Esri User Conference – Wednesday Wrap Up

Today I had the chance to sit in on a handful of sessions at Esri’s User Conference. Here are some quick links to more in-depth look at the conference, and below I have shared some abstracts that Esri provided on sessions I attended. The abstracts do a great job as a summary of the sessions, and I have also provided my key themes and takeaways from the day. Quick Links:

3 Take-Aways and common themes:

  • Applications for GIS are endless – the key to success is identifying core business problems and developing specific targets of success and metrics. Making the business case for GIS must start with a clear policy objective, show demonstrable impact and easily show non-GIS users the value of a GIS solution.
  • Data, data, data – developing standards and data governance is at the heart of GIS.
  • Expansion of users – most speakers/panelist mention that a challenge is that as GIS expands across an organization, the more training, advisement and teaching they have to do. In the near-term, this may drain some time for productivity, but teaching people how edit, modify and use GIS has long-term gains.

Spatial Analysis of Trick and Treat for Change

  • Mark Campbell, Illinois State University

For the past eight years, students in Illinois State University’s chapter for Habitat for Humanity utilized Halloween Trick n’ Treating to raise funds for a local build. For the first years donations increased, but recently plateaued. To maximize donations we utilized historic donation records, demographic data, and crime statistics to identify the safest and most effective distribution of students to city neighborhoods. Our secondary goal was to introduce Geography students in a Geographic Information Systems course to real-world applications of GIS. Students digitized past neighborhood distributions and housing density, collected demographic data, and engaged in spatial analyses. Students developed a ranking system of fundraising potential and identified the best neighborhoods to visit with weighted Overlay maps. Results were used to create visitation areas for student volunteers that included higher detail and more reasonable travel distances than previous maps. We hope this method increases donation efforts for Halloween 2012.

Publicly Accessible Data Analysis & Visualization for Citizen Science:

  • Leah Wasser, NEON
  • Eric Russell, National Geographic, FieldScope
  • Sandra Henderson, NEON,Inc

A unique partnership between the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and National Geographic FieldScope has yielded freely accessible, data analysis and visualization tools fueled by the powerful ArcGIS server tools and rendered using the Flex API. These effective tools facilitate enhanced understanding of publicly collected vegetation phenophase data, through the Citizen Science program, Project BudBurst. In turn, they have been used by citizen scientists across the country to answer important questions surrounding the influence of landuse and climate change, on vegetation (and in turn the species that this vegetation supports). Further these tools have been found to effectively support student scientific inquiry and thus meet numerous educational standards in the classroom. This presentation will overview the Project BudBurst FieldScope tools and in turn demonstrate the power of online web-based GIS data visualization tools in support of scientific inquiry.

Pointillist Cartography for Data-Driven Analysis:

  • Patrick Miner, Chicago Architecture Foundation

This presentation gives an overview of several strategies for applying pointillist cartography for use in data-driven analysis. First, an academic research example: The project asked, ‘To what extent has Chicago been ethnically segregated and what models are available for understanding population history in spatial context?’ Under-utilized population data were uncovered, digitized, and converted into sets of points representing individuals. A series of pointillist maps was then created. The maps demonstrated that many histories of Chicago have misrepresented populations and exaggerated segregation. The second project mapped the residency of attendees of an architecture festival. These data — plotted in points rather than bordered zones — demonstrated the success of the festival in encouraging Chicago residents to explore new communities. The maps were then pivotal components of funding proposals for future incarnations of the festival. Marketing strategies were also developed from the maps — e.g. target markets for advertising were identified.

Research Challenges and Opportunities for Mapping Cyberspace and Social Media:

  • Ming-Hsiang Tsou, San Diego State University

Mapping cyberspace and social media is a new research direction for geographers to study human thoughts and behaviors, global issues, and internet communication theories. With the new media (e.g., the Web and online social networks), scientists can trace geographic and chronological patterns to reveal the nature of significant events such as radical concepts, social movements, or epidemic outbreaks. The Web, a powerful platform for collective thinking and idea exchange, provides valuable intelligence to help scientists monitoring processes ranging in diversity from the spread of diseases to the structure of terrorist networks. This paper will summarize research challenges and opportunities for mapping cyberspace and social media.A few representative research challenges are: 1) selecting appropriate spatial units and time units for space-time analysis within the Time Geography framework; 2) creating real-time, interactive visualization tools for searching cyberspace or social media keywords; 3) classifying different types of web pages and social medias.

Check out the GIS resources available on GovLoop:

Esri was founded in 1969, it realized even then that geographic information system (GIS) technology could make a difference in society. GIS helps people to solve problems at local, regional, national, and global scales. Access maps and apps at ArcGIS.com. Be sure to check out all the
GIS resources produced by Esri and GovLoop.

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