Tag Archives: GIS

Mapping the Third Dimension

A Change in Perspective

3D is how we see the world. With 3D Web GIS, you bring an extra dimension into the picture. See your data in its true perspective in remarkable photorealistic detail, or use 3D symbols to communicate quantitative data in imaginative ways, creating better understanding and bringing visual insight to tricky problems.

The Evolution of 3D Mapping

Throughout history, geographic information has been authored and presented in the form of two-dimensional maps on the best available flat surface of the era—scrawled in the dirt, on animal skins and cave walls, hand-drawn on parchment, then onto mechanically printed paper, and finally onto computer screens in all their current shapes and sizes. Regardless of the delivery system, the result has been a consistently flat representation of the world. These 2D maps were (and still are) quite useful for many purposes, such as finding your way in an unfamiliar city or determining legal boundaries, but they’re restricted by their top-down view of the world.

Some stories lend themselves very well to 3D storytelling. The Mountains of Fire story map is composed of a number of 3D web scenes.

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What are mosaic datasets?

Collections of images

The recommended data structure within ArcGIS to manage and process imagery is the mosaic dataset. A mosaic structure enables significant big data capabilities for large, even massive, image collections. Each mosaic is composed of a number of related raster datasets, enabling you to keep your original individual image files on disk and to access them as part of a larger, integrated single collection. Mosaics are used to create a continuous image surface across large areas. For example, among other scenarios, you can use mosaics to handle coverage of very high-resolution image files for an entire continent. Or you can manage an entire historical map series for a nation for every year and every map scale. You can even manage huge multidimensional collections of time series information for earth observations and climate forecast modeling (often referred to as 4D). Creating mosaics is straightforward. You can point to a series of source georeferenced image files and automatically assemble a mosaic in minutes where each image acts as a tile within the collection.

Managing extremely large collections

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Modeling: What can patterns tell you?

Some problems demand you go beyond exploring the data into quantifying relationships or formally testing hypotheses. This is where modeling comes in. Spatial modeling allows you to derive new data from values of existing data layers and to predict what might happen and where. Modeling often takes you into the realm of developing specialized workflows through programming. Creating scripts and automated workflows lets you efficiently query and process large amounts of data and implement more complex algorithms. Increasingly, the value of sharing methods and code through the web allows you to create complex workflows without the need to develop all the components. Knowledge is being shared by putting the real power of spatial analysis into the hands of more people.

Modeling Processes

With an understanding of the processes at work in the natural or human environment, additional features can be modelled from spatial data. Using an elevation surface, for example, you can derive information and identify features that were not readily apparent in the original surface, such as contours, angle of slope, steepest downslope direction (aspect), shaded relief (hillshade), and visible areas (viewsheds). You can model the flow of water across Earth’s surface, deriving runoff characteristics, understanding drainage systems, and creating watersheds.

This GIS app shows how GIS was used to model areas that cougars would be likely to traverse through the mountains and wildlands near Los Angeles. Wildlife conservation experts stress the need to identify safe corridors, including natural bridges, so the big cats in isolated populations can find each other.

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A new level of cool

The Arctic Ocean Basemap

Over the past few years, Esri’s Ocean Basemap team has noted the world’s scientific attention shifting north. The receding sea ice and increased vessel traffic within the Arctic Ocean is coming front and center in discussions within the marine and maritime communities. To support the communities, Esri’s Ocean Basemap team developed the Arctic Ocean Basemap.

The Arctic Ocean Basemap (left) uses a special projection that is optimized for study of this region covering the northern latitudes of the globe from 90 to 50 degrees north. This (and the companion imagery version) is designed to be used as a basemap for overlaying other data for the Arctic region, such as this example (right) featuring sea ice extent and oil exploration data on top of the polar basemap.

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Archaeologists Use a Drone and a Dog to Map a Dig

By: Angela Lee

In Sweden, Kalmar County Museum archaeologists Nicholas Nilsson and Fredrik Gunnarsson used Esri technology to unearth a moment frozen in time.  Using data captured by a drone, a web app, and a dog with a keen sense of smell, the archaeologists mapped a fort and its houses as well as the violent fate of the people who lived there.

In the 5th century AD during Europe’s turbulent Migration Period, on the island of Öland off the coast of Sweden many ring forts were constructed, mainly as a places of refuge during times of war.  Many gold artifacts have been found on the island, including gold coins given to islanders for serving as mercenaries in the Roman army.  The area surrounding the Sandby Borg ring fort had an unusually high concentration of these gold coins.

Concentration of gold coins (solidi) on Öland, Sweden

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UC Maps Shine Once Again

By Mark Harrower

We are living in an exciting age for GIS and cartography, with maps being used in new ways, to solve new kinds of problems, and across the technology spectrum. To celebrate the ubiquitous nature of maps, Esri User Conference (Esri UC) attendees are invited each year to share their work in GIS and cartography. Hundreds of Esri users display their very best mapping efforts in the Map Gallery at the Esri UC during the week and it represents a remarkable collection of work.

This year, nearly 700 maps were submitted for the Map Gallery. A select number of qualified Esri judges are privileged to evaluate and assess these entries each year.

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Informed Justice

Using GIS to Build a More Data-Driven, Rehabilitative Criminal Justice System

Over 150 elected officials, law enforcers, and public health professionals from 67 communities across the country met in Washington, DC, last month to explore ways to keep low-risk offenders out of the criminal justice system and respond to the White House’s call for more informed justice.

The Numbers Speak

The urgency of the call is justified. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ most recent data, more than two-thirds of offenders return to prison after three years, while three quarters return within five years. That rate of recidivism costs society by failing to rehabilitate people in the criminal justice system when it’s possible—and ultimately cost effective—to do so.

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Smart Mapping Workflows

Your world is full of data, and maps help you to make sense of it. There is a growing need to turn geographic data into compelling maps. All users want to create beautiful, interactive maps and infographics with live data, easily and with confidence. The smart mapping mission is to provide a new kind of strong “cartographic artificial intelligence” that enables virtually anyone to visually analyze, create, and share professional quality maps in just a few minutes, with minimal mapping knowledge or software skills.

Smart mapping is designed to give ArcGIS users the confidence and ability to quickly make maps that are visually pleasing and effective. Cartographic expertise is “baked” into ArcGIS, meaning it is part of the fundamental user experience of using ArcGIS. The map results that you see in front of you are driven by the nature of the data itself, the kind of map you want to create, and the kind of story you want to tell.

The best thematic maps apply thoughtful analysis of the underlying data to a set of map parameters designed to bring focus and clarity to the topic. Here, the author has positioned the handles controlling symbol size (running beside the histogram) to emphasize areas with household incomes over $100,000. Great maps relate the data back to the real world, using visual cues that immediately highlight the message you want to convey.

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Inaugural Esri Science Symposium Crystallizes Community

Scientists Gather to Discuss the Impact of GIS in Future and Present Challenges

Esri has always embraced the intellectual domain. So when it became evident that User Conference attendees beyond traditional geographers and GIScientists could benefit from domain science targeted discussions, ideas for a special event began to form. Further deliberation produced a theme for the event — Advancing Science through GIS: Today’s Challenges and Preparing for the Future — and the foundation for Esri’s inaugural Science Symposium was laid.

Esri Chief Scientist Dawn Wright served as the Science Symposium’s organizer.

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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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