Tag Archive | ESRI

Why Maps Matter

by Frank Konkel, FCW, March 17, 2014

And as mapping technology advances, it allows for far more than foolproof directions. Federal agencies now use geospatial data, geo-analytics and multi-layered maps for myriad purposes, including gathering intelligence, predicting disease outbreaks and sharing data pools with the public.

For full text of the article, please click here.

Commons Lab Webcast: Connecting Grassroots to Government for Disaster Management

On behalf of the Commons Lab of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation, the International Association for Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, ESRI, TechChange, NetHope, and Project EPIC, we are honored to invite you to participate in a LIVE WEBCAST of the policy roundtable “Connecting Grassroots to Government for Disaster Management.” This roundtable will focus on US federal government’s opportunities and challenges for facilitating greater public engagement in the full-cycle of disaster management through social media, crowdsourcing methods, crisis mapping, and open innovation.


The workshop itself is now full, but we will be making the majority of the panel discussions available via a LIVE WEBCAST from the Wilson Center webpages (links below):
Click on these links above to watch the live webcasts and to download copies of the agenda and background materials (to be posted Monday, September 10).

Project Report for GISCorps: Geocoding Locations of NGOs in Sierra Leone


GISCorps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Summary:Non-government organization NGO activity in developing countries is difficult to track due to limited infrastructure. URISA’s GISCorps, which coordinates short-term, volunteer-based GIS services to underprivileged communities, was asked to assist the Craig Bellamy Foundation in creating an interactive map showing the locations of international and national NGO offices and their programs in Sierra Leon, a developing country in Western Africa. Michael Knapp, a GIS specialist from Anchorage, Alaska, describes how a combination of Esri and Google technology accomplished the task.

For full text of the article, visit Project Report for GISCorps: Geocoding Locations of NGOs in Sierra Leone – Directions Magazine.

Does Government Geographic Data Belong to the People?

By Bruce Joffe, Cadalyst, February 8, 2012

After nearly three years of legal wrangling, the Sierra Club and Orange County are now facing off in the California Supreme Court. The issue that brought the two organizations into conflict is one of great importance to GIS professionals and non-users alike: public access to government databases. After the California First Amendment Coalition won a California Public Records Act (PRA) lawsuit against Santa Clara County, in April 2009, Sierra Club filed a similar suit against Orange County. Sierra Club needed Orange County’s parcel basemap in the GIS-compatible database format, but couldn’t afford to pay the price Orange County was charging — $475,000 — and didn’t believe that the County had the right to charge more than the cost of duplication, as prescribed under the PRA. Orange County defended its data sales policy with the so-called “software exemption” of the PRA, which states that government agencies do not have to provide software for the cost of duplication, as they do for the data that they use to make public decisions. … Sierra Club appealed the case, but the 4th District Court of Appeal affirmed the decision in support of Orange County. The County’s logic was that GIS includes software and data (citing ESRI’s definition of GIS as “a collection of software and data”), the County’s landbase is a GIS, GIS is a type of computer mapping system, and CMS is excluded by PRA section 6254.9; therefore, the County’s GIS landbase data is excluded….

Read more about this important debate. For the full text of the article, visit Does Government GIS Data Belong to the People? | Cadalyst.

Jack Dangermond on Improving Government Transparency and Accountability

by Jack Dangermond, ESRI Insider, October 14, 2011

Born out of the Gov 2.0 movement, the terms transparency and accountability have become part of the daily vernacular of governments and the citizens they serve. One might even suggest these words have become a new expectation of governing. Transparency and accountability began with a simple concept of openly communicating public policy to the taxpayer. Today, these concepts are thriving within a growing emphasis on developing an interactive dialog between governments and the people. Maps can be a very valuable part of transparency in government. …

For full text of the article, visit Esri Insider : Improving Government Transparency and Accountability.

Citizens Help Validate Authoritative Environmental Monitoring

Jacqueline McGladeEsri UC Keynote Speaker—Shows a New Side of Crowdsourcing, ArcNews Newsletter, Fall 2011

European Environment Agency (EEA) executive director Jacqueline McGlade, PhD, gave a keynote presentation at the 2011 Esri International User Conference (Esri UC) in San Diego, California. She described different ways that EEA works to collect data, ensure its quality, and engage citizens in becoming part of the solution. … “EEA wants to get people engaged in the environment,” explained McGlade. “By considering citizen and cultural knowledge, along with Western science, people can contribute in professional, semiprofessional, and amateur ways. Citizen reporting brings people into the mainstream of the environment. Europe’s Shared Environment Information System forces countries to see that they need a system of care. EEA supports via IT, applications, technology, and software, as well as training the population [to become] a large group of people who know what is going on around them. Programs like Earthwatch can take ordinary people into the field and train them to gather data and bring it back in a structured way.” To democratize information, EEA has worked with Microsoft and Esri to create the Eye on Earth platform. This is cloud technology that facilitates interaction. It includes the official data mandated by countries and allows citizens to say what they think. Crowdsourcing is an effective way of validating authoritative data from countries. With enough observations, it is easy to see when stations are not monitoring correctly.

For full text of the article, visit ESRI ArcNews.

GIScience Grand Challenges

GIScience Grand Challenges: How can research and technology in this field address big-picture problems?

by Michael Gould, Director of Educational Industry Solutions, ESRI

To a GIS practitioner, the distinction between GIS and GIScience may be difficult to get a handle on. Geographic information science is a term coined in a 1992 paper in the International Journal of Geographic Information Systems by University of California, Santa Barbara, professor Michael Goodchild. The idea actually came from his 1990 keynote speech called Spatial Information Science, delivered at the 4th International Symposium on Spatial Data Handling in Zurich, Switzerland.

I attended that symposium, and I recall some skepticism in the audience: were we witnessing an attempt to turn something methodological into a science merely to build our credibility in the eyes of funding agencies? Some remarked that fields that find the need to add the qualifier “science” to their name (political science, computer science) are by definition not legitimate sciences. But semantics aside, Goodchild’s basic argument that “GIS needs a strong scientific and intellectual component” (or else the technology might be short-lived) was generally accepted. The GIScience term stuck, and almost two decades later, many university graduate programs now focus on GIScience rather than on GIS.

University at Buffalo professor David Mark defined GIScience in 2003 as “the development and use of theories, methods, technology, and data for understanding geographic processes, relationships, and patterns.” Practitioners can think of GIScience as the key foundational ideas (which become algorithms and then code) that make GIS software tick. In many cases, GIS software has become a test bed or sandbox for validating GIScience ideas.

For full text of the article, via GIScience Grand Challenges – ESRI.com.

Also, check out an earlier post on grand challenges from UCGIS members:

Grand Challenges in Geospatial Science Research

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