During rush hour on August 1, 2007, sections of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, began to collapse and fall into the Mississippi River, killing 13 people and injuring another 145. This was only one of a series of high-profile bridge failures that have resulted in lives being lost. The cause, according to many experts, is that the United States has been systematically underinvesting in infrastructure and maintenance for some time. In fact, recent figures indicate that state and local spending on infrastructure is at a 30-year low.
Effectively addressing America’s infrastructure needs begins with knowing where to make the most strategic investments. And that is where GIS can play an important role in understanding the condition of our infrastructure, where the largest bottlenecks occur, and where dollars should be targeted for the greatest benefit to the nation’s economy.
January 15 marks the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. A national holiday since 1983, Martin Luther King Jr. Day honors the legacy of the Baptist minister who advanced the civil rights movement in America using nonviolent civil disobedience as a foundation. One of the core inequities that King sought to remedy was segregation. While much of segregation in the United States was state enforced, it was already significantly ingrained within culture and society, and the battles to undo its influences and effects had been raging for over half a century.
The Story Map, Mapping Segregation in Washington DC, shows the history of what was known as racially restrictive covenants in property deeds, which then expanded to neighborhood-wide petition covenants. These signed, legally binding, contractual agreements governing real estate deals, officially restricted the race of the signer. These agreements led to entire neighborhoods becoming effectively white-only zones where black and other minority buyers could not penetrate the market.
Mapping Segregation in Washington DC Story Map
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.
By Clint Brown – Director, Product Engineering, Esri
At Esri, we believe that geographic information system (GIS) technology provides a critical framework for understanding, communicating, and organizing information about our world. Underpinning our work at Esri is the belief that applied geographic science provides a powerful medium for understanding complex challenges and that, through the application of GIS, we can explore possible solutions. In light of this, we have been closely tracking the process of establishing the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), creating capabilities that will help create and monitor the SDG data indicators. We believe that Esri’s ArcGIS platform is highly relevant as an applied toolset to achieve the goals set forth in the 2030 Agenda.
This story map is about the use of GIS to support SDGs. Visit sdgs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=c921e7d2cfef4c8ab98b839e27eda74a.
A primary goal of GIS is to provide a framework for organizing and communicating the collective global knowledge about our world and the impact of human activities. GIS and maps are used in all fields across every nation, providing a universal language for communicating and sharing ideas and insight. They offer the unique capability of integrating many different kinds of data. GIS uses spatial location and digital map overlays to organize the content of our world. And overlays can be used to integrate information and analyze relationships among and between all SDG initiatives.
City Website Empowers Citizens and Businesses with Open Data and Apps
Long Beach, California, just launched a comprehensive data hub called DataLB, which makes the city’s data available to the public online. Using Esri’s geographic information system (GIS) platform, DataLB enables citizens, businesses, and academic institutions to use civic data to improve decision-making.
Since 2014, Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia has been committed to implementing Esri technology within the city to display data in maps and make information easily discoverable and shareable between departments over the web. DataLB extends these capabilities to the public with an easily accessible website that connects people with the civic initiatives that benefit them. For instance, in the case of Measure A, which invested $150 million in Long Beach infrastructure, parks, and public safety, the hub has made all the data on the initiative available via a public story map. This visual tool includes interactive maps showing where funds will be used for specific improvements. And BizMap, a new application, allows the public to look up and export business license information in Long Beach’s business improvement districts and areas.
“DataLB will make huge amounts of city data accessible to the public, staff, and anyone who is interested in learning about or improving our community,” said Garcia. “Long Beach is doing more than just making data public. We are actually making it easy for people to see data in maps and use the site and apps to track public works, open new businesses, and find other resources.”
The Public-Facing DataLB
As a public engagement tool, DataLB reveals city data that was previously only accessible to internal staff. The hub also contains apps specifically designed to enable citizen engagement. For instance, Long Beach is working on an initiative to gather data using Esri’s Survey123 for ArcGIS that may be used in a future information product in order for the hub to visualize the impact of homelessness in Long Beach. This will help public safety and welfare agencies better allocate resources.
Florida presents unique challenges for the water industry. The groundwater is so close to the surface that I have often heard the phrase “Surface water is groundwater that you can see.” The karst geology adds to this problem. Everything is connected. This has caused great concern regarding water quality and the health of Florida’s rich ecosystems. You’ve probably guessed by now that these water quality concerns have created a diverse regulatory environment.
Image of downtown Orlando. Explore more in this storymap
In addition, water resources and water utilities face challenges surrounding construction, sea level rise, and data collection. Groundwater and tide conditions have to be considered before construction projects can begin. Sea level rise is causing flood inundation and salt water intrusion leading to corrosion. Remote locations, wetlands, sinkholes, and wildlife can make data collection difficult.
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.
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.
An Esri Story Map for the Holidays
In the United States, Santa Claus, the jolly bearer of gifts with a long white beard, has been around in the familiar form we know today since roughly the 1823 publication of the poem A Visit From St. Nicholas. Many others have contributed to Santa’s enduring myth in the U.S., including illustrator Thomas Nast, and writer L. Frank Baum of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz fame. By the mid-century, the popular image of Santa Claus was solidified enough in the American consciousness that even Coca-Cola® was using him for Christmas advertising campaigns.
St. Nicholas, the 4th century Greek patron saint of children who eventually took on the Anglo Saxon guise of Father Christmas, has evolved in a myriad of ways in different parts of the world. Even countries as far removed from Western cultural tradition as Japan have adopted and recreated their own versions of Jolly old Saint Nick. On this special Esri Story Map for the holiday season, see the different forms Santa Claus takes in various cultures mapped around the world.
Santas Around the World Story Map
In the United Kingdom, “Father Christmas,” who is very similar to the modern American Santa Claus, rides a white horse, or sometimes even a goat, instead of reindeer.
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