November News 2018

At SymGEO, we love our dashboards! What better way to present interactive and actionable data, styled to perfection and updated in near real-time? This month we thought we’d take a look at some of the dashboards that we’ve configured over the past year, as the technology has been improving rapidly!

The newest member of our dashboard family was created for the World Bank to help analyze the rail network in Croatia. What started as a number of spreadsheets and a dream, turned into a fully interactive site that will help Croatia identify risk and prioritize upgrades to their network.

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Keeping track of hundreds of commercial properties and identifying retail opportunities through gap analysis is fun and easy with configurable dashboards.

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Incorporating remotely-sensed drought information is key to informed water use and allocation decisions in arid areas of the country. Help your district save time, money, and natural resources!

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Integrating data from a number of sources such as IRS, Census, Esri, and others allows beautiful visualizations of neighborhood demographics and statistics.

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Check out a selection of our dashboards here, or contact SymGEO with project ideas.

From all of us at SymGEO, enjoy the holiday season!

Croatian Rail Network

SymGEO is pleased to announce the completion of a project with The World Bank Group that enables valuable interactive insight into the rail transportation system in Croatia. This project started with a series of excel files that detailed rail segment speed, passenger numbers, freight volumes, age of track, and other characteristics.

croatia excel file

SymGEO then used a schematic diagram of the network to build and calibrate a spatially accurate network based on OpenStreetMap rail data and linear referencing of station locations.

croatia network diagram

This newly created spatial data was then hosted in ArcGIS Online and used to configure an Operations Dashboard application. This application was specifically designed to filter and query the data interactively on demand and present summary statistics based on complex queries. This combination of attribute queries, summary statistics, and visual representation now enables report graphics and key decision data to be created on-the-fly by the client.

“This is superb and exactly what the client needed and what I was imagining.”

– World Bank client

If you have complex transportation network data that you’d like to leverage with an intuitive, user-friendly, configurable application, then SymGEO would love to hear from you!

SymGEO Hub in the News

This month we were honored to have Downtown: Energize! featured in two local papers. There has been tremendous energy and enthusiasm swirling around this flagship project from SymGEO, and the technology continues to improve with every update.

lakelands newspaper

Downtown: Energize! features many different components of the ArcGIS technology suite, including Survey123, GeoForm / Collector, Operations Dashboard, Web AppBuilder for the retail locator, and a web scene that uses CityEngine textured models derived from building footprints and Lidar information processed in ArcGIS Pro. These components are then hosted in ArcGIS Online and leveraged using ArcGIS Hub technology.

downtown energize banner

Two local development boards, the Kentlands Downtown Working Group (KDWG) and the One Main Street Initiative (OMSI), took an excited interest in Downtown: Energize! and have commissioned complimentary sites to be built using Hub technology. The commercial real-estate management of the site is especially useful in a fast-paced environment!

kentlands newspaper

“The KDWG was commissioned by the Kentlands board to provide accurate and timely information on the various development efforts going on with our downtown so residents can be better informed and take a more active role in improving our community. We chose the Downtown: Energize! platform developed by SymGEO with its innovative digital mapping because it helps do exactly that.”

– John Ingrassia, Chair, Kentlands Downtown Working Group

“A great commercial district is a huge amenity for our community. Downtown: Energize! is a great digital tool for helping the community achieve the vision for our commercial district. Not only will it help us engage the community to provide flexible two-way dialogue, but it will help us by mapping opportunities where businesses can expand and thrive. This innovative platform will allow us to easily update data, access data and provide data well beyond our community, which provides outreach to businesses looking to expand. Additionally, it is a fun way to empower consumers looking for a place to spend their precious free time to engage with this easy to use tool whether at home or mobile. Working with Kevin at SymGEO has been an amazing experience. He and his team are bringing tremendous innovations and ideas to our team at The One Mainstreet Initiative.”

– Neil Burka, Chair, One Main Street Initiative

“I was so excited when SymGEO came to us with this idea. As a local real estate agent and resident who is deeply engaged in the community, I understand on a personal level how important this spatial data is to get the community engaged and onboard with what’s happening. This platform will make it easy to access the data – especially for folks who, like me, are more visual.”

– Sheena Saydam, Realtor, Keller Williams Capital Properties, Member, Kentlands Downtown Working Group

“Downtown: Energize! as created by Kevin McMaster using the SymGEO platform, is an innovative digital tool that provides mapping of business locations to potential and existing customers in a format that is fun, easy to use, and flexible enough to accept updates and even track current events. It’s a win-win for our community by empowering residents to engage with our local businesses and to energize our downtown!”

– Ingrid L. Fraley, Local Business Owner – Design Services, Inc.

kentlands 3d

If you’d like to join the party with a Downtown: Energize! initiative, let us know as SymGEO is here to help!

September News 2018

September seemed to be the month of the hurricane with Florence churning its way towards the Carolina coast. Fortunately the GIS community is always prepared and ready to help on the digital front!

esri hurricane gallery

The hurricane program at Esri is an impressive collection of data, sample applications, community-based efforts, and ideas for future development.

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SymGEO used Esri Living Atlas content to produce a mobile-responsive Hurricane Tracker application showing the forecast path of the hurricane.

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FEMA’s Hurricane Incident Journal provides relevant spatial decision-making support for FEMA leadership and a view into federal information available to the general public.

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The National Alliance for Public Safety (NAPSG) and GISCorps sprang into action to produce an insightful crowd-sourced photo application to document damage and help direct relief efforts.

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Have an idea for a project? Shoot us an email with project ideas or requirements as we’re here to help, and enjoy the fall season!

Hurricane Tracker

With Hurricane Florence rapidly approaching the Carolinas, the scale and power of the storm was truly terrifying. From eye of the hurricane video, provided by the NOAA Hurricane Hunter (9 second mark below), to overhead imagery from NOAA showing the churning vortex, it was only a matter of time before the devastating effects of the hurricane would be felt.



Armed with Esri technology and the thirst for knowledge, SymGEO explored the Living Atlas of the World data sets until we found The National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD).

“The NDFD was designed to provide access to weather forecasts in digital form from a central location. The NDFD produces gridded forecasts of sensible weather elements. NDFD contains a seamless mosaic of digital forecasts from National Weather Service (NWS) field offices working in collaboration with the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). All of these organizations are under the administration of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Wind Gust is the maximum 3-second wind speed (in knots) forecast to occur within a 2-minute interval at a height of 10 meters. Wind gust forecasts are valid at the top of the indicated hour. This feed consumes NDFD’s files and calculates the amount of forecast wind gust for the next 72 hours.”

– from NDFD metadata

This information was explored in ArcGIS Online and showed the scale and timing of the expected hurricane landfall.

animated hurricane data

Finally, this data was wrapped in a time-aware, mobile responsive template in ArcGIS Online and tested to make sure it was pulling current data.

hurricane tracker phone

Check out the Hurricane Tracker today and let us know if you have an idea that SymGEO can help you with!

August News 2018

August was an exciting month at SymGEO, including commercial real estate management, Enterprise Server configuration, and even a little data processing thrown in. Read on for details!

commercial property management

Keeping track of who is where, what’s coming soon, and when leases are ending can be quite a challenge when hundreds (or thousands!) of properties are involved. Fortunately, GIS is perfectly suited to this task.

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Publishing, organizing, and making data accessible on the web can be tricky business in an ever-changing technical landscape. If you’re ready to set up EnterpriseServer, or Portal, let us know as our highly trained technical staff is here to help.

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Ever wonder how much land area there is in DC by zoning type? Well, wonder no more, as we sliced and diced the data, and created the DC Land Area Explorer by Zoning Type.

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Have an idea for a project? Contact SymGEO with project requirements as we’re here to help, and enjoy back-to-school season!

Land Area by Zoning

Ever wonder how much land area there is in DC by zoning district or specific zone? Well, wonder no more, as we sliced and diced the data, and created the DC Land Area Explorer by Zoning Type. This application leverages Esri‘s new select by chart category functionality in operations dashboard. Data is kindly provided by our friends at DC Office of Zoning (DCOZ),  the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), and a fabulous basemap by OCTO’s DCGIS team.

Users can select zoning categories or specific zones by clicking on the bars in the charts. This will update the total recorded land area calculation to just the selected zone(s). Alternatively, for really detailed analysis, zooming into the map and using the “select” tool in the map window allows the selection by zoning district, specific zone, or even property boundaries.

Take a look at the DC Land Area Explorer by Zoning Type, and if you have data you’d like sliced, diced, sauteed or… you know who to contact!

Server, Portal and Enterprise

Publishing, organizing, and making data accessible on the web can be tricky business in an ever-changing technical landscape. Not surprisingly, there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution due to the number of infrastructure variables involved in setting up your own data server.

ArcGIS Enterprise, a relatively new product offering from Esri, is designed to help streamline the process and provide maximum flexibility on deployment scenarios. Enterprise is a full-featured mapping and analytics platform that includes a powerful GIS server, plus dedicated web-based GIS infrastructure to organize and share your work.


Enterprise includes:

  • An enterprise GIS portal for organizing and sharing GIS assets.
  • A data store for secure storage and fast access to maps and data.
  • Optional GIS capabilities for real-time imagery and large data processing.
  • Even more capabilities when you opt for GIS server extensions.
  • An enterprise geodatabase, the ultimate in geodata storage and management.

Esri offers a number of solution components that are ready to be implemented; both in the cloud through Amazon Web Service (AWS) or Microsoft Azure, or on premise using your own server.

AWS enterprise AMI

Based on our testing, the most easily accessible implementation is achieved using the Builder solution. However, even that implementation has a few tricky steps that involved manually configuring web adapters, setting bindings, web context URLs, and static public IP addresses.

enterprise builder

Fortunately, when it does error out, the error messages are usually quite specific and pointed us in the right direction.

portal registration error

There is also a very active internet community ready to jump in and help on this topic. When all else fails, Esri tech support is the most patient, educational crew around based on our experience of several hours of configuration trouble-shooting.

Once Enterprise is successfully installed, user groups, permissions, logins and account set up is relatively easy. This allows each user the required level of access, and complete control over the branding and visibility of your data.

If you’re ready to set up Enterprise, Server, or Portal, let SymGEO know as our highly trained technical staff are here to help.

Commercial Property Management

Keeping track of who is where, what’s coming soon, square footage available, and when leases are ending can be quite a challenge when hundreds (or thousands!) of properties are involved. Fortunately, GIS is perfectly suited to this task of commercial property management, as it combines space, time, attributes and symbology into one cohesive picture.

For the Kentlands community in Gaithersburg, MD, ArcGIS Online data was used to power an initiative called Downtown: Energize!, that has garnered critical acclaim from residents and business owners alike. This Hub site designed to explore existing retail, gather community ideas, and identify opportunities for commercial business. With almost a hundred commercial properties involved, including several large commercial parcels, the data came in the usual assortment of formats (pdf, GIS, field collection). However, the end result was a cohesive framework designed to be updated and informed by the community it serves through a crowd-sourced GeoForm application.

data updater


Searching by business name was enabled through a configurable application that is embedded into the Hub site. There is also active development and building reconfiguration occurring in this area, as shown below with the current buildings overlaid on last year’s imagery. This solution provides a one-stop shop for information about current commercial businesses in the area, and a common platform for the community to use.

If your community is ready to get started with a Downtown: Energize! initiative or your business would like to use GIS as a property management tool, let us know as SymGEO is here to help!

July News 2018

Time flies when you’re having fun! From sledding to traffic to wetlands, SymGEO was all over the map in July – read on for details.

sledding locator

This month our thoughts turned to sledding (nobody knows why, and we’re not supposed to ask), resulting in a first-of-its-kind optimal sledding locator application. Harnessing the power of suitability modeling and Web AppBuilder, we are now ready for winter.

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From there, we were excited by the new expanded partnership announced between Waze and Esri, so we immediately jumped on the bandwagon and built the DC Traffic Dashboard. Plan your route, ready the audio-books, and get to your happy place!

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wetland remote sensing

Then, in a nod to experts out-standing in their field, we wanted to give wetland delineators something to think about – the remote sensing of wetlands as a cost-effective solution to a traditionally labor-intensive process. Lots of promise, and lots of fun with our friends at the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

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Have an idea for a project? Contact SymGEO with project requirements as we’re here to help, and enjoy the rest of summer!