On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights - a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun's disk.
With all eyes (properly protected, of course) on the solar eclipse tomorrow, this is a huge event that should be the showcase for many GIS organizations, putting their best foot forward with amazing publicly accessible apps that provide information about the eclipse and showcase the best maps and apps tradecraft that GIS organizations can muster.
This evening I took a quick peek and found the good, and also the "meh," with a collection of apps that have appeared covering the amazing event. You can search for your own and decide for yourself which you think are the best. I have my list of the good, the bad, the ugly...
The first I found is a Story Map Cascade by Esri's Mike Zeiler titled Seeing The Great American Eclipse.
As you've come to expect from the Story Maps featured apps, it's a great example of a Cascade with interesting graphics and maps that help tell the story of the eclipse.
The next app I found, authored using Web AppBuilder, was by the USFS Pacific Northwest Region. It displays the path of the total solar eclipse across Oregon and the national forests in Oregon. It provides information about viewing the eclipse on each of the 8 national forests that fall within the line of totality.
For better or for worse, I find this is a typical "GIS-centric" web mapping application, with tons of layers, unconfigured pop-ups (The Horror!), and a long read in the About dialog. But's it's certainly a comprehensive collection of authoritative content. A great public app? Maybe not so much... A great collection of useful resources that savvy viewers can pick apart? For sure...
The City of Salem, Oregon, features a Story Map on their Salem home page about the Eclipse. It's nicely branded on their featured gallery, and while it might not win a creativity award, it's a solid example of a "bread and butter" app that shows parks where the eclipse can be viewed, with information about the available facilities at each location - a true public service app.
If you're thinking that the best fishing is during the eclipse, this Story Map Journal from Idaho Department of Fish and Game shows you where the best fishing spots are if you totally want to fish during totality.
You can view many more examples by searching ArcGIS Online and arrive at your own conclusions as to which ones are great examples of app-craft, and which could use a little extra work. How does your app compare? I'll take a closer look at these in a later post. Add your comments, and let me know what you think.
(*Note that opinions are my own, and not those of Esri.)