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Putting the Where in Social Analytics: How Location Analytics and Social Media is Transforming Government

Yesterday GIS professionals from throughout the Washington, DC metro area joined to share in an opportunity to learn more about the unique integration of social media and GIS. Social media has changed the way organizations engage and communicate with citizens. Yet, understanding how to truly leverage volumes of unstructured social media data presents unique challenges for public sector agencies. With GIS, organizations can unlock insights and us social media in new and innovative ways. GIS extends social media beyond just a communications tool. GIS is helping to turn social media data into new insights, and drive improved business decisions for organizations.

These topics and more will be discussed at the Esri Federal GIS Conference which is a two day event, with the third day being the first ever Esri DC Developer Summit. The conference will also feature five immersion summits, educating the government community on the power of GIS. The immersion summits will focus on national security, natural resource management, health and human services, transportation and economic development, and global aid, development and conservation. Be sure to register for the conference here, it is FREE to all federal employees, NPOs, NGOs, and international organizations.

These benefits were on display as industry experts provided case studies and examples of the power of GIS and social. Geofeedia’s Executive Vice President, Sean Chinski, spoke at the event along with Will Mayo, the Managing Director of the Washington, DC office for Gnip. Geofeedia, an easy to use search, discovery, and analysis tool that aggregates vast amounts of social media data by creating real-time searches across social networks, have partnered to expand location opportunities in ArcGIS.

Gnip’s mission is to make this ever-expanding universe of social media data available via a consistent and reliable architecture so the world can realize the full potential of this amazing stream of information. The presentations provided great insights of the power of social analytics, especially when paired with powerful GIS software. Chinski noted the following areas of focus for Geofeedia:

  • Areas support
  • Crisis response and recovery
  • Event and venue security
  • Digital investigation
  • Community engagement
  • Employee and visitor activity
  • Executive protection
  • Brand management
  • Risk assessment
  • Campus security

One example brought up was from the emergency management field. For instance, imagine first responders being able to be able to view a map with photos from Instagram, tweets, and Facebook posts, helping to providing them with increased situational awareness and how to react in a crisis more effectively.

The challenge for many agencies is learning how to filter through the noise, and find value, ”A lot of people get scared when they hear social media, and think they only mean Facebook, but its very simple and easy to listen with no risk,” Chinski.

Even in such a quickly growing digital world, Chinski reminded us that many organizations still find social media as scary, unpredictable, irrelevant or as a fad. Yet, social media presents dozens of untapped opportunities, provides new forms of business intelligence, and issues unparalled real time access to information. “Its so fast and real-time, its such a great signal into things, and has really unique attributes for people to understand the scene,” said Will Mayo.

Also tonight, the event featured Ken Gorton from Esri, a Solutions Engineer. Gorton provided a demo of ArcGIS and how to leverage social media. The presentation was fascinating, as the demo showed the use to filter information, sort data and search information by location. His presentation was more evidence that GIS is a powerful solution to drive new insights for organizations. In seconds, ArcGIS was able to search Twitter based on keywords Bill selected, he could search by a given location and customize in any ways to search data fields.

It’s just a fact: location matters. We have endless data points tied to our location, which contains valuable insights about out surroundings.

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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
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Lindy Dreyer

Emergency response is a great example. Probably the best application of this data. I’d be interested to hear other use cases. Epidemiology comes to mind.

Daniel Henry

Our team was looking into a quick and dirty tool that would let us monitor the geographic area around our field projects for geotagged tweets and flikr postings as a way to gather community comments on our projects – or even for pics of projects that are difficult to get to. Anyone working on similar monitoring tools?

Was this webinar recorded for later online viewing? Are slides available? Thanks