GovCloud: One Map, Anywhere, Anytime – Event Recap

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On Thursday, November 8, Esri and GovLoop hosted a MeetUp to talk GovCloud and ArcGIS technology. As more and more people move their work into the cloud, security remains the number one priority for government agencies. But by teaming up with Amazon, Esri’s ArcGIS technology can be deployed in the Amazon Web Services GovCloud US Region. At this MeetUp, speakers from Esri and Amazon highlighted the technology and newest functionality that allows organizations to relay data via interactive maps, while meeting regulation requirements.

The first lightning speaker, Allen Carroll, discussed the value of story maps to share your own story and “liberate enslaved data.” So often organizations have all sorts of raw information that is disorganized and usually meaningless without context. Story maps combine intelligent web maps with applications and templates that incorporate text, multimedia, and interactive functions. They make data easier to understand and more consumable so it can educate the general public. One cool example he gave was a NOAA study of the 10 most damaging U.S hurricanes of all time and what would happen if they hit today. By creating this interactive map, NOAA was able to convey a more compelling story, while still providing important information that made sense to the average consumer.

The second speaker, James Tedrick, spoke more in depth about ArcGIS online. ArcGIS online was developed to allow consumers to create interactive maps for their entire organization that can be accessed anywhere and on any device. ArcGIS has 20+ apps that you can configure however you like and can be accessed on both mobile devices and your desktop. Furthermore, you can turn your data into web-enabled services that is secure in the Esri cloud, create custom applications using ArcGIS APIs, and effortlessly share your maps through social media. James noted that all of these feautres were developed to make accessing and consuming information easier. As he said, “everything should be as simple as it can be, but not simpler.”

The final speakers, Craig Cleveland and Jeff Peters, discussed the expansion of GIS technology and how they were embracing commercialization and self-service mapping- the idea that people want their work tools to have the same look, feel and use that their home tools do. This idea is what led to the partnership with Amazon AWS GovCloud. Amazon provides secure regional clouds so you can place your sensitive data in that region and it stays there just as you configured it. They have worked to target specific needs of various US government agencies such as U.S. only persons access. Craig noted that as organizations face budget cuts and the reality of having to do more with less, moving their data (in many cases big data) to the cloud will be the answer. The cloud enables GIS as a platform and helps manage big data as it uses all of the sources of data streaming in.

GIS technology is quickly transforming how we present and consume information. With cloud technology, it is allowing people to consume one map, anywhere, and on any device, just as they’ve come to expect in the mobile era. You can check out the photos from the event here.

Looking for more GIS resources? Be sure to check out GovLoop’s Guide- Identifying the Promise of GIS for Government.

When 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 Check out the Communications & Citizen Engagement Sub-Community of which they are a council member.