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Monday, February 10, 2014

The theme of this year's Esri Federal GIS conference held in Washington, D.C. is "Integrating Our Government." To that end, Esri president, Jack Dangermond, rhetorically asked whether we could scale GIS to involve everyone to see the context as well as the content of our work. Putting this in perspective, Dangermond listed many federal government applications from defense to agriculture. More specifically, Dangermond focused on the benefits of a web portal environment capable of ingesting web services to create a "dynamically" integrated platform. 
"This conference is about a new pattern; not replacement technology but integrated technology," said Dangermond.
Several announcements were made during the plenary session including these "top 10" items:
  1. National Landscape data now available in ArcGIS data catalog: 30 layers and 500 variables
  2. Landsat 8 imagery will be added to Esri's data catalog through and updated daily
  3. Three new apps are being released
  4. ArcGIS Pro, a new desktop client, sports a Window-compliant ribbon bar that exposes functionality in a more organized way. Pro is a 64-bit multi-threaded application that embeds functionality to quickly export analysis. It will be released sometime around the July Esri International User Conference (UC) - See image below
  5. ArcGIS will receive Federal Information Security Management Act accreditation. The announcement is imminent according to Esri.
  6. Open Data: Esri is championing a policy of sharing data among all government agencies at all levels: federal, state and local. It's clear that Esri wants users to tap to facilitate the publishing of curated and/or authoritative data. Watch the video from the Environmental Protection Agency's GIO Harvey Simon.
  7. NOAA received the "Making a Difference" award. Tony LaVoi, GIO and Joe Klimavicz, CIO were present to received the award.
  8. Esri's "Living Atlas" demo showed some pretty impressive applications that made it easy to combine different satellite imagery spectral bands to perform a modest image classification. See image below
  9. 3D in a browser - impressive demo (see image from demo)
  10. In ArcGIS 10.2 work has been done to improve the quality and administrative tools including integration with databases such as Hadoop and IBM Netezza.


ArcGIS Pro with New Ribbon Bar

"Living Atlas"

3D in a Browser

by Joe Francica on 02/10 at 11:06 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

For several years, as Esri unfolded Story Maps, I have to admit I did not quite get the purpose other than the obvious explanation that "maps tell stories." Yes, we GIS people know quite well how to explain geospatial phenomenon using spatial analysis … to other GIS people. But Story Maps have been billed as that which can explain spatial stuff to the "non-GIS" literate (think "business people").

Yet I still didn't understand the difference. Story Maps looked like "maps." But I'll assume I was simply "vacant."

One of the demos made it all click. At the Esri Federal GIS conference this week, a Story Map was displayed side by side with a regular web map. What was missing? The legend from the web map was replaced with text or a narrative on the Story Map. See this example from the Sochi Olympics.

This small, visual nuance provided the graphical explanation to me better than anything I had sat through in the three plus years that Story Map has been out. Seeing the two side-by-side, web map to Story Map, was important. To be sure, and perhaps only to me, this was a very subtle change but it made all the difference. It's what Esri also calls, "Placed-based Narratives." Esri already supplies Story Map templates to help users turn their ordinary web maps into Story Maps.

Just following this demo, Esri announced an enhancement, coming in March to the Story Maps story called the Executive Briefing Book. The Executive Briefing Book is optimized for use on a tablet and dynamic views allow users to zoom into more detail. See the video below for more information.

Continue reading...

by Joe Francica on 02/10 at 11:00 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Two blog posts prompt me to revisit what at one time was my main work focus. First I saw a post from Tiana Warner at the Safe Software blog:

The top two spatial data formats people are translating are Esri Shape and Bentley MicroStation Design, according to FME usage statistics from 2013. Autodesk AutoCAD DWG/DXF isn’t far behind.

Then I saw a post from Gene Roe at LiDAR News. As Roe notes and I can verify, he was doing CAD and GIS integration way before ArcCAD and other solutions.

I have spent a large part of my career working on the integration of CAD and GIS and unfortunately not a lot as been accomplished. 

My sense is that those two statements reinforce one another. The limited progress on CAD and GIS integration that Gene observes may mean more people are seeking tools to move the from one format to another. I suspect that only a very small percentage of those who want/need/should integrate CAD and GIS tools and data are using one of the existing CAD/GIS solutions: AutoCAD Map 3D, Bentley Map, GeoMedia, etc. Perhaps industry focused solutions (electric, gas, parcel etc.) from Autodesk, Bentley and Hexagon have more users than these horizontal solutions. Esri has most recently pushed CAD integration into the free and strangely name ArcGIS for AutoCAD and details its strategy in this undated document

In the meantime, Esri has transformed its Survey Summit to an AEC Summit and an AEC Hackathon is inviting geospatial folks. That seems to be the extent of energy in this space. Why? Perhaps CAD/GIS integration is just not as important or as potentially money making as it once might have been. Perhaps those who need the two technologies and data formats to work together have found a viable solution. Perhaps energies are focused on new and exciting topics like 3D, BIM, geodesign and LiDAR.

While Roe is optimistic about future integration, I am not. There are too many legacy issues in the history of CAD and GIS that limited the elegance of past and current solutions. Perhaps when we reinvent either or both technologies from the ground up, there will be better integration. I just don't see that happening any time soon.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/10 at 04:53 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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