Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Slashmaps for Mapbox" Drupal Module is cool. And I can do that with ArcGIS Online.


This post shows how I created map galleries for my Drupal web site like the galleries you get from the "Slashmaps for Mapbox" Drupal module.  

I worked on this because my maps are already in ArcGIS Online.  And because I'm a Drupal novice and found the new mapping module intimidating. 

Here is a quick-ref list of all the Drupal map galleries that are described and compared below:

1.  FCC.gov/maps built on the Slashmaps for Mapbox Drupal module.

2.  My ArcGIS Online map galleries based on the <iframe> tag:
     a.  Drupal Map Gallery - Demo 1:  grid view 
     b.  Drupal Map Gallery - Demo 2:  list view
     c.  Drupal Map Gallery - Demo 3:  carousel
     d.  Drupal Map Gallery - Demo 4:  gallery hosted elsewhere and embedded here (gridview)

3.  Marten Hogeweg's Esri_MapGallery Drupal module prototype

Are my ArcGIS Online map galleries as good as the Slashmap for Mapbox module?  You can look for yourself at the links above.  I'll do a capabilities comparison in a future post.

The FCC Announcement:  Slashmap for Mapbox Module for Drupal

I'm in the process of migrating my Choptank River Heritage web site, which already includes a map gallery, to Drupal.  So I was interested in the FCC announcement back in March about their new map gallery.  And their collaboration with the Drupal community to build the Drupal module called Slashmaps for Mapbox.

I took a look at fcc.gov/maps:


And I was suprised at how similar it looks to my own map galleries built from ArcGIS Online at
maps.choptankeriverheritage.org and stories.choptankeriverheritage.org :
  

Since my Choptank River Heritage maps are already published in ArcGIS Online, I looked for a Drupal module that connects to ArcGIS Online.

Is There a Drupal module for ArcGIS Online?

I googled and found Marten Hogeweg's Drupal sandbox for ArcGIS Online.  It was still rough.  So I contacted Marten and asked if Esri will develop and support a Drupal module for ArcGIS Online.  He said there's interest.  And we plan to meet up at the Esri UC to talk more about this.  (Contact Marten or me if you want to join in.)

Meantime, Marten did some quick work over the weekend and committed a new Esri MapGallery module to Drupal git for me to try out.   Here is the very rough result so far.  Marten has already made improvements (such as removing the huge title banner) that I will incorporate in the next few days.

Do I really need a Drupal module for a map gallery?  How about a simple <iframe> tag ?

I also wondered if I couldn't do a simpler Drupal integration using the <iframe> tag.  Same as we see already for embedding ArcGIS Online maps into web pages:


And for embedding Google Maps into web pages:



My four <iframe> Map Galleries for Drupal

Esri's first "map gallery" was a simple display of maps that belong to an ArcGIS Online user group.  Nothing else to do.  Last summer (2011), Esri released its Javascript template that can be published in an organization's own web site.  This required simple Javascript configuration and publishing the html, css, and js files to your web server.  This is still an option.  Since then, Esri has created other ways to publish map galleries in your own web site.  All of them run off of the user groups at ArcGIS Online.  

Here is the list of demo map galleries in my Drupal web site that leverage the <iframe> tag to embed map group contents from ArcGIS Online.  Each of my Drupal pages gives a short explanation of the configuration and subtle differences between them:

1.  Drupal Map Gallery - Demo 1:  grid view is simple, usable as-is with no changes to <iframe> sizing.

2.  Drupal Map Gallery - Demo 2:  list view, <iframe> size has to be tweeked to hide annoying side panel, and the gawdy title bar is not configurable.

3.  Drupal Map Carousel - Demo 3:  map carousel, requires <iframe> sizing but otherwise easy, and pretty cool.

4.  Drupal Map Carousel - Demo 4:  <iframe> of the Esri gallery template already published on my non-Drupal web site.  Gives the most configuration control but requires some knowledge of HTML and CSS.


Let me know of your experience with the Mapbox module or these ArcGIS approaches.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why do I still use both Chrome and Firefox? For bookmarks on desktop, laptop, and mobile.

Web browser bookmarks are important to me.  I use them every day for my professional GIS work.  I need fast access to ArcGIS and Python resources on the web.  I need to get back to training and tutorials.  I need to flip back and forth between web sites, Gmail, and calendar.

I put time and effort into managing and updating web browser bookmarks.  And I need to access them on my laptop, my office workstation, and my Android phone. 

Chrome gives me web bookmarks on my laptop and workstation -- effortlessly.


Firefox puts my bookmarks on my phone.



Neither browser does desktop, laptop, and mobile.  

Why can't Chrome or Firefox get the whole thing right?  I don't know.

Chrome -- Log in and get bookmarks everywhere ... except on my phone.

Some of my co-workers resist the Chrome login idea.  They don't want Google tracking their every web move.

But Chrome with login gives me updated bookmarks on both my laptop and workstation - or any other computer where I choose to log in to my Google account.  But not on my Google/Android phone.

The Android browser is crappy.  No bookmarks management at all.  There is no Chrome-like browser for Android mobile.  At least not the OS running on my DroidX --  Andoid 2.4.3.  There is hope at Android 4.0, which offers Chrome-to-Phone Beta and other Chrome toys.  (If I'm wrong, please leave a comment.)

Firefox -- Manually import Chrome bookmarks to get them onto my phone.

The Firefox mobile browser is pretty nice, with tabs, good handling of Javascript and HTML5.  Best of all, it replicates my bookmarks in the same way I organize them on my desktop.


Not without a cost.  I have to a weekly export-import from Chrome to Firefox to keep all this up to date.


Why don't I use IE?

Because IE mixes together web bookmarks and desktop "favorites".  And that screws up everything.

Is there a better way?

Friday, June 15, 2012

ArcGIS Online pricing - what is a Service Credit worth?

Confused about AGOL pricing?  So was I.

I got on the phone with Esri today.   Here is is our Q&A:


ArcGIS Online for Organizations, Level 1 purchase gets "2500 Service Credits".  But what does that mean?

Service credits are expended when ArcGIS Online functionality is deployed.  With the final release, we are providing a dashboard for the administrator, so that they may review how the service credits are being utilized.

Here are some examples:

1)      Service Credits are not used when you upload data or services to your instance of AGOL
2)      Service Credits are not consumed when using a esri basemap service in your application
3)      Service Credits are used when ‘mash’ up a shapefile, map service, table your company/agency uses in a service
4)      Service Credits are used when you create and store a feature service
5)      Service Credits are used when you create or store a tile or geospatial data service(layer, map package)
6)      Service Credits are used when you use a geoprocessing service (i.e. …batch geocodes), others to be added
7)      Service Credits are used when you do data transfer

This info would be more useful if it read "XX [Number of] service credits are used when..."

Here are examples of AGO Credit Consumption


  • Data Transfer – Data transferred out as hosted services or downloading data files
    • 6 credits / 1 GB data
  • Geocodes –
    • 12.5 geocodes / credit
    • 80 credits / 1,000 geocodes
    • 100,000 geocodes / 8000 credits
  • Tile & Data Storage – 1.2 credits per GB of storage per month, 14.4 credits/yr  per GB of data
  • Feature service –
    • 2.4 credits per 10 MB of storage per month, 28.8 credits/yr  per 10 MB
    • 2880 credits/yr  for 1GB of storage
  • Tile generation – 1 credit per 1000 tiles generated


Is there a more complete table online somewhere -- to help me with service budgeting and making a decision about how much to purchase?

No.  But you might want to download the trial and give it a try. There is a dashboard that shows you how you are using your credits.


Monday, June 11, 2012

I need my proprietary GIS for this hard-core geospatial analysis, right?


Bill Dollins blogged recently that he doesn't see much difference in capability between open source and proprietary geospatial tools.   


I think Web/GIS developers would agree.  But I'm not so sure that geospatial analysts would agree.


I agree, if we're talking about building and using map apps -- displaying points, lines, and polygons, and routine map functions like routing, thematic mapping, and interactive display of the map and underlying data.


But what about hard-core geospatial analysis?  Case at hand:


I'm working on an emergency management application that estimates the age-group populations that may be affected by an emergency event.   The only population and demographics data I have is census block groups.  I create a buffer around the event, then clip the census block groups that intersect the buffer.




The problem is that for many of the included block groups, only a small portion lie within the event zone.  So, only a fraction of the population in each of those groups should be included.


I was ready to write the function for my Python script that would calculate the percentage of the area of  each block group that got clipped.  If only 15% of the area got clipped, I would grab only 15% of the population counts for that block group to add to my population total.


Then I saw Esri's announcement that ArcGIS 10.1 now includes an has areal interpolation tool.




Seems like the perfect fit for what I need to do.  I can create a grid of 100 x100 meter polygons and re-assign portions of the population counts to these much smaller and regularly shaped grid polygons.  And save this data layer for use any time a need a more precise population estimate.


Can any open source geospatial tools do this?  I admit that I don't know.


I think it would be good to do something like what Tobin Bradley did to evaluate the importance of different elements of the Google Maps API.  Maybe do the same with Esri's ArcToolbox.  How much of this tool set is present in open source geospatial software?  How important are the missing tools?


Has anyone besides Esri done an assessment like this?



Monday, April 30, 2012

Am I projecting or transforming that coordinate system? Or both?

We received a shipment of data from Esri for Philadelphia business locations.  We needed it transformed from geographic coordinate system (lat/long) to Penna State Plane South (3702) coordinate system (in feet).  Esri told us we have to do that ourselves.

Projections, coordinate systems, and transformations are always a little confusing for those of us who don't mess with them a lot.  Esri's tool labeling doesn't help any.

We had a team huddle and decided we were not projecting a coordinate system -- we were transforming from one coordinate system to another.  I looked in ArcToolbox under  Data Management > Projections & Transformations.  There is no Transform tool.  So I tried the only tool in there for Features:  Project.

I opened the Project tool and ignored the options first time around.  Got an error for not choosing the option:


Read the Help.  The option is required if you are changing coordinate systems.  Which is what we came here for in the first place.

How to choose?


Not sure.  I saw no hints in the input or output coordinate system descriptions.  So I used the first option on the list shown .  Looks like to worked fine.  This tells me where in State Plane:

Questions:

1.  Were we transforming or projecting?  Or both?  

2.  Is "re-projecting" a necessary step in transforming a data set's coordinate system from one to another?

3.  How do we decide which Geographic Transformation to apply?

I appreciate your comments.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Geospatial One-Stop >> Geo.Data.gov >> GeoPlatform.gov

Here are details about GeoPlatform evolution, provided by Esri's Geoportal Server lead, Marten Hogeweg, and published here with Marten's permission:


Geoplatform.gov is actually built on ArcGIS Online which is running on-premises in the GSA hosting environment. Geoplatform.gov currently has a small set of publishers who 'curate' the content that is visible, with a focus on web services.

When Geospatial One-Stop retired, it was integrated into the Data.gov website as http://geo.data.govGeo.data.gov IS built on the open source Geoportal Server (http://esriurl.com/geoportalserver).

There were close to 650,000 items in Geospatial One-Stop, many of which were from state/local government or from academia and do not meet the criteria (http://www.data.gov/datapolicy) to be made discoverable through Geo.data.gov.

To provide access to that full set (by now grown to about 950,000 geospatial resources), the search from the Geoplatform.gov site was included.

There are really two programs (Geoplatform and Data.gov) that are looking at how to best implement their objectives/mandates: serve nationally significant geospatial data assets from and to the geospatial community at large) vs increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government (http://www.data.gov/about).

What you see now is (hopefully) a transition from the Geospatial One-Stop period into the new open government data period where these two objectives/mandates unite... 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Insider: How to Search the New Geoplatform.gov

Here is some insider info on how to search the new U.S. government Geospatial Platform developed by US EPA and GSA.

The GeoPlatform is built on Esri's open-source Geoportal Server.  Even though it looks like ArcGIS.com ...



... it's running Geoportal Server under the hood.  That means it should search geospatial metadata.  Since it's federal, it also federates -- harvesting and indexing metadata from many geodata servers.  Then it runs a federated query across all servers to find data you want.  

So why doesn't anything show up when you search for 'chesapeake' ?



You have to click the "Related Searched" link farther down the page.  Now you get the dozens of results in a format that looks familiar to anyone works with metadata and geoportals:


The search engine is reaching back into the geodata.gov and data.gov metadata domains.

Why is the search function like this?  GeoPlatform gurus say it's only temporary - a work in progress.  In my view, it's intriguing work to merge the best of FGDC/ISO-compliant metadata + geoportal search capability, + web mapping provided by the Esri web mapping APIs.  More on that in my next post on geoportal news coming out of the Esri FedCon this week.




Sunday, February 12, 2012

No, Virginia. Google Maps Can't Really Predict Meth Labs Before They Open



At least, not the way you wish.


The recent FastCompany article on geospatial predictive analytics leads you to believe that Google Maps (with a nod to "GIS") can predict and find
  • the exact locations of clandestine meth labs,
  • city blocks that hide covert drug dealers,
  • the location of the next car break-in,
  • the suburban neighborhood where a street gang will next appear,
  • the exact point on the US-Mexico border where the next drug shipment will cross.
Yes, the meth lab may appear within this quarter mile area if you're in the city.  Or within these 18-50 square miles if you're in rural Colorado.

Size matters in geographic units

In cases like these, it's geographic scale and precision that separate fact from fiction.  A careful read of the GIS article, the police department planning documents, and the software sales literature will show that predictive analytics seldom approaches the location precision stated or implied here.

Look carefully at how they define "where".  Is it this street corner?  Or this census tract?  Or this county?   

All of the cited studies and crime prevention software rely on US Census demographics to characterize the human landscape. U.S. Census demographic data is compiled down to the block group level.  There are 211,267 block groups in the USA.  That puts the average area for a block group at 18 sq. miles.  That may be the size of the geographic area to which the predictive analysis says you should allocate your resources.  Or, if your study area is urban and densely populated, the average area of the census block group will be smaller -- for example, 0.25 sq. miles in Philadelphia.  The future meth lab may appear in an area that size.  Not exactly pinpoint accuracy.

Other inputs to the predictive analytic model may be even less precise geographically.  In the analysis results, the geographic areas that are statistically significant may be quite large, either because there are too few input points within the area of study, or because the locations of those inputs are themselves not precise.

Size matters in the probability quotient

Can software predict when a crime or other event will happen?  That depends on what we mean by "when".  The answer is always a probability quotient.  In a recent Information Week interview,  SPSS technical director Bill Haffey said it right:   "It's not a binary yes or no; it's more of an assessment of risk--how probable something is."

TL;DR ?

Give GIS -- not Google Maps -- the credit for making location an important input to predictive analytics.  But not too much credit.  It's easy to sell Google Maps as a "secret weapon", or GIS-based predictive analytics as a silver bullet, when reality is down in the details.  Here are details from the case studies listed above:


Meth labs where they pop up next


"Map data analyzed over time successfully demonstrated the spread of meth labs throughout a metropolitan area--and even predicted where they would pop up next."


Facts -  from the source document:


"Spatial analysis ... shows that meth labs are clustered roughly in and around the downtown area ... in neighborhoods with a young and predominantly white population, small household size, and low education levels."


That's where you'll find the next meth lab.  Not on this street, but in any of the census tracts in your jurisdiction with that demographic profile.  Place your law enforcement assets there.


How will these demographics change with the next census?  Move your assets to those areas.


City block that hosts the discreet drug dealer


"Police departments ... are using similar methods ... to find blocks likely to host discreet drug dealers."


Facts - from the source document:


"The goal ...  [is] geospatial predictive analysis and threshold analysis to inform the focus of police and community resources."


Read New Haven's plan.  The goal to allocate resources better -- a more modest goal than pointing out the city blocks where hidden drug dealers operate, or where the next car break-in will occur.


The suburb where street gangs will recruit next


One firm ... recently boasted of their ability to use predictive analysis to find suburbs that street gangs are likely to recruit in.


Facts - from the source document:


"Gang Recruitment Site Selection [determines the] level of future likelihood that the threat entity would gain a foothold in the new location ... [The] suburban location is shown to be at risk because it is suitable for future gang recruitment, creating an opportunity for actions to observe or disrupt recruitment and maintain safety."


Although not stated explicitly, the software described here certainly looks for a statistically significant relationship between gang activity and census demographics.  Once again, at a location precision comparable to the census block (0.25 to 20+ sq miles.)


"Exact point where drugs will cross the border"


In the near future, the [DEA] is expected to start using newer, more sophisticated models that will enable DEA agents to predict the exact points at the border in which drug deliveries enter the United States.


Facts - from the source document:


"[DEA] EPIC’s newly established Predictive Analysis Unit produces reports summarizing drug seizures along routes identified as drug smuggling corridors and provides these reports to interdiction agencies ...  this unit [will be] conducting 'post seizure analysis' to identify the point at which drugs entered the United States and to determine the reasons for the failure to interdict the drugs at the border."


There is no exact-point targeting mentioned in the DEA source document.  And the analysis is not even predictive.







Mapping the Birthplace of Frederick Douglass




For Black History Month, I worked with Choptank River Heritage to map the "lost" birthplace of Frederick Douglass.  The Douglass birthplace site on Maryland's Eastern Shore is unmarked.  The nearest memorials are 7 and 14 miles from the actual site.




Check out the online map presentation, The Search for Frederick Douglass's Birthplace.


Research into the Douglass birthplace site was first published in 1985 by a local historian, Preston Dickson, in Young Frederick Douglass:  The Maryland Years.  Before that time, the site was unlocated.  The information first became widely available on the Web through my daughter Amanda's 1996 school project.  

Friday, February 10, 2012

Explain it to Your Boss: The Map is There but Your Data is Still Here

Some business managers don’t want “our” data sitting on “their” map server.   So they’re reluctant to share sensitive business data in maps that are authored and published at public map portals.


They may think that when we publish our map data in the “cloud”, we give up ownership and the security oversight of our data.   That’s not necessarily so.  You can explain it to your boss like this, using an example from the ArcGIS Online mapping portal --  

You can sit behind your firewall and publish your sensitive data in a web map.  Here's what it looks like:



Your boss might not understand that although the map is at ArcGIS Online, your map data does not have to be.  Web page and map components can come from many public web servers, while the map data itself remains secure.  The map data comes from your secure GIS server:



It gets delivered to the web map only if the browser user has been granted access to our GIS server; that is, if the user’s computer is also sitting behind the same firewall with the GIS server, or if the user has login access to your GIS server from outside.   

If no access is granted to your GIS server, the points will not appear on the web map.   Only the background (basemap) will appear.

The business data (map points) are all we need to own and control.  At the same time, we can build on free, publicly-available code and data platforms for map programming and publishing.   For example, the background map could come from public servers at Esri, Google, or OSM:



We don't have to build the map widgets ourselves.  In this example, they're sent to the browser from Esri’s Javascript API server.  But they could have come from Google Maps or another server:



The ”Dojo-Javascript”  layout of the web page – header, banner panel, navigation panel – could be from code that sits on the Google or Yandex CDN servers:



Code from other Web servers could also be embedded in the map or the web page.  For example, we might overlay our data layer with weather data coming from NOAA or tweets from Twitter.  So, in an example like this, we may rely on 4 or more different public web servers, all supporting the publication and sharing of our secure geospatial data.

So, your boss and trusted colleagues can sit behind our firewall and benefit from web mapping in the public cloud.  Their web browser reaches out to the public Internet to bring in elements of the map and page that surround your map data.  But the map data itself stays inside a secure channel from our GIS server to the web browser and map.

I know you understand this.  But your boss might not.


::: ------- :::

Not so simple?

My scenario above won't address the concerns of all business managers.  For example, I worked with a county health department whose management was reluctant to serve up water quality monitoring maps to the public unless they appeared on the county’s web site, rather than at ArcGIS.com.  It was an ownership and branding issue. 

Esri has tried to address this concern with its Public MapsGallery template.  The Gallery is a clever approach that lets an organization author, publish, and host maps at ArcGIS Online, but deliver them in web pages that come from the organization’s own web server, with the organization’s own style and labeling.  No “ArcGIS Online” labels anywhere.  Too clever?  Your boss will have to decide.

Valid security issues -- not just branding -- are raised if you actually upload some or all of your data to the public map portal.  Or if you go to the public portal to author and publish information related to the map, such as authorship, map description, and geospatial metadata.  In that case, you need to understand the hosting services security policy and implementation.  You can read about Esri's for ArcGIS Online, here .

Monday, January 9, 2012

Azavea's Hunchlab – Or maybe call it “Geospatial Alert Lab”



Last week I took part in a live demo of Azavea’s Hunchlab product for crime analysis.  Azavea's Jeremy Heffner does a great job with demo and discussion in the Hunchlab webinars.  


But I was confused for awhile by the product name and misled by the idea of a "hunch" in police detective TV shows.  But it finally sank in, like this:

Where is the "hunch"?

Hunchlab has three components: 

  • Crime Analysis = crime event mapping by checking layers on/off.
  • Early Warning  = get alerts for deviations from normal crime levels.
  • Forecasting    =  spatio-temporal analysis to show likelihood of, or deviation from, repeating patterns in neighborhoods of space and time.

The "hunch work" is in the Early Warning component, which is what interested me the most.

I have a hunch about what alerts I want

Hunchlab's Early Warning tool can send alerts to users when crime levels deviate from statistical norms, or when they exceed a defined threshold in a specific geographic neighborhood.  It gives the user a well-designed dashboard for adjusting parameters to get the alerts just right.   So that alert emails arrive often enough, but not too often.  That is, the alert threshold is not too high and not too low.  Or the statistical window is not to wide or too narrow.




Call it "Geospatial Alert Lab"?  Probably not.

So I think I would call this part of Hunchlab a very interesting "Geospatial Alert Lab" with great potential in many fields.   Then I'd try to wire it up to other live data feeds besides crime -- like earthquakes, land and sea temperature readings, wind speed and direction readings, mortgage foreclosures, maritime vessel tracking.  Maybe even road traffic.

But "Geospatial Alert Lab" probably wouldn't sell.  They say 2012 is the year we drop "geospatial" from the marketing literature and erase "GIS" from the user interface.


Hunchlab:  Crime Analysis


Hunchlab:  Near Repeat Pattern


Hunch:  Load Forecasting



Saturday, January 7, 2012

Okay, ArcGIS Online is not a online geospatial CMS

I read Jim Fee's blog to get a GIS reality check.  He challenges assumptions and points out the color of the Kool-Aid.


So, he's right:  Esri's ArcGIS Online is not a geospatial content management system.  Why not?  He says:


- It doesn’t support open standards let alone other formats.
- There is no geneology of data.
- There is no lifecycle to the product.


By that definition, it's not an online CMS.  


But the ArcGIS platform certainly is a geospatial content management system, by any valid definition.  and there are good reasons why GIS professionals (I mean, people trained in geospatial content creation, management, and presentation) buy into Esri's proprietary formats and "$10,000 client".  


It's because our work is more complex than simply creating Google My Maps.  For more complex geospatial work, GIS product developers and enterprise managers have told me time and again that open source doesn't always make economic sense for their bottom line.


When Esri has marketed ArcGIS Online before now, they've emphasized the web map, not "online geospatial content management".  You don't have to fall off a turnip truck to appreciate what Esri has done for us in the web map arena.  GIS professionals (I mean, cartographers, geographers, geo-statistical analysts, crime analysts who produce location-based intelligence, health professionals using geospatial analysis to see trends) can now publish and share our data in maps on the Web, without hiring a programmer.  We couldn't do that a couple of years ago.  


Our data isn't in CSV files or Fusion Tables, and we don't share it by clicking on the web map to set pushpins.  Our data is in our geospatial content management systems made up of geospatial databases, GIS servers, and applications servers.  We can hire Esri to integrate all that into a geospatial content management system.  Or we can hire other systems integrators to do it from scratch, using open source.


So, maybe it's premature to call ArcGIS Online an online geospatial CMS.  But that, too, is just around the corner for organizations that I've worked with.  For good reasons, most of them use the ArcGIS platform to create, manage, and present their geospatial data.  Most of them are now talking seriously about moving their entire geospatial enterprise into the Esri cloud.   Call it ArcGIS Online.



Friday, January 6, 2012

Server geoprocessing for 911/CAD. Got some?

I'm working with the metro police dept. to build and automate geoprocesses that support 911 and computer-aided dispatch (CAD).  The goal is simple:  Within minutes of a 911 call, we want to provide an "investigative package" of map layers, tables, and fact sheets for the area surrounding the location of the event.  Info like this:
  • 911 calls of the same or different types in past 24 hours
  • Active warrants and prison releases
  • Weapons seized and ownership information
  • Population and demographics
  • Schools and care facilities and their populations
  • Land use and cover, building footprints
  • Police dept. assets, fixed and mobile

I was fortunate to get on the phone with Esri's Public Safety Team to discuss this.  They're a great bunch - knowledgeable and helpful.  I asked the Esri team:

Has anyone in the ArcGIS community already built  911/CAD geoprocessing models they can share?

I had already searched Esri's Public Safety Resource Center, the Public Safety Forum, ArcGIS Online, and AGO’s Public Safety Group.  And googled around, of course.  I didn't find anything.

The Esri team acknowledged that a published set of standard tools and scripts to support public safety generally, and 911/CAD in particular, is still needed.  They're interested in working with us over the next few months to help get that started. 

Who has customized ArcGIS Server to support 911 or other public safety operations?


It looks like there's not much out there yet. But Esri could point to one example:

New York City 's Office of Emergency Management is using ArcGIS Server to automatically generate an "incident response packet" about each 911 incident scene. The packet includes maps of
  • area
  • aerial 
  • neighborhood maps
and reports of
  • administrative boundary
  • nearest critical facilities
  • demographic
  • land use
That's close to our "investigative package".


Application development at NYC OEM called for database design, ArcGIS Server 9.3, and programming with ArcObjects, ASP.NET, C#, and Ajax.  (Does that mean Esri Javascript API and Dojo?  Not sure.)  I'd like to see the geoprocessing scripts.


Is anyone using ArcGIS Server with Sharepoint for 911 or other public safety?


The obvious answer is that Esri has partnered with Microsoft to integrate ArcGIS Server with Sharepoint into what's they call the Fusion Core Solution.  Surprisingly, if you google it, you won't find a lot out there except Powerpoint by Esri and MS. But thanks to stoptimeculp at YouTube, we have a simple video demo.  


After the YouTube demo spends time on "punching in" and tracking personnel hours, it finally shows what you would expect for web mapping and Sharepoint:  Select layers to add to a map, and map the new incidents that you intake using web forms. and then looked at them together.  So far, I've seen no geospatial analysis -- automated or otherwise -- to provide additional location-based intelligence like what's listed above.


By the way ... Is there a national or standard data model for 911/CAD ?

I was thinking of standard categories for 911 events, and standard or recommended fields and formatting for 911 call processing. The Esri team discussed generic industry-level information exchange models. But we couldn't identify a standard specifically for 911.


Got ArcGIS Server geoprocessing models for 911/CAD you want to discuss and share?