GISCafe Weekly Review September 1st, 2016

About two weeks ago, Esri launched a collection of web maps that display NOAA forecast streamflow data for the continental U.S. NOAA’s recently released National Water Model. Data from the Model combined with the National Hydrography Dataset and fed by NOAA’s National Weather Service data, forecasts the flow of water along the 2.7 million stream segments in the continental U.S. in ArcGIS Online.

NWM_10_Day_Anomaly_2

Basics: Offline Base-Maps and Layers – Part 2
August 30, 2016  by Matt Sheehan

 

In our first article in this series: Basics: Offline Maps and How to Get Started Part 1, we provided background on offline maps. We discussed the difference between base-maps and layers, and covered what are interactive and editable map layers. In this second post in the series we will discuss how we take base-maps and layers offline.

1. Taking Base-Maps Offline

For this conversation we will focus much of our attention on ArcGIS. Note, the same basic principles discussed here will apply to other map and GIS offerings. So what is a base-map? It is a series of pictures or tiles combined into a single image. Rather like a jigsaw puzzle. And just like a jigsaw puzzle a single image is usually broken into smaller pieces. Think of a huge satellite image. Take a cookie cutter and break that up into smaller chunks. These are tiles.

So why generate tiles? Improved user experience that is why. Google in 2005 released Google Maps. Suddenly we could pan and zoom satellite images for free on the web. And yes the first thing I did was zoom in to see my house. But take a closer look at Google Maps or an ArcGIS web map today. You will see the individual base-map tiles as you pan and zoom. Your experience is seamless and super fast. Imagine each time you panned the map, just for a moment the map disappeared, then reappeared with the new extent. That was the pre Google Maps reality.

So how does this relate to offline? To be able to use base-maps in areas without wireless connectivity we need to copy these tiles to our smartphone or tablet. In Esri-land this can be done dynamically (see Collector for ArcGIS and the base-map selection option for offline) or through a tile package or TPK. This is simply a zip file of images. Tiles at different zoom levels: a “pyramid” of images.

Why tiled maps? from Penn State is a good article on this subject, well worth reading.

Biggest GIS Barrier is Lack of Understanding
August 29, 2016  by Matt Sheehan

 

I was thinking yesterday about the phrase “I know enough to be dangerous”. Its one ever more applicable to GIS. As more organizations and individuals adopt the technology, knowing just about enough (or not) is ever more common. And its a problem!

Biggest GIS Barrier is Lack of Understanding

The fact that GIS has become easier, does not mean GIS is now easy. I write about this often, but it is so true. And I see it so often. Organizations looking to solve problems with the new distributed model of GIS (Web GIS) and flailing. Its why I’ll say again

The Biggest GIS Barrier is Lack of Understanding

GIS was a niche technology. Used by GIS trained staff. Answering both simple and complex ‘where’ questions. GIS trained staff are essential to the future success of GIS. Not to promote GIS but to prepare and apply GIS correctly. As a company we work on both small and large projects, and in both cases we are seeing a lack of understanding as being a huge barrier. We spend as much time educating as we do implementing. Now don’t get me wrong, we love educating. But with sometimes tight deadlines this process, particularly when working with other implementor’s, can be challenging. Its one reason we introduced our GIS Solutions Engine, to help move projects forward efficiently and ensure all are on the same page.

In the push to promote GIS technology, adoption is beginning to happen before understanding. That is a worry. More emphasis need be put on helping organizations and individuals solve their business problems without the technology itself being just one more barrier.

Contact us on 801-733-0723.

 

Earthquake Disaster Recovery Efforts for Italy
August 26, 2016  by Susan Smith

A little hilltop town in Italy was putting the crowning preparations on their annual pasta festival, when the earthquake struck this week.

Italy-Earthquake-Photos-2016

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