FSBS team have enhanced our ability to deliver outstanding geospatial products and services to our clients,” said Adam Campbell, GIS Project Manager, Geospatial Consulting Group International, LLC.

Here is an image from a project GeoCGI performed in the Fall of 2016. The photo is an Archaeological Site next to James Madison’s Montpelier in central Virginia. The orthomosaic was processed using Drone2Map

Credit: Geospatial Consulting Group International, LLC

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Connecting the Where and the Why at NRF 2017

By Gary Sankary – Head of Industry Marketing, Retail

Every year, more than 30,000 retail analysts, executives, and professionals meet for three days in New York City’s Javitz Center for the National Retail Federation’s annual Big Show. As a retail veteran, believe me when I say there’s nothing in our industry quite like it. It is the largest and most important trade show of the year for retail and retail technology. Retail professionals from every aspect of the industry come to the show to connect, meet with technology partners, and see what’s new in the industry.

The Esri Retail team is excited to showcase many of the ways ArcGIS can help retailers bring precision to their enterprise and extend their capabilities in merchandising, marketing, operations and business intelligence. With the release of ArcGIS 10.5 and Insights for ArcGIS, it’s never been easier for retailers to understand why things happen where they do.

ArcGIS brings precision to retail by enabling retailers to leverage the power of geography in their decision making and execution. Every retail transaction happens in a location for a reason. By connecting data, events, and transactions, retailers can discover the insights they need to find target customers, drive sales, reduce expenses, and engage with their customers. As retailers continue to develop and execute their strategies to support unified commerce, a location data management strategy enabled by ArcGIS is critical.

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Esri at CES – Connected Cars Keep Each Other Safe

By Frits van der Schaaf – Head of Business Development, Automotive

The National Safety Council estimated that in 2015, approximately 38,300 people were killed on U.S. roads and 4.4 million sustained injuries. These tragic statistics are compelling car makers to add connectivity to their safety designs. Their cars will connect to an ecosystem of cloud-based networks that share information to make drivers more aware of their environment and avoid accidents.

Equipped with sensors that create a 360 degree awareness field, a connected vehicle gathers road hazard data. A geographic information system (GIS) processes the real-time data and transforms it into useful information. Using live weather data and historical incident data, for instance, GIS can predict the risk of an accident occurring on a specific section of road when it is raining or when fog will make the road hard to see.

GIS will also play an important role in vehicle and infrastructure sensor systems that share real-time data with each other. While drivers are traveling down the road, their vehicles are “talking” with various roadside structures.  A geofence around a school and elderly housing can alert a car’s system to tell the driver to slow down inside the zone. Car sensors detect treacherous potholes and report the locations to other drivers and the city. Roadside sensor systems can capture real-time data about highway traffic conditions in the lane ahead and automatically relay it to the car’s dashboard to forewarn the driver.

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Esri at CES – Connected Cars Create Most Convenient Commutes

By Frits van der Schaaf – Head of Business Development, Automotive

Today is the beginning of CES (Consumer Electronics Show). The event in Las Vegas draws close to 177,000 atendees and is the world’s largest gathering focused on the business of consumer technologies.

At CES, Esri will join Microsoft’s connected car showcase also including NXP, IAV, Cubic Telecom and Swiss Re to demonstrate the concept of the connected car where cloud, artificial intelligence, mapping and wireless communications provide a personalized in-car driving experience.

While manufacturers continue to add more sophisticated sensors to cars, data platform providers are extending their web platform services. On-board sensors will stream data back and forth between car and platform via the Internet of Things to create some pretty interesting capabilities that will make driving more convenient.

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PUG Lifelong Learning Program

Working with the Petroleum User Group (PUG) community over the years, we have been privileged to meet many talented individuals who realize that there is no end to learning. They are always open to embracing new ideas, technologies, workflows, and relationships. And it doesn’t seem to matter where or when they discovered the value of spatial technologies, how technical these people are, or how high they may rise within their organizations—they have simply decided to be lifelong learners.

In recent conversations with several of these individuals, we collectively commented that there are now many opportunities to get more involved with the community but recognized that some of them are not as well-known as we may like to believe, nor are they corralled under a single unifying program—hence this blog post. Here we describe several community outreach and education programs available to PUG members.

PUG Membership and Involvement

Twenty-six years ago, a few people gathered in a room at Exxon to discuss how best to leverage a fledgling new technology that the company had started to apply to petroleum-based workflows. Today, the PUG community is thousands strong and spread around the globe through regional PUG chapters. Membership is loosely managed, with an open-door policy to all who are interested. Members can simply observe online or ask questions and share knowledge through the PUG website, or they can take a more active role by attending the various PUG meetings, participating in a working group on a subject area of specific interest, or serving on a regional committee. Activities of the main PUG Steering Committee and regional chapters can be found at the PUG website. We encourage you to register online through LinkedIn, join appropriate regional chapters, and become involved as much as you would like.

Educational Connections and Opportunities

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