Map Stories Can Provide Dynamic Visualizations of the Anthropocene to Broaden Factually Based Public Understanding

ARThe Anthropocene Review, Published Online 15 July 2014

By Andrew Zolnai

“Provision of broadly accessible and spatially referenced visualizations of the nature and rate of change in the Anthropocene is an essential tool in communicating to policy makers and to the wider public, who generally have little or no contact with academic publications and often rely on media-based information, to form and guide opinion. Three examples are used to demonstrate the use of geo-referenced data and GIS-based map compilations to provide accurate and widely accessible visual portrayals of historical processes.  The first example shows the spread of Neolithic agriculture from Mesopotamia west and north across Europe over several millennia. The second plots the history of the drainage of the Fens (wetlands) in eastern England from the early seventeenth century onward. A third example illustrates one way in which releasing data in the public domain can lead to the enhancement of public data holdings.

Data posted directly on the internet (Zolnai, 2012) from sources discussed in the text: this map story has the abstract at left, the map at centre and the legend at rig ht. It is a synoptic view putting all information in the line of sight along with its geographical context. Panning left and right or zooming in and out helps orient the reader and facilitate a better grasp of the details.

Data posted directly on the internet (Zolnai, 2012) from sources discussed in the text: this map story has the abstract at left, the map at centre and the legend at right. It is a synoptic view putting all information in the line of sight along with its geographical context. Panning left and right or zooming in and out helps orient the reader and facilitate a better grasp of the details.

“A concluding discussion outlines ways in which the methodology illustrated may be applied to processes key to understanding the Anthropocene.”

SDM Toolbox: A Python-based GIS Toolkit for Landscape Genetic, Biogeographic, and Species Distribution Model Analyses

MEE_CoverMethods in Ecology and Evolution 2014, 5, 694–700

By Jason L. Brown

“1. Species distribution models (SDMs) are broadly used in ecological and evolutionary studies. Almost all SDM methods require extensive data preparation in a geographic information system (GIS) prior to model building. Often, this step is cumbersome and, if not properly done, can lead to poorly parameterized models or in some cases, if too difficult, prevents the realization of SDMs. Further, for many studies, the creation of SDMs is not the final result and the post-modelling processing can be equally arduous as other steps.

Illustrative overview of SDMtoolbox. Basic Tools. SDMtoolbox contains 19 basic tools for converting and batch processing shapefile and raster data.

Illustrative overview of SDMtoolbox. Basic Tools. SDMtoolbox contains 19 basic tools for converting and batch processing shapefile and raster data.

2. SDMtoolbox is designed to facilitate many complicated pre- and post-processing steps commonly required for species distribution modelling and other geospatial analyses. SDMtoolbox consists of 59 Python script-based GIS tools developed and compiled into a single interface.

3. A large set of the tools were created to complement SDMs generated inMaxent or to improve the predictive performance of SDMs created inMaxent. However, SDMtoolbox is not limited to analyses of Maxent models, andmany tools are also available for additional analyses or general geospatial processing: for example, assessing landscape connectivity of haplotype networks (using least-cost corridors or least-cost paths); correcting SDM over-prediction; quantifying distributional changes between current and future SDMs; or for calculating several biodiversity metrics, such as corrected weighted endemism.

4. SDMtoolbox is a free comprehensive python-based toolbox for macroecology, landscape genetic and evolutionary studies to be used in ArcGIS 10.1 (or higher) with the Spatial Analyst extension. The toolkit simplifies many GIS analyses required for species distribution modelling and other analyses, alleviating the need for repetitive and time-consuming climate data pre-processing and post-SDManalyses.”

Chuck Croner to be Inducted Into URISA’s GIS Hall of Fame

URISAThe Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) is pleased to announce the induction of Charles M. Croner, PhD into URISA’s GIS Hall of Fame. The honor will be officially recognized during GIS-Pro 2014 in New Orleans this September.

URISA’s GIS Hall of Fame honors persons and organizations that have made significant and original contributions to the development and application of GIS concepts, tools, or resources, or to the GIS profession.

URISA’s Hall of Fame laureates include:

  • 2005 Inductees: Edgar Horwood, Ian McHarg, Roger Tomlinson, Jack Dangermond, Nancy Tosta, and the Harvard Lab
  • 2006 Inductee: Gary Hunter
  • 2007 Inductees: Don Cooke and Michael Goodchild
  • 2009 Inductees: Will Craig and Carl Reed
  • 2010 Inductee: C. Dana Tomlin
  • 2011 Inductees: William Huxhold and Barry Wellar
  • 2012 Inductees: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Natural Resources Canada, Statistics Canada, United States Census Bureau and United States Geological Survey
  • 2014 Inductee: Charles Croner
Charles M. Croner

Charles M. Croner

Charles (Chuck) Croner, Geographer and Survey Statistician, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), served as founding Editor of the bimonthly digital newsletter Public Health GIS News and Information (online at ). This pioneering publication, 1994-2006, helped establish the CDC as the lead agency and focal point for the timely dissemination of GIS and public health related developments worldwide. Initially designed for CDC staff, its readership grew to include most U.S. State and local public health departments, and an extensive international audience. Chuck received the highest award from the private sector (ESRI, 2007), and many awards from government, academia and the CDC.

Chuck majored in geography at Towson (BS) and Michigan State (MA, PhD) universities, and studied statistics at Harvard. Prior to graduate school, Chuck served as an Infantry Officer (rank of Captain), and helicopter navigator, in the U.S. Marine Corps. “The military served to advance my geographic foundations, both through formal land and air navigation instruction, and instill in me an indispensable perspective of mapping in dynamic time and space.“

Although there were only several professional geographers employed at the CDC in 1972, Chuck worked to position the CDC into one of GIS and public health leadership. “I believed CDC’s outstanding reputation for medical intervention, including life saving vaccines and the prevention of costly infectious and chronic diseases, could benefit further from the inclusion of geography into the emerging multidisciplinary CDC approach to public health science. The timing could not have been better.” Through the newsletter, the role of geography at CDC reached nationally and across the globe.

Chuck provided CDC public health leadership as the first Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) representative to the nation’s Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), where he “served with distinction” having guided HHS to member status. Chuck is responsible for the successful development of federal GIS interagency agreements with the U.S. Bureau of Census, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development , to leverage geospatial investments; for creating the first long-term collaborative small area GIS study of minority health between CDC  and Cleveland’s Center for Community Solutions (CCS); and, for having contributed to the planning and instruction of the USGS Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Summer Faculty GIS Workshops program.

Chuck created CDC’s first GIS Awareness Week, Cartography and GIS Guest Lecture Series, Public Health GIS Users Group, and the Internet GIS Guest Lecture Series. He received numerous career awards for his work with GIS and minority public health disparities. He was tasked by the CDC to help design CDC’s first Enterprise GIS Roadmap.

Visit URISA’s GIS Hall of Fame to learn about the path-breaking accomplishments of all inductees.

[Source: URISA press release]

URISA 2014 Board of Directors Election Results Announced

URISAURISA is pleased to announce the results of its 2014 Board of Directors’ Election. Rebecca Somers will become President-Elect of the association and Valrie Grant, Kevin Mickey and Martin Roche will begin their terms as members of the Board of Directors, at the close of GIS-Pro 2014: URISA’s 52nd Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, September 8-11, 2014.

Rebecca Somers, GISP, Somers-St. Claire GIS Management Consultants resides in Fairfax, Virginia. In her statement to the membership, she noted, “URISA has done some outstanding planning in the past couple of years and has many exciting new initiatives planned and underway.    These new developments have the potential to transform URISA to a new level of GIS professional leadership.   I’ve worked on the teams developing the GMI, GIS best practices, and expanded educational programs, and it has been an intellectually stimulating and rewarding experience.   As president, I would work to ensure the successful progression of all of URISA’s new plans.  The years 2014-17 should see many new developments including the launch of GMI’s organizational assessment and accreditation service, publication and dissemination of GIS best practices information, new professional publications and resources, new workshop and webinar topics, and new educational programs….URISA has always been a central part of my professional life and I look forward to the opportunity to combine my business expertise and extensive URISA experience to help guide URISA to continuing success.”

Three new directors were elected by the URISA membership to serve a three-year term on the URISA Board, also beginning in September. The three new Board members are:

  • Valrie Grant GISP – President, GeoTechVision, Kingston, Jamaica
  • Kevin Mickey, GISP – Director Geospatial Technologies Education, The Polis Center-IUPUI, Indianapolis, IN
  • Martin Roche, GISP – President/CEO, Geo Planning Services LLC, Orlando, FL

At the close of GIS-Pro 2014 in New Orleans, the terms of service for these Board members will conclude:

  • Al Butler (Immediate Past President) – City of Ocoee, Florida
  • Tripp Corbin, GISP – eGIS Associates, Dacula, Georgia
  • Cindy Post – University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta Canada
  • Teresa Townsend, AICP – Planning Communities LLC, Raleigh, North Carolina

We thank them all, in advance, for their dedication and service to URISA and anticipate many more years of continued involvement.

Wendy Nelson

Executive Director – URISA    847-824-6300

SIT-REM: An Interoperable and Interactive Web Geographic Information System for Fauna, Flora and Plant Landscape Data Management

ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 2014, 3(2), 853-867

By Emanuele Frontoni, Adriano Mancini, Primo Zingaretti, Eva Malinverni, Simone Pesaresi, Edoardo Biondi, Massimo Pandolfi, Maria Marseglia, Mirco Sturari, and Claudio Zabaglia

“The main goal of the SIT-REM project is the design and the development of an interoperable web-GIS environment for the information retrieval and data editing/updating of the geobotanical and wildlife map of Marche Region. The vegetation, plant landscape and faunistic analysis allow the realization of a regional information system for wildlife-geobotanical data.

Example of ArcGIS Explorer interface reading WMS from SIT REM.

Example of ArcGIS Explorer interface reading WMS from SIT REM.

“A main characteristic of the SIT-REM is its flexibility and interoperability, in particular, its ability to be easily updated with the insertion of new types of environmental, faunal or socio-economic data and to generate analyses at any geographical (from regional to local) or quantitative level of detail. Different query levels obtain the latter: spatial queries, hybrid query builder and WMSs usable by means of a GIS. SIT-REM has been available online for more than a year and its use over this period has produced extensive data about users’ experiences. ”

OGC Calls for Comment on Candidate Moving Feature Encoding Standard

OGC_Logo_Border_Blue_3DThe OGC seeks public comment on a candidate OGC® Moving Feature Encoding Standard. Part I of this candidate standard provides a standard way of encoding moving feature data in an XML encoding in the form of an OGC Geography Markup Language (GML) application schema. Part II provides a standard way of encoding moving feature data in a simple CSV (comma-separated value) format.

The candidate OGC® Moving Feature Encoding Standard is available at Comments are due by 23 August 2014.

The advance of mobile computing and internet-connected sensors (including sensors and GPS transponders in cell phones and notebook computers) brings with it a rapid rise in applications for moving feature data, typically representing vehicles or pedestrians. Many innovative moving feature applications will require the overlay and integration of moving feature data from different sources. Examples can easily be imagined for disaster risk management, traffic information services, security services, navigation for robots, aviation or maritime traffic monitoring, and wildlife tracking and conservation. Most current applications, however, are limited to single-source moving feature data.

More efficient moving feature data exchange will result in a requirement for massive data handling. The CSV style encoding provides an efficient and easily understood standard for encoding lightweight data records, which will be important for many applications involving large data volumes and real-time response. The GML application schema style encoding for Moving Features provides for the encoding of more complex spatial information.

This standard addresses only “rigid” moving features, such as vehicles, as opposed to those that deform, such as flood water, and it does not address moving features whose descriptions contain other moving features that must be updated as the feature moves, such as control surfaces on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). It also is for archived Moving Feature data only, and not for live feeds from sensors.

The OGC is an international consortium of more than 475 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC standards support interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. OGC standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at

[Source: OGC press release]

GIS Supported Landslide Susceptibility Modeling at Regional Scale: An Expert-Based Fuzzy Weighting Method

isprsISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 2014, 3(2), 523-539

By Christos Chalkias, Maria Ferentinou, and Christos Polykretis

“The main aim of this paper is landslide susceptibility assessment using fuzzy expert-based modeling. Factors that influence landslide occurrence, such as elevation, slope, aspect, lithology, land cover, precipitation and seismicity were considered. Expert-based fuzzy weighting (EFW) approach was used to combine these factors for landslide susceptibility mapping (Peloponnese, Greece). This method produced a landslide susceptibility map of the investigated area. The landslides under investigation have more or less same characteristics: lateral based and downslope shallow movement of soils or rocks.


“The validation of the model reveals, that predicted susceptibility levels are found to be in good agreement with the past landslide occurrences. Hence, the obtained landslide susceptibility map could be acceptable, for landslide hazard prevention and mitigation at regional scale. ”

A Spatial Analysis to Study Access to Emergency Obstetric Transport Services under the Public Private “Janani Express Yojana” Program in Two Districts of Madhya Pradesh, India

rhReproductive Health 2014, 11:57 (22 July 2014)

By Yogesh Sabde, Ayesha De Costa, and Vishal Diwan

The government in Madhya Pradesh (MP), India in 2006, launched “Janani Express Yojana” (JE), a decentralized, 24X7, free emergency transport service for all pregnant women under a public-private partnership. JE supports India’s large conditional cash transfer program, the “Janani Suraksha Yojana” (JSY) in the province and transports on average 60,000 parturients to hospital every month. The model is a relatively low cost one that potentially could be adopted in other parts of India and South Asia. This paper describes the uptake, time taken and geographic equity in access to the service to transport women to a facility in two districts of MP.

This was a facility based cross sectional study. We interviewed parturients (n = 468) who delivered during a five day study period at facilities with >10 deliveries/month (n = 61) in two study districts. The women were asked details of transportation used to arrive at the facility, time taken and their residential addresses. These details were plotted onto a Geographic Information System (GIS) to estimate travelled distances and identify statistically significant clusters of mothers (hot spots) reporting delays >2 hours.

In district 2, forests covered 52.4% of the total district area (Figure 8). Most of the hot spot mothers in dis trict 2 acted differently in that they travelled longer distances through the forest areas to ac cess the CEmOC located in the district head quarter. The majority of women will not require to de liver in a Comprehensive EmOC facility, but the alternative to not delivering in a CEmO C facility in this setting is nearly equivalent to delivering in a dysfunctional facility, as none of the other facilities provide complete Basic EmOC which is life saving.

In district 2, forests covered 52.4% of the total district area. Most of the hot spot mothers in district 2 acted differently in that they travelled longer distances through the forest areas to access the CEmOC located in the district head quarter. The majority of women will not require to deliver in a Comprehensive EmOC facility, but the alternative to not delivering in a CEmOC facility in this setting is nearly equivalent to delivering in a dysfunctional facility, as none of the other facilities provide complete Basic EmOC which is life saving.

JE vehicles were well dispersed across the districts and used by 236 (50.03%) mothers of which 111(47.03%) took >2 hours to reach a facility. Inability of JE vehicle to reach a mother in time was the main reason for delays. There was no correlation between the duration of delay and distance travelled. Maps of the travel paths and travel duration of the women are presented. The study identified hot spots of mothers with delays >2 hours and explored the possible reasons for longer delays.

The JE service was accessible in all parts of the districts. Relatively high utilization rates of JE indicate that it ably supported JSY program to draw more women f or institutional deliveries. However, half of the JE users experienced long (>2 hour) delays. The delayed mothers clustered in difficult terrains of the districts. Additional support particularly for the identified hot spots, enhanced monitoring by state agencies and GIS tools can facilitate better effectiveness of the JE program. ”

2014 GIS Managers’ Open Summit: Presentations and Round Table Discussion Notes

2014 GIS Managers Open Summit

2014 GIS Managers Open Summit

The 2014 GIS Managers’ Open Summit took place Tuesday, July 15th, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Esri User Conference in San Diego, California. The Summit is a track designed for GIS managers, business and technology strategists, and other decision makers attending the Esri UC. It offers opportunities to engage in conversations with peers on topics that relate to business efficiencies, return on investment (ROI), managing data, and more.

Now in its fifth year, more than 400 people pre-registered for the event, and many more registered on-site. The format was a little different this year. Four scheduled speakers focused on GIS management issues:

  1. GIS for Big Data and Big Decisions: From the Citizen on the Street to the Leadership SuiteJim Geringer and Heather Blatchford
  2. A Modern Approach to GIS in the Enterprise – Adam Carnow
  3. Aligning People, Projects, and Strategic Priorities – Michael Green
  4. Planning, Managing, and Building a GISDave Peters

Each presentation was followed by round table discussions on highlighted topics that came up during the presentations. Like last year, we asked each table to fill out a card briefly summarizing what they talked about, and what their big takeaways were. A representative from each table then shared this information back with the larger group.

For the benefit of those who could not attend this event and the larger GIS community, Dave Peters collected all of the summary cards and has compiled the information presented below.


 1. GIS for Big Data and Big Decisions: From the Citizen on the Street to the Leadership Suite – Jim Geringer and Heather Blatchford

Budgets – if you had a 20% increase in your GIS budget, what would you do differently?

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Strategic plans
    • Return on Investment study
    • Proof on concept
  • Takeaways
    • Staffing
    • Salaries
    • Data integrity investments

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Difference between hardware and software deployment patterns
    • Employee enrichment with GIS training
    • Use funds for additional GIS staffing
  • Takeaways
    • Every organizations needs are different
    • We all have strategic plans with identified gaps that need to be addressed

Table 3:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Sustainability
    • Staffing
  • Takeaways
    • Each Agency and Participant has unique needs based on individual plans.

Table 4:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Not enough funding for current GIS needs
    • Not enough for needed system upgrades
    • What about on-going maintenance costs?
  • Takeaways
    • Different agencies, different problems
    • High demands, low budgets, understaffing
    • Not enough money (GIS budget) is common problem

Networking – sharing best practices, apps, data

  • Main issues discussed
    • Networking
    • Sharing best practices, apps, and data
  • Takeaways
    • Move away from the term GIS to make people less scared
      • i.e. Information portal
    • Open data – provide for commercial development
    • Provide $ to local government to share data
      • IGIC/Indiana example

Roll-up of local and state data into a national data set, such as addresses, parcels and road/street centerline records. This would be similar to the community basemap approach.

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Data sharing
  • Takeaways
    • Willing to share data
    • Legal issues need to be addressed

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Free vs for profit datasets
    • Level of detail
  • Takeaways
    • Standard schema needed

Cloud-Apps, computing, data, ArcGIS Online

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Not clear understanding of available resources, ways to synchronize data, etc.
  • Takeaways
    • Bandwidth considerations (scalability)
    • Hybrid model options available
    • Good options for smaller environments
    • Security is a concern – need a trust relationship
    • Cloud is a great source for computing resources

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Currency of online data
    • Data authority/quality/metadata
  • Takeaways
    • Uncertain about how this will fit in our organization

Table 3:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Data security and privacy
    • Knowing who gets permissions and regulating access
    • Administration strategies
  • Takeaways
    • Weigh security concerns against benefits
    • Do a lot behind the firewall – plenty internally (on-premise)

Table 4:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Data, Data, Data – Metadata
    • Authorization and currency of online dta
  • Takeaways
    • Collaboration is great using ArcGIS Online
    • WebMaps are nice
    • (Power of ArcGIS Online portal is not well understood.)

Communicating the value of GIS to senior management – securing support/resources

  • Main issues discussed
    • Alignment with purpose and strategy
    • Understand business needs
    • Resonate a solution in a language senior management can understand
  • Takeaways
    • Know business purpose and priorities
    • Establish meaningful metrics
    • Increase product throughput/improve workflow productivity, etc

Advocating GIS in your organization – know your audience, know their priorities

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Cross department buy-in
    • Across department communications
  • Takeaways
    • GIS is an asset value add, not an end solution
    • Case studies
      • Walgreens
      • City of Roseville – GIS/IT
      • Sweden Grid – Utilities
      • PlaceWorks – urban planning

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • How to get their time to implement a huge integration
      • Core goals – build balanced infrastructure, keep user productivity and performance high
      • Align to strategic business plans – start there, GIS follows
    • Strong mayor who promotes change (management challenge)
      • Won’t take time to understand what’s already in place
      • GIS is put into county code w/ court orders to lock it in place (improve stability)
      • Understand organization core objectives, connect to these (improve value)
      • Commercial entity, fiber optics, can’t build infrastructure with two people on staff (need more infrastructure)
    • Understand the business
      • Go from scattershot to enterprise
      • Strategic plan – interview everyone
      • Many different workflow processes in several offices
        • Focus on short term “wins”, business gains.
      • Start with the younger employees, show them as they integrate
      • Continue to communicate successes
  • Takeaways
    • Understand the business (strategic goals and priorities)
      • Migrate from scattershot to enterprise
      • Have a strategic plan – interview everyone
      • Many different workflow processes in several offices
        • Focus on short term “wins”, business gains.
      • Start with the younger employees, show them as they integrate
      • Continue to communicate successes

Governance: Consolidation/optimization of GIS services as a separate entity or combined with overall IT

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Current organizational model and challenges
  • Takeaways
    • Lots of organizational models all with pros and cons.

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • IT cost center vs Business Profit Center
    • Lots of talk – management challenges
      • Disconnects, challenges with IT consolidation
      • Business approaches, business strategies, business leadership (IT)
      • IT focus on back office automation/GIS focus on business workflow optimization
      • Power struggles/mixed business strategies
    • Takeaways
      • Complex problem to solve
        • GIS value in IT or Business – how to represent
        • Utilization of overall governance framework including stewardship and partnerships
        • Leverage business strategy to drive and influence IT Information Metrics
      • New CDO (Chief Digital Officer) approach (GIS/IT business enablement focus)
        • Reinvent IT more tightly integrated with business operations

Mobile Services – Devices, apps, workforce, security policy, support, wireless services

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Disconnected capability is key
    • Security is a concern, especially with the Cloud integration
    • How do we build and maintain apps at the pace expected by users
  • Takeaways
    • Focused apps; new user configurable apps
    • Use templates
    • Develop a security plan

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Security policies/defining methods and strategies
    • Support for security standards within organizations
    • Related table access with field applications
    • Mobile application deployment (development) patterns
      • Disconnected editing
      • One location (app service), many uses (multiple user interfaces)
    • Takeaways
      • Collector w/ related tables – wonderful
      • HTML5, Java – programing environment supported on all devices
      • Building apps to common standard (configurable applications)
      • Apps for multiple devices/multiple flavors
      • Setting device/app standards for handling customer security needs.

Open data and shared data – between and among departments within a single organization, between and among organizations. Fits with Esri Open Data App

  • Main issues discussed
    • Why are you doing open data
    • Organization, governance, and licensing of open data
    • So many apps already available
  • Takeaways
    • Not clear why you are doing open data

Prepping your executives to engage with Esri – leverage Esri partnership to expand use of GIS at your org

  • Main issues discussed
    • IT with Business and who does what
    • How does IT and GIS work together
  • Takeaways
    • How do you get IT to understand the value of GIS
    • Move from order taker to service provider

Data protection, training, and awareness

  • Main issues discussed
    • Marketing your data
  • Takeaways
    • Different levels of data security
    • Risk Assessment strategies

Advocating GIS in your organization – know your audience, know their priorities

  • Main issues discussed
    • Know individual roles within the organization
    • Need for GIS Department
  • Takeaways
    • Co-existence of GIS with IT to help advocate GIS
    • Understanding of GIS by management
      • Finding their language
        • Keep it simple (visualize solution opportunities)
    • understanding how to sell GIS benefits
      • Focus on areas that have greatest impact (benefits)
      • Share the value of GIS information throughput the workplace
    • Getting them to buy and commit implementation funding
      • High return on investment
      • Low risk implementation

Big data – definition, management, sharing, processing, authoritativeness

  • Main issues discussed
    • Definition – aggregation of a pervasive data set
    • Management – trust, open minded, top down management, support, collaboration
    • Technology – storage, services, enterprise architecture
  • Takeaways
    • Standards, Metadata
    • Products (GeoEvent Server and GIS Tools for Hadoop)
    • Guidelines, Architecture Design patterns

Finding a champion to broaden exposure with senior executives. Importance of key staff.

  • Main issues discussed
    • Administration support (firewall)
    • Finding a champion to reach the executive staff
    • Silos – information resources and relationships
    • Enterprise operations, Legacy investments, Integration challenges
  • Takeaways
    • GIS is an analysis engine
    • Common challenges with both private and public organizations
    • Key focus targets can open doors to build success


2. A Modern Approach to GIS in the Enterprise – Adam Carnow

GIS Strategic Plan

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Simplify the message/vision
    • Identify the type of language used
    • Who had a strategic plan for their organization
      • Half of those at the table
    • Takeaways
      • Line of sight strategy between Government/Company objectives
      • One pager for general staff consumption

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Planning the strategy
    • Learn management priorities
  • Takeaways
    • Short term, mid-range, open strategy
    • Steering committee, meet every 6 months with operations and VP only present.

Table 3:

  • Main issues discussed
    • GIS not being held as important
    • Relationships between IT and GIS
    • CIOs and CEOs not having a GIS background
  • Takeaways
    • Need a long term and short term vision
    • IT/GIS plan or separate
    • Budgets cause issues with implementation

Table 4:

  • emphasizing communication without communicating
  • Main issues discussed
    • How to communicate technical details (dumb down UMD)
      • Leadership adopts catch phrases, hard to disabuse
      • Data/planning/analysis focus not clear
    • Data silos breakdown ownership
      • No communication
    • Too busy putting out fires
    • Strategic plan is
      • convincing Execs they should be leading leadership
        • Use their vision/language
        • Focus on the purpose
  • Takeaways
    • We know what we want to do
      • Communicate in their language
        • Why is it expensive?
        • What is their benefit?
        • Small app for the executive (show benefits)
        • Interpret for the user techies
      • Use ArcGIS Online/Esri Web site for COTS solutions vs reinvent
        • GIS = my GIS app
        • GIS liaisons

Table 5:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Should funding be included for strategic planning?
    • Alignment of issues with other partners/agencies and departments can be challenging.
  • Takeaways
    • The difficulties in aligning with other agencies and political involvement
    • Issues and challenges that alignment with other agencies creates.

GIS as a Location Platform

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Like a poker game (ACE in your hand)
      • Share information/Secure data
      • Weak gets bigger, then concerns
    • Takeaways
      • It is an evolutionary process

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Simplify (make it simple to use GIS)
    • Include location information with all data
  • Takeaways
    • Strategy about how we can link our data together (by location)

Marketing GIS

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • We think GIS Management thinks solutions
    • Don’t say GIS – have a solution
      • Nice, pretty, tells a story
      • Show it
    • Find the right sponsor
    • Find a partner with solutions that work
      • Fits your business model
    • What is the bottom line
      • Where is the most pain/exposure/bad press
      • Solutions/benefits/sustainable – back it up!
      • Repeatable
    • Everyone needs information
      • Find avenue of least resistance
      • Harvest the hanging fruits
      • Strategic goal – Fix it
    • Takeaways
      • Go mobile
      • Be proactive

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • We have done a lot of work, yet people are not aware of the value.
    • Getting people using what we’ve got
    • Spatial analysis – not just making maps
  • Takeaways
    • Focused maps that meet users’ needs
    • Join business meetings and listen for opportunities for GIS
    • Enable GIS where they do their work
    • Personal connections/relationships matter
    • Try your best to never say no
    • Be persistent – don’t give up

Engaging with Executives

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Limited time and all about the $$
    • Filtering, segmenting, don’t bargain, dependencies
    • Communication up and down different management levels
  • Takeaways
    • Focus on upper management priorities
    • Keep it high level – focus on values, address the pain (solutions)
    • Demo – visualization (iPAD on elevator) – cool focused apps
    • One page executive summary – all about the value
    • Their focused “dashboard” to show GIS benefits

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Expectations – knowing your audience (pain points)
    • Executive have a shelf life, shorter than yours
  • Takeaways
    • Visualization works best

Sustainability – COTS over Custom

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Cost of custom applications when budgets are limited
    • Federal (BLM) – Structured process – National contracting
      • Contracted for custom apps
      • COTS
      • Common portal
        • Publishing GIS Services/utilities
  • Serving very large communities
    • Tempo is increasing
    • Still much paper processes
  • Small business (COTS drivers)
    • Cost effective
    • Limited budget
    • Open source
  • Takeaways
    • Flexibility of COTS when budgets are limited
    • Larger organizations can meet the needs of broad audiences

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Custom apps require data model changes
    • 3rd party integration requires data model changes
    • Stitching COTS = Custom Solution
    • New relationships require attention and present moving targets
    • Redundancy in custom solutions
    • 3rd party source in escrow (Washington)
  • Takeaways
    • Hybrid solution allows for sustainability and flexibility

Table 3:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Often COTS don’t do exactly what is needed, so customization is needed.
    • It’s one thing to build something; it’s another to maintain it.
    • However COTS over Custom can have similar problems when Esri supported tools are no longer supported with subsequent releases.
  • Takeaways
    • Focus on “throw away apps”.
    • Need to use COTS where applicable, but need to be flexible to create when necessary.
    • Follow good project management
      • Prioritizing your business needs
      • Use business needs to define if COTS is acceptable or not
      • In other words, 7 of 10 tools in COTS are good, but you may need to build and maintain the other 3 tools as custom applications.

Table 4:

  • Main issues discussed
    • COTS don’t meet all our business needs
    • Maintained legacy apps can satisfy critical business needs
  • Takeaways
    • To go COTS: need to make the case (benefits to the stake holders)
    • Develop a strategic plan
      • Challenge of migration from legacy to COTS
      • Need a champion

Power of Spatial Analysis

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Automation
    • Marketing GIS
    • What kinds of analysis opportunities
    • Understanding business needs for spatial analysis
  • Takeaways
    • Maps answer where and what
      • Spatial analysis answers why
    • Communicates purpose, efficiency
    • Automation available, along with documentation

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Main benefits of GIS come from spatial analysis
      • Data in/of itself is not useful
    • Takeaways
      • We have always done analysis, but doing it spatially can help you do it faster and see things you can’t see in tabular data.

System architecture design

  • Main issues discussed
    • Implementation costs (budget)
    • Hardware/software needs
    • Location of GIS in the organization
    • Security
    • Interoperability
  • Takeaways
    • Leadership buy-in/Department buy-in
    • Know your audience
    • Sell your solution


3. Aligning People, Projects, and Strategic Priorities – Michael Green

Skill/Will Matrix

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • GIS is a small field (skilled workforce needed)
      • State and private marketplace
      • Will ArcGIS Online help address skill challenges?
    • Salaries don’t match required skills in the workplace
    • Depend on contractors to fill skill gaps
    • Will is a primary motivating component
      • Will to do cool things
      • Not willing to learn is a problem
      • Is it a job or a passion?
    • Takeaways
      • Build a culture for success
        • Common vision
        • Empowerment
      • One on one meetings with staff

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • People are the issue/Collins says people first (right people in the right job)
    • Then we have some control over our team, but not all users
  • Takeaways
    • Private vs public – people in the wrong quadrant should transition out
      • Public workplace – we have less control over apathy and incompetence.
    • Remove obstacles to users
    • Make sure the technology is not the problem
    • Make the technology easy and even fun
    • Bring end users and GIS Techs together
      • Embed GIS with the user community
      • Bring GIS liaisons to GIS group
    • Identify liaisons who are both “doers” (skill and will) and influential

Change Management

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Change management – broad – people are strong
    • Micro management – slows change
  • Takeaways
    • Turned a light on myself
      • I show interest and then resist
    • Patience is important – look inward

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Managing data
    • Integrating the IT workflow into GIS
  • Takeaways
    • Creating a repeatable process

ArcGIS Online and what it means for a platform

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Host applications
      • decrease development costs
    • Credit usage
      • how to control costs
      • ELA concerns
    • Esri Jumpstart
      • Esri help to get started
    • Takeaways
      • ArcGIS Server deployment
        • Host local or leverage the cloud

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • GAP in technology (online vs on-premise)
    • Security concerns
    • Managing public vs private operations
  • Takeaways
    • Shareable
    • Limited functionality and usability for advanced users (does not yet replace the core GIS)
    • More development needed in some cases (future potential)
    • Empowerment to larger user base – focused apps and templates
    • More education needed about credits

Speaking a different language

  • Main issues discussed
    • Losing organizational language – capturing institutional language
    • IT paradigm “it’s just data”
  • Takeaways
    • Understand from the others viewpoint
      • What’s the thing that inspires them
        • Tie to funding or other payoff/benefits
      • We often don’t think in terms of budgets
        • Removing pain/obstacles
        • Goal: work myself out of a job

Are you seeing the growth of GIS the way that you want within your organization?

  • Main issues discussed
    • Executive buy-in important
    • High level champion for the GIS platform
    • Getting positive field user feedback as proof of value
    • Too many SaaS offerings and technology overload
    • Language barriers with terminology
  • Takeaways
    • Better communication involving success stories
    • Educate new management with history
    • Involve management in the process steps

3 A’s (Alignment, Analysis, Action)

  • Main issues discussed
    • Effective top down management (local government)
    • Dealing with elected officials / Business needs.
    • Continuity with rollover of executive status
    • Getting the message to upper management
  • Takeaways
    • Have training elements available
    • Not always change the process – but change the message as necessary.
    • Story maps are a useful tool for messages to executive management.


4. Planning, Managing, and Building a GIS – Dave Peters

Building effective GIS operations

  • Main issues discussed
    • Under staffing
    • No/Little buy in from senior stake holders
    • Relative – based on your organization culture
    • Build marketing skills – take responsibility to improve communications.
    • Find the solutions
    • Lack the power to influence the persons who are decision makers
      • Not that you are inadequate
      • Bridging the gap so each party hears that same thing.
    • Take responsibility, manage expectations, listen, do requests, produce
  • Takeaways
    • Senior management wants a GIS, but expects GIS managers to do it.
    • Not a collaborative effort

Engaging with executive management

  • Main issues discussed
    • Getting the meeting
    • Showing what is possible
    • Analytics, grants and building
    • Tie in with existing plans and needs
    • Power of speaking with one voice
    • Geoenable existing solutions such as customer location, and easy win
    • “We have always done it that way” – ask why.
    • Note: Executives are strategic thinkers
  • Takeaways
    • Have something to show
    • Find out (identify) their pain points
    • Have a middle manager or director champion

Enterprise GIS Vision

  • Main issues discussed
    • Tried to define what enterprise GIS is
      • Consistency of use across the organization
      • No duplication of effort and staffing
      • Integrated GIS organization across departments
    • +/- of distributed/centralized management model
  • Takeaways
    • Component (distributed) verses corporate (centralized)
      • Centralized – enterprise governance and strategy
      • GIS craft – understanding + opportunity – specific disconnects

Governance and political landscape

Table 1:

  • Main issues discussed
    • GIS steering committees
      • Good for buy-in if properly done
    • Where GIS is situated in the organization
    • Role of committees
    • IT/GIS mix
  • Takeaways
    • IT/GIS relationship is important
      • Some confusion in roles
      • Position hoarding can be a problem
      • IT formal processes can be valuable
      • Steering committee TOR (terms of reference) process can be valuable
    • Who should be on the committees?

Table 2:

  • Main issues discussed
    • Interagency conflict and silos – political challenges
  • Takeaways
    • Migrate from us vs you => we.
    • Older and bigger => harder to change
    • Educate executive -> has to be rebuilt every 5-7 years

Managing technology change

  • Main issues discussed
    • How to bring together all of the disparate parts that don’t cleanly connect.
    • GIS and IT system requirements need to be aligned
    • May need SQL Server + Oracle for optimum solution
  • Takeaways
    • Getting administrators on board (GIS training and business value)
    • Training (GIS and IT management and administration)
    • Management oversight/support

GIS business workflows

  • Main issues discussed
    • How do you document business workflows
      • Tools: Word, excel, Visio project, mind mapper
    • Who updates existing workflows
    • Managing wants over willing to learn
  • Takeaways
    • User interviews with all stakeholders
    • Embracing change – innovation
    • Winning over stubborn clients – learning to turn heads
    • Be available at the very beginning – early involvement

GIS Staffing

  • Main issues discussed
    • Common problem: (1) person is the manager, analyst, developer, etc
    • Challenge: training new hires to be productive
  • Takeaways
    • Hire productive (experienced) employees that do not require a lot of coaching and training that takes time from senior level employees
    • Outsourcing – generating partnerships with contractors to fill the missing gaps

GIS Matrix Management

  • Main issues discussed
    • Often no direct management authority over users
    • Leadership buy-in, sponsorship, and support critical
  • Takeaways
    • Matrix organization is common structure throughout GIS community
      • Integrates IT, applications, database, and GIS user community
    • What works has to be shared

Development of a GIS-Based Tool for Aquaculture Siting

isprsISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 2014, 3(2), 800-816

By Noelani Puniwai, Lisa Canale, Maria Haws, James Potemra, Christopher Lepczyk, and Steven Gray

“Nearshore aquaculture siting requires the integration of a range of physical, environmental, and social factors. As a result, the information demand often presents coastal managers with a range of complex issues regarding where specific types of aquaculture should be ideally located that reduce environmental and social impacts. Here we provide a framework and tool for managers faced with these issues that incorporate physical and biological parameters along with geospatial infrastructure.

Summary of attributes for selected hexagons with legend and layer options visible on the right.

Summary of attributes for selected hexagons with legend and layer options visible on right.

“In addition, the development of the tool and underlying data included was undertaken with careful input and consideration of local population concerns and cultural practices. Using Hawaiʻi as a model system, we discuss the various considerations that were integrated into an end-user tool for aquaculture siting.”