A collection of various GIS related links, information and other GIS blogs.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Exciting New Program for Smaller Local Govt Agencies

More details to become available in early 2008, but this press release on this new program from ESRI gives a good feel for it. ----------

New ESRI Licensing Program Facilitates Broad Use of GIS by Small Municipalities and Counties

Governments Can Quickly Improve Operations And Service To Citizens With ArcGIS Software

Redlands, California—ESRI now offers a Small Municipal and County Government Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) Program that allows unlimited deployments of ESRI ArcGIS software to municipalities and counties in the United States. The program provides access to the geographic information system (GIS) technology small governments need with a straightforward, tiered pricing schedule.

"The ability to deploy GIS technology to any worker in an organization will enable a small government to achieve an organization-wide GIS at a much faster rate," said Jack Dangermond, ESRI president. "We are pleased to do our part to help municipal and county governments develop GIS that can save them time and money, make them more efficient, and advance their missions."

The ELA Program is open to all governments in the United States with populations of 100,000 or less. Benefits to these organizations include

  • Updated versions of GIS software to provide a consistent platform
  • Flexible deployments to desktops, servers, and mobile devices
  • Opportunities to consolidate GIS and IT initiatives, establish internal standards, and integrate ESRI business partner solutions
  • Ability to incorporate GIS into mission-critical applications and workflows

"Small governments now have a way to deliver this valuable technology throughout the enterprise, which improves operational efficiency and service," added Christopher Thomas, ESRI Government Industry Solutions manager. "Instead of concentrating resources on securing GIS software, a government can rapidly access the GIS tools it needs to develop a robust GIS foundation and focus its energy on implementing departmental and discipline-specific solutions."

More...

Friday, December 28, 2007

"Friendly" Internet Map Links

I've often used TinyURL to convert those huge URLs from Google Maps or Virtual Earth - it makes any URL into a nice short (tiny) URL that is much easier to email to friends without the URL being broken. Recently I ran across this beta tool that is similar to TinyURL - but goes even further and is focused on mapping. It is called JumpToMap. The links JumpToMap creates are good for multiple different mapping sites. Here's a blog article that gives some more details: http://freegeographytools.com/2007/friendly-urls-to-address-maps

Monday, December 24, 2007

Recent ArcGIS Server Development Blog posting

Find the original posting and comments at: http://blogs.esri.com/Dev/blogs/arcgisserver/archive/2007/11/29/Monitoring-your-services-with-a-script.aspx --------- Monitoring your services with a script

Paul Dodd of ESRI Technical Marketing recently posted a utility on ArcScripts that monitors your critical services and will e-mail you if a service goes offline.

The Service Monitor script uses a combination of public-domain/freeware utilities and a configuration file in which you list the services you want to be monitored. With minimal effort, you can schedule the Service Monitor to run using the Windows Scheduler.

You can:

  • Specify the URL for a service WSDL or web site to monitor (even include user authentication if needed)
  • Specify a day of the week or time window for maintenance of a service
  • Specify days of the week that you don't want the service to be monitored
  • Specify e-mail recipients for each service or a group of services

Optionally you can override other script defaults like:

  • Retry limits, retry delay, and send e-mail limits
  • E-mail Subject line and From origin
  • E-mail server
  • Log file location

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Quite a Strage use of GPS

Ran across this on the Fox News website - just had to share it! http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,318028,00.html

Baby Jesus in Florida Nativity Scene Gets GPS After Last Statue's Disappearance

BAL HARBOUR, Fla. — A baby Jesus statue here is getting a Global Positioning System for Christmas.

The statue, part of a nativity scene, will be equipped with the device after the previous statue went missing, even though it had been bolted down.

"I don't anticipate this will ever happen again," said Dina Cellini, who oversees the display, "but we may need to rely on technology to save our savior."

The Mary and Joseph statues will also be fitted with GPS devices, she said.

The devices are being bought using residents' contributions and Cellini's own money.

Cellini has also installed a Plexiglas screen in front of the display.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

City of Encinitas Enhances GIS Basemap Using Cadastral Editor

Redlands, California—Encinitas, California, has chosen ESRI’s ArcGIS Survey Analyst with Cadastral Editor software to improve the accuracy of its geographic information system (GIS) basemap and cadastral layers. More than 22 square miles of cadastral data and survey records will be accurately updated and integrated into the city’s enterprise GIS using functionality available in Cadastral Editor. Refining the city's GIS basemap and cadastral layer will elevate the quality of government services for residents and better manage workflow, development, and growth issues for Encinitas city employees. Read more...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

IBM Honors ESRI with Top Star Award for Being "Best of the Best"

From Press Release:

Redlands, California—IBM, the world leader in information technology, has named ESRI a recipient of its 2007 Public Sector Top Star Award for consistently demonstrating the "Best of the Best" business partner qualities.


ESRI was recognized for forging a successful partnership with IBM, as well as building success in the marketplace, at IBM's PartnerWorld 2007 in St. Louis, Missouri.


"IBM and ESRI are committed to improving the health, education, security, and prosperity of citizens and nations around the world," says Pamela Kaplan, vice president of Marketing, IBM Global Public Sector.


More...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New Florida GIS Resource - Find GIS: Just a quick note in case you happen to live in Florida. A new web resource for GIS in Florida has been stood up - Find GIS can be found at http://www.findgis.com/. You can read their welcome and information about what the site offers HERE. Till next time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

San Diego October 2007 Fires Well, the four year anniversary of the Cedar and Paradise fires was too much of the same. At least as far as the fires go. What was quite different today from four years ago is the response (including the GIS response in some major ways). We were evacuated and came inches from loosing our home, so I wasn't as involved with the GIS response this time as I was in 2003. But that turned out to be OK since people looked at what didn't go so smoothly in 2003, learned from it, and put policies and procedures in place in case something like the Cedar fire ever happened again. No one thought it would be a mere four years later that so much of the county would be on fire. But they were ready, and things went pretty darn smoothly. Not easy - it never is, but night and day when compared with the Cedar fire response. It was a treat to see real maps on the news reports. In 2003 we saw so many county wide simplistic maps showing a big campfire image to represent where the fires were. That told the public next to nothing. Fast forward to 2007 where they were showing highly detailed maps of the latest fire perimeters and evacuation areas. How? The County EOC was staffed 24 hours a day with at least three GIS staff making maps - and a number of these were converted to PDF files and provided to the media and the public. So the news stations were showing PDF maps (exported from ArcMap) and interacting with them on large monitors. Here are a few samples - The Final Evacuation Areas map and the Final Fire Perimeter map.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What's Your Google Rep? (eWeek Careers) Do you share a name with an axe murderer? Worried about those pictures from Spring break '99? Protecting your digital good name isn't as hard as you think. The practice of manipulating, or "gaming" Google results is getting a bad rap this month as dozens of prominent Web sites have watched their Page Ranks plummet and inbound search traffic and advertising-paid page views slip as a result. But not everyone is trying to maneuver Google for personal gain and future earnings, or at least not directly. Some are just job seekers, hoping to push pictures from Mardi Gras 1999 down from the number one position in a list of results when their names are entered into the search engine. Increasingly, having damaging information or a lack of professionalism online is a deal breaker when applying for a job. Eighty three percent of recruiters—up from 75 percent just two years ago—said they used search engines to learn more about job candidates, according to an Aug. 14 survey released by the recruiting firm ExecuNet. Furthermore, the number who had eliminated a candidate based on what they found online jumped from one quarter (25 percent) to nearly one half (43 percent). more...

Friday, October 05, 2007

GIS Helps Times Books Revolutionize Atlas Production (GISuser.com):

Redlands, California—The 12th edition of The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, published by Times Books, part of HarperCollins Publishers, was released in September 2007 with the help of ESRI geographic information system (GIS) software for data maintenance, quality assurance, and map creation. The atlas is fully up to date, stylish, and contemporary and continues to be a leading authority with its selection of detailed maps and index of more than 200,000 places and features. The data gathered for the atlas reveals interesting information on climatic extremes' effects on the earth, the urbanization of world population, and the dramatic growth of China.

Four years in the making, The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World was painstakingly researched by a dedicated team of more than 50 cartographers, with changes to the database made every 3.5 minutes using a 24-hour-a-day news feed. Data was validated from approximately 500 organizations and experts.

“ESRI’s GIS software has increased throughput and lowered the cost of map production,” says Sheena Barclay, executive director, Collins Geo, HarperCollins. “Equally important, we now have a more creative and flexible range of products. We use GIS to target our specific needs, opening up new opportunities and managing information in new ways.”

HarperCollins relies on ESRI’s ArcGIS database-driven GIS software and Maplex, a high-end cartographic design software for atlas production. This solution allows HarperCollins to automate, store, edit, and manage all of its geographic data. Maplex alone has given the publisher a powerful solution to a time-consuming and laborious process that plagues all atlas and map publishers—text placement. Using Maplex, HarperCollins has automated this process and finds it is now 90 percent faster than before.

Thousands of changes have occurred since the previous edition of the atlas, including approximately 20,000 mapping updates and more than 3,000 changes to place and feature names. A new 1:5,000,000 map of Alaska and Northwest Canada has been added as well as dramatic new continental satellite images.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Quotes: Yes, this is off topic, but I just love running across misuse of quotes. So when my brother had one of his photos used on this blog that is focused on this topic, I just had to check it out. You can lie with maps. And you can most certainly make a simple statement or sign more confusing by using quotes. The funny thing is, I would guess that people are thinking that the quotes will make the sign or statement "clearer" by the use of quotes! =) http://quotation-marks.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bridge Reroute Application Helps Minneapolis Cope with Disaster - Government Technology: During Minneapolis' evening rush hour on Wednesday August 1, a bridge spanning the Mississippi River crashed into the water, taking 13 lives with it. Miraculously, a school bus stopped just short of plunging over the edge and the children on board suffered only cuts and bruises. But Interstate I 35-W, the city's main artery, had been severed, and rescue operations closed many major streets. City managers needed an immediate solution to the problem of getting people to work and keeping businesses open. "When the I-35W bridge collapsed," said Minneapolis' Chief Information Officer Lynn Willenbring, "in addition to needing to support all the emergency responders and doing the rescue and recovery efforts, it was critical that we get information out to everybody who lives or works in Minneapolis. People needed to know how to get around and circumnavigate this major artery that was no longer available for getting in and out of the city. So, we contacted ESRI, to talk about putting up a Web application where citizens could easily see what routes were open and quickly create personalized from/to routes that could direct them from their home addresses to specified destinations within the greater Twin Cities area. "The solution we wanted needed to incorporate attributes that were not available in the widely available public options such as MapQuest or Yahoo Maps or Google Maps," said Willenbring. "This is because the solution needed to include specific up-to-date city information about what streets were recently closed to traffic, what streets were primary detour routes, and what streets were going to have expedited traffic flow. The application needed to incorporate all of that data into a knowledgeable routing system for citizens to use." Using the ArcWeb Services Flex API, ESRI senior software architect, Mansour Raad, quickly put together a two-tiered Web application that consists of a public-facing Web page, and an administrative Web page. The administrative Web page allows the city administrators to define barrier locations. These barriers changed from day-to-day because of disaster command-post needs. These continue to change in response to cleanup efforts. For example, a street that is closed in the morning may be reopened in the afternoon and another street closed, so a commuter's route to work could be very different than the return route. The city posts this dynamic data immediately on its Web site. "It's very easy to make the changes," Willenbring noted. "That's one of the reasons that we like the ESRI products. We are a complete ESRI shop ... including our computer dispatch system for emergency responders is fully integrated ESRI." more...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

URISA's Salary Survey Results Published - Noted in GIS Monitor Park Ridge, Illinois — August 1, 2007 — More than 2,400 individuals participated in the latest URISA Salary Survey, a significant increase over the previous three surveys released in 1998, 2000 and 2003. The latest publication includes a much wider-range of detailed information. Additions include more job titles and questions pertaining to the increase/decrease of department size, professional certification, specific computer skills and soft skills, salary fluctuation, and zip/postal codes for better geocoding. Here are some highlights: On average, survey respondents earned $60,050 in 2006, which represented an increase of 13.8 percent over the 2003 average of $52,750. Salaries varied according to job title, location, type of employer and other factors:
  • Consultants experienced the greatest average increase (from an average of $71,280 in 2003 to a current average annual salary of $96,786).
  • Respondents employed by county government enjoyed the most significant average salary increase (a 33.3 percent increase over the 2003 average).
  • Certified GIS Professionals (GISPs) earn, on average, nearly $9,000 more per year compared to those who are not certified $66,308 vs. $57,669).
Most respondents (63.7 percent) were employed within some level of government and held GIS-related job titles (84.6 percent), such as GIS Manager, GIS Analyst, GIS Coordinator, etc. Nearly two-thirds (63.8 percent) of respondents indicated that their organizations have increased the number of GIS staff in the past five years. On average, respondents work an average of 42.5 hours in a typical week. They have an average of 13.8 years of professional experience and 9.6 years of GIS professional experience. The average age of those responding was 39.0 years. 85 percent have earned a bachelor's degree or higher. Three-fourths (75.3 percent) indicated that, at a minimum, a bachelor's degree is required for their position. 28 percent of respondents are Certified GIS Professionals (GISP), and more than half (58.2 percent) of those who are not certified are planning to apply for GISCI certification within the next three years. According to the results of this survey, respondents' jobs require them to be at least somewhat proficient with a variety of GIS software. Similar to the results of the 2003 survey, ESRI products were most popular. The leaders included ArcGIS (91.2 percent), SDE/GeoDatabase (47.9 percent), ESRI Extensions – Network Analyst, 3D Analyst, Spatial Analyst (46.2 percent), ArcIMS (37.9 percent), ArcView (34.3 percent), and ArcPad (26.7 percent). The publication (available on CD-ROM) is available for purchase on the URISA website (http://www.urisa.org/2007_salary_survey). The 500+ page document includes comprehensive results and cross-tabulations according to job title, location, certification status and more. Raw data from the survey is included on the CD-ROM.

Monday, July 30, 2007

GIS Best Practices Quick access to white papers from ESRI on best practices in a number of fields.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

OK - so this isn't really GIS related, but I thought these tools from Microsoft might be useful sometime: Word Viewer 2003

Brief Description: View, print and copy Word documents, even if you don't have Word installed.
------------------------------------- Excel Viewer 2003

Brief Description: Open, view, and print Excel workbooks, even if you don't have Excel installed.
--------------------------------------- PowerPoint Viewer 2003

Brief Description: PowerPoint Viewer 2003 lets you view full-featured presentations created in PowerPoint 97 and later versions.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Working with Excel files in ArcGIS: If you have a lot of formatting like merged cells and such in your excel files, you will want to take advantage of 'named extents' that identify just the cells with real data in them. Here are some notes from the ArcGIS 9.2 Web help on working with Excel files... You can open Microsoft Excel tables directly in ArcGIS and work with them like other tabular data sources. For example, you can add them to ArcMap, preview them in ArcCatalog, and use them as inputs to geoprocessing tools. Excel files are added to ArcMap like other data, through the Add Data dialog box. When you browse to an Excel file, you will need to choose which table you want to open. For example, if you have an Excel workbook called sales_figures.xls that contains three worksheets—Sales, Month, and Year to date—each worksheet is a separate table in ArcGIS. Any name references to cells or ranges defined in Excel are preserved in ArcGIS. When accessed from ArcGIS, a worksheet is shown as a table with a $ at the end of its name, but a named range does not have a $. Worksheets or named ranges with names containing spaces have single quotation marks placed around the table name. Once added to ArcMap, you can open the table from the Source tab of the table of contents. However, you will not be able to edit the table or export records to an Excel format. Read the help topic for more information...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I get a lot of questions about the new Cadastral Editor being released soon (9.2 SP3), so I thought I'd post some general information about it that was published in the UC 2007 Q&A. Sorry for the length of the post, but I thought I'd just put it all out here for review: Q: What is the cadastral fabric dataset? A cadastral fabric is a new type of dataset in the geodatabase used to represent and hold data for a continuous surface of connected parcels. Parcel boundary line dimensions in the cadastral fabric match the dimensions on the survey record. Dimensions in the cadastral fabric are edited when corrections need to be made to match the survey record. A parcel split adds two new parcels to the fabric and maintains the original parcel as historic. In fact, whenever parcels are edited or replaced by new survey records, the existing survey information is retained as historic thus always preserving the original survey record.
  • A cadastral fabric dataset in the geodatabase is made up of these key feature layers: Parcel lines, which store and preserve recorded boundary dimensions
  • Parcel points, which store X, Y, Z coordinates. The X and Y vertices are derived from a Least Squares Adjustment.
  • Parcel polygons, defined by parcel lines
  • Line points, which are parcel corner points that lie on the boundaries of adjacent parcels
  • Control points, which have accurate, published coordinates for a physical location

In addition, tabular information used in the cadastral editing workflow is also maintained as part of the cadastral fabric dataset. This includes:

  • Plans, which store information about the record of survey
  • Fabric jobs, which track edits to the cadastral fabric
  • Accuracies, which are used to derive weights that are used in Least Squares Adjustments
  • Adjustment vectors used to store displacement vectors derived from Least Squares Adjustments that are used to rubber sheet and update other related feature layers that map onto the cadastral fabric (such as buildings, utilities, and so forth)
In the geodatabase, the parcel-based topology of the cadastral fabric dataset defines the arrangement for how parcels, boundary lines, corner points, and other features share coincident geometry. Parcel polygons are defined by a series of boundary lines, which store recorded dimensions as attributes in the lines table. Specialized topological behavior supports multiple survey records for adjacent parcel boundaries whose dimensions are specific for each parcel even though the boundaries are shared. Parcel polygons are also linked to each other by connection lines -- for example, connection lines that cross roads. Because each parcel is either linked or connected, a seamless network of connected parcel boundaries (i.e., the continuous cadastral fabric) is formed. Parcel lines have endpoints, which are the parcel corners. Parcel corner points are common between adjacent parcel boundaries, establishing connectivity, and maintaining topological integrity in the fabric. Q: How is spatial accuracy maintained in a cadastral fabric? Spatial accuracy in the cadastral fabric is incrementally improved and maintained through time using adjustment by least squares, which may be done either as each new plan is entered or on an as-needed basis. Control points are processed together with recorded dimensions to derive new, more accurate coordinates for parcel corners. Parcel corners locate parcels on the surface of the earth, resulting in an accurate coordinate-based cadastral system that improves as new surveys are entered through time. ArcGIS Survey Analyst is intended to support the incremental creation and management of coordinate-based cadastres. There are different interpretations of what a coordinated cadastre is. Within the U.S., Canada, Australia, and many other locales, the coordinates are improved by the surveyor's approach of least squares adjustment. The least squares approach applies a best-fit solution of all the existing historical survey record information on lines together with newer control point positions. Since these point positions can be continuously updated through time, the coordinates are not intended to provide the true legal representation of parcel corners, but are rather the best representation given all the historical legal record information available within the system. The Cadastral Editor technology supports a coordinated cadastre with the goal to improve and establish digital representation of coordinates at the corners of parcels represented in a Land Information System (LIS). Traditionally, surveyors recorded parcel boundaries by the use of bearings and distance dimensions. Cadastral boundary networks were defined with no accurate reference to real-world locations. With the advent of GIS and high accuracy GPS surveying, it has become significantly easier to use coordinates to geographically define parcel locations. Accurate coordinates give the closest estimate of the true location of a point on the ground, and through least squares, can provide error information indicating the reliability of the coordinates. Traditional survey methods used for relocating property boundary corners may be interpreted in different ways. When different surveyors use different data to re-establish the location of a boundary, boundary location disputes can arise. A coordinate provides a unique and unambiguous record of a point and can be quickly and accurately relocated with the use of GPS. To gain maximum benefit from the use of coordinates, a system needs to be in place within the cadastre that provides a measure of the reliability and accuracy of coordinates in a parcel boundary network. The more accurate and reliable the coordinate, the higher its weight and influence would be in determining the location of the boundary in the network. Q: Why are the Cadastral Editor and Cadastral Fabric important? Existing methods for parcel data management have accuracy limitations. Traditional parcel data management has focused on entry of individual parcel and subdivision plans that use coordinate geometry (COGO) to enter high accuracy metes (bearings and distances) and bounds (neighboring lands) descriptions. Here is a metes example: “Commencing at the point of beginning then North 45° East 320.00 feet then Northwest 26° 200.00 feet…" In these workflows, each individual parcel or subdivision plan is entered independently of all other survey plans. This workflow is adequate for management of individual land records. However, a continuous depiction of the parcel fabric across the whole jurisdiction is also required. Governments and land management agencies now require greater accuracy than in the past. As new photogrammetric platforms are released and levels of resolution for orthoimagery, GPS, and Lidar continue to improve, the accurate capture of the continuous cadastral information is key to large-scale GIS use in urban settings. Cadastral systems will need a continuous Cadastral Fabric to be managed and referenced to real-world coordinates using a comprehensive geospatial framework such as ArcGIS. In most GIS applications today, the continuous fabric is created by rubber sheeting and fitting together individual plans. This work is typically performed as a cartographic adjustment operation that uses a small number of control points resulting in a low accuracy result. In most cases, the original record data and survey information is maintained independently of the cadastral fabric and the connection between the cadastral fabric and the original record of survey is broken once the adjustments take place. In many forward-thinking cities, counties, states, and provinces, agencies are searching for solutions that can improve the accuracy of their continuous parcel fabrics as each new subdivision plan is entered and integrated into the fabric. In addition, the feature geometry of many GIS data layers fit onto and are coincident with the cadastral fabric. These layers can also be adjusted using the same least squares adjustment properties used to build the integrated, continuous cadastral fabric. The result is a highly accurate representation of the continuous cadastral fabric that meets the goals of surveyors as well as GIS professionals and can support GIS applications that need increasingly more accurate data representations.
UC 2007 Questions and Answers - a Must Read: Every year ESRI gets a lot of questions via the User Conference surveys. And yes, it is true that Jack reads every single one. As do many other ESRI staff. Many of the questions asked find their way into this Q&A document that Jack and others take a lot of effort to answer fully. There is a lot of very helpful information in this document, both for new and existing users. There are 146 questions anwered this year, so it takes some time to get through - but I do recommend that you make the time.
Heads up Color Proofing for ESRI Style's Colors: Posted on the ESRI Mapping Center on June 28, 2007 Here's a useful little map document called ColorPalette_ArcGIS.mxd that I put together to anticipate the variation between colors on my monitor and the printers and plotters in the office. It contains no geographic data, only graphics that correspond to the standard color palette in ArcGIS. Each color swatch is labeled by name and by CMYK values. I print a copy from each printer and hang them near my monitor so I can choose colors for my layout based on what they look like on paper, not just based on what the colors look like on my monitor. Someday everything may be perfectly calibrated with a color matching system like Pantone. Until then, this helps - and it makes great cubicle wall paper! Jenny Reiman East-West Gateway Council of Governments

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Governor and a Geologist Meet an Environmentalist and a Hospital Administrator - Result: Executive Champions By Joe Francica , Editor-in-Chief and Vice Publisher, Directions Magazine June 21, 2007 No, this isn't the beginning of a familiar parlor game. It's what happens when you gather very smart people who understand the fundamental principles of geospatial data integration. At ESRI's Senior Executive Seminar (SES), held the day before the User's Conference convened in San Diego, senior managers gathered to hear their peers discuss the ways in which they moved GIS out of the backroom and into the boardroom. Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana; Keith Everill, information assurance manager for BP America; Ruthita Fike, CEO of Loma Linda University Medical Center; and Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the European Environment Agency all provided dramatic examples of GIS underpinning strategic policy decisions. Here are their stories. GIS for Statewide Economic Development Schweitzer of Montana seems to be cut from the same mold as previous politicians from the western United States who have graced the SES stage in past years, including John Hickenlooper (mayor of Denver), Judy Martz (former governor of Montana), Jeremy Harris (former mayor of Honolulu) and Jim Geringer (former governor of Wyoming, now ESRI executive). A former soil scientist, Schweitzer is using GIS to convince citizenry, businesses and foreign investors that Montana is rich in energy resources. Using GIS, the governor has the data to back up the claim. Governor Schweitzer provided details on land ownership management in the state and the difference between owning land versus owning mineral rights. There are 56 counties with information about land in two databases: land ownership and mineral ownership. These data are in different places. Schweitzer wants to place them in a repository which will show soil types, demographics, mineral rights, land ownership, geology and any information about energy development. "There are real opportunities ... the more overlays, the more business that will be spawned," said Schweitzer. "Imagine what all of the data we have in a digital form will do for all of us who are in public policy." Montana's economy is based on multiple assets. Schweitzer wants to promote Big Sky country as an "energy" state, with riches in coal, natural gas, wind and biofuels. The state contains 28% of the U.S. coal reserves and the maps to prove it. He explained to the SES crowd how to mitigate potential pollution problems, capturing the carbon emissions by pumping the CO2 back into the ground near existing wells to enhance oil recovery. Schweitzer also illustrated the wind power potential of Montana. He quipped, "Wind doesn't blow all the time. You consumers are the problem ... The wind doesn't necessarily blow when you need your (bread) toasted." To address the challenge Schweitzer is looking for salt domes where it is possible to store compressed air. The stored air could be released at a constant rate to turn turbines which would generate a continuous flow of electricity. Currently, about two-thirds of the electricity produced in Montana is shipped out of state. Biofuels and the education of future farmers are two areas of Montana's GIS-related economic development. The technology is also being used to plan for new training programs at colleges to support workforce development in proximity to the areas where new power plants are being considered. Schweitzer expressed dismay at the lack of vision from the current slate of presidential candidates of either party. "If one of those candidates stands up and says we are going to have an Apollo-style mission (i.e. like John Kennedy did for the space program) for energy independence in the U.S., he will be elected president. This is the greatest challenge in our history, and I hope and pray that we get it right." ...
County fights ruling on access to map database Santa Clara County has appealed a Superior Court ruling in hopes of blocking easy distribution to the public of its digital mapping database, which includes detailed parcel information. The court ruled in May that the county should make the geographical database available to the public at a reasonable cost. The decision was an outgrowth of a lawsuit filed in October against the county by the watchdog group California First Amendment Coalition, which alleged the county overcharges for the mapping information, making it prohibitive to many groups and companies that seek it for a variety of uses. The cost to buy the entire database has been quoted by county officials at $150,000. In the past, the county has charged that amount to private entities, such as telecommunications companies or utilities contractors. In April, however, the county stopped making the database available to those companies, citing security concerns. County spokeswoman Joyce Wing said the county moved to reverse the ruling partly because allowing anyone access to the database could go against a policy by Homeland Security officials, who say there is a legitimate concern about security. County officials sought the counsel of Homeland Security after the lawsuit was filed. The court action "is to help us with the balancing act between the public's interest in knowing and public safety," Wing said. But Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment group, said "It's hard to take the county's security concerns seriously when you consider that for years they've been selling this database to anyone willing to pay the county's absurdly high fees. "So far as we're aware, there's nothing sensitive in the database that isn't already available in other public information."
Gartner: The 40-Hour Workweek Era Is Ending By 2015, there will be more workers who interact with technology, but they'll be working a whole lot less hours each week, finds a Gartner research report released on May 30. Gartner argues that three of the four traditional pillars of work—the living wage, long-term relationships with loyal employers, and government- or company-provided pensions—have already gone the way of the dinosaurs, leaving only the 40-hour workweek. But this, too, is not long for the employment economy, the report said. Societal views on primary wage-earner and caregiver roles, as well as on retirement, are in the midst of changing, taking with them the de facto 40-hour work week. Individuals are already reconsidering its pervasive influence, the report argues, and the dialogue is becoming increasingly political. Those most affected are at the helm. Retiring Baby Boomers, working-age mothers and Generation X workers are seeking a more fulfilling work/life balance, and the traditional workplace structure is holding them back. The report said that no longer will the workplace be dominated by single bread-winners who expect to retire at the end of their working life, and that businesses need to reckon with this trend. "When people in these demographics have marketable skills, employers will find it difficult to ignore their requests for more flexibility," said Brian Prentice, research director of emerging trends and technologies at Gartner, in a statement. "The additional pressures of an aging population and skills shortages will lead to the adoption of digital free agency and flexible work structures as social, political and business necessities." The effect of these changes will be felt throughout the employment life cycle. Organizations will be forced to redefine existing roles as well as craft new ones based on what can be realistically achieved in half the traditional workweek. The report suggests that rather than adopt a draconian measure of cutting in half the working hours of all employees, employers that create 20-hour job descriptions will be in the best place to attract and retain the most qualified workers. "The 20-hour-per-week job description is a relatively simple way of addressing a growing problem without radically restructuring well-established management models," said Prentic. ...
From a New Language to a Common Approach - Dangermond's Message for ESRI UC 2007 By Joe Francica , Editor-in-Chief and Vice Publisher, Directions Magazine June 21, 2007 As I approached the ESRI UC this year I wondered, what would Jack focus on in 2007? After nearly 40 years in the business, Dangermond still shapes the discussion, not only for his customers but also for a broader community of geospatial professionals. In 2007, he seems to have moved the theme he emphasizes often, "GIS as an emerging language," to "GIS as rich data model" with "modeling" being the operative term. This year he is emphasizing the results of GIS, the work of GIS, the technology advantage of GIS. His main point: GIS is the essential tool in business process improvements and best practices. "To classic geographers, (GIS) is just this mechanical thing. No, I don't think so. GIS is to geography what the telescope was to astronomy," said Dangermond. There was a greater emphasis on obtaining "results" in his remarks offered as part of the Senior Executive Summit (SES), a day-long seminar of high-level invited attendees. This was an audience that wanted substance and Dangermond delivered with examples from ESRI customers who implemented GIS solutions:
  • Cook County Housing - increased the number of inspections by 33% to 25,000 inspections per year
  • Nashville Electric - with 100 calls per day, demonstrated a 23% increase in service calls
  • San Diego Paratransit - provided 20% more trips per hour
  • Monarch Beverage - with 300,000 deliveries per year, recognized large savings in operations that were mission critical to the business

"GIS at the macro level, and the many organizations that are using it, is starting to guide human action and the evolution of the planet itself," said Dangermond. "GIS is becoming more real-time. It is giving a common operational picture. Where are my field workers when I need them?"

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Alameda County Prepares New Online Mapping System By : Michael Singer : 6/26/07 Alameda County officials are putting the finishing touches on a project that would combine several county, city and public service maps to allow department staff and eventually residents to customize and view them over the Internet. Similar to online mapping software such as Google Maps and MapQuest, the county’s planned Enterprise Geographic Information System or E-GIS for short — uses aerial photography as the map’s baseline of information. From there, an overlay of detailed street maps, regional boundaries, parks, facilities, community based organizations, and other county services can be added. Various county services such as the Fire Department and Public Works, as well as cities such as Oakland, Hayward and Fremont already have computergenerated map systems in place. The county’s plan would use the E-GIS system to link these individual and non-connected maps together into a larger interactive computer program. Dave Macdonald, the county’s Director of Information Technology and Registrar of Voters, said the program has already been funded through Alameda County’s Information Technology budget. He expects the process will be complete in time for the February 2008 Presidential Primary. “Public Works started the process a couple of years ago when they made their own computer maps, and now the IT department is getting involved. It is hard to say where it will end up in a few years,” Macdonald said. But what’s the benefit of a municipal- sponsored project over a commercial application like Google Maps? Primarily available to internal county offices, the goal is to eventually make some of the maps available to the general public. For example, with a few mouse clicks, homeowners could ultimately see the basic information about their parcel of land as well as access (through a Web site) all the relevant documents such as building permits that pertain to that property.
ESRI's ArcGIS 9.3 - Overview of Enhancements: By Joe Francica, Editor-in-Chief and Vice Publisher, Directions Magazine

ArcGIS ArcGIS 9.3 is being incrementally released in a series of service packs with emphasis on refining and improving workflows; the bulk of the product is to be released next year. These packs will include ways to improve "geographic science" such as using Gaussian geostatistical simulation and rich error messaging, and improving mapping and labeling, scripting, modeling, and WYSIWYG graphic editing. Below are some of the additions shared during the ESRI User Conference. ArcMap Label placement for contour maps will better match what users of USGS quad sheets expect. In particular, the contour elevation labels appear on the major contour intervals and do not overprint the line work. The new release introduces WYSIWYG editing for line work and improvements will be made to street number placement, support for Asian language characters, multiple view windows, labeling on 3D services, the speed of import of Web services, tracking in 3D, textured COLLADA and schematic diagramming. ArcGIS Server ESRI believes that CIOs are increasingly dealing with GIS and that server-based GIS is used in most major cities around the world. Key priorities focus on the high bar set by IT departments, including systems that are:

  1. reliable and recoverable
  2. interoperable and scalable
  3. highly secure
  4. deployable to the non-GIS specialist
Key enhancements for ArcGIS Server include:
  1. printing updates to enhance graphic output, also known as "pretty maps"
  2. map tips that provide "mouse over" access to attributes
  3. support for Web Feature Service (WFS), Web Coverage Service (WCS) for raster, Simple Feature KML and GML
  4. spatial data management and cartographic capabilities for AutoCAD users with the new product "ArcGIS for AutoCAD" which is available now in ArcGIS 9.2
  5. REST API and Java Script API support
  6. caching to enhance Web application performance
  7. security for Web applications and services, allowing users access based on Windows authentication
  8. support for PostgreSQL, Oracle Express and DB2 (z/OS)
  9. a mobile client built on the Windows Mobile platform
There's more to the article...
GovCon - GIS Book: New ESRI Press Book Teaches GIS To Marketing And Business Students And Professionals: Learn to use geographic information system (GIS) software as an analysis tool to conduct business and marketing research in GIS Tutorial for Marketing, a new book by ESRI Press. Businesses of all types and sizes increasingly recognize the value of using geospatial analysis to help make decisions such as selecting sites for stores and warehouses, analyzing market areas, managing sales territories, and planning service and sales routes. GIS Tutorial for Marketing trains students and professionals on how to use ESRI ArcGIS 9.2 software with the appropriate data to accomplish those types of analyses and planning strategies. Scenario-based tutorials teach readers how, for example, to use ArcGIS 9.2 to create a targeted promotional campaign, plan a merchandising strategy, and develop an integrated marketing communication program."
Universal Mind Teams with ESRI and Adobe to bring rich user experience to the GeoWeb: Rich Internet applications a key future strategy for distributed GIS Westfield, Massachusetts (June 22, 2007) – Universal Mind Inc. today announced it will team with ESRI and Adobe to create a new generation of rich Internet applications (RIAs) that leverage ESRI’s enterprise GIS platform and Adobe® Flex™ software to make geographic analysis and access easy and ubiquitous. Increasingly, the web is becoming geographically enabled, and GIS is playing a much broader role in delivering business intelligence and analysis to the larger community of business and non-professional users. As a result, GIS has grown into an integral component of enterprise applications supporting critical and real-time decision-making across a broad spectrum of industries and markets. Universal Mind, ESRI and Adobe are collaborating on a new generation of web-enabled GIS applications that leverage the best user experiences and technology from Adobe to bring a rich interactive GIS experience to every Internet browser. The goal is to provide distributed collaboration and interconnection with dynamic, continuous GIS content that ensures a more meaningful understanding of geographic impacts and influences, together with fast, natural and intuitive interaction.

“This effort is part of ESRI’s strategic vision for bringing geographic analysis and data interpretation to any device, anywhere within the GeoWeb with unprecedented immediacy and ease of use” says Jack Dangermond, President ESRI. “These are three great companies that share a common view of the importance of sharing critical information using its geographic context and enabling geo-enhanced decision-making.”

“We are excited to see Universal Mind embrace Adobe Flex and ESRI’s GIS platform in the creation and delivery of its new Web-enabled GIS application,” said Michele Turner, vice president, Platform Business Unit at Adobe. “Through the combined solution, Universal Mind is making geographic analysis data more accessible and easy to use, allowing business professionals and government decision makers to quickly and efficiently utilize geographic information to help solve critical issues.”

Adapx Introduces Software that Enables Digital Pen and Paper with ESRI GIS Mapping Software: Friday, 22 June 2007 New Human-Centered Data Collection System Allows Personnel in the Field to Communicate with Map Annotations, Drawings and Field Journals SAN DIEGO-- In a development with significant benefits to organizations dependent on accurate geospatial communications from personnel in the field, Adapx (pronounced "Adapts") today revealed a new software product call Mapx - a fully integrated software solution that enables digital pen-and-paper-based data collection with ESRI ArcGIS mapping software. Adapx announced the new integration at the annual ESRI User's Conference, where the software was showcased during ESRI President Jack Dangermond's main stage address and during the plenary session. "The Adapx extension to ArcGIS is an excellent example of an innovative technology that can capture data during a lively exchange of information," said Jack Dangermond, ESRI President. "People can draw on a map the way they have for centuries, and the information is captured in the pen. When the pen is docked into a USB port, the geodatabase is automatically updated."

Sunday, June 24, 2007

ArcGIS Server Development Blog: "The ArcGIS Server Development blog has moved. It can now be found at: http://blogs.esri.com/Dev/blogs/arcgisserver/"
ArcGIS Explorer Blog: "Explorer at User Conference Plenary An excellent write-up on one of the demonstrations performed during Jack Dangermond's opening plenary at the 2007 ESRI User Conference this morning appears on the ESRI User Conference Blog. The post, titled Integrating Online Geospatial Services Delivers Superior Visualization and Information, details the use of ArcGIS Explorer and ArcGIS Online. The write-up includes several screenshots of what was shown."

Monday, March 05, 2007

ArcGIS for AutoCAD: "ArcGIS for AutoCAD is a free application that installs on top of AutoCAD 2007 and provides access to the results of all of the GIS mapping and geoprocessing capabilities performed by ArcGIS in the form of map service images. This application accesses dynamic georeferenced ArcGIS Server map services and displays them in the AutoCAD drafting environment. The included Identify tool gives users the ability to access feature attributes stored in the underlying GIS data sets. ArcGIS for AutoCAD leverages the ESRI tool set and geodatabase. The cartographic and computing power of ArcGIS is provided to the CAD user without the overhead of data management or the complexities of dealing with conversion and translation or thematic visualization of data. All vector, raster, and imagery formats that ArcGIS Server supports can be viewed in the CAD environment."
Developer Summit Podcast Preview: ArcGIS Server Geoprocessing (Deep Dive) Art Haddad, Sentha Sivabalan, and Nathan Warmerdam, ESRI, preview their technical session for Web developers at the upcoming ESRI Developer Summit.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Web-based Help Gateway - ESRI Support: "Web-based Help Overview ESRI provides Web-based help systems for the products listed below. Web-based help is an up-to-date version of the help system that was shipped with the product; new information has been added and existing topics have been updated as necessary. If you can't find what you're looking for in the help system that shipped with your product, try looking here." This is your one stop for access to web-help for ArcGIS Desktop (9.1 and 9.2), ArcGIS Explorer, ArcGIS Server, ArcIMS and ArcWeb Services.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Earthwatch and Starbucks Benefit Coffee Farmers in Costa Rica: -- and use GIS to help do it! Newswise — Earthwatch Institute, the world’s leading environmental volunteer organization, and Starbucks Coffee Company are proud to announce the extension of their partnership that brings Starbucks partners (employees) and customers together on Earthwatch environmental expeditions. The 2007 project will focus on conducting scientific research designed to benefit a cooperative of 2,600 coffee farms in Costa Rica. Partners and customers with a taste for adventure can participate in this different kind of Starbucks Experience, at the source of the bean, and do good deeds for the environment. This summer, eight partners and 20 customers will have a chance to join special Earthwatch expeditions at CoopeTarrazĂș, a coffee cooperative in central Costa Rica. These Earthwatch volunteer teams will use GIS (Geographic Information System) technology to provide a broad scale analysis of factors important to a farmer – including soil erosion and water quality. This program is the first component of Starbucks’ $1.1 million, three-year commitment, representing the growing partnership with the Earthwatch Institute that began in 2000.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

ArcGIS Online - free base data, anywhere in the world! Don't have some base data? Just starting your GIS and only have a few layers? Working on a project outside of your regular area? For these and many other reasons you should be interested in ArcGIS Online. These are high-performance 2D and 3D web services and layerfiles for direct access by ArcMap, ArcGIS Explorer, ArcGlobe, ArcReader or ArcCatalog. These data services will continue to be enhanced and will be updated as new data become available - so you no longer have to worry about keeping your base data up to date!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Events - 2007 ESRI Developer Summit: ArcGIS Server Code Challenge Share your creativity and expertise with the GIS developer community by submitting your original code sample to the ArcGIS Server Code Challenge. Submit an original ArcGIS Server 9.2 code sample that represents a best practice or creative solution of a simple task, tool, or spatial query fromQuick Links your current project. Custom ArcGIS Explorer Tasks qualify if they are associated with an ArcGIS Server 9.2 solution. Entries will be judged by the developer community based on creativity, applicability, and originality of the code sample. The first 15 applicants to submit their code samples and submission forms will be eligible to receive the book Agile Development with ICONIX Process: People, Process, and Pragmatism. Official Rules Prizes Prizes will be awarded as follows: First Place—one Trimble Recon® GPS XB Edition bundled with ArcPad software Second Place—one Microsoft Xbox 360™ Third Place—one Microsoft Zune™"