Tag Archives: Story Maps

Multispectral Imagery in Action

Putting remotely sensed image data to work

Imagery provides more than just plain pictures. Some sensors detect energy beyond what is humanly visible, allowing us to “see” across broad swaths of the electromagnetic spectrum. This enables scientists, geologists, farmers, botanists, and other specialists to examine conditions, events, and activities that would otherwise be hidden. The implications are profound and the applications are seemingly endless.

Expanding your point of view

Every day, the earth is directly imaged from scores of sensors in the sky and from orbit in space. Almost everything that happens is measured, monitored, photographed, and explored by thousands of imaging devices mounted on satellites, aircraft, drones, and robots. Much of this information ends up as imagery that is integrated into a large living, virtual GIS of the world, deployed on the web.

Some of these sensors see beyond what our eyes see, enabling us to view what’s not apparent. Multispectral imagery measures and captures this information about a world that has many more dimensions than just the colors of the rainbow—it sees past the limits of what our eyes perceive.

Nicaragua’s Momotombo Volcano awoke with an explosive eruption in December 2015. This false color image highlights hot areas, primarily the lava flow that extends to the northeast.

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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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GIS Makes the Picture Clearer on Climate Change

The Arctic environment is a leading indicator of climate change. The shifts that will eventually affect the entire globe are among the most visible there. A comprehensive understanding of the shifts occurring in this area are crucial now more than ever.

Traditional imagery of the Arctic was collected via aircraft, but is very limited due to the inhospitable and remote nature of the polar region. Now 3-D digital elevation models (DEMs) of the entire Arctic are scheduled for release by 2017. With a resolution of 2 m, these new DEMs are over one hundred times higher resolution than what has previously been available for the entire Arctic. This has been made possible through a unique public private partnership between Esri, the White House and several important partners by way of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery.

Today the first of these rich elevation models covering the State of Alaska is being released. They are the first deliverable of the ArcticDEM project, created after a January 2015 Presidential Executive Order calling for enhanced coordination of national efforts in the Arctic. Climate Change is one of the biggest threats we face, it is being driven by human activity, and it is disrupting Americans’ lives right now. President Barack Obama spoke about the project at an Arctic conference in Kotzebue, Alaska on September 3, 2015 and called for action to reverse the trend of climate change, an exponentially growing problem for the entire planet.

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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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World Humanitarian Day – August 19 “One Humanity”

By Raquel Perez

We are seeing the biggest humanitarian crisis of our time! Are you willing to answer the call to action?

World Humanitarian Day (WHD), August 19th, celebrates and recognizes humanitarian aid workers who risk their lives to improve the lives of others. This day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly to mark the anniversary of the 2003 bombing at the UN Headquarters in Bagdad, which killed 21 UN workers including Serio Vieira de Mello, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq. See the story map to learn more!

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Five Story Maps That Remind Us to Be Prepared for the Storm

Flood season is upon us. Knowing ahead of time when a flood is going to happen, where flooding will occur, who will be affected, and how to respond is of great importance to reducing loss of life and property. Below you will find five story maps that show flood impacts and the damage each event had on life and property. These stories serve as reminders to plan ahead and be prepared for a significant flood event. Esri is partnering with communities, such as San Bernardino County, to mitigate the effects of flood events on lives and property.

1. 2015–2016 Winter Floods in Illinois

This story map visualizes damage assessment data, including nonresidential and residential. The blue polygon represents the final flood extent, showing how the flood spread throughout Alexander County. Knowing what areas will be impacted is critical in preparing for a flood. According to the NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), the 2015 flood across Missouri, Illinois, and the Midwest had an impact of an estimated $3 billion (http://moneynation.com/u-s-floods-cost-34-billion/). Throughout this story map, you can see the flood extent in Cape Girardeau, Alexander County, Jersey County, and Peoria County. These images have helped ongoing research efforts for testing and developing standards.

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Storytelling with Maps Contest Winners Announced at Esri UC

Two New Formats Recently Added to Popular Story Map Apps

Winners of the Esri 2016 Storytelling with Maps Contest were announced at the Esri User Conference in San Diego. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society took grand prize for its Story Maps of the organization’s 2015 annual report. The annual contest, which had a record-breaking 965 submissions, invites individuals and organizations to create narratives using Story Map apps that combine interactive maps with multimedia content.

Contestants employed a variety of Story Map formats, including Story Map Tour, which presents a series of geo-tagged photos, and Story Map Journal, combining long-form text with rich multimedia content.

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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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Why Hasn’t My GIS Manager Showed Me This?

I had the pleasure of being part of the team representing Esri at the American Planning Association (APA) National Planning Conference in Phoenix, AZ (see a picture of the Phoenix Convention Center below). I really feel at home among planners, as I have a Masters degree in Urban & Regional Planning, attained the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) certification, spent part of my career as a Planner, as well as worked with planners as a GIS practitioner.

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