Now That the Snow Has Thawed, How’d You Do?

The Year in Review for Winter Maintenance Professionals 

We all know it has been a tough year, with record snow.

Esri promoted this as the year GIS meets snow and ice removal, in part due to the hard work that transportation and public works professionals deal with on an annual basis. But now that the snow has begun to thaw, it is time to reflect on where and how we could have improved and, more importantly, if a location strategy could have played a more impactful role in supporting the work you do.

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The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire and Esri Host Exhibit

The Ai Esri Connection is a joint exhibit between The Art Institute of California—Inland Empire and Esri. It celebrates the unique relationship that has developed over the years between the two organizations. Together, they have focused on cultivating student success and educating them on career opportunities that are available, particularly in the fields of GIS, technology, and design.

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Your GIS is Mobile

GIS on mobile devices has changed how we interact with geography. With a smartphone you can access maps and data for anywhere on any theme, and because the phone can record where you are, you’re now in position to leverage your full GIS capabilities in the field.

GIS Goes Where You Go

With mobile GIS, your GIS maps and apps go with you wherever you go. That’s a big idea. The integration of the smartphone and GIS carries many implications in addition to the ones described here.

You can use your phone to capture geotagged photos and videos, and then use them to tell and share your stories. You can collect data in the field and update your enterprise information. Your phone can also be used to access enterprise information for your current location so that you have deeper knowledge and awareness.

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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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What Runs Behind the Scenes at the Boston Marathon

By Jessica Wyland

Runners (and race fans) take your mark. Today is the 2016 Boston Marathon, held every April on the Massachusetts holiday Patriots’ Day, which commemorates the start of the American Revolutionary War. It’s a spirited race, one that attracts about 30,000 runners, half a million spectators, and international media coverage.

Amid all the excitement, and new shoes, lurk safety concerns.

Take yourself back to spring 2013, the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. That day two bombs exploded at the finish line killing three people and wounding 260.

The following year marked record-high participation from runners and spectators under the rally cry: Boston Strong. By 2015, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency had produced the Boston Marathon Dashboard, an online map that tracks every aspect of the event as it happens.

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Defeating Polio in Iraq

Post-immunization Campaign Surveys Use Real-Time Data Collection

By Jessica Wyland

The outbreak of polio in Syria and Iraq between October 2013 and April 2014 was described by one United Nations spokesperson as, “arguably the most challenging outbreak in the history of polio eradication.” Polio, a highly contagious disease that primarily afflicts children younger than age 5, can lead to partial and sometimes fatal paralysis.

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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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Why Hasn’t My GIS Manager Showed Me This?

I had the pleasure of being part of the team representing Esri at the American Planning Association (APA) National Planning Conference in Phoenix, AZ (see a picture of the Phoenix Convention Center below). I really feel at home among planners, as I have a Masters degree in Urban & Regional Planning, attained the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) certification, spent part of my career as a Planner, as well as worked with planners as a GIS practitioner.

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Mapping the Prescription Drug and Heroin Epidemic

Eight years ago, I lost my little brother, J. T., to the prescription drug epidemic that is growing and has been killing our families and friends. J. T. was the most charming person you could ever meet: an amazing musician, compassionate to all, and the best man at my wedding. He became addicted to the powerful painkiller called OxyContin. Before 2007, I had no idea what OxyContin was, but I’ve found that his story of becoming addicted was all too familiar to many others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 28,000 people died from prescription drugs alone in the United States in 2014—far more than car accidents—and many more addictions continue to impact families at home. I spoke very little of this topic during the first several years after J. T. passed, and I certainly didn’t think I’d ever be writing about it on a mapping blog. However, if our country, our families, and our friends are to truly address this issue, we must understand what it is and where it’s happening. I’ve become much more vocal in sharing this painful story, and maps have been my voice to raise awareness about the problem.

Associated with this epidemic is a definite stigma that needs to be refuted. This is happening to people everywhere—rich and poor, north and south, and within every demographic—so I started a memorial story map, Celebrating Lost Loved Ones. It shows a very small sample of bios written by people I’ve met who also lost loved ones to this epidemic, and the story map has been growing via social media. Each lost loved one has a picture and a bio with details about what made them special. Family members contribute by writing to CelebrateLostLovedOnes@gmail or contacting the community Facebook page. Grieving families in Canada have also started their own story map, and I have been collaborating with them to update the Celebrating Lost Loved Ones map. The map I created shows both prescription drug and heroin deaths. It is well documented that many people who start with opioid pills move on to heroin when it becomes harder to find pills, as the two drugs are very similar chemically. So the prescription drug epidemic and heroin addiction are bound together, causing massive impacts.

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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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