Tag Archives: ArcGIS Online

Esri Teams up with XPRIZE to Advance Sea Floor Mapping

by Jyotika I. Virmani, Senior Director of Energy and Environment for XPRIZE and Dawn Wright, Esri Chief Scientist

Over 60% of the Earth’s surface has not yet been mapped. The ocean covers 70% of our planet’s landmass, and of that, less than 15% of the sea floor has been mapped at a resolution greater than 5 km. In fact, we have higher resolution maps of the entire surface of the Moon, Venus, and Mars than we do of our own Earth. But this situation can be changed. We are in the midst of a Technological Revolution and with the advent of exponential technologies such as 3D printing, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality, we now have smaller and cheaper tools and greater access to information.

Mapping the sea floor has, historically, been a challenge. Seawater is obviously opaque, which prevents us from using visible, remote surveying techniques to get maps of the sea floor. Seawater is a harsh and corrosive medium and, with a viscosity greater than air, it has additional engineering challenges such as high friction resulting in rapid power drain for any device that is used to map the bathymetry underwater. It is also expensive to access because the technology of today requires ships to sail to the area being mapped before the mapping technology is deployed. At an average cost of $60,000 a day, it can easily cost a few hundred thousand dollars before mapping can even begin.

The Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, a 3-year competition launched last December, is incentivizing innovators to develop the autonomous underwater robots we need to map the sea floor at 5m or higher resolution and take high-definition images of the deep sea. Within this is a $1 million National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Bonus Prize, for teams who can develop an underwater tracking device that can autonomously track a biological or chemical to its source. The devices will be shore-based or aerial deployments, removing the massive costs associated with ships.  The competition will conclude in December 2018 and, like all other XPRIZE competitions, there will be a number of technical solutions that emerge to provide underwater cartographers the tools they need to survey the sea floor.

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The World’s Largest Lesson

by Adam Pfister

The World’s Largest Lesson

World leaders from all nations, developed and developing, have committed to the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Seventeen truly ambitious goals, and at Esri, we are committed to achieving each one.

In partnership with Project Everyone, we are incredibly excited to collaborate on the World’s Largest Lesson and their Focus on Goal 5, Gender Equality. Using the content in these lesson plans, teachers around the world are able to reach out to a new generation and help them stand up and embrace their part.

Achieving Gender Equality is ambitious, to be sure, and perhaps the first step is to know where you stand. Get to know those who are in important roles, starting in your own community and all the way up to your national representatives.

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Engaging the People of New Orleans with GIS

Monday, August 29 marks the 11 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the costliest disaster in American history. And while the category five storm caused unprecedented damage, the community has rebuilt the destroyed infrastructure, and has also taken new steps forward technologically.

The city of New Orleans now uses GIS extensively, and incorporates Esri’s ArcGIS platform into a series of enterprise applications. These help the public stay informed as well as enabling them to participate in making their city a better, safer place to live.

For instance, a new website called Where Y’at, is allowing citizens to access public data as easily as any common search engine.  By typing in their address, people can find up-to-date information about property boundaries, garbage, and recycling pick-up days, polling locations, district representation, and more.

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National Park Service Second Century of Service Starts with WebGIS

By Stephen K. Bryce, Esri Federal Government Expert

Since August 25, 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, and continuing on through June 24, 2016, when the NPS added its 412th site, Stonewall National Monument, maps have communicated the importance of the nation’s most valued treasures. For a century NPS has created maps for survey, preservation, conservation, planning, tourism, search and rescue, facilities management, and more. Beginning its second century of custodial care, the NPS is modernizing web flows by bringing web GIS services into the mainstream of its map production.

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Safe Communities Meet Up Features Senior Advisor to the White House, Program Lead from Department of Homeland Security

Law enforcement across the country are working to fulfill the President’s Police Data Initiative (PDI) to improve public trust and police legitimacy. GIS is an invaluable tool to help communities use open data to protect lives, property, and critical infrastructure. Esri has committed a vast amount of software and resources to help police departments across the nation access and understand information in order to keep communities safer.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Infrastructure Foundation Level Data (HIFLD) provides national foundation-level geospatial data that can be used to support community preparedness, resiliency, research, and more. Esri’s ArcGIS platform is the system that provides access to this information.

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What is orthorectified imagery?

Using elevation to enable accurate image georeferencing

Imagery has an amazing amount of information, but raw aerial or satellite imagery cannot be used in a GIS until it has been processed such that all pixels are in an accurate (x,y) position on the ground. Photogrammetry is a discipline, developed over many decades, for processing imagery to generate accurately georeferenced images, referred to as orthorectified images (or sometimes simply orthoimages). Orthorectified images have been processed to apply corrections for optical distortions from the sensor system, and apparent changes in the position of ground objects caused by the perspective of the sensor view angle and ground terrain.

A view captured from an oblique angle (for example, 25°, left) must be corrected for relief displacement caused by terrain to generate the orthorectified view (looking straight down, right). Orthoimagery is produced by calculating the nadir view for every pixel.

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New Orleans at Esri UC – a Behind the Scenes Look and Repeatable Solutions

This year the City of New Orleans showcased their great work at the Esri User Conference Plenary. A major theme of their presentation was citizen engagement and creating a real two-way engagement enabling citizens to take in civic responsibility. New Orleans is doing outstanding work, and all of the solutions are configurations that can be repeated for any local government.

The first demonstration was the Property Survey solution in which we have enlisted User Conference attendees to help survey their properties for blight at https://propertysurvey.nola.gov/photosurvey/ This solution can be useful for a variety of applications such as code enforcement, emergency management assessment or tax appraisers. The Photo Survey Solution from the Esri Solutions gallery will allow you to process geo-tagged photos and an application to set up randomized surveys as New Orleans has done. Since 16,000 UC attendees were enlisted to help assess properties and shared on social media, Esri Managed Services was used to make sure the underlying infrastructure was ready for reliability and scalability.

New Orleans Property Survey

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What Makes an Enterprise GIS Successful?

As the 2016 Esri User Conference approaches, I have been thinking about the essence of what makes an enterprise GIS successful and offer these thoughts…

A successful GIS implementation requires more than just technology. Whether or not a GIS is successful, largely depends upon motivated people that are committed to managing change, and effectively applying the technology in a sustainable manner, while following best practices. An assistant City Manager once told me, “…whether or not our GIS implementation is successful is not a technology problem, it’s a people problem…”

Two of the key elements of a successful GIS are vision and leadership – if you are a GIS Manager, you need to be more than just a manager, you need to be a leader in your organization. You need to awaken your organization, and the public, to the capabilities and benefits of the use of GIS. This means you need to market the benefits of GIS to colleagues and the public. Let them know that GIS can do more than make maps, that it can be used easily by anyone, and that spatial analysis can provide insight that is not accessible with any other technology. This critical insight can help anyone make better decisions, be more efficient, and therefore, save money and time.

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The Expansive Reach of Web GIS

Across organizations and beyond

The geographic organizing aspect of GIS has been part of GIS thinking from the beginning, but now factor in the impact of the web. The new Web GIS provides an online infrastructure for making maps and geographic information available throughout an organization, across a community, and openly on the web. This new vision for Web GIS fully complements, integrates, and extends the work of existing GIS professionals.

Web access to data layers is straightforward: every layer has a web address (a URL) making it easy to locate and share online. And since every layer is geo-referenced, Web GIS becomes an engine of integration that facilitates the access and recombination of layers from multiple providers into your own apps.

This is significant. Millions of professionals in the GIS community worldwide are building layers that serve their individual purposes. By simply building and then sharing these layers back into the GIS ecosystem, they are adding to a comprehensive and growing GIS of the world. Each day, this resource grows richer and is tapped by ArcGIS users and shared on the web. Web GIS truly has become “the nervous system of the planet.”

Web GIS extends the reach of the work of GIS professionals to others inside of their organization and to their constituents and beyond.

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Web GIS, Simply

I’m often speaking about, demonstrating, writing about, or using Web GIS. And I’m frequently asked things like “What exactly is Web GIS?” and “Why is Web GIS important to me?” To answer these and other common questions, here’s how I describe Web GIS, simply.

What is Web GIS?

Simply put, Web GIS is a pattern, or architectural approach, for implementing a modern GIS. It’s powered by web services—standard services that deliver data and capabilities, and connect components.

Web GIS can be implemented in the cloud (using ArcGIS Online), on-premises (using ArcGIS Server), or more typically as a hybrid combination, leveraging the best of both worlds.

Web GIS isn’t new, in fact it’s been evolving for a long while. But we’ve reached, actually passed, a tipping point where innovation in GIS and related technologies have made Web GIS not only possible, but essential.

Web GIS has been evolving for a long while, and has been influenced by innovation in many areas.

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