GeoDesign Track at the ESRI UC: A Note from Eric Wittner

Greetings fellow GeoDesigners,

This year as part of the ESRI User Conference in San Diego we are holding a GeoDesign Track, a day long program of presentations encompassing the world of GeoDesign and GIS. The track is composed of four sessions. All sessions will happen in the Marriot Marina, room Salon F, with the exception of the lunch which will be held in the Marriot Hall rooms 4, 5 and 6.

The first session provides attendees with an Introduction to GeoDesign, and highlights what it means in terms of its concepts, methods, and supporting technologies. GeoDesign will be defined and characterized to differentiate the concept from traditional design and GIS processes. This will be followed with a demonstration showing how ESRI technology can be utilized to support the GeoDesign workflow.

The second session will establish the need to develop a functional definition of the notion of “geo-design” as it relates to smart growth and land use planning. It will demonstrate the value of using ArcGIS editing tools in land use planning, modeling, and policy making. By utilizing the customized modeling and sketching capabilities of ArcGIS, planners and policy makers can successfully enhance collaboration, scenario generation, monitoring of implications, evaluation and ongoing feedback, and selection of preferred scenarios that mitigate environmental ramifications, enhance economic vitality, and foster social equity.

There will be a Wacom-sponsored lunch session, highlighting the role of sketching and inference in the GeoDesign workflow. This session will examine new editing and reporting features available with ArcGIS 10. We’ll look at how the new features, combined with existing geoprocessing capabilities, as well as custom charting and feedback tools come together to form a platform for GeoDesign.

The final session will be a series of Lightning Talks, providing an opportunity for ESRI users to share their GeoDesign related work with attendees. These talks will be clear, quick, and informal presentations highlighting innovative applications of GIS technology to design problems.

If you have time, I invite you to join us for these sessions, and I encourage you to recommend them to your friends, colleagues, and fellow conference go’ers.

Thank you,

Eric Wittner
Product Engineer: 3D GIS, GeoDesign
ESRI, Redlands

Benefits of Tropical Forest Management under the New Climate Change Agreement—A Case Study in Cambodia

Environmental Science & Policy, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 26 May 2010

Nophea Sasaki and Atsushi Yoshimoto

“Promoting sustainable forest management as part of the reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries (REDD)-plus mechanism in the Copenhagen Accord of December 2009 implies that tropical forests will no longer be ignored in the new climate change agreement. As new financial incentives are pledged, costs and revenues on a 1-ha tract of tropical forestland being managed or cleared for other land use options need to be assessed so that appropriate compensation measures can be proposed. Cambodia’s highly stocked evergreen forest, which has experienced rapid degradation and deforestation, will be the first priority forest to be managed if financial incentives through a carbon payment scheme are available. By analyzing forest inventory data, we assessed the revenues and costs for managing a hypothetical 1 ha of forestland against six land use options: business-as-usual timber harvesting (BAU-timber), forest management under the REDD-plus mechanism, forest-to-teak plantation, forest-to-acacia plantation, forest-to-rubber plantation, and forest-to-oil palm plantation. We determined annual equivalent values for each option, and the BAU-timber and REDD-plus management options were the highest, with both options influenced by logging costs and timber price. Financial incentives should be provided at a level that would allow continuation of sustainable logging and be attractive to REDD-plus project developers.”

Esri Unveils ArcGIS Server 10 on Amazon EC2

Concurrent with the release of ArcGIS 10, Esri has made ArcGIS Server 10 available to customers via Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

ArcGIS Server on Amazon EC2 gives customers another option for deploying ArcGIS Server,” explains Ismael Chivite, product manager for ArcGIS Server. “Essentially, ArcGIS Server on Amazon EC2 will reduce the complexity of software deployments for many organizations. Instead of installing and maintaining local instances of ArcGIS Server on premises, customers can launch ArcGIS Server on EC2 instances with ArcGIS Server preconfigured for them. These ArcGIS Server instances run on machines hosted in the Amazon cloud infrastructure but can be administered as if they are local servers.”

In addition to simplifying deployment, ArcGIS Server on Amazon EC2 provides an ideal environment for scaling a geographic information system (GIS) to support compute-intensive GIS tasks, providing virtually unlimited computing power for jobs such as sophisticated GIS analysis and large batch geocoding. With an Esri enterprise license agreement (ELA), customers can take advantage of Amazon’s elastic computing infrastructure and deploy unlimited ArcGIS Server instances to handle peak load situations and scale back as demand dissipates.

Support for ArcGIS Server on Amazon EC2 includes

  • A virtual image of GIS services, which include ArcGIS Server, SQL Server Express, and ArcGIS Desktop software
  • ArcGIS Enterprise Geodatabase—A virtual image of an enterprise geodatabase running on PostgreSQL
  • Esri technical support including best practice documentation and tutorials

Esri Developer Network (EDN) developers will find that ArcGIS Server on Amazon EC2 is an excellent way to rapidly launch ideas for proofs of concept and testing of applications for online deployment. Once the requirements are met, the Amazon EC2 instances can be thrown away, thus limiting costs to only those for the hardware used.

“Amazon Web Services is excited that Esri is now offering the ArcGIS Server on Amazon EC2 to organizations around the world,” said Terry Wise, director of business development, Amazon Web Services LLC.  “This new offering leverages the scalability, security and utility based pricing model of Amazon EC2, enabling Esri customers to deploy critical spatial data and GIS servers within minutes without having to go through the time and expense of procuring, deploying and managing in-elastic compute resources.”

For more information about ArcGIS Server on Amazon EC2, contact Esri Customer Service. Outside the United States, contact your local Esri distributor. For a current distributor list, visit

[Source: ESRI press release]

Rocky Mountain Supercomputing Centers and ESRI Collaborate on HPC Cloud Applications for Advanced GIS

The Rocky Mountain Supercomputing Centers, Inc. (RMSC) is collaborating with the world’s leading GIS software company, ESRI, to leverage the HPC Cloud paradigm in real-world geospatial applications. RMSC is a leading provider of High Performance Computing (HPC) Cloud technology, which offers significant advantages in scalability, performance and pricing over other cloud platforms.

“The cloud computing paradigm is the future of GIS,” said Earl J. Dodd, RMSC Executive Director. “HPC Cloud technology has the potential to scale-up GIS software and boost its volumetrics to solve geospatial data processing challenges much faster than previously possible.”

Under the collaborative agreement with ESRI, RMSC is running ESRI ArcGIS 10 software in a dynamic HPC Cloud environment to evaluate processing capacity of existing models and expand ArcGIS throughput and performance capabilities for advanced geospatial projects. Some of these GIS modeling and simulation applications require processing terabytes of data in (near) real-time. RMSC will examine a variety of techniques and configurations that make it possible to scale-up ArcGIS 10 and maximize its performance in the HPC Cloud.

“ESRI’s collaboration with the Rocky Mountain Supercomputing Centers allows us to efficiently and quickly determine areas to address when customers with advanced GIS needs migrate to the HPC Cloud,” said S.J. Camarata, ESRI Director, Corporate Strategy. “Having the ability to stress and run the most advanced GIS models and visualization at RMSC will truly deliver on our message that ArcGIS 10 transforms the way people use GIS.”

“The Elastic Compute Cloud has been applied to some GIS applications,” explained Dodd. “But the HPC Cloud that RMSC has created can significantly reduce processing time with expanded model sizes, especially in critical geospatial applications such as 3D modeling, visualization and simulation supporting national security, emergency management and policy decision support.”

A non-profit Montana corporation, RMSC is a public-private partnership involving the State of Montana, IBM, Microsoft, Adaptive Computing and NextIO. RMSC was created with the goal of driving local and regional economic development by making on-demand supercomputing available to commercial businesses (especially small- to medium-sized businesses), government agencies, academic institutions and tribal enterprises. RMSC offers Supercomputing Platforms as a Service (SPaaS) and professional expertise to help eliminate barriers of use when moving into the HPC Cloud.

Opening its doors in July 2009, RMSC applies its particular type of cloud computing to applications in the diverse fields of energy, agriculture, manufacturing and climate change, among others. Already, RMSC is involved in modeling complex carbon management and global food security issues for the USDA’s International Production and Assessment Division. The Center also provides 24×7 supercomputing support for weather forecasting for renewable energy resource management organizations.

For more information on how the Rocky Mountain Supercomputing Centers is demonstrating HPC for the New Main Street, please visit

[Source: RMSC press release]

Esri Supports Strategic Geospatial Initiatives at NGA

Esri and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) announce the formation of a strategic alliance to strengthen national geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) capabilities.

The agreement was signed in June by U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Robert B. Murrett, NGA director, and Jack Dangermond, Esri president. The alliance will provide a framework to advance the strategic goals and objectives of the National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) in geospatial sciences and systems and computer science.

This new strategic alliance is meant to support the strategies and goals Murrett set last year to ensure the interoperability and reliability and improve the quality of NSG products and services.

“We have successfully collaborated with the NGA for more than two decades,” said Dangermond. “This new initiative will permit us to continue working together on projects that will use and improve on geospatial technology, thereby strengthening our country’s national security. We are honored to partner with NGA in this important endeavor.”

The mission of the NGA—which combines aspects such as technology, data, people, and policies needed to produce GEOINT—is to provide timely, relevant, and accurate geospatial intelligence to support national security. The NSG is a unified community of GEOINT experts, producers, and users organized around the goal of integrating technology, policies, capabilities, and doctrine to produce GEOINT in a multi-intelligence environment. The NGA, as the functional manager for the NSG, provides strategic thinking, guidance, and direction to the intelligence community concerning all aspects of GEOINT, from acquisition to utilization. The NGA collaborates with its mission partners to ensure that accurate and timely GEOINT is a part of decision making and operations where and when it is needed.

The agreement underscores the critical role geospatial technology plays in GEOINT within the national security community, which provides geographic information system (GIS) products, services, and analysis to intelligence officers and decision makers. GIS continues to evolve in national security. Originally restricted to technical analysts working on the desktop, the technology is now available throughout the community in Web-enabled enterprise applications.

Agencies, allies, and coalition partners increasingly rely on GIS to share geospatial data and products with one another within this worldwide network. This is increasingly important in intelligence, counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and humanitarian operations. The GEOINT system—cloud computing, mobile environments, Web, and embedded geospatial capabilities—requires robust enterprise software that supports the global information grid. Esri’s research and development in these areas provide the technical leadership needed to deliver critical geospatial support to meet these requirements of the intelligence communities’ fast-paced mission.

[Source: ESRI press release]

Esri Partners Quick to Adopt ArcGIS 10

Partners Demonstrate ArcGIS 10 Based Solutions at the Esri International User Conference

Esri’s partners are migrating to the ArcGIS 10 release. By integrating the new tools and performance enhancements in ArcGIS 10 into their solutions, key partners will improve the productivity of their customers.

Attendees of this year’s Esri International User Conference (Esri UC) will have a firsthand opportunity to see more than 35 new solutions run with ArcGIS 10. They will be demonstrated in the exhibition hall in those booths displaying an ArcGIS 10 Enabled sign.

ArcGIS was developed in collaboration with users and partners, with more than 100 partners providing feedback through the ArcGIS 10 Beta Program. As a result of this exposure, many partners have been quick to migrate to ArcGIS 10 and make it their standard geographic information system (GIS) software platform.

Esri partners commented on ArcGIS 10 deployment within their solutions.

“ArcGIS 10 is a major release for us,” said Rand Knight, senior vice president and general manager at Critigen. “The new capabilities for cloud-based deployment of geodatabases, Web mapping, and real-time geoprocessing allow us to provide fully integrated situational awareness. This is important to our business and government clients who rely on visual intelligence and spatial analytics across their enterprises for mission-critical operations on a day-to-day basis.”

Jim Tochterman, vice president of research and development at Bradshaw Consulting Services, said, “The ArcGIS 10 family of products has supplied us with an unrivaled level of interoperability and performance when developing our applications and solutions.”

Clearion Software’s cofounder Christopher Kelly explained, “We are taking advantage of powerful new features such as ArcGIS Engine and the feature layer service for editing Web applications on ArcGIS Server. The key importance of ArcGIS 10 for Clearion is the improved speed and ease of building integrated, multiplatform solutions that scale with our clients’ needs.”

Pictometry‘s director of partner relations, Brian Beha, said, “With the enhancements to the geodata transform [transformation] in ArcGIS 10, the use of Pictometry oblique imagery is now native to Esri products. This is an extremely powerful development for all GIS users.”

Steven Myhill-Jones, president and CEO of Latitude Geographics, said, “ArcGIS Server 10 allows us to combine simplicity and power in ways we’ve always hoped for. This is a watershed release that will enhance our Geocortex solutions and generally make Esri customers more successful. ArcGIS Server 10 is the release that relatively cautious organizations have been waiting for to shift from ArcIMS to ArcGIS Server. ArcGIS Server 10 is a big leap forward for both application developers and end users.”

See a list of Esri partners demonstrating ArcGIS 10 at the Esri UC at

[Source: ESRI press release]

Spatial and Temporal Changes in Access Rights to Shellfish Resources in British Columbia

Coastal Management, 1521-0421, Volume 37, Issue 6, 2009, Pages 585 – 616

Alyssa Joyce and Rosaline Canessa

“Over the past decade, the shellfish and finfish aquaculture industry has expanded rapidly in coastal British Columbia (BC) Canada. Foreshore and nearshore shellfish and finfish aquaculture leaseholds are sited in close proximity or in direct competition with habitat for wild shellfish. As a result, some wild shellfish harvesters believe shellfish farms are significantly reducing access to beaches and estuarine areas for wild harvesting, or that salmon farms are contaminating wild shellfish stocks. In this article, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are used to analyze spatial and temporal trends in the growth of shellfish and finfish aquaculture tenures in BC, while interviews with stakeholders in coastal communities are used to explore user conflicts and the implications of changing access rights on the distribution of marine resources. Qualitative and quantitative findings suggest that shellfish aquaculture provides significant economic opportunities for coastal communities, but that such development may hold increased risk of spatial conflicts over marine habitat as the aquaculture industry continues to grow.”