Skip navigation
All People > bszukalski-esristaff > Mostly Mapping
1 2 3 4 Previous Next

Mostly Mapping

46 posts

I just stumbled across this nice Story Map Tour of the Rudické plateau in the central part of the Moravian Karst titled KRAS RUDICKÉ PLOŠINY. Details about the app can be found on the website.



On the maps and documents to download page you'll also find an interesting PDF document - the Map Guide to Moravian Karst (MAPOVÝ PRŮVODCE MORAVSKÝM KRASEM) - containing links to maps of the area as well as well as descriptions for features found on each. It's published in several languages, so you might be able to read one of them.

This post covers the basics of symbol rotation in ArcGIS Online web maps. Symbol rotation is easy, and is perfect for "direction focused" point features. These include cameras, travel direction, wind direction, and much more.



But there are some very interesting things you can do using a combination of stacked symbols and rotation, covered in this post:



Stacking symbols allows you to create gauges, that rotate with your data whether it be static or live.


This post covers everything above, with a sprinkle of Arcade thrown in. Arcade is used to calculate the offsets needed to rotate the needle on top of non-circular, or non-half-circular gauges.



Using these techniques, you can come up with all sort of creative applications of stacked symbols and rotation.

With an anticipated Friday landfall, Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the mid-Atlantic United States with potential to cause "massive damage" in both coastal and inland areas. North Carolina Governor Ray Cooper said the storm is a "monster" and will be "like nothing you've ever seen." Over a million people are subject to mandatory evacuation orders.


This Hurricanes and Tropical Cyclones Overview Story Map is published by the Esri Disaster Response Team. The underlying map is authored using ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World content that includes the World Imagery Basemap, Sea Surface Temperature, NOAA Hurricanes, NOAA Short Term Warnings, as well as Accuweather weather radar.


The Story Map Series (tabbed layout) embeds a variety of other apps, including those built using Web AppBuilder such as the Hurricane and Cyclone App.




Other maps include the Hurricane Florence Error Cone: Projected Impact authored using the Impact Summary configurable app template:




And the Hurricane Florence Tracker built using the Minimalist configurable app template:



For more hurricane maps, apps, and layers visit:


For more infomration and to request assistance, visit the Esri Disaster Response Program website.

This year has been among the worst in U.S. wildfire history. This application, by John Von Holle and Jeff Dulin of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), shows the current status of wildfires using continuously updated data.



The app is built using Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS, and leverages basemaps, active fire locations and perimeters, MODIS hotspots, and drought data from the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World, along with other data sources.


See the tweet:

This app was brought to my attention the other day by warren roberts. It's an app by Redding GIS about the Carr Fire, which has devastated the area and destroyed over a thousand homes, tragically claiming at least 7 victims (check the web for the latest).



Open the app, built using Web AppBuilder, and click on one of the pushpins:



Click the link to view the Aerial 360 View, provided by Esri business partner Hangar 360. The 360s are as fascinating as they are sobering, documenting the devastation of the fire.



For more information see the Inciweb and Cal Fire websites for the Carr Fire. For disaster response assistance see the Esri Disaster Response Program website.

To verify and test a few things, I came up with a 3D visualization of Hidden River Cave, located in the town of Horse Cave, Kentucky. Click the Slides to view the cave from various perspectives, or use your mouse to explore the cave interactively.



How it was authored


The cave survey data is courtesy of the Cave Research Foundation, with thanks to Dave West, CRF Eastern Operations manager. The cave survey data was entered, managed, and exported as a multipatch shapefile using Compass, one of the more ubiquitous cave survey editing, management, and visualization programs, used widely in the U.S. and also in other parts of the world. Authored by Larry Fish, the software is downloadable from the Compass Cave Survey Software website.


The multipatch uses the LRUDs - the Left, Right, Up, Down measurements recorded by cave surveyors at each survey station to create a generalized 3D model of the cave. Compass uses these values to construct a 3D model of the cave, which can be exported to a 3D multipatch shapefile.


Once exported, the multipatch was added to a scene document in ArcGIS Pro. Using Pro, a scene layer was published to ArcGIS Online, and used to author a web scene using the Scene Viewer.  Slides (captured specific views of the cave) were saved using the Scene Viewer. The scene was then shared in the application linked above - the Scene Styler, a configurable app used to present web scenes to a broader audience.

For the last few days I've had a first-hand view of the smoke from the Ferguson Fire blowing over the Sierra Nevada, from the west side on the outskirts of Yosemite Valley (currently closed due to the fire) to the town of Mammoth Lakes on the east side where I currently am. Even the crows were complaining about the smoke. I could only imagine what firefighters had to endure on the front lines of the fire, we should never forget what they do and their sacrifices.


There are many maps that have been created for this fire, and the numerous other fires that now dominate California. But for this Map of the Day installment I chose this one:



It's a Story Map, specifically a Story Map Series using the Side Accordion layout, that serves as a "binder" for other apps and information. Using this Story Map you can discover which apps are useful and frequently used for wildfire response, and which Living Atlas layers can be leveraged to provide authoritative content. It's a great library of useful apps and content created by the Esri Disaster Response Team. See their ArcGIS  portal for more information and additional maps and apps.

On June 23, 2018, 12 members of a junior soccer team and their coach became trapped inside a flooded cave in Thailand's Chiang Rai province. They'd ventured in after practice, in part to celebrate one team member's birthday. Sudden and heavy rainfall forced the group deeper into the flooding cave to seek high ground, which they found at a location known as Pattaya Beach. After going missing, the team's bicycles and other belongings were found at the entrance, and the ensuing rescue brought in some of the world's best divers and rescue personnel to the cave.


On July 2, the team was discovered alive at Pattaya Beach, however the logistics of evacuating the team seemed overwhelming. Tragically, one highly experienced diver lost his life returning from a support dive delivering oxygen tanks to staging areas for the rescue.


According to Wikipedia:

The  rescue efforts included a total of over 10,000 people – including more than 100 divers, many rescue workers, representatives from about 100 government agencies, 900 police officers, and 2,000 soldiers – 10 police helicopters, seven police ambulances, more than 700 air canisters (of which more than 500 were in the cave at any one time and another 200 were in the queue to be refilled), and the removal of more than 1 billion liters of water (the equivalent of 400 Olympic-size swimming pools).


On July 8, four of the boys were rescued using scores of support divers and rescue personnel, and all twelve were out by July 12. See the Wikipedia article for all the details.



Cave maps


According to Wikipedia

A team of French cavers made the first survey of Tham Luang's main cave in 1986 and 1987. Further surveys were done in 2014 and 2015 by the British cavers Vern Unsworth, Martin Ellis, Phil Collett, and Rob Harper.


Maps from these surveys helped guide the dive and rescue efforts. Shown below is one of the annotated maps prepared by Esri Thailand from the archived cave survey data and published maps that was used for logistics planning.



GIS Maps 


Esri Thailand supported the efforts using GIS to create maps and perform analysis. Some of their work included:


  • Creating a 3D representation of the cave (generated using archived survey data from British cavers).
  • Developing 3D models to measure the depth to the cave from the surface terrain, identify low-slope areas for possible equipment deployment, and to examine the potential for surface drilling to enter the cave.
  • Generating operational maps for rescue logistics.
  • Generating reliable and accurate topographic data, such as DEMs, contours, and orthophotos.
  • Using ArcGIS Hydro tools to determine candidate locations for surface water diversion away from the cave.


A Web AppBuilder 3D app used to display a scene showing the generalized cave outline draped on the surface. The entrance is to the lower left in this image.


A generalized 3D model of the cave was created, shown here in the Scene Viewer beneath a partially transparent surface, to evaluate potential drilling sites and visualize the cave in relation to surface topography.


Another scene showing cross sections across the mountain range with elevations, and the cave (in black) beneath the surface.


Above is a map showing the cave with elevations, catchment areas, and rain intensity during one of the storm episodes.


Maps were used to show the results of resistivity surveys which were performed in various areas to pinpoint where cave passages were located underground. The survey was completed by the Royal Irrigation Department ground team, and interpreted by Department of Mineral Resources experts. The diagram above shows the survey results in combination with the cave lineplot and topographic maps. The resistivity model shows water-filled passages in dark blue, coinciding with modeled cave passages at 460-480 meters elevation.


All data courtesy Esri Thailand.

As I make my way around the user group conference circuit, I still find that many GIS managers and practitioners seem a little confused about Web GIS and it's advantages. Earlier this evening I stumbled once again onto this amazing resource which explains the concepts and advantages of Web GIS exceptionally well, IMHO.


I am thinking this should be required reading for GIS managers and practitioners alike. The ArcGIS Book.


ArcGIS Online

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have, for the most part, passed. However the total damage is still being realized,  economic impacts are still being assessed, and recovery operations are just beginning. It will be a process that takes months and years.


During the continuing course of the response, many maps and apps have been created that were, and remain. key in providing updates on status, helping those in need, delivering insights to what happened, and perhaps most importantly, delivering information on what was going on. Here's my pick of a few apps that caught my eye, and the configurable apps and builders used to create them.


Note that this is not a comprehensive list, and many fine apps went by unnoticed by me, and many were private and subsequently not highlighted here. Feel free to comment and add others.


Story Map "Catalog"

An idea came about that a story map could be used as a  live catalog of useful resources that could be viewed, and then opened in full screen mode and bookmarked, or otherwise saved for further use. Two of these were developed, and continue to evolve today. Both are based on the Story Map Series using the Side Accordion Layout.


One of the catalogs was targeted at operations staff - those who do not author maps or apps but need to know about and use useful applications. The other was targeted at GIS staff who were looking for key layers and web maps from which to create their own. Shown below is the Story Map Catalog of ready-to-use apps. The content has changed over time, starting with apps focused on preparedness, then response, and increasingly recovery.



Story Map Series "Binder"

Story Map Series, especially the tabbed layout, is often used as a binder to pull together related maps and applications. Shown below is one from the NOAA/NWS/NHC Storm Surge Unit showing storm surge flooding along the U.S East and Gulf Coasts and Puerto Rico during Category 1 though 5 storms.



Impact Summary

One of the more widely used configurable apps was Impact Summary. This app highlights an area and shows a summary of quantitative data related to its location, with the option to use Living Atlas demographic information to enrich the data to be summarized. Shown below is an Impact Summary app presenting the National Weather Service 72 hour forecast that has been enriched to show the potential impact to people and businesses.



Local Perspective

Local Perspective is a configurable app template that provides information based on a user defined location. A buffered distance around the user specified locationeither by typing in an address, or clicking the mapis used to return features from features layers in the map.


Shown below is a Local Perspective app authored by Miami Dade County to show shelter locations - enter an address, or click on the map to display the list, and view status. Note that the screen shot below was taken after the initial response efforts, and only displays one active shelter as a result.



Story Map Journal

FEMA published several Story Map Journals that contained other maps and apps detailing specifics for both Harvey and Irma. Shown below is the FEMA Story Map Incident Journal for Irma, embedding many other apps.



Here's another example from the Texas Department of Public Safety used during Hurricane Harvey.



And a third example of a Situation Report created using a Story Map Journal from Harris County.



Story Map Crowdsource

Story Map Crowdsource was used to compile photographs from both Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to provide an idea and location of where damage had occurred, also providing a window onto what was happening on the ground. Shown below is the Crowdsource app for Hurricane Harvey from NAPSG.



Shown below is the Crowdsource app for Hurricane Irma, also from NAPSG.



Story Map Swipe

Story Map Swipe is designed to enable you to compare multiple maps or layers, and is especially effective when viewing pre- and post- event imagery. Below is a Story Map Swipe from the NICB Geospatial Intelligence Center comparing before and after imagery for Hurricane Harvey. View application.



The Story Map Swipe below displays Hurricane Irma post-event imagery and includes bookmarks to specific locations, providing a before and after look using imagery from NOAA. View application.



Operations Dashboard

Several Operations Dashboards were authored to provide an operational picture for keeping track of hurricane impacts and status. Dashboards use charts and statistics in addition to maps. This one showed current traffic (from the Living Atlas), Waze traffic alerts, and Houston TransStar live traffic cams.



The one shown below for Hurricane Irma includes Florida DOT live traffic cams, Living Atlas current traffic conditions, Waze alerts, and a heat map of Waze alerts. View dashboard.



Web AppBuilder

Web AppBuilder offers a versatile way to build apps by assembling configurable widgets, some of which are ideal for use for situational awareness. Shown below is a an app built using Web AppBuilder that offered a perspective on current weather and its impacts during the Harvey response.



Below is a Web AppBuilder app from the Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency, delivering impact summary data and incorporating a variety of real-time layers.



A dashboard created using new widgets now available in Web AppBuilder showing flood status.



This one shows the power outages across Florida by county.



Open Data

Open Data is configured within your ArcGIS Organization, and can be used to share your authoritative open data in a variety of different formats so others can build upon and extend your work. Open datasets are connected to the source and are automatically updated.


Several Open Data sites were leveraged during the response, shown below is one from the Florida Division of Emergency Management.



And more...

View more apps in the Hurricane Harvey apps group and the Hurricane Irma apps group compiled by the Esri Disaster Response Program team.


Story Maps, ArcGIS Configurable Apps, Disaster Response Program

Hurricane Harvey, currently a Category 2 storm, is predicted to gain strength and become a Category 3 storm sometime today, as it makes landfall in the vicinity of Corpus Christie, Texas. Landfall is currently expected late tonight, or early Saturday morning. So far seven Texas counties have ordered mandatory evacuations of many thousands of residents in low-lying areas. The last Category 3 storm to hit the U.S. was Hurricane Wilma in October, 2005, when it reached landfall in Florida.


Esri's Disaster Response portal provides live maps and feeds to complement your mapping, as well as assistance programs to help meet your needs.


The Hurricane and Cyclone Public Information Map includes live feeds from the Living Atlas, along with the current and forecast hurricane position and strength. 



Daily Situational Awareness Briefing is a Story Map Journal that shows severe weather, hurricanes and cyclones, earthquakes, and more. The link will open the story map in autoplay mode, cycling through each of the journal sections.



Hurricane and Tropical Cyclones Overview is a Story Map Series that "binds" together multiple apps about the storm. The series includes an Impact Summary of potential storm surge impacts and forecast precipitation over the next 72 hours.



NOAA publishes a group of maps and layers about Hurricane Harvey.



Other apps and layers can be discovered by searching ArcGIS online.

Disaster Resilience Story Maps Public Safety

Recently someone asked me for help moving from ArcMap to Pro, so I solicited colleagues at Esri for information and useful links. I totally understand the challenge. If you're like me, when you just have to get something done your go-to app just still might be ArcMap. It's a powerful, dependable, and capable desktop GIS, that will live on for a very long time. But there's plenty of reasons to migrate to Pro now.


You bet it takes a bit of time and relearning, and perhaps leaving the comfort of your existing workflows and well-worn workpaths. But the benefits are large, with many new features and capabilitiesnot to mention online integration. All of these make it a must-learn for every GIS professional.


While I can admit that I'll still be cranking up ArcMap often for well-worn workflows, I will also admit that I'm trying hard to find the time to relearn existing workflows in Pro, and learn new ones. And when I do, I'm pleasantly surprised. And the comments I get from the many users I interact with underscore the same, and that it's time to let go of the security of the ArcMap blankie...



So, here's a list of useful resources that will help you cross over to the other side. All are free, and freely available for you, and your colleagues, to use. Let's move on!


Terminology Guide:


Quick Start tutorials:


Quick start tutorials on YouTube:

Introducing ArcGIS Pro - YouTube 


Videos and Know Before You Pro:


Migrate existing content into Pro: 


Esri Training: Going Pro: ArcGIS Pro Essentials for ArcMap Users 


Blog posts:


Help doc:


A story map compiling 11 free Pro lessons: 


YouTube migration video:


Model builder migration:




Python migration:


If you have any more useful resources, comment and I'll add them to the list. Thanks!


On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights - a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun's disk. 


With all eyes (properly protected, of course) on the solar eclipse tomorrow, this is a huge event that should be the showcase for many GIS organizations, putting their best foot forward with amazing publicly accessible apps that provide information about the eclipse and showcase the best maps and apps tradecraft that GIS organizations can muster. 


This evening I took a quick peek and found the good, and also the "meh," with a collection of apps that have appeared covering the amazing event. You can search for your own and decide for yourself which you think are the best. I have my list of the good, the bad, the ugly...


The first I found is a Story Map Cascade by Esri's Mike Zeiler titled Seeing The Great American Eclipse.


View the Story Map


As you've come to expect from the Story Maps featured apps, it's a great example of a Cascade with interesting graphics and maps that help tell the story of the eclipse.


The next app I found, authored using Web AppBuilder, was by the USFS Pacific Northwest Region. It displays the path of the total solar eclipse across Oregon and the national forests in Oregon. It provides information about viewing the eclipse on each of the 8 national forests that fall within the line of totality.

View the app


For better or for worse, I find this is a typical "GIS-centric" web mapping application, with tons of layers, unconfigured pop-ups (The Horror!), and a long read in the About dialog. But's it's certainly a comprehensive collection of authoritative content. A great public app? Maybe not so much... A great collection of useful resources that savvy viewers can pick apart? For sure...


The City of Salem, Oregon, features a Story Map on their Salem home page about the Eclipse. It's nicely branded on their featured gallery, and while it might not win a creativity award, it's a solid example of a "bread and butter" app that shows parks where the eclipse can be viewed, with information about the available facilities at each location - a true public service app.


View the app


If you're thinking that the best fishing is during the eclipse, this Story Map Journal from Idaho Department of Fish and Game shows you where the best fishing spots are if you totally want to fish during totality.


View the Story Map


You can view many more examples by searching ArcGIS Online and arrive at your own conclusions as to which ones are great examples of app-craft, and which could use a little extra work. How does your app compare? I'll take a closer look at these in a later post. Add your comments, and let me know what you think.


(*Note that opinions are my own, and not those of Esri.)


Story Maps Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS ArcGIS Configurable Apps 

This morning over breakfast I was browsing the news on my tablet and found this article on climate change on the CNN site.


The articles links to a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, released last Wednesday, listing the cities that will be inundated by sea level rise and citing other climate related issues affecting coastal communities. The study includes a link to When Rising Seas Hit Home: An Analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists—a Story Map, and also our Map of the Day today.



The app presents the results of GIS analysis as a series of live maps, bound together in an interesting way and all contained within a Story Map Series. The Map Series uses the tabbed layout, one of three options you can choose from (others options are the bulleted and side accordion layout). Each of the Map Series tabs includes a Story Map Journal to help tell the story. The viewer works across the tabs from left to right, with each tab revealing a Map Journal that is viewed from top to bottom. This pattern of combining Map Journal within a tabbed Map Series is especially effecting.


What I like about this map


There's lots that I like about this well-crafted story. It has an introductory section as well as a conclusion. It uses a compelling title to help lure the viewer into the story. And the legends, driven directly from the web map, use layer names and are presented in a way that helps the viewer make sense of what they see.


It also takes advantage of color and Main Stage actions in the Map Journal side panel to reveal the story, and allow the viewer an opportunity to explore. For example, in the Chronic Inundation Area tab, the third section in the Map Journal uses text color and button color to link the side panel to what you see on the map. Main Stage actions are behind the buttons, changing the content on the Main Stage to show rising sea level over time.



All of this makes this a solid Story Map Series, and a great example of how you can use story maps to deliver reports.


Climate Resilience State and Local  - Environment and Natural Resources Story Maps Sciences

Accidents happen, with more than six million crashes occurring annually on roads in the United States. But what if a web app could show you, on a map, where and when the current traffic crash risk is high in your community? Would you change the route you take or be more cautious? That web app is a reality for Indiana residents, who can visit the Daily Crash Prediction Map to find out the accident risk on roads throughout the state for the current day.



The interactive app, compiled and deployed using Esri technology, shows the probability of crashes across the state by time of day, using a predictive algorithm. The machine learning algorithm uses historical crash data, road conditions and characteristics, annual traffic volumes, population and employer information, gas prices, position of the sun, time of year and day, and other variables to predict the probability of a crash. 


Read more about the app in Does Danger Lie Up the Road in the latest ArcWatch.


Public Safety Transportation Departments of Transportation