Skip navigation
All People > DWright-esristaff > Dawn Wright's Blog

It is Earth Science Week! Since October 1998, the American Geosciences Institute has organized this national and international event to help the public gain appreciation and understanding of Earth Sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth. We want to join in by sharing how ArcGIS brings Earth science information to life for geoscientists, geo-educators, and geomentors to analyze, map, and ultimately share their knowledge with the world.

This year’s Earth Science Week theme is “Visualizing Earth Systems”. The ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World is a vast collection of authoritative and ready-to-use content and a great resource for Earth Science geographic information. For ten of what we think are the most interesting earth science layers and applications in the Living Atlas, see http://blogs.esri.com/esri/esri-insider/2015/10/14/living-atlas-resources-for-earth-science-week-and-beyond/#sthash.IqKs81EY.dpuf

Ocean Solutions, Earth Solutions, a new book from Esri Press, chronicles how more than 50 ocean and coastal science researchers use geographic information system (GIS) tools and other technologies to study, manage, and protect the ocean and precious marine life.

 

“The mantra of the book is essentially that if the ocean is in crisis, the earth is in crisis,” said Esri chief scientist Dawn J. Wright, the book’s editor. “The solutions that we devise to help the ocean will be important in helping the entire Earth.”

 

According to David G. Gallo, director of special projects at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a healthy global ocean is critical to human health. And keeping the ocean healthy requires scientifically sound management policies. Developing those policies greatly depends on the knowledge gained from analyzing, modeling, visualizing, and sharing observational data that’s collected via sensors from ships, satellites, gliders, autonomous undersea vehicles, and other platforms.

Ocean Solutions, Earth Solutions includes 16 peer-reviewed papers presented in chapters that showcase the latest and best ocean and coastal science using spatial analysis and GIS.

“All of this data combined, complemented by new GIS analytical and modeling technology and techniques, has provided humanity with a new view of Planet Earth. In doing so, it is becoming easier to recognize and observe the relationship between humanity and the sea,” Gallo wrote in the book’s foreword.

Ocean Solutions, Earth Solutionsincludes 16 peer-reviewed papers presented in chapters that showcase the latest and best ocean and coastal science using spatial analysis and GIS. For example, one chapter describes how web GIS applications are being used to study Alaskan fisheries, while other chapters focus on the pivotal role that GIS now plays in managing coastal and marine habitat restoration and studying the effect of climate change on the ocean. Other chapters describe web and mobile mapping apps that help scientists and volunteers monitor and map sightings of marine mammals, such as whales; the creation of a GIS tool to calculate a pollutant exposure risk to oceans from treated wastewater and runoff; and the development of a map viewer to manage Archipiélago de Cabrera National Park in the Balearic Islands of Spain. The book, aimed at professionals in oceanography and marine science and research as well as students in those fields, includes an extensive digital supplement with datasets, geoprocessing workflows, GIS tools, mobile apps, story maps based on Esri Story Map apps, and Python scripts. Ocean Solutions, Earth Solutions is the first Esri Press book to use digital object identifiers (DOIs) for citation of both the book and supplementary datasets, which is useful for research and global library cataloging purposes.

Esri Press | Ocean Solutions, Earth Solutions |

VIDEO

Highlights from 2014

And Speaking of 2015...

  • Three new science books from Esri Press: Mapping and Modeling Weather and Climate with GIS, already out, features leading climatologists, meteorologists, and other experts sharing approaches to advance atmospheric and ocean science through GIS. Ocean Solutions, Earth Solutions, due out in the summer, is an externally peer-reviewed research monograph based on papers presented at the inaugural Esri Ocean GIS Forum. It is about use-inspired science and realistic solutions for mapping, monitoring and protecting the ocean, hence the entire Earth. It will be the first Esri Press book to employ Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for citation of both chapter text and supplementary datasets (further reading on citations). In addition, GIS Research Methods: Incorporating Spatial Perspectives shows researchers how to incorporate spatial thinking and GIS technology into research design and analysis. It should also be incredibly useful in the classroom.
  • Citizen science taking more center stage, including Esri participation at the inaugural Citizen Science Association Conference, a range of apps to support citizen science projects, and exciting implementations, including at the White House Science Fair. Apps include Collector for ArcGIS, Geoform Web App Template, Survey123, Crowdsource Reporter for Citizen Science, Water Quality Status, My Hazard, and for your own customized apps from scratch, Web App Builder for ArcGIS. The Story Map Crowdsource Builder for citizen science is due for release in December 2015.
  • Continued progress with SciPy and multidimensional scientific datasets including the new Scientific Data Workflows package and the Dimension Explorer.
  • New Python Raster Functions, a curated set of lightweight but powerful tools for on-the-fly image processing and raster analysis in ArcGIS. Available from Esri's open-source community on GitHub.
  • Improvements to both the Ecological Land Units map, as we are currently seeking improved and higher-resolution land cover layers, and to our Global Population Map. See info on Esri's new World Population Estimate layer.
  • To complement the Ecological Land Units, we have begun scoping a new Ecological Marine Units (EMUs) map. An initial advisory includes scientists from the USGS, Duke University, GRID-Arendal, the Marine Conservation Institute, NatureServe, and NOAA. The environmental stratification approach will involve creating an empty, volumetric column-based mesh as a global, spatial reference standard and analytical framework, populating the spatial framework with relevant marine physical environment data including water column variables and seafloor geomorphological features, and clustering the abiotic data into ecologically meaningful, 3D regions represented as volumetric polygons. The EMUs will subsequently be analyzed against species distribution data to assess strength of relationship between distinct abiotic environments and species biogeography. Initial results expected at the end of 2015.
  • Closer integration with R: Stay tuned for more information an open source bridge library on GitHub that will facilitate the passing of data between ArcGIS and R, with an aim toward build a community of people who develop R-based geoprocessing tools that are shared freely and openly, along with sample data. See also this comprehensive video on integrating open source statistical packages with ArcGIS. In addition, see Python: Working with Scientific Data.
  • The open source Esri Geoportal Server continues to be a popular and valuable contribution. The latest version, 1.2.6, includes increased support for the Project Open Data catalog format, various search and publication enhancements, and further integration options with ArcGIS Online/Portal for ArcGIS. You can access the release at github.com/Esri/geoportal-server/wiki.
  • A new site license (also known as the science kit) for standalone research organizations in the US.
  • Many are still unaware of our Visiting Faculty/Sabbatical Program. If considering an extensive time in residence at Esri headquarters, please see these guidelines.

 

Always refer to the main site: esriurl.com/scicomm

Science at Esri continues to be an exciting initiative where we are concerned with supporting both basic and applied science, while also recognizing that there are many major themes of compelling interest to society that will drive scientific research for the next two decades. Thus we view science as helping us to understand not only how the Earth works, but also how the Earth should look (e.g., by way of geodesign), and how we should look at the Earth (i.e., by way of Earth observation in varying forms and the accompanying data science issues of analysis, modeling, developing and documenting useful datasets for science, interoperating between these datasets and between various approaches). In addition to supporting the science community, we seek to do good science at Esri ourselves, as it underpins much of what we do as an organization. This is helping us to evolve ArcGIS into a comprehensive geospatial platform for science; a platform that supports research project management and collaboration, spatial analysis, visualization, open data, and communication of science, all at multiple scales (i.e., from individual researcher to lab workgroup, to multi-department, multi-university, university-to-agency collaboration, to citizen engagement).

 

You can always track the totality of the Esri science initiative at esriurl.com/scicomm, but in this post I’ll share some highlights from 2014, and as we near the end of 2015′s first quarter, talk about the immediate road ahead.

 

Highlights from 2014

 

And Speaking of 2015…

 

Two new science books from Esri Press: Mapping and Modeling Weather and Climate with GIS, already out, features leading climatologists, meteorologists, and other experts sharing approaches to advance atmospheric and ocean science through GIS. Ocean Solutions, Earth Solutions, due out in the late spring, is a peer-reviewed research monograph based on papers presented at the inaugural Esri Ocean GIS Forum. It is about use-inspired science and realistic solutions for mapping, monitoring and protecting the ocean, hence the entire Earth. It will be the first Esri Press book to employ Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for citation of both chapter text and supplementary datasets.

 

Citizen science taking more center stage, including Esri participation at the inaugural Citizen Science Association Conference, a range of apps to support citizen science projects, and including the White House Science Fair.

 

Continued progress with SciPy and multidimensional scientific datasets including the new Scientific Data Workflows package and the Dimension Explorer.

 

Improvements to both the Ecological Land Units map, as we are currently seeking improved and higher-resolution land cover layers, and to our Global Population Map.

 

To complement the Ecological Land Units, we have begun scoping a new Ecological Marine Units (EMUs) map. An initial advisory includes scientists from the USGS, Duke University, GRID-Arendal, the Marine Conservation Institute, NatureServe, and NOAA. The environmental stratification approach will involve creating an empty, volumetric column-based mesh as a global, spatial reference standard and analytical framework, populating the spatial framework with relevant marine physical environment data including water column variables and seafloor geomorphological features, and clustering the abiotic data into ecologically meaningful, 3D regions represented as volumetric polygons. The EMUs will subsequently be analyzed against species distribution data to assess strength of relationship between distinct abiotic environments and species biogeography. Initial results expected at the end of 2015.

 

Closer integration with R: Stay tuned for more information an open source bridge library on GitHub that will facilitate the passing of data between ArcGIS and R, with an aim toward build a community of people who develop R-based geoprocessing tools that are shared freely and openly, along with sample data.

 

A new site license (also known as the science kit) for standalone research organizations in the US. Stay tuned for more information on Esri’s new research grant program to motivate innovative research around the ArcGIS platform by both computer scientists and domain scientists alike.

 

Many are still unaware of our Visiting Faculty/Sabbatical Program. If considering an extensive time in residence at Esri headquarters, please see  these guidelines

 

See more at: http://blogs.esri.com/esri/esri-insider/2015/04/01/esri-and-the-scientific-community-year-in-reviewthe-year-ahead/#more-4718

Originally posted on Esri's main blogs.esri.com space by Dave Johnson, Esri Applications Prototype Lab

 

Dimension Explorer, an addin tool for ArcMap, has just been released by the Esri Applications Prototype Lab!

Dimension Explorer 1.0 makes it easier to work with time-aware and multidimensional data in ArcMap 10.3 and above by providing slider controls for navigation. It works by retrieving dimensional information from a map layer to build an interactive dimensional model that can be edited and saved in the map document. Dimension Explorer is the successor to the Timeliner addin for ArcMap, which also works in ArcMap 10.3 and can be downloaded here.

 

Click http://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=7f9f6185681a4be08f899feb5673a264 to download Dimension Explorer.

 

With the 10.3 release of ArcGIS, the mosaic dataset now supports multidimensional data in NetCDF, GRIB, and HDF format. Dimension Explorer supports map layers based on mosaic datasets and image services which are time-aware or multidimensional, and time-aware feature classes.

In terms of data that might be used to test the add-in, try:

Recent innovations in information, analyses, and science-policy linkages  can help guide the planet towards a more resilient future.

For many of us when we think about the ocean, it’s a situation of “out of sight, out of mind.” In our limited awareness of the ocean, we see only the surface and think only of vast expanses of lifeless water, not realizing all of the complexities at play.

In fact, the ocean provides over HALF of the oxygen that we breathe. It regulates ALL of our weather patterns, it feeds us, and it provides for our energy and economy.

The ocean is a champion at absorbing human-derived (anthropogenic) CO2. Around half of all carbon dioxide produced by humans since the industrial revolution has dissolved into the world’s oceans. Coastal habitats store five times more carbon than do inland tropical forests. This has all helped to slow global warming.

So in reality, the ocean is vital to all of us, no matter WHERE we live.

See more on Esri Insider at: http://blogs.esri.com/esri/esri-insider/#sthash.qGGHga2D.dpuf

November 5, 2014 – See also http://shar.es/10xyqN

Redlands, California—Geography is the science of our world, and GIS is a foundational technology for helping us to better understand that science.  To further strengthen the link between GIS and science, today at the Ocean GIS Forum Esri is pleased to announce the integration of SciPy, a Python-based ecosystem of open-source software for mathematics, science, and engineering, with ArcGIS.

SciPy is a software library that helps scientists, engineers, and GIS Analysts perform custom scientific and technical computing.  It is an open-source library built using Python—an easy to learn, highly scalable, stable scripting language.  SciPy extends the basic functionality of Python by adding modules which perform functions useful to the scientific and engineering communities.

Integrating SciPy with ArcGIS will make developing scientific and technical geoprocessing tools and scripts easier and more efficient; GIS users won’t have to ‘start from scratch’ or ‘reinvent the wheel’ each time they start to solve a scientific or technical problem.  In addition, SciPy / ArcGIS integration will ensure that any custom scientific or technical geoprocessing tools GIS users create are easily sharable among the ArcGIS community of users.


A Multitude of Potential Uses

The possible applications of SciPy / ArcGIS integration are really only limited by the imagination of the GIS community.  SciPy has so many rich functions that it is hard to image all of the creative spatial problems that GIS users with scientific or engineering domain expertise will be able to tackle, but a few potential examples include:

  • An atmospheric scientist may use the image filtering modules to delineate zones of horizontal transport of water vapor.
  • A transportation geographer may use the Markov chain modules to simulate traffic flow.
  • A geoscientist may use the symbolic mathematics routines to trace faults and model crustal movement.
  • An ocean scientist may use the calculus module to calculate ocean dynamics
  • A fisheries scientist or resource manager may use the linear algebra modules to set a harvest quota for a fish stock.

Availability

SciPy will be integrated with ArcGIS through a staged release.  It will be available initially for ArcGIS Pro with the 10.3 release as an optional install. At the 10.3.1 release, SciPy will be automatically installed with ArcGIS for Desktop.

———————

IN OTHER NEWS:

 

We will also again be producing a peer-reviewed research monograph based on papers presented at the Forum, and that book (including an e-book) will likely appear in the summer of 2016. If you would like to publish your research in the book despite not participating in the Forum, that would be welcome too. Here is the flyer for the current book —> http://esriurl.com/oceansolutions .

 

Please continue to watch and scroll through our Oceans Resource Center, for additional blog posts on 3D resources and formats, upcoming events, and more.

From the World Wide Human Geography Data Working Group: "To help combat the spread of the Ebola virus disease, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is providing unprecedented online access to its unclassified geospatial intelligence products to lead federal agencies and their partners through a public-facing website dedicated to the crisis. The dynamic site, which uses Esri's ArcGIS Platform hosted in the cloud by Amazon Web Services - both publically available services - features various base maps that provide foundational context for users, who will then have the ability to visually overlay public NGA data, as well as ingest open-source data. NGA's first exposure of data includes geospatial layers relevant to the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, including cultural places and structures, and communication, electric power and ground transportation infrastructure. The team will continue to update the site and will provide layers for the other affected countries soon."

 

See https://nga.maps.arcgis.com/home/

Given a recent and successful visit by Geoscience Australia to Esri headquarters, as well as a great visit by Esri staff in return, it is timely to announce the completion of a recent effort in collaboration with Geoscience Australia, as well as UNEP GRID-Arendal and Conservation International:

 

The Geomorphic Seafloor Features Map

 

This story map was a great effort coordinated by Esri intern Troy Lawson, working under Mark Cygan and his MAPS team, as well as Clem Henrickson in Marketing. Thanks to Matt Artz and Steve Snow as well.

A unique new class at Stanford University ! is BIO 128: Geographic Impacts of Climate Change: Mapping the Stories. The capstone of the course is a terrific story map which they have just released, http://stanford.maps.arcgis.com/apps/StorytellingTextLegend/index.html?appid=dafe2393fd2e4acc8b0a4e6e71d0b6d5. The map has been sent to CA Governor Jerry Brown at his request, and was originally inspired by requests from the Executive Office in Washington, D.C. and a global scientific consensus statement on climate change (http://consensusforaction.stanford.edu).

Jack Dangermond will be keynoting at the Second International Conference on CyberGIS and Geodesign (CyberGIS'14) at Esri headquarters, Redlands, CA. The conference (Aug 19-21) will provide a forum for sharing cutting-edge research, education and training experiences ranging from new theories, methods, and applications of cyberGIS and geodesign to related industrial relations and partnerships, and international collaborations. CyberGIS'14 will include an international research symposium that will bring together foremost thinkers, researchers and educators to discuss leading research and education activities in cyberGIS and geodesign as well as related areas.

 

Possible topics include:

·         Python and building geoprocessing tools

·         Big data / Hadoop

·         AGOL content overview/highlights

·         AGOL analysis

·         GeoPortal Server

·         A features/licensing discussion about AGOL for Orgs and Portal for ArcGIS related to academic site licenses.

 

For more information see,http://cybergis.illinois.edu/events/cybergis14/http://cybergis.illinois.edu/events/cybergis14/


As was shown at this year's Esri User Conference, ArcMap now incorporates multidimensional data into GIS workflows to further the advancement of science (see Philip Mielke's excellent plenary presentation). This is a very important concept that we at Esri would like re-emphasize. With all the attention and focus on ArcGIS Pro, it is imperative that we do not forget that ArcGIS Pro will not do everything that Desktop can do, and that we continue to improve and enhance Desktop as well. ArcGIS for Desktop is still being enhanced and remains one of our most powerful GIS products (i.e., bigger than an app), providing much of the capability to fuel the ArcGIS platform. Our goal is to ensure a long term commitment to Desktop. ArcGIS Pro is just a complementary application to what our users already know about Desktop. While there are a number of enhancements to Desktop at 10.3, the multidimensional improvements are very important as we seek to advance science, and to position ArcGIS to always focus on advancing geographic information science in particular. Key messages from Philip's demo:

  • In addition to lightweight apps, enhancements abound in the more powerful and comprehensive ArcGIS desktop. Earlier in the morning plenary, the audience saw the new ArcGIS Pro app. But this demo represents a highlight of the powerful ArcMap with ArcGIS for Desktop.
  • Advancing science.
  • Users can consume scientific multidimensional datasets. Users can symbolize them with Vector Field Symbology.
  • The Python Adapter Function gives users the ability to use Python to model their data.
  • Users can animate Time-enabled data in ArcSceneTwo.

I would like to share an important article written by two of my colleagues, @Konstantin Krivoruchko and @Kevin Butler. This is a must read for those working with DEMs, especially those seeking an additional/alternative DEM-creation approach with considerable explanatory power.

 

To whet your appetite from the article:

"Raster based digital elevation models (DEM) are the basis of some of the most important GIS workflows: hydrologic modeling, site suitability, and cost path analysis. While there are several techniques for generating digital elevation models (DEMs), none of them can produce a true elevation surface. Locally varying measurement error and the inexactness of the interpolation methods contribute to the uncertainty of the model’s estimate of the true elevation value. Kriging models and geostatistical simulations available in the Geostatistical Analyst extension for ArcGIS 10.1 for Desktop to quantify the spatially varying uncertainty of a DEM derived from lidar data. ...

 

An alternative to deterministic algorithms, probablistic statistical interpolation methods such as kriging, have several advantages over deterministic methods. “Empirical Bayesian Kriging: Implemented in ArcGIS Geostatistical Analyst,” an article in the Fall 2012 issue of ArcUser magazine discusses these advantages in detail."

 

To read further and to contact the authors directly, please find the attached.

 

Happy kriging!

At the 2014 Esri Education User Conference, I was honored to participate in a plenary panel on the future of higher education. Here is the description:

EdUC Session description:

Sunday, July 13, 2014
Plenary Session II: The Future of Higher Education

 

Scott L. Thomas of Claremont Graduate University presented Sunday's plenary address. Scott is professor and dean of CGU's School of Educational Studies and editor in chief of the Journal of Higher Education. Scott discussed how factors such as public concerns about costs, graduates' career readiness, and educational technology are challenging conventional notions about the university's role and purpose in society. Penn State educator Anthony Robinson and Esri Chief Scientist Dawn Wright joined Scott in a conversation about opportunities to increase awareness of spatial thinking and geospatial technology in this evolving milieu.

 

Scott Thomas’ keynote focused on higher education at the broad, 30,000 foot level of higher education (particularly its high cost and how to remedy that). Anthony Robinson focused on students and the content that we provide to students, especially via MOOCs. In my remarks I’d like to focus on those in the trenches with the students: the instructors, professors, post-docs, even the graduate teaching assistants at colleges and universities worldwide. These remarks may also apply to instructors at the high school level, preparing students to enter college.

 

Access the slides at The Future of Higher Education - Dawn Wright's EdUC plenary slides

Some very important steps forward for 3D visualization and analysis. Thanks to John Meza for this great post, and right before the UC!

ArcGIS Pro in virtualized environments | ArcGIS Blog