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!

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

geoform

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!

Sledding Locator

Sledding and July don’t usually go together, but what better time to plan out the winter’s adventures? This is the quintessential example of an idea that took 6 months to mature and then a few hours to accomplish, thanks to the power of Web AppBuilder and Landscape Modeler.

Like all great solutions, I was trying to do something else (boring technical details redacted), but happened on the Landscape Modeler which had most of the needed architecture already in place. By wrapping the model into an application configured using Web AppBuilder, the Sledding Locator was created in a matter of hours.

Sledding Locator

This application leverages a weighted raster overlay (WRO) model that specifically targets northern-facing sloped areas with roads in the general vicinity. When combined with some of the other basemap layers, particularly imagery to see if it’s relatively open lands, users will be able to tell if it’s worth scouting out for sledding potential following a snow-storm!

Landscape Modeler

From the technical Esri documentation: Weighted overlay has three conceptual steps. First, each raster layer is assigned a weight, as a percentage, in the analysis. This allows you to emphasize the relative importance of each layer in the analysis. Second, values within each raster layer are mapped to a common suitability scale. This allows you to compare the different types of information in each raster layer. Third, all raster layers in the analysis are overlaid. Each raster cell’s suitability value is multiplied by its layer weight and totaled with the values of other raster cells it overlays. The result is a suitability value that is used for symbology in the output raster layer.

Two input rasters have been reclassified

A number of other handy tools are included in this mobile responsive application so users can add their own data, add map annotations (drawings and text), or share the application with their friends.

Check it out today and let us know if you have an idea that SymGEO can help you with, or send us pictures of awesome hills you’ve found with the app!

Waze Traffic in DC

Waze and Esri recently announced an expanded partnership, giving cities easier access to traffic conditions data and incident reports. Esri also has a traffic layer updated every 5 minutes, with road closure notices and other important information included. By combining these near real-time data sources with the marvels of modern technology, SymGEO is pleased to unveil the DC Traffic Dashboard.

Use the DC Traffic Dashboard to plan your commute, see what’s in store, or enjoy your day of telework that much more! Contact SymGEO for more info or for your own handy-dandy dashboard.

Downtown: Energize!

Picture this: a vibrant community, a bustling retail environment, actively engaged citizens – sounds pretty amazing, and a neighborhood you would like to live in, am I right? Studies have shown that community engagement and business development are key ingredients for a successful neighborhood. Rapid advancements in technology have made it easier than ever to engage with your citizens and neighbors, and to create a real sense of ownership and responsibility for the direction of the community. To illustrate this point, SymGEO has put together a Downtown: Energize! initiative using ArcGIS Hub technology.

The site has garnered critical acclaim from residents and business owners, and has been featured in several newspaper publications. It also show-cases a commercial real-estate management system that is perfect for keeping track of who is located where and what is coming soon.

Downtown: Energize! literally has something for everyone, including:

  • An idea section for the community to voice what type of retail they would like to see, powered by Survey123.

  • Word-clouds generated from community surveys into the types of retail that are needed

  • An opportunity locator section to highlight available commercial properties, powered by GeoForms and Web AppBuilder 

  • A look at existing retail in the neighborhood

cornerstone retail

  • Lots of great neighborhood data from DataUSA

Data USA

3d energize

  • Links to upcoming neighborhood events to give that hyper-local flavor

community events

Of course, everything is fully mobile responsive using modern Esri web architecture, so you can be sure that your community can access and interactive with the site – wherever and whenever.

If your community is ready to get started with Downtown: Energize!, let us know as SymGEO is here to help!

ArcGIS Hub-Ready

The world is awash with data and mapping applications, so how does one go about organizing them into meaningful, searchable components? Esri’s new ArcGIS Hub initiative is designed to organize people, processes, and technology to meet those needs. This technology gives context and purpose to data, and provides an excellent two-way engagement platform to connect departments and stakeholders.

Using this mobile-responsive framework, SymGEO has built our own SymGEO Hub, and populated it with examples and branding from our main website.

ArcGIS Hub

If your organization is ready to get started with ArcGIS Hub, SymGEO is here to help!

Data Collection

Specialized data sets that answer a focused need can be difficult or impossible to find, and sometimes the data set you need simply doesn’t exist. Maybe you need locations showing the availability of fresh food in your neighborhood, or want to know the location and condition of utility boxes, or the occurrence of garage sales. Fortunately, a number of configurable data collection products are available from Esri to help.

The first question to answer is: will you be able to tap into crowd-sourced power to populate the data set? If so, a publicly accessible web link is the way to go. Esri has introduced GeoForms, which allows any user to enter in the attribute information and location of the data when set to public. Alternatively, the permissions can be set so that just a specific group or user within your organization can access the forms.

This configurable application is mobile responsive, so fits very well onto a phone, where you can leverage the on-board camera to collect pictures at the same time.

Another branch of data collection technology is Collector, which allows both connected and disconnected editing by named users. This may be useful in environments without access to mobile data or wi-fi, such as those following a disaster or storm event. These native applications are available for Android, iOS and Windows, and sync to data stored in ArcGIS Online or within an enterprise GIS when back in a connected environment.

If you’d like some help getting set up for mobile data collection, SymGEO is here to find you the perfect fit!

Workflow Automation

I admit, I resisted for years. Workflow automation seemed like too much work to set up, and I always argued that my spatial data challenges were mostly one-off unique situations that weren’t conducive to setting up a workflow. Until one recent day I saw the light… and I blame California.

Perhaps you remember our work to incorporate near real-time remote sensing into crop drought monitoring? Well, it turns out that to keep an application like that up to date, the same process is needed time and again, and so the need for data automation was born into the world of SymGEO. Through automation, data layers and attribute fields are always named the same, and features can be over-written without fear of “something breaking” deep within a configurable application. There is also the added benefit of incorporating the usual workarounds that go into regular behind-the-scenes geospatial work such as calculating areas as acreage, or converting grid values into meaningful text. This saves countless hours of frustration and memory searching down the road when trying to repeat a process.

Needless to say, this does cause a model to expand once all the pieces are bolted on, but Esri’s ModelBuilder allows the easy configuration (and re-configuration) of the model until all works as designed.

workflow automation

This model has been run many times to make sure all products worked as expected, especially during initial configuration. However, the time savings was considerable with workflow automation given the number of steps involved and the dependency on intermediate layers. In hindsight, it seems to be the finding and configuring of the tools that takes time, not the actual running of the tool.

model processing

These work products were used to produce and optimize the Crop Drought Status dashboard, which is now ultra-responsive and designed for use at the county-level.

crop drought status dashboard

If you’d like a second pair of eyes on your data workflow, let us know, as SymGEO is ready to automate with ModelBuilder!

Manage Your Workforce

Do you have a mobile workforce in charge of inspecting, maintaining or interacting with assets? Watering trees, inspecting signs, putting up flyers, or targeted fundraising activities? If so, there is a new technology from Esri called Workforce that has your name all over it.

Beginning with asset data hosted in ArcGIS Online, a series of filters and queries can be used to determine which assets need to be assigned to your workforce. These might be assets over a certain age due for inspection, or locations where an issue has been reported. Assignments are made to named individuals in your ArcGIS organization, and contain information including location, priority level and due dates.

workforce project

The assignments are then pushed to the mobile devices of your workforce, where they accept, navigate to, and complete the assignments. This may entail entering in notes, or taking pictures, and updating the assignment status. This information is sent back to the centralized cloud-based ArcGIS Online database in near real-time in a connected environment, or upon data synchronization if out of cell / wi-fi range.

workforce phones

Back in the office, the workforce administrator can use the information to check worker progress, see current worker status and location, and re-allocate resources if needed. The information is easily aggregated and displayed using a dashboard or configurable web application.

If you’d like a hand getting set up, let us know, and SymGEO will put Workforce to work for you!

Crop Drought Status in California

SymGEO is pleased to share a glimpse into what’s possible using near-real time satellite sensor data and the power of GIS to produce a Crop Drought Status dashboard. In this example, we have used vegetation drought status and intersected it with crop data for a county in California to determine which crop types and how many acres are at risk. The vegetation drought data is available on a weekly basis nation-wide at relatively fine granularity with approximately a one week production lag-time, so it provides a very current glimpse into the on-the-ground situation.

Crop Drought Status in California dashboard

This information could be used by farmers or irrigation districts for the planned allocation and distribution of water resources, leading to better decision for our agricultural industry. It could also provide insight into crop prices or forecast yields based on existing or modeled conditions.

The data was processed in ArcGIS Pro to convert the satellite data into usable classifications and then intersect the drought conditions with the crop type data. Be sure to learn more about how the processing was automated using Model Builder! Once processed and symbolized, the data was then published and hosted in ArcGIS online, from which the dashboard was constructed. Charts and numerical summaries update interactively based on the map window extents, and the two map views are synchronized to allow side-by-side comparison.

Check out the Crop Drought Status dashboard today and let us know what you think!