Join Esri at the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) 2016 Summer Specialty Conference: GIS and Water Resources IX

The Esri water team will be on site at the AWRA Summer Specialty Conference, July 11-13 at the Hilton Sacramento Arden West. The focus of this year’s event is the role of GIS to support better decisions across water, land, and ecological resources.

Esri is a bronze-level sponsor and exhibitor at the conference, where a spectrum of topics will be covered in 37 sessions over the course of three days, ranging from water resource data development techniques to complex computer modeling infrastructures.

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Imagery deepens understanding

GIS technology is both intuitive and cognitive. It combines powerful visualization and mapping with strong analytic and modeling tools. Remotely sensed earth observation—generally referred to in GIS circles simply as imagery—is the definitive visual reference at the heart of GIS. It provides the key—the geographic Rosetta stone that unlocks the mysteries of how the planet operates and brings it to life. When we see photos of Earth taken from above, we understand immediately what GIS is all about.

The story of imagery as an earth observation tool begins with photography, and in the early part of the twentieth century, photography underwent extraordinary changes and social adoption. Photos not only offered humanity a new, accessible kind of visual representation—they also offered a change in perspective. The use of color photography grew. Motion pictures and television evolved into what we know today. And humans took to the sky flying in airplanes, which, for the first time, enabled us to take pictures of the earth from above. It was a time of transformation in mapping and observation, providing an entirely new way of seeing the world.

World War II: Reconnaissance and intelligence gathering

During World War II, major advances in the use of imagery for intelligence were developed. The Allied Forces began to use offset photographs of the same area of interest, combining them to generate stereo photo pairs for enhancing their intelligence gathering activities. In one of many intelligence exercises called Operation Crossbow, pilots flying in planes—modified so heavily for photo gathering that there was no room for weapons—captured thousands of photographs over enemy-held territory. These resulting collections required interpretation and analysis of hundreds of thousands of stereo-photographic pairs by intelligence analysts.

Stereoscopic imagery was instrumental in identifying the facilities of Nazi rocket programs. This photo shows stereo glasses used for viewing offset photo pairs.

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Esri Sponsors Maps Camp at the United Nations

By David Gadsden

On Saturday, July 9 Esri is sponsoring Maps Camp at the United Nations in New York City. Esri’s Courtney Claessens will be speaking on two panels, “Philosophies of Open Source” and “What’s next for Open Source and Mapping.”

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The Art of Mapmaking

ArcGIS for Cartographers

The ArcGIS platform provides capabilities that enable everyone to make truly excellent maps, including support for highly sophisticated mapping workflows employed by professional cartographers. Desktop includes tools for rich data compilation, for importing data from a multitude of publication formats, and for integrating this data with your own data to create consistent, accurate, and beautiful cartographic products for both printed maps and online maps.

Swisstopo is the official name for the Swiss Federal Office of Topography, Switzerland’s national mapping agency. With all the mountains in Switzerland, it should be no surprise that they developed many of the classic cartographic techniques, like the Swiss Hillshade.

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Making a World of Difference

Common Goals Unite Sustainable World Community at 2016 Esri User Conference

By: David Gadsden

Some use GIS to serve their citizens; others use the technology to turn a profit or manifest insight from big data. While many uses for GIS can be achieved, it’s possible that none are as noble as the underlying goal of the people exhibiting at the Esri User Conference Sustainable World showcase—sustaining the earth and making the world a better place.

The Esri User Conference Sustainable World showcase gathered likeminded nonprofits such as Woods Hole Research Center and the National Audubon Society to share how they are using GIS to change the world for the better.

United through the purpose of the Global Goals, the nonprofit organizations present at the showcase networked with colleagues to talk about common goals and collaborate toward achieving positive change. Goals discussed included eliminating poverty and hunger; advancing good health, quality education, and gender equality; securing clean water, decent employment, and reduced inequalities; promoting responsible consumption, industrial production, and climate action; protection of life in oceans and on land; and establishing peace and justice for all.

These sentiments were reinforced at the Sustainable World Community social where more than 250 individuals from international administrations, the United Nations, conservation groups, and humanitarian organizations congregated to celebrate the positive impacts of their growing contingency. The lively showing took place at the San Diego Convention Center’s upper west terrace and featured prominent attendees including Domingo Ankuash, recipient of Esri’s Making a Difference award. Ankuash uses GIS to drive meaningful change with the seven Amazonian tribes he leads.

Esri’s Making a Difference award recipient Domingo Ankuash presented the Global Goals for sustainable development at the Sustainable World Community social.

Organizations similar to Ankuash’s AmazonGISNET employ several innovative means to communicate their missions, including Esri Story Maps. Groups such as National Geographic, the National Trust for History Preservation, the Puente Institute, the Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Foundation, and the National Audubon Society employ Story Maps to convey the goals and progress of their programs through maps, rich media, and powerful narrative.

Aptly, the common theme throughout the Sustainable World showcase were stories of each organization’s successes in sustainability and accomplishing positive impacts.

HALO Trust works to clear unexploded ordnances around the world by training and employing thousands of regional deminers, saving lives and supporting the local economy in the process. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation uses geospatial information to assess difficult parts of the world to reach, ensuring their resources provide opportunity for less fortunate individuals to pursue happy, healthy, and productive lives.

TeamDEV s.r.l. chief executive officer Andrea Cruciani and Esri nonprofit sector lead David Gadsden discuss the role of GIS in achieving the Global Goals.

Through their focus of sustaining ape habitats in the Congo forest basin and East Africa, which positively impact the livelihoods of thousands of species that might otherwise be subject to deforestation, the Jane Goodall Institute also manages a youth program in more than 100 countries which uses GIS to identify environmental community projects.

The Woods Hole Research Center, whose Cape Cod, Massachusetts headquarters were constructed with ecofriendly and recycled materials, relies on geospatial visualization to convey research dedicated to smart land use; the reduction of deforestation; the impacts of permafrost melt; and the environmental factors for increasing boreal forest fire turnover.

Esri and partners expand the Sustainable World Community one individual at a time.

Organizations such as these comprised the Sustainable World Community at the Esri User Conference and were joined by many others who look to leave the world in a better place than they found it.

Learn more about how organizations are using GIS to enhance sustainability by visiting

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The ArcGIS Imagery Book: A Geographic Rosetta Stone

Imagery is Visible Intelligence

By: Dave Grenley

The next generation of imagery intelligence comes alive in The ArcGIS Imagery Book: New View. New Vision., published by Esri Press. It is now available in print, interactive PDF, and interactive companion website.

The new book provides readers with a wealth of gorgeous, inspiring images and links to powerful web apps and maps that weave interesting stories about our planet and the issues we face. Readers will also gain foundational knowledge about how imagery and remote sensing is used for geographic information system (GIS) technology.

The ArcGIS Imagery Book offers a look back at the fascinating history and rapid evolution of earth observation technology. Readers will learn about modern earth imaging technologies and how imagery data can be used in GIS—for real world applications such as asset management, precision agriculture, emergency response, real estate geolocation, urban planning, natural disaster assessment, and climate studies.

Additionally, readers will gain hands-on experience working with powerful imagery and remote-sensing data through the book’s companion lesson plan from the Learn ArcGIS organization.

The book’s editors, Clint Brown, Esri director of software products, and Christian Harder, Esri senior editor and writer, said they hope the book will help turn readers into “GIS and imagery aces.”

The ArcGIS Imagery Book is the second in a series of publications from Esri (following The ArcGIS Book) that provides an online interactive learning experience for readers to take advantage of, at their own pace. “It comes with intelligent information items: maps, web scenes, analytic models, story maps—just amazing rich content,” said Brown. “We get into real-world problem solving and real-world applications.”

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Legislators Use Esri ArcGIS to Better Represent Constituents

By: Peter LiCalsi, Esri

Esri’s Lauren Lipovic and Bonnie Stayer demonstrated how GIS data is solving one of the biggest challenges politicians face. Political views of constituencies often vary and contradict those of others across a region. During a role-playing session at UC’s Public Policy exhibit, Ms. Lipovic assumed the part of a hypothetical Idaho Senator to demonstrate how a representative can use GIS to better understand these discrepancies.

Legislators can now leverage ArcGIS that governments typically use to enhance initiatives such as national parks services and defense intelligence, to visualize census data and see polling results on geospatial maps. These show the relationship between demographics and how voters communicate their opinions on issues to their representatives. For instance, the data about voter opinions concerning child poverty are overlaid on a basemap along with the locations showing where child poverty actually occurs.

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The 2016 Esri User Conference – That’s a Wrap!

By: Barbara Shields

Its people that make GIS powerful and people that make a GIS conference great. GIS users, students, business teams, executives, Esri staff, Esri business partners, and celebrities gathered at the Esri UC User Conference in San Diego, California, to be part of the greatest GIS happening on the planet. It has been a very packed week.


Jack Dangermond shares his vision about GIS enabling a smarter world

During the plenary Jack Dangermond presented the maps of GIS users around the world working in nearly every industry. The plenary production packed in 47 speakers that shared their visions, told their stories, demonstrated their work, and presented the latest technological innovations.

Andrea Wulf: Author Andrea Wulf shared the power of geography through the eyes of legendary scientist Alexander van Humboldt.

Richard Saul Wurman: Dreamers, such as Richard Saul Wurman, Founder of TED Talks, inspired people to think big.

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Changing the GIS Conversation in Government through the Future of Smart

Esri Users Share and Explore Smart Communities Trends, Use Cases, and Solutions at the 2016 User Conference

By: Samantha Mac Donald

What do smart communities mean to you? For GIS professionals working in government, it’s a well-known concept that is transforming the dialogue about geospatial technology within their organizations.

“While GIS may not be perceived as a top priority in government, it is the technology that enables communities to become smarter,” said Christopher Thomas, director of government markets at Esri. “GIS is evolving and getting smarter—and GIS professionals are more important than ever.”

GIS professionals attending the Esri User Conference in San Diego this week shared how the smart communities movement is enabling them to engage with decision makers in new ways and demonstrate the power of GIS.

“Smart communities is an initiative that is banding together everyone in government—and one that today’s savvy GIS professionals are leveraging to improve collaboration and increase GIS adoption within their organizations,” Thomas said.

The conversation is changing from “Do you want to be a part of my GIS committee?” to “Do you want to become a smarter community?”

The resounding answer is “yes.”

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The US Forest Service Receives the Esri 3D Excellence Award

By Barbara Shields, Esri

Esri honored the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (USFS) with its 3D Excellence Award. The Forest Service uses 3D GIS to communicate wildfire information to a very large group of wildfire fighting teams. James Hubbard, deputy chief of the Forest Service, accepted the award during the Esri 3D Imaging and Mapping Forum, June 26, 2016.

“We are paying a lot of attention to reducing fire fighters’ unnecessary exposure to risk,” Hubbard said. “We don’t want to put firefighters into situations where they can’t succeed or have a low probability of succeeding. 3D mapping gives us a better idea of where they should go or not go. It also helps them be more effective firefighters.”

The Forest Service received the award because Esri considers it as a major contributor to the advancement of 3D GIS technology.  Its user requirements have helped Esri’s 3D development team set its priorities. The Forest Service uses 3D GIS to substantially communicate wildfire information to a very large group of its users. In one week, it trained 2,000 people to use a 3D wildfire management web application.

Staff easily accesses essential data provided by the National Interagency Fire Center, layers it onto a 3D base map, and has a multidimensional perspective of a wildfire’s progress.

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