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Welcome to our new Esri science portfolio siteScience underpins everything that Esri produces. We develop for and support a number of sciences. We're very excited about all the things that we're doing across all the environmental sciences, and into the social sciences and digital humanities. This is embedded in what we do—to strengthen the foundation of our software and services; to research, publish, communicate, and serve alongside the scientific community; and to inspire positive change in society.


Rather than a site focusing exclusively on what we SELL, this site focuses on what we BELIEVE as we conduct the broad and important MISSION of science (THE SCIENCE OF WHERE ®). In turn, it shares what we are specifically ACCOMPLISHING in collaboration with our users, in the areas of Open Science, Weather & Climate, Solid Earth Science (e.g., hydrology, ecology, geology, agriculture, etc.), Ocean Science, Geographic Information Science (including data science), and Social Science.


Let's keep going forward together!



Many thanks again to those who attended the Science Symposium as part of the 2019 Esri Education Summit and User Conference. Your participation made for the greatest event ever, and we are pleased to share with you some items by way of follow up.


You can still download the introductory slide deck of Esri Chief Scientist Dawn Wright at We are still awaiting word from our amazing keynote speakers, Olga Wilhelmi and Jennifer Boehnart of NCAR, as to whether their slide deck will be available.


But perhaps even better is the Wakelet social media compilation featuring your own notes, impressions, and photos of the speakers and their slides. You can access this now at And it will be updated with the keynote slide deck should that become available.


Next year’s keynote will be delivered by National Climate Assessment co-author, YouTube star, and award-winning climate scientist, Katharine Hayhoe!


Thanks again and we hope to see you next year!

Dear Colleague,


As an attendee of either the 2019 Esri Education Summit or the 2019 Esri User Conference, you are warmly invited to a special event, the Esri Science Symposium.


When & Where:

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

4:00-6:30 pm

San Diego Convention Center (SDCC) Ballroom 20 D

The 2019 symposium will include the following:

  • A tag-team keynote address and software demo by Olga Wilhelmi and Jennifer Boehnert of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), about some of the most important climate change issues of the day, including deadly heat waves


  • Audience Q&A and interactive discussion


  • Each attendee will receive a free copy of the exciting new Esri Press book, GIS for Science: Applying Mapping and Spatial Analytics, which has already received rave reviews from Jim Fallows, Jane Lubchenco, Mike Goodchild, Noel Cressie, Lynn Scarlett of TNC, Peter Kareiva of UCLA, and more.


  • Networking reception with delicious appetizers and a hosted bar providing beer, wine, soft drinks, and bottled water


This event seeks to broaden the tent of Esri UC participation—beyond the traditional geographers and GIScientists—to include those working in the domain sciences (e.g., ocean science, hydrology, ecology, forestry, climate science, geology/geophysics, agricultural science, conservation biology, sustainability science and/or geodesign, health sciences, and the social sciences). A further aim is to strengthen the links between Esri and the scientific community, while (re)crystallizing a community of scientists at the Esri UC who normally attend disparate sessions throughout the week.


Please feel free to share this invitation (including the RSVP link at the bottom of the event info page) with others who might be interested.


We look forward to seeing you in San Diego this July!


Best wishes,
Dawn Wright, Esri Chief Scientist
Jack Dangermond, Esri President and CEO

 A new Esri Press book, GIS for Science: Applying Mapping & Spatial Analytics, edited by Dawn Wright and Christian Harder, is due for release this summer, time for the UC. Every attendee of the Esri Science Symposium on Tuesday of the UC will receive a free copy.


This book is about how many things geospatial, including geospatial data science, are a force multiplier for great science writ large, especially as enabled by geographic information systems (GIS). However, rather than a dry research monograph, this book is much more visual, along the lines of Wired magazine meets National Geographic, and thus for a broader Scientific-American-type audience. It will also have a comprehensive accompanying web site,, where data, maps, videos, web apps, story maps, workflows and snippets of computer code, including Python notebooks, from the chapters will be freely available.


We increasingly see GIS used as part of scientific workflows to address a broad range of critically-important problems. The chapters in this book show how GIS, particularly Web GIS, provides an objective platform for effectively conducting and sharing scientific research. At a time in history when so many indicators of long-term sustainability are pointing in the wrong direction, I think we can all agree that the world desperately needs spatial applications of the very best in scientific thinking. Hence we have assembled this collection of great examples from across the scientific spectrum (with more to come in a second volume next year).


The Table of Contents includes a very strong cast of scholars working at the intersection of GIS and science, and from institutions such as Harvard, the University of Minnesota, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the National Audubon Society, the US Geological Survey (USGS), and more.


An introductory reflection is written by Kathryn Sullivan, retired NASA astronaut and former NOAA administrator.


Praise for the book is pouring in. This a sample of endorsements from as many as 35 scientists who have read a special advance copy:



Staff Writer, The Atlantic; former Chief Speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter

"This book is beautiful as well as illuminating, and it dramatizes the ways in which the new science of geospatial information is enriching and empowering all other scientific disciplines."



Environmental scientist, Marine ecologist, former Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2009-2013); former U.S. Science Envoy for the Ocean (2014-2016); University Distinguished Professor

"Maps, images, data, and stories collide brilliantly in this volume to shed new light on scientific challenges and societal problems.  Place plus time plus rich information can be a powerful accelerator of comprehension, engagement and solutions." 
"If you love maps like I do, you’ll be drawn to this book.  But you’ll quickly discover so much more: the power of harnessing multiple perspectives and data types that infuse maps with even more meaning and catalyze new insights.  A veritable treasure trove of ideas. "



Director, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota

“There is no better tool to understand our place in the world than GIS, and this book puts its power on beautiful display. It’s a book for scientists and all of Earth’s stewards.”



Vice President of The Nature Conservancy; Chair, Science Advisory Board, NOAA

“'The Science of Where' comes alive in GIS for Science. The book is, yes, informative, helping us understand how the world works, how it looks, and how we see it through images, maps, and more. Above all, it is dazzling, combining knowledge with a sense of wonder, bringing a desire to press for more discovery, and invoking a deep appreciation for why smart decisions spring from taking science to action.”


GIS for Science book cover

Several of us are away at two fairly large scientific conferences, the 2019 American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting (AAG) and the 2019 European Geosciences Union General Assembly (EGU), both ranging from 9000-15,000 attendees. Here is a sampling of the scientific research being presented:


AAG 2019 Symposium on Frontiers in Geospatial Data Science


And papers/posters by Esri staff at EGU:

Esri Romania Esri ConsultantAssessing the performance of various machine learning algorithms for forest disturbance mapping   

Esri Germany Melanie BrandmeierCoupling Deep Learning and GIS for forest damage assessment based on high-resolution remote sensing data

Esri Germany Melanie BrandmeierLithological classification using multi-sensor data and Convolutional Neural Networks

Orhun Aydin, Esri HQ: Spatio-temporal co-location analysis of dynamic plastic debris and marine life in the Pacific Ocean | download poster


The Citizen Science Association 2019 conference is almost here and we can’t wait.   As a sponsor, Esri has a booth making it easier to meet up.   Wednesday, March 13 afternoon, I’m leading a hands-on workshop creating Esri Story Maps to inform, engage and inspire people with your citizen science story.  Joining me are Michelle Tamez, Science Delivery Specialist, USDA. Forest Service Washington Office – Ecosystem Management Coordination Staff and Lain Graham, Esri Solution Engineer.


During the poster session from 4:45-6:45pm on Thursday, March 14 stop by these posters. Lain Graham will discuss the project 'Drones for Good: GIS and Drone Technology for Academic and Scientific Research' conducted while at the University of Central Florida working with the Citizen Science GIS organization.  Thomas Ray with the North Carolina State University/Wake County 4-H Youth Development and some of his 4-H students would love to share with you their experience with data collection utilizing ArcGIS.  Find them near the "Youth Digital Data Collection in the Field" poster.


We are excited to be a part of the citizen science community.  Looking forward to meeting you in Raleigh, NC.

Charmel Menzel (




We are pleased to share the lineup of oral talks, panels, posters and an inaugural workshop that will be presented December 9-14 at the 2018 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in Washington, DC. Many know of AGU as among the world’s most well-respected Earth science scholarly organizations, and its annual fall meeting dwarfs our UC by over 10,000 attendees. AGU 2018 expects 24,000 attendees from 113 countries, making it the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world.


You’ll see in the list below of scientific workshops, papers, posters, and entire sessions that Esri is leading or contributing on a wide variety of interesting and important projects. Many of these are in collaboration with our federal partners at NASA, NOAA, US Forest Service, Department of Energy, EPA, and the USGS, as well as several universities and national laboratories. This showcases how Esri not only enables great understanding of the world with our products and services, but also performs good science, and contributes well as a member of the scientific community, sharing and inspiring others as to The Science of Where.


In addition, we will have a 20' x 20' theater-style exhibit booth (coordinated by Research & Sciences Industry Manager Drew Stephens) with messaging and demos (as organized by Dan Pisut) on multidimensional scientific data and analysis, imagery, big data geoanalytics, The Living Atlas, ArcGIS Pro, Ecological Land Units, Ecological Marine Units, GeoPlanner,  Insights, story maps, the web GIS pattern, our commitment to open/interoperable, and more. See the Esri Booth Demo Schedule and exhibit floor plan (Esri is booth 1425).


Overall, we are sending ~20 Esri staff to participate at AGU. 



Marriott Marquis, Dec 10, 4:30 pm for broadcast later.  As part of the Centennial Celebration, AGU is recording “AGU Narratives” to capture stories of scientists. This is in cooperation with StoryCorps, and is meant to illuminate the stories of the sciences, celebrate the accomplishments in Earth and space science, and reveal the personal and scientific stories of science. Dawn Wright will be in a conversational interview with Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute Tetherless World Constellation's Director of Data Science Operations and former Research Data Alliance Secretariat Mark Parsons as part of the Earth and Space Science Informatics block of AGU Narratives.



For the first time in its history AGU is facilitating the offering of half and full-day scientific workshops. Esri took advantage of the opportunity and is involved in:

Emerging Data Science and Machine Learning Opportunities in the Weather and Climate Sciences (WS34 - Workshop Outline)

Convened by 

Christiane Jablonowski (University of Michigan)

Sudhir Shrestha (Esri)

Vipin Kumar (University of Minnesota)

Orhun Aydin (Esri)

Amy McGovern (University of Oklahoma)

Daniel Cooley (Colorado State University)

Imme Ebert-Uphoff (Colorado State University)

Kevin Reed (Stony Brook University)

      Dawn Wright (Esri) also speaking and serving on the final panel

Thursday, December 13, 2018, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Fee (Regular/Student): $150/$75
Constitution AB and B Corridor, Grand Hyatt - Estimated number of participants = 150

Especially for: Atmospheric Sciences, Earth and Space Science Informatics, Global Environmental Change, Hydrology, Natural Hazards, Nonlinear Geophysics, Ocean Sciences

The disciplines of atmospheric science and data science are at a crossroads and about to experience scientific breakthroughs that are comparable to the revolution in bioinformatics over the last decade. This multidisciplinary workshop brings together atmospheric researchers, data scientists, statisticians, engineers, tech companies, program managers, educators, students, and stakeholders to discuss newly emerging data science and machine learning opportunities for the atmospheric sciences. In particular, high-impact weather and climate events will serve as the science driver to explore the novel field of physics-aware, theory-guided data science.


Pre-AGU EVENT - OceanObs Research Coordination Network (RCN)

Renaissance Hotel, Grand North Ballroom, Dec 9, 10:30am-6:30 pm.  The OceanObs RCN builds on the efforts to network ocean observing groups conducted over the past 5 years. This meeting seeks to advance links between observation networks and operational users to facilitate the delivery of critical information to stakeholders. We will discuss a decadal vision addressing critical policy issues that require multidisciplinary ocean observing systems, including discussion about the forthcoming Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) proposed by the IOC (, and balancing ocean observations, science, use, and conservation requirements. Dawn Wright on the organizing committee.


SPECIAL SIDE EVENT - Ocean Intelligence

Canadian Embassy, near the US Capitol, Dec 11, 4-7 pm.  This event will showcase ocean observing in the US and Canada, with the aim of bringing the two communities on either side of the border closer together to build alliances, leverage assets, and share data openly. Canada’s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the NOAA Administrator have been invited to deliver opening remarks. A panel will then discuss how ocean observing data are used to advance science, inform policy, and help coastal communities plan, adapt to climate change, and mitigate natural hazards. Invited panelists include Kate Moran, President and CEO of Ocean Networks Canada, Esri Chief Scientist Dawn Wright, and John Trowbridge, new Executive Director of the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI).


SPECIAL AGU EVENT - AGU Sharing Science in Plain English panel

Renaissance Grand Central, Dec 11, 12:30-2 pm.  The panel is a 1.5-hour discussion and Q&A intended for around 100 scientists with little to no communications experience who want to learn the basics of communicating science effectively to lay audiences, including doing media interviews, meetings with policymakers, giving public talks (at civic functions, etc.), or on social media. Allen Carroll will deliver remarks and demos on story maps as a science communication tool, with Dawn Wright in the audience for discussion support.

    The target audience member is a graduate student, who has spent the last 7 years studying science and has forgotten how to use more elementary terms to explain his/her research.  However, any Fall Meeting registrant may attend (and have attended) this panel. The panel will be moderated by science writer Yudhijit Bhattacharjee. Panel session and accompanying lunch sponsored by AGU's Sharing Science Program.



(where U = Union, B = Biogeosciences, G = Geodesy, GH = GeoHealth, H = Hydrology, IN = Earth and Space Science Informatics, NH = Natural Hazards, PA = Public Affairs, T = Tectonophysics; bolded are entire sessions)



(where ED = Education, EP = Earth and Planetary Surface Processes, G = Geodesy, H = Hydrology, IN = Earth and Space Science Informatics, NH = Natural Hazards, OS = Ocean Sciences; bolded are entire sessions)


View and search the entire 2018 AGU Fall Meeting Program at this link

Updated: January 14, 2019




Jump to: Major Initiatives | Collaborative Projects | Staying Connected | Deepsea Dawn
UC Science Symposium Hot! | R - ArcGIS Integration Hot! | ArcGIS Python API Hot!

Geo AI & Machine Learning Hot! | DID YOU KNOW?


Science at Esri continues to evolve on many exciting fronts, as we focus on 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 several decades. Thus we view science as helping us to understand not only how the Earth works, but also how the Earth looks (e.g., by way of geodesign), and how we 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). These are, in fact, examples of The Science of WhereTM.


There are many major themes of compelling interest to society that will drive scientific research, at least for the next two decades. And thus we view science as helping us to understand not only how the Earth works, but how the Earth should look, and how we should look at the Earth.

There are many major themes of compelling interest to society that will drive scientific research, at least for the next two decades. And thus we view science as helping us to understand not only how the Earth works, but how the Earth should look, and how we should look at the Earth.


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).


There are many natural science domains in which GIS is being used effectively to understand how the Earth works. At Esri, these are the sciences that we are particularly strong in

There are many natural science domains in which GIS is being used effectively to understand how the Earth works. At Esri, these are the sciences that we are particularly strong in.


Along these lines, Esri is fairly well known to research labs, universities, and other places where great science is done as a vendor of GIS technology. However, Esri continues to work toward contributing as a MEMBER of the scientific community as well. We define the "science community" as scientists within universities, research institutes, government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and similar. As such, Esri maintains objective scientific representation on various scientific boards and councils, including several of the committees within these bodies that accomplish important tasks over the long-term. Examples include:

Esri also serves on various advisory boards or collaborative research teams for specific scientific projects, such as:

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Our Major Initiatives and Projects

      • Esri has a new initiative in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. We now have "GeoAI" resources and demos on GitHub (must be signed in), and a series of articles on Medium about workable, innovative machine learning implementations in ArcGIS. See also The Science of Where Seagrasses Grow: ArcGIS and Machine Learning. Esri has also entered a new partnership with Microsoft in the realm of Artificial Intelligence that includes Esri technology now incorporated within Microsoft's Data Science Virtual Machine (i.e., ArcGIS Pro and the R-ArcGIS Bridge). Researchers can now apply for cloud computing grants under this initiative. This is part of Microsoft's exciting new AI for Earth Initiative which may become "a game-changer for our planet."
      • Tools and workflow packages such as Scientific Data Workflows, and Dimension Explorer, and 3D Fences and Curtains. See more at ArcGIS Code Sharing.
      • Fostering compelling cartography, design, and research as part of the amazing world of cartographic science (including Adventures in Mapping, Maps We Love and the definitive text Map Use: Reading, Analysis, Interpretation. See also the related Cartography MOOC (Massive Open  Course).
      • Release of the First Ecological Land Units (ELUs) Map of the World. GEO/GEOSS commissioned the USGS to create a new map of global terrestrial ecosystems for a host ecosystem research and management applications, including assessments of climate change impacts to ecosystems, economic and non-economic valuation of ecosystem services, and conservation planning. Under the leadership of Dr. Roger Sayre of the USGS, in collaboration with Esri and several agencies and organizations, global terrestrial ecosystems are now characterized in an ecophysiographic stratification comprised of nearly 4000 terrestrial ELUs, at a base resolution of 250 m. Datasets from the study are shared in a series of web services as part of the Living Atlas of the World, thereby representing the most current, accurate, comprehensive, and finest-resolution available globally for each of the four inputs: bioclimate, landform, lithology, and land cover. This project was officially released at the 2014 ACES Conference (A Community on Ecosystem Services) in December. See the related blog post, technical report, story map, web app, and an ArcGIS  content white paper.
      • To complement the Ecological Land Units, we have also built the first ever, robust, standardized, data-derived map of global marine ecosystems, the Ecological Marine Units (EMUs). The project was commissioned as an official task for the second decade (2016-2025) of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), as part of the GEO Global Ecosystems (GECO) initiative. An initial advisory group includes scientists from the USGS, University of Auckland, GRID-Arendal, the Marine Conservation Institute, NatureServe, NOAA, and Duke University. 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 were presented at the Global Marine Protected Areas Summit and the Esri Ocean GIS Forum, both in November. See video 1 and video 2, as well as this 2017 News feature in the journal Nature.
      • Ecological Coastal Units (ECUs) are now in production! Stay tuned!
      • A Global Population Map. For many years, Esri has been compiling a human geography database of demographics and statistics about all countries in the world, and mapping these datasets using an innovative methodology. See info on Esri's new World Population Estimate, a probability surface that estimates the location and count of people worldwide, freely available to researchers.
      • Spatial Analysis including Spatial Statistics: Several collections of tools in ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap include scores of new functions for space-time pattern analysis and mining (including space-time cube visualization and analysis of changes in temporal trends at a location), raster segmentation and processing, working with 3D and LAS (LiDAR) datasets, pairwise feature processing, suitability modeling, cost distance analysis, data review, and workflow management. For the latest from our Spatial Statistics team, see the comprehensive Spatial Statistics Resources Site, frequently updated.
      • Imagery: ArcGIS provides a comprehensive platform for working with imagery and making your imagery useful, including advanced image management and processing, and robust analysis tools. As example see how the NASA Langley Atmospheric Science Data Center (ASDC) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) is improving the accessibility and use of Earth science data with this platform ( and webinar video). And for over 9000 universities across the world this imagery platform and a wealth of imagery data are already freely available under their campus site licenses. See and some pretty amazing explorations of Landsat at The new Imagery Workflows site shares a variety of tools and best practices for managing, analyzing, and using imagery and related rasters. See the related Earth Imagery MOOC (Massive Open  Course).
      • Big Data: Researchers today need to deal with an avalanche of data—from environmental sensor networks (both on land and at sea), social media feeds, LiDAR, and outputs from global- and regional-scale atmospheric circulation and general climate models and simulations. Because of this, “big data” has emerged as a major research theme for the academic community. In 2013, Esri developers released the GIS Tools for Hadoop Project on GitHub. The project contains an open source framework and API that enables big data developers to author custom spatial applications for Hadoop. The GIS Tools project also enables the ArcGIS platform to leverage big data on Hadoop using tools that combine custom Hadoop applications with the ArcGIS Geoprocessing environment. The project supports processing of simple vector data (points, lines, polygons) and basic analysis operations, e.g. relationship analysis on that data, running in a Hadoop distributed processing environment. See also this overview.
      • Basemaps: Many in the scientific community are interested in and participate in our Community Maps Program. This is in the spirit of crowdsourcing of authoritative content from the community, that Esri then hosts free in the cloud and for which contributors retain ownership and are acknowledged. In terms of GIS analysis directly within the web browser, the geo-analytics web services that Esri offers for hydrologic science are the most advanced thus far.
      • Story Maps: Story maps allow scientists to make their data and analyses more accessible to their colleagues as well as to policy-makers and citizens (example). Think of the power of telling a 30-second elevator speech about your research to a funder or policy-maker as a story map! Templates and tutorials are available at Related resources: An Ocean of Story Maps | Speaking the “Language” of Spatial Analysis via Story Maps | ArcGIS and Citizen Science.
      • Great science books from Esri Press (with more to come): Imagery and GIS: Best Practices for Extracting Information from Imagery shows how imagery can be integrated successfully into GIS maps and scientific analysis. Mapping and Modeling Weather and Climate with GIS features leading climatologists, meteorologists, and other experts sharing approaches to advance atmospheric and ocean science through GIS. Ocean Solutions, Earth Solutions, 2nd edition, 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 is the first Esri Press book to employ Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for citation of both the book and its supplementary datasets (further reading on citations). 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. Map Use, now in it's 8th edition, is a comprehensive, foundational textbook designed for undergraduate and graduate coursework, and newly updated with chapters on web mapping and web map design. Cartography. is a lavishly illustrated reference guide that skillfully navigates the intersection between science and art.
      • 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, 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 was released in 2015. See also this great overview of the latest Citizen Science Resources from Esri and partners, as well as the Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Toolkit.
      • Various science-themed contests including prior: Global Disaster Resilience App Challenge Winners + Data Viz App Challenge Winners + Global Content Challenge Winners
      • The Ocean: In 2012 Esri launched an Ocean GIS initiative across the entire Esri organization to enhance our capabilities to support GIS in both coastal and open ocean applications. As mentioned before in Esri Insider, Esri is particularly focused on a greater engagement with the ocean science community, as complex ocean science questions and data are increasingly used to inform the responsible use and governance of the oceans, as well as effective management and conservation. To support a better overall understanding of our oceans, Esri aims to improve and expand its products, tools, services, partnerships, and connections with the broader ocean community. We continue to evolve in this area via the annual Esri Ocean GIS Forum, held in November at our headquarters in Redlands, CA. We are also providing a wide range of ocean content through the Living Atlas of the World.

Across the entire Esri organization we now have an Ocean GIS initiative, including a comprehensive strategic plan and an oceans/maritime resource center.  We’re also working with a growing list of terrific partners.


Across the entire Esri organization we have an Ocean GIS initiative that was built on a comprehensive strategic plan. We're also working with a growing list of terrific partners.


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Collaborations with Partners in the Academic, Government, and NGO Sectors

  • Updated! Continuing collaborations with NOAA, including support of their enterprise GIS operations within the National Weather Service, and within that the National Ice Center (NIC). The NIC's Satellite Image Processing and Analysis System is one of the assets ensuring safe navigation in polar regions for ships operating near, through, and beneath sea ice, guided by ArcGIS sea-ice and iceberg maps.
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) within the Department of Energy (DOE): Esri has entered into a semi-exclusive agreement with ORNL to distribute their LandSCAN and LandCAST data settlement mapping population data. LandSCAN is an authoritative, high-resolution (1-km), global dataset of population distribution. LandCAST is an empirically-informed spatial distribution of projected population of the contiguous U.S. for 2050 compiled on a 1-km grid. ORNL is also experimenting with the latest Esri platform capabilities for advancing their global and regional population density analyses. There is interest in Esri's new "accelerated processing" capabilities for applying ORNL's current algorithms for image extraction (e.g., buildings), as executed within ORNL's LandScan application, and in Esri's new orthorectification capabilities, and real-time collection of big data feeds.
  • US Census and Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Collaboration efforts include modernization of enumeration, route optimization, change detection, and dissemination processes at Census, and development of the Community Assessment Reporting Tool (CART) at HUD to map and spatially explore investments by city, state, county, metropolitan area, or congressional district. Census is also testing raster analytics functions with remote sensing data in support of international surveys and the potential generation of supplemental, non-official products to assist with the 2020 Census.
  • 52 North: Various projects focused on interoperable processing of sensor data and advancement of spatial data infrastructures via publish/subscribe interaction patterns. For example, Sharing Geoprocessing Tools via the Web (via OGC WPS).
  • Clark Labs of Clark University has worked with us for many years on modeling of Landsat data for population and land footprint growth, as well as as landscape vulnerability. Their agent-based growth simulation modeling and land cover data are a critical ingredient in our evolving Green Infrastructure project. The Esri Green Infrastructure app compares changes between aggregated 2011 National Land Cover Database land cover categories with similarly aggregated land cover categories from The Clark Labs 2050 Conterminous US Land Cover Prediction. It also provides a few summary statistics about possible changes in developed, forest and agricultural land cover. Look for the soon to be released Clark Labs American Land Change Explorer application, which provides exhaustive analysis and summaries of potential transitions from each of the NLCD categories to each of the projected 2050 categories.
  • University College London: Various small citizen science and urban risk/resilience projects, including story maps (example 1, example 2) with the Extreme Citizen Science (ExCiteS) lab of Professor Muki Haklay.
  • NASA: various experiments, prototypes and with climate, ocean, and hydrologic multidimensional datasets particularly with the NASA Earth Science Technology Office. Additional collaborations are ongoing with the NASA Disaster Assistance Program.
  • The GIS Program of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is working with us on developing a series of web services to provision climate data (e.g., netCDF) within the Living Atlas of the World to drive some amazing new apps, particularly in support of the NCAR Community Earth System Model (CESM). They have also worked with us on the development of a new LearnGIS module around the use of climate and weather data in GIS, and various other activities to further develop and strengthen the Weather, Climate and Atmospheric GIS Community.
  • Esri is also pleased to be working with Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) as part of their POPGRID Open Data Collective. POPGRID is a consortium of population and settlement modelers from both the public and private sector that are working on integrated approaches to human settlement, infrastructure, and population mapping, including in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • University of Wollongong, Australia: Esri's Statistical Design Teams will be consulting with Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie and his research group on a range of development projects in areas including geostatistics, space-time pattern mining, R statistical software integration, and statistical clustering algorithms to optimize Esri ecophysiographic, ecological marine, and world population layers.
  • MIT: Esri's Chief Scientist teamed with the Esri Story Maps and Strategic Marketing Teams in a collaboration with Dr. Amy Glasmeier, Professor of Economic Geography and Regional Planning. The aim was to explore how to better "spatialize" her famous Living Wage Calculator, which analyzes the minimum level of income required for individuals and families to pay for basic living expenses. The result was the Living Wage Story Map in 2015 (now updated in 2018 to The Ever Changing Minimum Wage), which received hundreds of thousands of web hits upon its launch, and was featured in dozens of media outlets such as The Atlantic and Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and Politico.
  • Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP): Esri is working with SCCWRP on a variety of collaborative projects including the development of a desktop tool for the assessment of hydromodification via geomorphic landscape analysis. This assessment is focused on changes to stream runoff and sediment supply as a result of land use modifications. Also in the works are the design and development of decision-support tools for adaptation of coastal wetlands to sea level rise, and 3D visualizations for environmental decision support within estuaries.
  • UCSB's Space and Time Knowledge Organization (STKO) Lab: Esri and the STKO Lab of Professor Krzysztof Janowicz and his students are pursuing joint research projects of mutual benefit and interest in the areas of Linked Data, semantic search, data-mining-based metadata enrichment, and geo-ontology. This includes experimenting with the ArcGIS ingestion of ontologies and Linked Data for data queries and the associated issues of user experience (UX), semantic search, automatic interpretation, web analytics, and more.
  • The University of Bamberg in Germany partnered with Esri on a project focusing on GeoGames and Playful Design, as a medium for education in spatial thinking, for problem-solving in spatial design. The Bamberg team has studied and developed location-based games for different educational scenarios (e.g. river ecology, cultural heritage), and continues to develop prototypes of games and design tools based on ArcGIS technology. See the project info. at
  • Indicator-based Interactive Decision Support and Information Exchange Platform for Smart Cities Planning (INDICATE): Our Zurich R&D Center partnered with IES (a leader in architecture, engineering, and construction or AEC simulation tools), Dublin Trinity College (providing numerical simulations), DHP Consulting (spatial planning experts), and D‘Appolonia (a large Italian AEC and connsulting firm) on this project. The goal is to create an interactive, instant Design-Validate-Feedback loop for urban planning, taking into account energy performance, livability. The project will also share best practices and their impacts using a neutral indicator framework to enable other to assess the effect of measures on their context.
  • SAFECITI: The Esri Zurich R&D Center partnered with Next Limit (3D Rendering), Golaem (Crowd Simulation), and the Spanish National Police in creating a virtual-reality training and simulation environment for organisations with security mandates using procedural content and crowd simulation. The aim is to develop a simulation platform that will help analysts predict crowd behavior under certain threats in order to help the police develop better safety plans.
  • Open Water Data Initiative: Esri is partnering with U-Texas-Austin, Kisters, the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), the US Geological Survey (USGS), the Consortium of Universities for Advancement of Hydrologic Science (CUASHI), and others in this project seeking to bring together water information for the whole Earth, at all spatial scales (global, regional, local), linking both geospatial and temporal information, and linking data with modeling.
  • KIC-T: The Esri Zurich R&D Center is partnering with ETH Zurich, IBM Research, and Birmingham City University on using real-time data and simulation for urban planning for climate-change resilient cities. This involves extending the Esri GeoEvent Processor to provide streams of 3D events to the ArcGIS Web3D platform, and in researching and implementing new visualization methods for these real-time streams.
  • Adaptive Composite Map Projections: In 2015 Esri completed a collaboration with Professor Bernard Jenny and his lab while at Oregon State University on integrating into the ArcGIS platform a composite adaptive map projection, which seamlessly morphs map space as the user changes map scale or the geographic region displayed (Jenny is now at Monash University in Australia). The composite projection adapts the map’s geometry to scale, to the map’s height-to-width ratio, and the central latitude of the displayed area by replacing projections and adjusting their parameters. The result is a scale-aware, adaptive projection, free of the constraint of having to deal with multiple zones or multiple sets of graticules, and ultimately free of the pitfalls of WEB MERCATOR!
  • and many more.

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Staying Connected

There are several ways to keep abreast of science developments at Esri:

  • Get involved in our GeoNet community. This is a different kind of resource center where YOU can provide content as the user and have an opportunity to interact directly with Esri staff or other users, including technical "how-to" questions. This gives us at Esri an opportunity not only to listen TO you, but to ask YOU questions as well. See also this helpful video on Getting Started in a GeoNet community.
  • Connect with our Government Teams which support NOAA, NASA, DOE, USGS, US Park Service, Census, EPA, USFW, USDA, etc., as well as natural resource agencies within state and local government agencies. See the Government Earth Sciences industry web site and brochure.
  • Follow several of the Esri Open  communities. These contains blog, Twitter streams, discussion forums, videos, case studies, maps, apps, data, and documentation, all of which contain significant content for the science community. Many of these resources are pre-selected to help users in a particular domain complete their work, without having to search through large volumes of content to find what best applies to that domain.
  • Bookmark the Applied Analysis site to view various modes of analysis from exploration to decision-making as demonstrated by example, where workflows and processes are shown, results are interpreted, data and models can be downloaded.
  • Bookmark the ArcGIS Pro web site, which has significant content for the science community, particularly with regard to geoprocessing and spatial analysis across many science domains.
  • If you enjoy Twitter, follow Esri Chief Scientist Dawn Wright via @deepseadawn, where she makes science and ocean-related postings daily, as well as the @gisandscience Twitter account.
  • Follow the GIS and Science blog of Matt Artz, to see the fascinating array of journal articles, books, and scholarly events where GIS technology is being used to advance scientific understanding.
  • Attend the Esri International User Conference, where there are always high-quality paper sessions and map galleries focused on a wide array of scientific themes (including the annual GIScience Research or Frontiers in GIScience sessions and the new Science Symposium). In addition, there are Special Interest Group (SIG) meetings, and science-related demo theaters (e.g., demo theaters by the wizards in our Applications Prototype Lab are always a treat for scientists).
  • Attend upcoming Esri specialist meetings with science themes (e.g., the Geodesign Summit, the Health and Human Services GIS Conference, the Ocean GIS Forum, the FedGIS Conference, etc.). Consider also the Esri Developer Summit. Information on all Esri events is available at
  • Esri staffers also do great science themselves, and you are welcome to visit our Zotero library showcasing our publications.

This diagram shows the various aspects of our comprehensive program to support the science community, showing the interlinkages between and among universities, government agencies, and various consultancies, nonprofits, for profits, and other organizations focused on science. Contact the Chief Scientist, Dawn Wright,, for more information.

This diagram shows the various aspects of our comprehensive program to support the science community, showing the interlinkages between and among universities, government agencies, and various consultancies, nonprofits, for profits, and other organizations focused on science. Contact the Chief Scientist, Dawn Wright,, for more information.


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We are pleased to share a recap of the Esri User Conference Science Symposium, featuring the amazing climate scientist, Dr. Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii. Unfortunately, we did not have the resources to record the session and Dr. Mora is unable to release his full slide deck due to the sensitivity of some material. But please find this Wakelet social media compilation --> 2018 Esri Science Symposium - Wakelet . And you can download the introductory slide deck of Esri Chief Scientist Dawn Wright at .

The new NOAA Climate Explorer developed with the Esri JS API launched publicly this week. Climate Explorer is a rich resource featuring more than just maps. This link will take you to an example map view in the new version

In short;

-          NOAA Climate Program Office, with NEMAC, created the original US Climate Explorer in 2014 with opensource tech

-          NEMAC and NOAA, with support from Fernleaf, have rewritten the Climate Explorer with the Esri JS API, and are integrating Living Atlas content directly into it.

o   The new site has an impressive multi-scale explorer interface for various layers, swipe tools, charts…. 6k grids for US/ or options for county-level aggregation

-          An update is planned with deeper Living Atlas and Story Map integration, launching early fall

-          Current case studies on the Climate Explorer site are being transitioned to Story Maps, including integration with the National Water Model for example.

-          NOAA Climate Program Office Director is pleased with the change to the ArcGIS JS API, and supportive of the planned Living Atlas enhancements

-          The new site is hosted on a NEMAC server, to ensure continuity during potential government shutdowns


Primary collaborators include;

- NOAA’s Climate Program Office

- UNC-Asheville’s NEMAC (National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center – 2016 SAG Award for Research and Science),

- Fernleaf Interactive, an Esri Startup co-located with NEMAC at Asheville’s Climate Collider (collaborative office space)

-          NEMAC spun-off Fernleaf two years ago to handle commercial demand for resilience consulting to local gov market

  • Fernleaf now supports a product, AccelAdapt, an SAS resilience assessment solution for ArcGIS incorporating parcel and building data into the “Six Steps for Resilience” process. Workflows deliver ArcGIS Web Services as products to hundreds of communities


-          Fernleaf is sharing AccelAdapt workflows (which leverage the Climate Explorer)

-          Climate Explorer will feed inputs to AccelAdapt via the living Atlas in fall release

-          Fernleaf will be in the StartUp Zone at the Esri UC for the 2nd year.


This is an exemplar of an academic research team spinning-off a thriving Esri Startup, then providing the Climate Explorer as a critical public/ private partnership.

Great new story map debuted by Brett Rose of the Esri National Government Sciences Team today at the 2018 FedGIS Conference, with dynamic particle tracking and "message-in-a-bottle" functions embedded: 


What Causes Ocean Currents?


Thanks to Witold Fraczek for creating this extensive resource!

Dear Colleague,


As an attendee of either the 2018 Esri Education Summit or the 2018 Esri User Conference, you are warmly invited to a special event, the Esri Science Symposium.


When & Where:

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

4:00-6:30 pm

San Diego Convention Center (SDCC) Ballroom 20 D

The 2018 symposium will include the following:

  • A keynote address by Dr. Camilo Mora, University of Hawaii, about some of the most important climate change issues of the day, including deadly heat waves



  • Audience Q&A and interactive discussion


  • Networking reception with delicious appetizers and a hosted bar providing beer, wine, soft drinks, and bottled water


This event seeks to broaden the tent of Esri UC participation—beyond the traditional geographers and GIScientists—to include those working in the domain sciences (e.g., ocean science, hydrology, ecology, forestry, climate science, geology/geophysics, agricultural science, conservation biology, sustainability science and/or geodesign, health sciences, and the social sciences). A further aim is to strengthen the links between Esri and the scientific community, while (re)crystallizing a community of scientists at the Esri UC who normally attend disparate sessions throughout the week.



Please feel free to share this invitation (including the RSVP link) with others who might be interested.


We look forward to seeing you in San Diego this July!


Best wishes,
Dawn Wright, Esri Chief Scientist
Jack Dangermond, Esri President and CEO


RSVP for the Symposium at

See this important blog post by Orhun Aydin of Esri's Spatial Statistics Team where he describes different means of integrating space into scientific problem solving, with an eye toward generic (non-spatial) machine learning, spatial machine learning, and non-spatial machine learning with geoenriched predictors.


The Science of Where in a Warming Planet: Spatial vs Non-Spatial Machine Learning

Esri Chief Scientist Dawn Wright  is an invited speaker for the 4D Workshop: Deep-time Data Driven Discovery and the Evolution of Earth


The 4-D Workshop will be convened June 4-6, 2018 in Washington DC with sponsorship by NASA, the USGS, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, the Keck Foundation, the Earth Life Science Institute (Japan), the Carnegie Institution for Science, the Templeton Foundation, and others. 


The Senior Advisory Council for the event includes the current President of the National Academy of Sciences (Marcia McNutt), the former president of the National Science Foundation (Rita Colwell), the former corporate vice president of Microsoft (Tony Hey), Chief Data Officer of NOAA Ed Kearns, Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography Margaret Leinen, Executive Director and CEO of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Christine McEntee, Executive Director of the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Erin Robinson.


The objective of the event is to “explore ways to advance our understanding of Earth’s complex co-evolving geosphere and biosphere through the collection, analysis, and visualization of large and growing data resources. It is a prelude to a potential long-term program to invent, modify, and apply emerging methods of data analysis and visualization to elucidate our planet’s past, present, and future. Earth’s evolution has been an intertwined succession of increasingly complex physical, chemical, and biological events. Therefore, 4D’s organizing principal is an integrated approach that will enable humankind to achieve a comprehensive picture of the co-evolution of life and rocks, while collaborating with research teams around the world.”


The workshop results will tie into the Keck- and Sloan-supported Deep-Time Data Infrastructure: ( 


Dawn Wright has been asked to speak at the first plenary session on the second day of the event, on "Artificial intelligence and machine learning for Earth surface data and conservation priorities" (with thanks to Omar Maher, David Gadsden, and Nathan Shephard for materials). She has also been asked to participate in and possibly chair breakout sessions, will be presenting a poster on Esri’s phase 2 of the  Ecological Marine Units, and may be contributing content to the Workshop's White Paper.

Esri and the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded initiative known as EarthCube have today signed an informal Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). EarthCube was initiated by the NSF in 2011 to "transform geoscience research by developing cyberinfrastructure to improve access, sharing, visualization, and analysis of all forms of geosciences data and related resources." It is also a "quickly growing community of scientists across all geoscience domains, as well as geoinformatics researchers and data scientists."


As Esri Chief Scientist I have been pleased to serve on the EarthCube Liaison Team since 2014 and have built a "Mapping the Landscape" story map for the team which has been presented at several EarthCube-related meetings. We hope that this project will continue and merge with similar efforts at ESIP (Federation of Earth Science Information Partners), AGU (American Geophysical Union), and RDA (Research Data Alliance). The MOA was developed and signed by way of the Liaison Team and joint activities to be pursued include: 


  • mapping the larger geo/ cyberinfrastructure landscape and community (e.g., the story map) and further updating such a “landscape” map with organizations, initiatives, agencies, data facilities, etc., as well as assessing where EarthCube fits into this landscape;
  • semantic search, data mining-based metadata enrichment, persistent identifiers, geo-ontologies, and where possible, Linked Open Data;
  • more efficient access to data once found within searches, including the building of data publishing and geoprocessing services in the cloud to make data more accessible; and
  • removing barriers to data integration and interoperability, error and uncertainty of observations, spatial and temporal gaps in observations, and the related issues of user involvement and capacity building.


Toward this end, there will be the free exchange of emails, literature, computer code, and data where appropriate between Esri and the EarthCube community.