The Democratization of Accuracy

While writing this, I contemplated titling it, “The Deregulation of Positioning.” As you can see, I changed my mind. I don’t want it to sound like a literal judicial repealing of laws. It’s still, however, something that clearly has occurred and will transform our work and enhance the capabilities of GIS. No longer is high accuracy a luxury that only cash-rich business sectors can afford (utilities, for example). Now, everyone has access to highly accurate GPS tools and workflows without any middlemen or middleware.

Thanks, Standardization

Let’s discuss what’s happened. Continue reading

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Putting GeoPlanner and ArcGIS Pro to Work

Create 2D planning scenarios in GeoPlanner and visualize them in 3D in ArcGIS Pro

These are exciting times for the city of Hartford, Connecticut. A new bus rapid transit (BRT) line, CTfastrak, has recently opened, connecting the city to several communities in central Connecticut. Furthermore, minor league baseball is coming to town, as the Hartford Yard Goats prepare for their debut in 2016. The city now faces the challenge of successfully integrating the upcoming sports entertainment development with the new BRT line in order to maximize the impact of both multi-million dollar projects.

As part of the ArcGIS platform, GeoPlanner for ArcGIS and ArcGIS Pro can help city decision-makers and planners understand and visualize the dynamics of urban infrastructure projects as well as help them optimize the impact of these projects. GeoPlanner and ArcGIS Pro offer new opportunities to incorporate GIS into planning and design practices. GeoPlanner allows you to create and assess multiple planning alternatives. ArcGIS Pro helps you understand these alternatives through 3D visualization. The ArcGIS Platform transfers changes between these applications. This enables uninterrupted workflows and helps to facilitate valuable insights. Continue reading

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2015 GIS Managers’ Open Summit: Presentations and Round Table Discussion Notes

On Tuesday, July 21, 2015, more than 300 GIS professionals came together in San Diego, California for the 5th annual GIS Managers’ Open Summit.  The GIS Managers’ Open Summit is an “unconference”-style event designed to help GIS managers, business and technology strategists, and other decision makers attending the Esri User Conference to engage in conversations with their peers on topics that relate to business efficiencies, ROI, GIS management strategies, and much more.

More than 87 percent of 2015 GIS Managers’ Open Summit attendees found it valuable or very valuable.

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Will This Back-To-School Shopping Season Hit or Miss?

Anticipation and Anxiety for Students and Retailers

As summer vacations end, students eagerly or anxiously anticipate a new school year, new teachers, and new friends. Retailers also anticipate the Back to School (BTS) season, hoping that fickle consumers will buy their merchandise.  The BTS category includes clothes, electronics, and school supplies for elementary, high school, and college ages.

When does BTS shopping begin? Traditionally, the BTS season began in late July and finished soon after school opened. This timeframe is longer now because some consumers prefer to replenish supplies throughout the year, or wait until the holidays to buy electronics and clothing.

Likelihood of using coupons (US average: 100).

Google Trends says that searches for back-to-school supplies and apparel are consistent across the country. It’s when consumers search that varies a lot, especially by region. For example, Google notes that searches for “bags and packs” tend to start in late June in the Deep South, expand westward, and then head to the Midwest and the Northeast. By mid-July, the whole country is in the market. Continue reading

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A Location Platform Brings Simplicity and Execution

A brilliant electrical engineer approached me with a request. He asked if we could model a complex control system in electric substations with GIS. To better understand what he wanted to do, I asked what problem he was trying to solve. He described several.  First, the control system took incorrect action when faced with a failure in the power system. What happened was the control system tripped out a larger section of the grid than was necessary. The engineer thought that modeling the control system in GIS could help diagnose and ultimately correct this problem. I told him this was possible, but it would be complicated.

He was overlooking major, obvious problems that carried big impact.

I tried to change the subject. I asked the engineer what was the biggest problem facing his company. He asked what I meant. What was the biggest problem from an engineering perspective? From another? I clarified. I meant, generally, what was his company’s biggest problem? He said bad data, poor engineering standards, budget cuts, inconsistent operating practices, and more. I pressed further. Finally, he said, “Well, 60 percent of our customers don’t pay their electric bills. Is that what you mean?” Continue reading

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A Smart Approach @Esri UC

From web GIS to apps and more, here are the top five conference takeaways that show how GIS shapes national government.

In July, more than 14,000 GIS enthusiasts traveled to San Diego, California, for the Esri User Conference (Esri UC). From the moment Esri president Jack Dangermond took the stage at the Plenary Session the focus was clear—people are applying geography to create smarter communities, smarter organizations, and smarter nations.

There were so many exciting sessions, workshops, networking events, and exhibits. To give you a look at the most important news, we’ve narrowed down the top five things you should know. Here’s what’s trending in GIS.

Web GIS—The Future Is Now

Organizations use web GIS to drive efficiency and connectivity like never before. GIS-based portals are more than websites; they are hubs people depend on to do their work every day. The integrated ArcGIS platform transforms how national government staff make use of the web to map, analyze, manage, and communicate critical data. Innovative public-facing portals go a long way in connecting national governments with citizens. ArcGIS Open Data portals, for example, empower citizens to find the data they need to drive research, business ventures, and other important initiatives. Continue reading

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New Tools = New Opportunities for GIS Managers

Five Ways to Extend the Value of GIS Across Organizations, Communities, and the World

Big things are happening in the world of maps and mapmaking. A convergence of technology and social trends has pushed geographic information systems (GIS) onto the Internet in a significant way, and the vision of a global Web GIS has been realized.

Web GIS gives GIS managers a new set of tools to help extend the value of geographic information well beyond traditional boundaries. Here are five tools you can start using today to spread the power of GIS throughout your organization, across your community, and to the entire world on the web.

1. Tell Your Story Using a Map

Storytelling carries the potential to affect change, influence opinion, create awareness, raise the alarm, and get out the news. Using a map to help tell your story gives you the power to inform, engage, and inspire people in your organization and across the globe.

The Twister Dashboard beautifully synthesizes 30 years of tornado data.

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Story Maps: 5 Tips and Tricks

Story maps are a great way to harness the power of maps to tell your stories. Here’s 5 simple tips and tricks to help you maximize your use of this exciting platform for geographic storytelling.

1. Add YouTube Videos to Your Story Map Tour

The Story Map Tour supports the ability to use videos from a variety of sources. Here’s an overview of how you can add YouTube videos to your Story Map Tour.

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Go Big Time with Big Data

Big data is measured by volume, velocity, and variety. My colleague and fellow big data lover Mansour Raad recently highlighted how these three measures themselves are increasing almost exponentially in today’s sensored world while talking at one of the commercial business special interest groups (SIGs) during the Esri User Conference (UC).

Big data is expanding at an ever increasing rate. Businesses need to find a way to manage and measure it to be successful.

We no longer store and batch process data. Today, everything is in a stream—a misnomer when we consider the tidal wave of data. We have also become living, breathing, walking, talking sensors thanks to our smart phones and Fitbit-like devices that track us as we are active, eating, and even our sleep. Continue reading

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Mapping the Theme Parks Market

Leverage Esri’s Market Potential data to help tap in to this multi-billion dollar industry.

Visiting a theme park as a vacation destination or a special day trip is on thousands of people’s bucket lists. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) counts more than 400 amusement parks and attractions in the US. The IAAPA noted in 2011 that 25% of Americans surveyed had visited an amusement park in the last 12 months, and that 43% of indicated that they planned to visit an amusement park in the next year.

Theme parks are a multi-billion dollar industry. For example, in 2014, Disney Parks and Resorts was by far the largest amusement and theme park company in terms of global revenue. With revenues exceeding $15 billion US dollars, Disney generated almost six times that of its closest competitor, Universal Studios Theme Parks (source: Statista). Continue reading

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