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Hope the holiday season is treating everyone well.  As we get ready to turn the page on 2017 and prepare for the soon to be released ArcGIS 10.6 and the December release of ArcGIS Online (12/6). I'm planning to release a series of videos this week on technology that exists today that I think can have a major impact on how DOT's utilize the ArcGIS Platform.  I've chosen workflows that are relatively easy to set up and use Keith King's famous Lego block analogy.  If Keith has come to your DOT this year you know what I'm talking about.  For those of you who don't know.  It goes like this, Esri’s apps (Collector, Web App Builder, Survey 123, Solutions, ArcGIS Pro etc.) work great by themselves and depending on the app, they are very simple to use.  Legos are very simple, come in all different shapes and sizes and can be interconnected to form complex objects.  Just like Legos, our apps can be interconnected and can be used to build complex workflows. The videos I share this week will be based on that premise.  I'll take concepts of the platform and applications to support my explanation and build complex workflows.

Today's video shows how Distributed Collaboration can be used to share data from ArcGIS Enterprise (Portal for ArcGIS) to ArcGIS Online for use with ArcGIS Hub sharing to an Open Data Site.  Enjoy!


I've had several discussions with DOT's from around the U.S. about the growing interest in the use of drones.  Drones have a significant advantage over traditional aerial photography and LiDAR capture in that they are inexpensive, generally easy to fly and they can come equipped with a camera and LiDAR sensor.  We are seeing drones used to capture change detection along construction projects, culvert inspections, and bridge inspections. Other emerging use cases include damage assement, land/rock slide geo-technical inspections, visibility analysis, and rail crossing inspections.  Drone to Map for ArcGIS supports the uses of drones and allows users to analyze and store the data captured from a drone directly into ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise as web services.  Drone to Map for ArcGIS can produce to types of web services.  Integrated Mesh Scene Layer and Point Cloud Scene Layer.  Point Cloud Scene Layers allow the viewer to look through objects like tunnels and culverts.  If your LiDAR vendor is actively collecting data using mobile, terrestrial or aerial LiDAR, be sure to request that they deliver the data with RGB point symbiology attributes.  Many LiDAR vendors are not doing this but are starting to, this allows the point cloud to be displayed using true color, making the point cloud look more realistic.  Density of the points matters as does resolution of the sensor. 


To help understand what is possible, I put together a video of data captured by Guenter Doeffel, Marketing at SynerGIS Infomationsysteme Wien in Germany,  here is a link to the web scene he published.  You need to allow the data to download and cache into the browser, once that happens it renders very quickly.  


Here is a video I put together showing the Web Scene embedded in a story map

Be sure to attend the next installment in Esri's DOT Webinar Series:


All Roads with Roads & Highways

Wednesday, December 5 | 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (PST)

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has required that each State DOT submit an All Roads Network with their Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) or annual road mileage submittals. This webinar focuses on the use of Roads and Highways to meet this critical requirement.


Registration information can be found here:  Esri Department of Transportation Webinar Series.

Thank you to all who attended the Esri Collector User Group Meeting on November 9, 2017.  Special thanks to the presenters from New York State DOT (NYSDOT) and Miami-Dade County (FL) and Eric Rodenberg from Esri's Transportation Team for sharing their work and updates.


NYSDOT's presentation and Miami-Dade County's presentation are both attached to this blog post.

For your reference, a video recording of this webinar is available for direct download here:  Please fast forward to the 14:09 mark and start from there.


The next Collector UG Meeting is tentatively scheduled for February 8, 2018.  Please email Shawn Blaesing at if you'd like to attend.


Thank you.

Thank you to all who attended the Esri Collector User Group Meeting on June 8, 2017.  Special thanks to the presenters from PennDOT, GeoDecisions, and Esri's Collector for ArcGIS Team for sharing their work and updates.

For your reference, a full video recording of yesterday's webinar is available for download and viewing here:


2017-06-08 10.01 Collector User Group - June 8, 2017.mp4 - Box 


The ArcGIS Online Czar

Posted by michaelulrey Jun 13, 2017

In 2002 I heard for the first time that 90% of GIS is data.  Being an undergraduate at the time I had no context for this statement. After 15 years I find it to be very true. Hidden within every organization using GIS is a gathering of data - temporary files, files from projects started and not finished, clips, snapshots, draft versions, map files, spreadsheets, shapefiles, personal geodatabases… you get the idea. These data are located on desktops, on file servers, tucked within our database servers, some hidden recess. The information is organized by the unique, but structured mind of the individual GIS professional displaying the characteristics common to our profession. The larger the organization and the more GIS professionals, the greater number of hiding places and filing schemes. Standardization? Pfah! Why waste the time? Storage is inexpensive. A process for cleaning up unnecessary files and keeping only valuable content? Phooey! Onward! To the next project!


The same basic story can be applied to the end products we create - datasets, reports, maps, apps, etc.. We GIS professionals apply every flavor of database, database design, format, and symbology. And, we’re likely to argue over the rightness of our choices. Little thought is applied to collective customers of the organization as we produce material for our individual customers. Setting standards or guidelines is difficult to think through, much less enforce. It becomes exponentially more difficult the greater the physical distance between GIS professionals and the further separated those professionals are within an organizational structure. For those of us that see the need, application of good governance of any flavor usually takes executive/high-level management support. And, let’s face it, GIS is still highly misunderstood among the larger IT community much less within executive management circles. Receiving the level of support necessary to establish and enforce good governance within any organization not solely GIS focused is a daydream.


And then comes ArcGIS Online.


An ArcGIS Online organization account is centrally administered. One person can see all content. One person can see all users. There are readily available metrics on how the account is being used. There is the possibility to establish a process that can be applied to all users and can be enforced by a single person. And, that person does not have to be a system engineer or database administrator. Really?! Yes. This person can be anyone.


Who then should this person be?


I worked on this thought for months. With help from some great people at Esri (Keith King, Seth Van Aken , Matthew Kabak, and Jim McAbee) I fleshed it out. This person should be a balance of marketing, administration, and traditional GIS.  This person should be capable of seeing the ArcGIS Online account as a whole; be able to think through and apply organization schemes; be able to apply branding concepts to the ArcGIS Online environment; and, be able to sit down with someone with little to no GIS experience and show them how to operate within ArcGIS Online. Keith King jokingly referred to this person as the ArcGIS Online Czar. They exist.


In the months since hiring our own, Brian Kingery, we have made tremendous progress. Our GIS team has embraced the notion and sees the benefits. Other GIS professionals in organizations outside our own are seeing the resulting products and using them, growing them. That brings up another important point. It is easy to collaborate between ArcGIS Online organizations. If your organization has made content public others can see it, copy the ideas, and make it better. That is largely what this position does; focus on the ArcGIS Online environment, improving how we operate in that environment. Thanks to some additional Esri input via Michael Zugelder we have been able to get grips on our past use and usership. We now have an operational scheme that is articulated in a series of implementation guides and help documents.


ArcGIS Online @ VDOT Help Documents


In viewing these story maps you will see the ArcGIS Online content item branding scheme we have applied.


Additionally, our team member Michele Mandell began producing our monthly user community newsletter using publicly shared cascading story maps.


VDOT GIS Newsletters


And, as a culmination of everything our ArcGIS Online Administrator has applied to date, we recently released Virginia Roads as an Open Data 2.0 site. Within this site you will see our branding scheme applied throughout, including within the published webapps.



We still have lots of work to do. I fully believe having an ArcGIS Online Administrator to be necessary, and even a primary need for our and any [Arc]GIS staff. I hope to see the propagation of this idea and the resulting storm of creativity and excellence it could foment.

This post is a reminder announcement about Esri’s Collector User Group (UG), which focuses on mobile data collection topics, lessons learned, and best practices within the State DOT community.  Tom Brenneman (from Esri’s Transportation Team) is a co-chair for the UG along with Shawn Blaesing-Thompson (Iowa DOT) and Ian Kidner (Ohio DOT).


The next UG meeting will held via webinar on Thursday, June 8, 2017.  This will be a great opportunity for State DOTs to connect with each other and to learn more about how Collector for ArcGIS and Survey123 for ArcGIS can assist them with their field data collection workflows.

If you would like to be added to the Collector UG email distribution list, please contact Shawn Blaesing-Thompson at

In addition, if you have a Collector-related topic you would like to see presented at a future meeting and/or are interested in presenting at a future meeting, please contact Shawn, Ian, and Tom (emails provided below):
Shawn Blaesing-Thompson (Collector UG Co-Chair, Iowa DOT)
Ian Kidner (Collector UG Co-Chair, Ohio DOT)
Tom Brenneman (Collector UG Co-Chair, Esri)

Thank you for your interest and participation!

As Transportation Asset Management Plans (TAMP) become a common practice, many DOTs are facing the stark reality that they lack a comprehensive asset inventory.  DOTs are more frequently investigating effective, efficient and investment conscious strategies for collecting and cataloging the myriad of assets they manage.  Here is a great article describing Utah DOTs methodology for collecting, managing, using and distributing their comprehensive asset inventory.


Esri has partnered with Stan Burns (Retired Director of Asset Management at UDOT, President of Integrated Inventory), Mandli and Numetric to provide briefings to many of the DOTs about this approach to building, sustaining, utilizing and realizing a solid return on investment for a comprehensive asset inventory.  

Despite billions of dollars in annual federal, state and local funds directed toward the maintenance of existing bridges, 68,842 bridges – representing more than 11 percent of total highway bridges in the U.S. – are classified as “structurally deficient,” according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Structurally deficient bridges require significant maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement. A number of bridges also exceed their expected lifespan of 50 years. The average age of an American bridge is 42 years.


This story map, entitled Answering Critical Questions about Critical Infrastructure: Bridges delivers compelling insight to the condition for one our nation's most important pieces of infrastructure, our bridges.


For more information on the subject from national advocacy and associations, please visit Transportation for America and National Association of Counties.

An Esri team of subject matter experts and software engineers continue to expand and build upon the ArcGIS Platform to support Smart Communities around the world. Building smart communities reflects national, state, regional, and local governments' desire to improve quality of life. When we consider public transit (like buses and subways), these system serve the people of a city by providing access to jobs, education, shopping, healthcare, recreation, and more. Traffic congestion, climate change, and the evolving economy and population of cities has created a greater need than ever to understand how well transit is serving these needs. Explore some of the ArcGIS resources which are available out of the box for public transit agencies to build smart communities.


Resources for ArcGIS and Public Transit

The Esri Transportation Practice has been doing considerable amounts of successful work with several DOTs and partners to improve, automate, integrate and transform the project planning, prioritization and selection processes.  The annual TRB Conference in January, 2017 will provide a great opportunity to present the innovative work that transportation agencies, practitioners, technology providers and researchers have implemented to address project planning, prioritization and selection processes.


Here is a link to the general call for papers for TRB and the specific link for the project planning, prioritization and selection process.


All Approved Calls for Papers


Call For Papers Details


If your organization has produced or implemented technology to address this application area, please take the time to respond to the call for papers.


Admin or Czar?

Posted by KKing-esristaff Employee Jun 3, 2016

Transportation organizations are transforming the way they manage, maintain, and share data.  The rapidly growing use of ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS Server as one of the pillars in this modernized environment is resulting in the establishment of a new type of role.  The person in this new role is responsible for the overall formation of ArcGIS Online / Portal for ArcGIS usage patterns and policies.  They are a thought leader who has both the technical and change management skills needed to help lead the overall web gIS charge.  This role is less of an ArcGIS Online  / Portal for ArcGIS administrator position and more of a Czar.


The Czar devotes their expertise toward the establishment of ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS as the single place for accessing, visualizing, analyzing, and sharing transportation data.  They succeed by orchestrating people, processes, and technology to create a sustainable environment where users across their organization can use any device at any time to get to what they need with just a few clicks.


I will admit I have yet to see the job title “Czar” in an any HR handbook.  You might want to start with a more official designation like “Architect”, “Manager”, “Senior System Analyst”, “Technology Specialist”, or something else.  As an example, take a look at this position that Michael Urley at Virginia DOT has open: uses the title “Information Technology Specialist III”.  However, you will notice in the write up that he is looking for a person that can drive ArcGIS Online adoption across all groups in VDOT. 


Regardless of the title you use, there are key characteristics this person should either possess as an individual or have access to in others.  I have listed a few of those characteristics below. So, if you need to hire a new person to help you transform your IT organization or if you want to create a new role for yourself, feel free to use any or all of the below items as you see fit. 


And by the way, if you are successful in establishing “Czar” as an official job title in your organization, do me a favor and give me a call.  I would love to hear how you got that done!



The ArcGIS Online / Portal for ArcGIS “Czar”:  Some Key Skills and Responsibilities


  • Expert knowledge of ArcGIS Server and Web GIS.  Ability to manage and configure map, image and feature services for use in the ArcGIS portal.  Develop a plan for utilizing modern tools and methods to expose data from existing business systems through ArcGIS Online / Portal for ArcGIS


  • Configure maps and apps to create useful information products for users across all business units


  • Configure and maintain the portal with an approved branding style and featured content


  • Create and maintain groups that align with the organizational structure.  Create a portal that can be navigated by users of all skill levels in a logical and intuitive manner


  • Develop processes to effectively add and delete users, move content, and change user profiles


  • Develop programs for the effective administration of organizational account.  This includes:
    • Identification of posted data or information products that fall outside of established standards
    • Management of credit usage to include the development of processes to allocate credits and the associated costs to individual business units
    • Full use and understanding of Esri’s administration tools as well as third party administration tools (i.e. GeoJobe and Voyager Search)
    • Establishment of policies the define the roles of ArcGIS Online/ Portal users
    • Establish and enforce standards for all published data and user profiles


  • Equip users at all levels in the organization who have no previous hands-on GIS experience to utilize ArcGIS Online / Portal for ArcGIS


  • Establish training and education strategies to ensure users’ capabilities are continuously improving


  • Establish and proliferate self-service branding tools with the goal of developing a common look and feel within all organizational groups and all public information products


  • Gain full knowledge of all available out-of-the box tools (Smart Mapping, Field Productivity Apps, Data Enrichment, etc)


  • Continuously stay abreast of new capabilities and features in ArcGIS Online / Portal.  Identify how these new features can best support the DOT’s business units


  • Engage business units and educate them on ArcGIS Online / Portal for ArcGIS capabilities.  Work closely with the business units to support current or needed workflows with out-of-the-box tools and capabilities


  • Develop a training program for all new ArcGIS Online Users


  • Build resiliency into the ArcGIS Online / Portal for ArcGIS program by:
    • Encouraging and stimulating user feedback on their peers’ posted content
    • Develop a formal award/recognition program for users who demonstrate exceptional and unique ways to utilize ArcGIS Online / Portal for ArcGIS


  • Develop policies and procedures to mitigate the risk of unintentional sharing of sensitive or confidential data


  • Consider performance, development costs, recurring costs, and ease-of-use to assist in the development of data management strategies that utilize ArcGIS Online’s cloud capabilities versus existing onsite GIS infrastructure, or other cloud options 


  • Establish methods to review future GIS-related projects with the goal of maximizing the use of configurable, commercial-off-the-shelf tools versus custom developed applications


  • Become a recognized ArcGIS Online / Portal for ArcGIS expert who is sought out across the organization


  • Develop an in-depth understanding of ArcGIS Online and Portal for ArcGIS.  Understand the differences as well as the advantages/disadvantages of each.  Educate internal personnel as necessary


  • Develop a rational and valid business case for the deployment/expansion of Portal for ArcGIS versus ArcGIS Online and vice versa.  If Portal for ArcGIS is deployed, develop a plan and secure the resources necessary to maintain and sustain the user-maintained system

My good friend Jim Mitchell of LADOTD, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, put a request in to the ideas site at Esri for adding LRS capabilities to ArcGIS Online.  I am hoping that many of you read this and choose to support his effort to have this critical transportation functionality made part of ArcGIS Online.


ArcGIS Idea - Add Linear Referencing Support to ArcGIS Online 


Click on the above link to get to the request and add your vote and opinion on adding this functionality to ArcGIS Online.

Roads and Highways events in the geodatabase are stored as feature classes. What if you want to add attachments for things like field inspections for R&H events? You can do this but it isn’t as easy as just adding attachments to the event feature class. Since you are likely going to want to store additional attributes with the inspection, attachments alone wouldn’t work anyway.


First, the bad news. ArcGIS Server doesn’t support editing feature classes with measures. ArcGIS Server also blocks you from editing attachments on any M-enabled feature classes. Since all R&H events are M-enabled, you can’t edit any R&H events directly through ArcGIS Server. So that makes it impossible to edit R&H events or their attachments in Collector for ArcGIS.  I know, this makes me sad too.


But don’t worry, there is another good solution. It turns out that ArcGIS Server will allow you to edit related features or records for an M-enabled feature class. So instead of creating the attachments right off the event, create a point feature class and related it through a GlobalID with the event. Then enable attachments on that point feature class.


This works great in Collector. Consider a scenario where you want to store inspections for guard rail. The related points are the location where the inspector did her work and you can attach as many pictures as you want to that inspection point. If you don’t want to store the location of the inspection you can relate a table to the event instead of a point feature class. With the related table you would store all the inspection information for the entire guard rail instead of a specific location along that guard rail.


Back in the shop you can view that related data in ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro.


Now go forth and relate tables and feature classes to your Roads and Highways events!