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.
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.
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.
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.
In 2014, the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Esri announced the publication of the most detailed global ecological land units(ELUs) map in the world. The ELUs are terrestrial ecosystems defined and modeled as unique combinations of bioclimate, landform, geology, and land cover.
In creating the original version, the team learned of the input data’s limitations and created a plan to improve the ELUs with updated input data in 2015. Today, Esri and USGS are pleased to announce the availability of an update to the global ecological land units (ELUs) map.
In particular, Esri created a new global landforms layer to address valid criticisms of the earlier version, which under-represented hills and over represented plains. Additionally, the new landforms dataset gained more classes, including tablelands. The new dataset is also more regionalized, or less fragmented than the earlier dataset, and therefore more intuitive.
On Wednesday, April 6, Esri will be hosting two busloads of 11th grade students from LA’s Roosevelt High School and one busload from LA’s Diego Rivera Learning Complex.
Esri’s work with these high school students began a few years ago, after Esri’s president and founder Jack Dangermond met musician will.i.am, a founding member of the The Black Eyed Peas. This unlikely pairing bonded over a common interest in introducing the next generation to technology and the sciences.
Several years ago, Esri standardized the naming convention for its industry user conferences. For years, the name of the Electric and Gas User Group event was the EGUG Conference. Rather than use the name EGUG, we came up with Esri Electric and Gas GIS Conference or EEGGC. A couple of years ago, we were helping Jack Dangermond — founder, president and owner of Esri — with the video welcome to the EEGCC. We reminded him several times the conference name was now EEGGC and not EGUG.
It didn’t matter.
Dangermond proudly stated, Welcome to EGUG! So much for standardization. The good news is that the name EGUG is officially back, but with a slight twist. We are creating something new, an overarching event that includes EGUG and for the first time the Telecommunication User Group (TelUG). We are calling the event GeoConX hence EGUG @ GeoConX and TelUG @ GeoConX.
We are pleased to announce a new edition of the World Population Estimated layer on ArcGIS Online. Like the 2013 edition, this layer estimates the global footprint of where people live, but with an improved methodology.
In addition, the 2015 edition includes a population density estimate in units of persons per square kilometer. This gives demographers and statisticians the same data expressed in units they use every day. Mapmakers can transform the density layer into other projected coordinate systems with minimal loss of data because the units are independent of the varying area of cells that result when not using an equal area projected coordinate system.
Special keynote address, discussion panel, and reception to engage and enlighten scientists
- A keynote address by Margaret Leinen, Director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, current president of the American Geophysical Union, and a US State Department Science Envoy.
- A conversational reaction panel moderated by Mike Goodchild (UCSB emeritus) with John Wilson (USC), Marco Painho (U. Nova de Lisboa), Ming Tsou (San Diego State), and Cyrus Shahabi (USC).
- Audience Q/A and discussion.
- Networking reception: Enjoy stunning views of the San Diego Harbor, delicious appetizers, and a hosted bar of beer, wine, soft drinks, and bottled water.
The world is going through some serious changes right now. If you ask city officials what keeps them up at night, the majority of them will say jobs, followed by water scarcity, flooding, traffic congestion and failing infrastructure. For many, it’s the loss of millennials to big cities, or the aging of their population.