13 Ways Maps Make Your Life Infinitely Better

Esri UC is the biggest mapping and geogeek event of the year. Check out these cool sessions and discover how maps can change your life!

1. Helping Your Boss Understand (with Maps)

You know that feeling when your boss just doesn’t get it? The public works department in Oakland, California, has found a way around this tricky problem by using easy-to-read maps with ArcGIS that even your boss can understand.

2. Does Anybody Have a Rake?

DNAinfo/Jeff Mays / Via dnainfo.com

One of the biggest jobs after Hurricane Sandy was clearing away fallen trees and replanting new ones. For New York’s parks and rec department, restoring the city’s urban forests was made easier with ArcGIS mapping software. With intelligent maps the city could survey the impact of saltwater flooding and even decide where to prune trees to prevent future hazards. Take that, Sandy!

3. The 3D Forests of India

No, this isn’t a scene from Life of Pi. At the Indian Forest Service, Vinod Kumar and his team are using airborne LiDAR data (radar imagery using lasers) to better forestry management. They’ve even developed a method of identifying trees just by looking at the 3D imagery, no special glassed required.

4. Not Too Salty!

Hassan Rezaie-Boroon from California State University, Los Angeles is using maps to make sure the water in the Salinas de San Pedro salt marsh is just right—not to salty, with the correct pH, and has just a kick of phytoplankton. Yum.

5. Head for Higher Ground

Rolling up your pant legs isn’t enough to survive a tsunami. That’s why Jeanne Jones of the U.S. Geological Survey has created a modeling tool with ArcGIS to give emergency managers information they really need to evacuate communities during a tsunami.

6. Fighting Elephant Poaching in Zambia

Geoff Gallice / Via commons.wikimedia.org

In the breathtaking South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, wildlife conservationists are using GIS and remote sensing data to stop elephant poaching. At Esri UC, Michelle Kinzel from GIST3 will talk about how she mapped elephant movement within the park. By learning where elephants go, Michelle was able to coordinate mitigation efforts to combat poaching.

7. Not Just for Ninja Turtles

It turns out manholes aren’t just for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Darn. But on the plus side they help utility crews to get underground for maintenance to keep your precious electronic devices charged. At Esri UC learn how ComEd access the Chicago area’s 27,346 manholes and how a web-GIS powered by Esri is helping ComEd perform network analysis and determine efficient routes for assessments and repairs.

8. Where the Streets *Had No Names

Here’s a task: name all of the streets in city of one million inhabitants. Where would you even start? Cedric Umuhire of the City of Kigali in Rawanda has solved this big job with the help of ArcGIS. With raster data from aerial photos, parcels shape files, and collected field data, Cedric and his team were able to create an accurate database of street names and addresses.

9. Share Up Man!

In Tacoma, Washington, Hilltop Urban Gardens (a.k.a HUG) is making the neighborhood better one garden at a time. By practicing “food justice,” HUG is making healthy, neighborhood-grown produce accessible for everyone. With ArcGIS, organizers are developing a network of urban farms planted within parking strips and yards. They then perform 3D volumetric shadow analysis to identify planting areas with six or more hours of sunlight during the planting and growing season. Does the Northwest even get six hours of sunlight?!

10. Making Sure This Doesn’t Happen

Ash Nichols / Via autoweek.com

Con-way Freight operates more than 32,000 tractors and trailers across North America. Making sure the cargo reaches customers intact and on-time is an important part of their business. To help make sure trucks and cargo stay on course, Con-way uses Esri’s GeoTrigger Service which uses GPS coordinates and an operations dashboard to notify managers when trucks enter a defined area called a geofence.

11. The Thrilla in Manila

ArcGIS Time Machine, set destination for Manila, 1899! We’re going to find out where the Philippine-American War started. Okay, maybe not. But with historical maps, vector layers, and descriptive accounts, Ariel Blanco from the University of the Philippines was able to determine that the first shot of the Philippine-American War fired by Pvt. William W. Grayson, took place on Sociego Street in Manila, rather than the popularly believed San Juan Bridge. Who knew?!

12. The Blautopfhöhle—It’s Not What You Think

Andreas Kücha (ARGE Blautopf) / Via commons.wikimedia.org

The Blautopfhöhle, or “blue cave,” is a vast underwater cave in Germany’s Swabian Alps. The 3.5 mile-long cave system is still being explored by adventurous spelunkers and geologists. To help the exploration effort, Georg Dilk and Rainer Kettemann are using ArcGIS Online to map the cave. The collaborative crowdsourced map allows researchers and explorers to independently contributing data and maps. Wouldn’t want to get lost down there.

13. Why is My Internet Down?

Imagine working in the call center of India’s second largest telecom company during a service outage—“I’d like to take my lunch break now, please.” Actually, at Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., ArcGIS is being used to pinpoint where, when, and why internet service might be down. This helps customer service representatives explain to customers why their internet is down. Thank you for your patience.

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