- Author: Sean Hogan
The thing that I possibly like the most about the ESRI Users Conference is that you not only get to see all of the recent updates that the company has recently developed but also glimpses of what is coming soon. In particular, I am excited about the advancements that they have made in respect to web mapping applications.
Are you an ArcGIS Online user, and have been wondering when to transition from the Traditional Web Map Viewer to the new Web Map Viewer? To answer that question, for myself, I think the time is now. At this point, per ESRI, there are now only four remaining functionalities that remain to be added to the new Map Viewer to give it all of the functionality that the Traditional Map Viewer had, which will be discontinued in late 2025, including the abilities to:
- Calculate fields (this would be nice to have)
- Add additional relationships to related records (something I have never needed to do previously)
- Vector tile style editing (not something I have ever needed to do, but which I could see being useful for some people)
- Saving/duplicating layers (there is a relatively simple work around for this, but it would be nice to have it built into the Map Viewer)
That said, there are far more than four added functionalities that the new Map Viewer has that the old version lacks, including:
- Easier browsing of data
- Feature editing enhancements
- Analysis enhancements, both for vectors and rasters
- Improved visibility, filtering, and effects (on the fly)
- Toggleable layers
- Charts (donut and pie)
- Label enhancements (including improved bookmarks and placements)
- Blending (in a group layer); including blending layers with basemaps and multiply effects
- Added display expressions
- Multidimensional imagery support, including an imagery slider
- The ability to upload feature symbols (svg)
- Sketch layers (as opposed to Classic's notes) with snapping, and also with the ability to upload custom symbols
- The ability to add and manually georeferenced media layers (jpg or png) using control points (on which media blending and effects can also be applied)
Besides all of these additions, the interface has been thoughtfully revamped with usability and efficiency in mind. Some of the above enhancements will now allow you to complete some work flows/functions several times faster than they could be done before. I must admit that I am very pleased!
- Author: Andy Lyons
- Author: Sean Hogan
- Author: Maggi Kelly
- Contributor: Shane Feirer
The IGIS Team is pleased to share our workshop schedule for Spring 2023. Workshops are the best part of our 'trilogy' of strategic goals - research, technical projects, and training - because this is where we get to share the tips and tricks we pick up every day. See descriptions below, and if you're not available to attend one that really interests you keep an eye open for the recordings on our YouTube Channel.
Introduction to ArcGIS Online
Friday January 27, 2023 • 1:00 - 4:00pm • online • free
ArcGIS Online is the online component of the ESRI geospatial ecosystem, and the foundation for web mapping, story maps, and mobile data collection. This workshop will provide an overview of ArcGIS Online and teach participants how to create a web map. This workshop is a prerequisite for the Story Maps and Field Maps workshops, and recommended for ArcGIS Pro.
Requirements: No experience required. Participants must have an ArcGIS Online account set up prior to the workshop (free for all UCANR employees, temporary accounts available for others). Details and registration.
Introduction to ArcGIS Pro
Friday February 17, 2023 • 1:00 - 4:00pm • online • free
ArcGIS Pro is ESRI's powerhouse desktop application for all things GIS. It can do anything from basic cartography to advanced geospatial modeling. This introduction will get you started creating maps with local and online GIS data.
Requirements: Participants must have ArcGIS Pro installed on their personal computer prior to the workshop. ArcGIS Pro is for Windows only. Licenses are free for all UCANR employees, and temporary accounts available for others. No experience needed, but the ArcGIS Online workshop (January 27) or equivalent experience is strongly encouraged. Details and registration.
Introduction to Jupyter Notebooks in ArcGIS
April 7, 2023 • 1:00 - 4:00pm • online • free
Jupyter Notebooks are a user-friendly and interactive way to write Python code. ArcGIS Pro supports Juptyer notebooks natively, opening the door to a wide range of options for automation and extensibility. This workshop will get you started using Jupyter Notebooks in ArcGIS Pro to automate workflows, perform geoprocessing tasks, create data summaries, and import downscaled climate data from Cal-Adapt.
Requirements: Basic familiarity with ArcGIS Pro is expected. Licenses for ArcGIS Pro are free for all UCANR employees, and temporary accounts available for others. Experience with Python is helpful but not required. Details and registration.
June 26 - 30, 2023 • CSU Monterey Bay
DroneCamp is a unique, one-week intensive short course that covers everything you need to know to get started using drones for data collection and research: equipment, safety and regulations, flight planning, flight instruction, data processing, and data analysis. Now in our 7th year, DroneCamp is a collaborative effort between UCANR/IGIS, CSU Monterey Bay, UC Santa Cruz, UC Merced, and others.
Requirements: No experience necessary! Registration will open in January 2023. This program has always sold out so save your spot early. Scholarships available. For details, see https://dronecampca.org/.
Access to fast internet isn't just a luxury anymore. In our modern age, broadband is a necessity to take advantage of all kinds of basic services, from education, to banking, civic engagement, navigation, and even health care. Most broadband in the USA is provided by Internet Service Providers companies (ISPs), and while we're getting closer to universal coverage there is still a ways to go!
California was an early pioneer in broadband mapping, to show exactly where broadband is available and where it isn't. For the past 10 years, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has been collecting broadband data from ISPs for the entire country, and putting it on a national map. Actually there are two maps - one for fixed internet access points (i.e., homes and businesses), and one for mobile broadband. The latest version of the national broadband map was released in late November, and the FCC is now inviting the public to submit feedback through January 13, 2023.
Although ISPs are the primary sources of data, the FCC encourages everyone to check out the map. If the reported availability and speeds don't seem to tally with your experiences, they've also made it easy to submit feedback, known as ‘challenges'. And indeed thousands of citizens have been doing exactly this.
What does this have to do with me?
Exploring the National Broadband Map can be fun and is definitely educational - especially this year where the level of granularity is higher than ever. You can see which ISPs are serving your area, and what kind of connection speeds they claim.
But the map isn't simply for public information. The map with all the feedback submitted is also being used to identify where internet infrastructure investments are needed most to achieve the ultimate goal of universal access. And if you've been following the news recently, there's a lot of funding coming out of Washington and Sacramento right now to improve digital infrastructure.
Aside from helping steer resources where they're needed most, if you decide to contribute data to the national broadband map, you'll be joining one of the largest citizen science projects in the country. Thousands of residents just like yourself have used the mobile app and other tools provided by FCC to check their actual internet speed. And if you discover the claims by the ISPs are perhaps a bit rosy, you have the option to submit feedback in the form of 'challenge' data.
How do I participate?
The map is designed for the public. You can use it to see what internet service is available in your area, and the expected speeds. If you still want to keep going, you can double-check your cellular internet speed outside or while driving using a phone app. If you find any discrepancies on either the mobile or fixed broadband maps, you can submit feedback through the website or the mobile app. If enough people submit similar feedback from your area, the FCC will ask the ISPs to explain themselves, and either update the map or improve service.
First things first is to simply visit the map and find your area. You can type in an address or the name of a city (then wait a second for the drop down box to update), or use the pan and zoom controls to find your area. Once you've found your area, remember there are two maps to look at. The fixed internet map (with the green dots) will probably include your house if any ISPs offer service in your area (whether or not you use their service). The mobile broadband map shows the expected cellular internet speed using hexagons that get smaller as you zoom in.
Click on the map to see what it says about your upload and download speed. Internet speeds are measured in megabytes per second (Mbps), and to qualify as 'broadband' the ISP must offer at least 25 Mbps for download and 3 Mbps for upload (that definition may soon be changing). Remember that the reported speeds are provided by the ISPs, and may or may not be what you actually experience.
Verify your mobile data speed
Want to keep going? Let's start by looking at how you can test your mobile (cellular) internet speed, and if you desire how to report what you actually experience.
To measure the actual connection speed you're getting on your phone or mobile device, you can download the 'FCC Speed Test' app (available for Android and iOS). A few caveats about using the mobile app:
- The whole point of the mobile app is to test the speed of mobile broadband. This means:
1) you need to disconnect from WiFi when you use the app to test connection speeds, and
2) testing is going to eat into your cell phone data usage. Many cell phone plans come with unlimited mobile data, in which case this may not be a big deal. But others give you a monthly quota, after which they slow down, cut off, and/or charge you more. When you install the app, you'll be asked how much data to allow it to use within your monthly billing cycle, from 500 MB up to 10 GB.
- Sharing your data with the FCC is optional. If you just want to use the mobile app to see your connection speed, you can opt-out of sharing data and skip entering your name and email.
- The app does however require permission to access your location to run a test, even if you're not sharing the data. If this makes you nervous, there are other apps you can use to check your internet speed that don't ask for your location.
- The national mobile broadband map reports connection speeds outside. The FCC isn't particularly interested in how fast your cell phone data is inside your house, which of course is affected by all kinds of other things starting with how thick your walls are. You can use the app anywhere, but to submit data to the FCC make sure you step outside or go for a drive.
- Depending where you live, you may have noticed that internet speeds vary throughout the day. For example, when a lot of people stream video during prime time, individual speeds may go down. The FCC wants to know about that also. The app has an option to run tests periodically in the background. If you choose to enable this, it will still stay within the overall monthly cap you specified when installing the app.
Provide feedback on the fixed broadband map
The feedback the FCC wants on the fixed broadband map is a little different. Like the mobile app, they're interested in hearing if your internet speed is significantly different from what the ISPs report. But more fundamentally they're interested in whether the ISP service is actually available in practice. If you've tried to order service but the ISP never replied, or asked for an excessive installation fee, the FCC wants to know about that. They also want to know if your address is mislocated on the map, or in some cases missing completely!
To submit a challenge about the availability of service or the accuracy of a location, you essentially complete a web form. Click on the location on the map, and then either the ‘availability challenge' or ‘location challenge' links. For a preview of what that looks like, see this YouTube tutorial.
What about affordability?
We all know that ‘availability' only translates to ‘accessibility' if the service is affordable. For better or worse, the FCC national broadband map does not attempt to capture affordability. You can (and should) use the 'Availability Challenge' link to report if the installation fee for fixed broadband is excessive. However beyond that, the national map may not be the best place to register a complaint about broadband affordability.
Work with your community
While the FCC has made it easy to submit challenges to the map, that doesn't mean it will ask the ISPs to respond to every single submission. They need to see several challenges for the same area before they will aggregate them and ask the ISP to respond. So if you really feel the map needs to be reality-checked, encourage your neighbors and community to get involved. You will get feedback if your challenge is aggregated and sent to an ISP. Plus you never know, your efforts may just lead to an update on the map, with upgrades to infrastructure and service to follow!
- Author: Shane Feirer
Day 2 of the ESRI User Conference was filled with many technical workshops and time speakeing with the lead developers of the tools that IGIS utilize on almost a daily basis. In this post I will highlight some of the technical session I attended and what I saw and learned in the exhibition hall. It was a busy day and i am looking forward to what I learn tomorrow... Now to the highlights...
In the technical sessions I attended the following:
ArcGIS Insights: An Introduction
Before this session I did not know of the capabilities of this app. With app you can take tabular and spatial data and analyze the data in really intuitive ways and share the output and models with your colleagues and the public. For more information about ArcGIS Insights go to the following link.
Cartography Cutting Edge
This session highlighted some of the new symbology and vector tile formatting that can be used with the new map viewer. The methods used included layer special effects, layer blending, and the vector tile base map editor. Using the techniques in this session you could design a nice webmap, but that webmap could not be opened in ArcGIS Pro without pro stripping much of the formatting that you used in the session.
ArcGIS Pro Tasks: An Introduction
For the past several years, I keep thinking that IGIS should use Tasks to teach workshop workflow. This session walk through creating and configuring a basic editing task. I still see how this tool could and should be used in some of the IGIS Workshops.
ArcGIS Pro: Tips and Tricks
This was a nice technical sessionthat highlighted many tips and tricks. As part of this workshop the presenters shared a storymap they created to highlight their tips and tricks. Here is the storymap that they shared with the attendees, enjoy.
ArcGIS Field Maps: An Introduction and What's New
ArcGIS Field Maps continues to improve. Field Maps is ESRI effort to combine 5 separate apps (Collector, Survey 123, Explorer, Workforce, and Navigator) into one. To date they have added the functionality of the first three apps. They have integrated many new features into the app since last year. There is not enough room to discuss the new features. I will say that I am excited to integrate the new features into the IGIS Field Maps training.
Discussions with the Product Developers:
How to optimize multidimensional datasets for faster queries and rasters?
I have been having an issue querying merged netcdf and mosaic datasets of the yearly netcdf data. Both methods have been quite slow. The recommended way to optimize the querying of these data is to create a cloud raster format dataset from the mosaic dataset and that should drastically speed up the queryng of the multidimensional data.
ArcGIS Insights vs Dashboards?
I will have to play with the functionality of insights and see if it could replace dashboards in some of the IGIS use cases.
Sunsetting of Drone2Map?
In the past few months I have heard that ArcGIS Drone2Map is going to be phased out. I asked the developers of the app and they stated that there are no plans to phose out Drone2Map and they are continuing to develop and release new versions. The most recent version is Drone2map 2022.1.
- Author: Shane Feirer
This is the 42nd ESRI User Conference yet in some ways it felt like the first. This is the first in-person user conference since the COVID—19 outbreak after almost 2 and a half years. All in-person participants had to have proof of vaccination to attend, even with that requirement there are over 14,000 participants. I heard more than once that it was nice to be meeting again in person.
The tag line from ESRI this year is ‘GIS – Mapping Common Ground'. They are making the case that GIS will help us as a society meet/share data on Common Ground. This can be when addressing complex issues such as Climate Change, Conservation Planning, Urban Planning etc. All these activities need us all to meet on common ground and mapping helps with that. We heard about the development and use of Geospatial data from Deanne Criswell the Director of FEMA and California's Natural Resources Secretary - Wade Crowfoot Crowfoot and Nate Roth from the Department of Conservation's Chief Science and Data Advisor, they described the data and the tools created for the California 30x30 initiative these data will be available in a web app developed in concert with ESRI https://www.californianature.ca.gov/.
I the coming days I am looking forward to hearing about the new tools that ESRI have been developing. These tools include ArcGIS Insights, Spatial Analysis of Big Data, Knowledge Graphs, etc, I look forward to writing more about the advancements as the week progresses.