Tag Archives: maps

The Power of Apps

Focused Tools that Solve Problems

With billions of users worldwide, apps are a technology trend that has captured the world’s attention. Online maps provide the information that powers the use of GIS. And every map has an interface—a user experience for putting that map to use. These experiences are apps, and they bring GIS to life for users.

The Rise of Spatially Intelligent Apps

Apps are lightweight computer programs designed to run on the web and on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. GIS apps are a special breed; they’re map-centric and spatially aware. Seemingly overnight, apps are ubiquitous. Billions of people worldwide run them in their web browsers, on computers and, of course, on their mobile devices. Creating interesting geographically aware apps is now within your reach. From the intuitive Story Map app and Web AppBuilder to the app collection for your smartphone and tablet, the technology required to deploy highly effective apps that can really engage an audience is accessible.

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Who’s Buying Your Products?

By Jessica Wyland

To identify customers, many product manufacturers are turning to location-based data. A recent Harvard Business Review article reported the use of “increasingly granular data, from detailed demographics and psychographics” including age, gender, address, income, and lifestyle.

“You’d be surprised how often a product manufacturer discovers that unexpected consumer groups are accounting for more purchases,” says James Hibbard, an expert in location intelligence and GIS manager for MarketSource.

MarketSource, a proven alternative to sales outsourcing, provides comprehensive solutions for the entire sales ecosystem. Hibbard uses data and maps to help MarketSource’s Fortune 500 clients determine who is actually buying at the retail level. One of the tools Hibbard relies on is ArcGIS Maps for Office.

GeoEnrichment in ArcGIS Maps for Office lets Marketsource compare consumer spending and store sales and quickly identify underperforming and overperforming stores.

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Visualization: What can my map show me?

In many cases, just by making a map you are doing analysis. That’s because you’re making the map for a reason. You have a question you want the map to help answer: Where has disease ravaged trees? Which communities are in the path of a wildfire? Where are areas of high crime? It’s also because when you make a map, as with any analysis, you’re making decisions about which information to include and how to present that information. Effective visualization is valuable for communicating results and messages clearly in an engaging way. Here are three key decisions that affect the information a map presents and the story it tells.

Choose Scale

The scale of the map itself (the area you’re showing) and the scale of the data you use both affect what your map will show. A classic example of how your choice determines the question answered is whether to show presidential election results by state or by county. While the state-level data does show a distinct national pattern, the county-level map reveals much more nuanced local and regional patterns. Map A answers the question, What is the pattern of states (and electoral votes) won by each candidate? Map B, about voting by county, better answers the question, What is the distribution of Republican and Democratic voters in this election?

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The Role of Web Maps

Web maps are online maps created with ArcGIS that provide a way to work and interact with geographic content organized as layers. They are shared on the web and across smartphones and tablets. Each web map contains a reference basemap along with a set of additional data layers, plus tools that work on these layers. The tools can do simple things like open a pop-up window when you click on the map, or more complex things, like perform a spatial analysis and tell you the relative proximity of healthy food options by neighborhood.

At their heart, web maps are simple. Start with a basemap and mash it up with your own data layers. Then add additional tools that support what you want your users to do with your web map: tell stories; perform analytical studies; collect data in the field; or monitor and manage your operations.

Virtually anything you do with GIS can be shared using web maps. And they can go anywhere. Web maps work online and on any smartphone, and along with your supporting GIS work, are accessible anytime.

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Share Your Work—Be Part of this Year’s Plenary

The Esri User Conference is coming soon and I need your help to put the finishing touches on my plenary session slides.

Each year, the plenary session provides an inspiring overview of the state of geospatial technology today. One of the best ways to illustrate that is by sharing examples of your work.

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What is Collector for ArcGIS?

Collector for ArcGIS enables organizations to use maps to gather data in the field and to synchronize the results with their enterprise GIS data. With Collector for ArcGIS you can update data in the field, log your location, and put the data you capture back into your central GIS database directly from your phone or mobile device. This increases accuracy and helps eliminate recording errors. Fieldworkers are much more efficient and accurate, reducing error and time. And Collector for ArcGIS increases the speed at which the information you collect in the field can be put to work throughout your organization.

You can download maps to your device to work offline; use GPS to create and update map data, points, lines, and area features; fill out easy-to-use map-driven forms; find places and get directions; track and report areas you visited—all these are functions of Collector for ArcGIS.

Anywhere that you see people doing work in the field there’s a potential for the application of Collector for ArcGIS. Some examples include:

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Capitol Spotlight on GIS and Policy

Last week Jack Dangermond joined Esri’s policy team to host the first GIS and Policy event at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center. Nearly 100 policymakers convened to learn firsthand how the growing community is using GIS to inform and disseminate public policy.

Congress and its staff are increasingly relying on digital over print information sources, and naturally that drives demand for interactive data products. Most recently, this has led the Congress’s research institution, the Library of Congress, to expand its web GIS offerings. The Congressional Research Service’s GIS Team provides Congress and its staff with many GIS services, including cartographic maps, geodata, and interactive web maps. This shared geospatial analysis enables policy makers to identify how features intersect with proposed policy, and sometimes how those features intersect with a member’s geography.

Maps Communicate Complex Policy

Many communications, digital directors, and press secretaries use web maps to compliment legislative text. Offices are finding that a compelling, trustworthy map noticeably increases the number of times a story is picked-up and shared. Some are using maps to communicate complex policy ideas in an easy to understand way. Readers can identify with policy on a map, understand its impact at the local level, and decide how to act. For example, Senator Wyden’s Medicare Beneficiaries with Chronic Conditions interactive web map enables readers to understand how the standard of care for Medicare beneficiaries with three chronic conditions varies by local geography.

Visitors to Senator Wyden’s webpage can click on this interactive map and see the number of Medicare beneficiaries suffering from chronic disease in each state.

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What Runs Behind the Scenes at the Boston Marathon

By Jessica Wyland

Runners (and race fans) take your mark. Today is the 2016 Boston Marathon, held every April on the Massachusetts holiday Patriots’ Day, which commemorates the start of the American Revolutionary War. It’s a spirited race, one that attracts about 30,000 runners, half a million spectators, and international media coverage.

Amid all the excitement, and new shoes, lurk safety concerns.

Take yourself back to spring 2013, the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. That day two bombs exploded at the finish line killing three people and wounding 260.

The following year marked record-high participation from runners and spectators under the rally cry: Boston Strong. By 2015, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency had produced the Boston Marathon Dashboard, an online map that tracks every aspect of the event as it happens.

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Break Away From the Pack: Resources for Planning in the New Millennium

The world is going through some serious changes right now. If you ask city officials what keeps them up at night, the majority of them will say jobs, followed by water scarcity, flooding, traffic congestion and failing infrastructure. For many, it’s the loss of millennials to big cities, or the aging of their population.

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Thinking Outside the Map

“That’s another thing we’ve learned from your Nation,” said Mein Herr, “map-making. But we’ve carried it much further than you. What do you consider the largest map that would be really useful?”

“About six inches to the mile.”

“Only six inches!” exclaimed Mein Herr. “We very soon got to six yards to the mile. Then we tried a hundred yards to the mile. And then came the grandest idea of all! We actually made a map of the country, on the scale of a mile to the mile!”

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