Looking back on the Getting Ready for Next Generation 911 education sessions

The MSGIC-sponsored URISA training sessions entitled ‘NG9-1-1 and the GIS Workflow’ were held on November 29th and 30th in Frederick and Crownsville, respectively. Both sessions were lively and very well attended. The Frederick session was attended by over 35 people and the Crownsville session was a full house. Sandi Martin organized the training sessions, which featured presenters Sandi Stroud (Michael Baker International), Peter Hannah (Baltimore City) and Lynda Warthen (Frederick County).


These sessions were attended by a diverse group of professionals; public safety professionals, GIS professionals and municipal executives. After covering background information about legacy 9-1-1, the training focused on the key GIS workflows that will be required for successful migration to Next Generation 9-1-1. Clear examples were provided of typical challenges that are encountered with preparing GIS data for Next Generation 9-1-1. Attendees left the training session with an ordered list of actionable items that they could use to begin the process of organizing the stakeholders within their own organization and assessing their GIS data for Next Generation 9-1-1 readiness.

NG911 education session

Not only were the training events informative, they provided an important opportunity for the diverse groups of professionals in attendance to engage on the issues surrounding Next Generation 9-1-1. Everyone in attendance took something of value away from the training. For some attendees, the events served as their entry point into the discussion of Next Generation 9-1-1. For others, the events were an opportunity to connect with neighboring jurisdictions and begin the kind of regional cooperation that will be required moving forward. It became very obvious to all in attendance that success with the migration to NG911 can only be achieved through collaboration between all stakeholders.

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Next Steps on Next Generation 9-1-1

In some systems we accept faults, but when it comes to safety we expect perfection. In Baltimore last month, officials met to discuss how our emergency 9-1-1 system could be upgraded along side our rapidly growing technology, in the pursuit of that ideal. Part of this includes using GIS to accurately locate a caller in need. Here is an article reporting on Maryland’s round table discussion about Next Generation 9-1-1, which took place in September.



County Emergency Managers, Public Safety Answering Point Directors, and Public Safety GIS staff meet in Baltimore to set shared priorities and challenges for Next Generation 9-1-1 implementation in Maryland.  

On September 23, Emergency Managers, Public Safety Answering Point Directors, and Public Safety GIS staff from across Maryland gathered for a Round Table on Next Generation 9-1-1.

The event featured local, state, and national experts, each of whom spoke about the best practices, challenges, and implementation of Next Generation 9-1-1. MACo’s Emergency Manager’s affiliate and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council hosted the event in Baltimore.

Next Generation 9-1-1 issues are of top concern for county governments that are seeking to improve and enhance their handling of 9-1-1 calls from cell phone users with technology that will increase response times, location accuracy, and allow text, photo, and video data to be shared by callers to First Responders on their way to the emergency.

Implementation of new geographic information systems and other updates will come at a cost, however, and counties are seeking the most cost effective implementation through statewide and regional collaboration.


Scott Roper, Executive Director of the Emergency Number Systems Board speaks with attendees at the Next Generation 9-1-1 Round Table.

From the Round Table:

  • Trey Fogerty, Director of Government Affairs of the National Emergency Numbers Association, spoke about issues with cyber security and reliability of current 9-1-1 systems, as well as opportunities for improvement with Next Generation 9-1-1 systems. Fogerty also pointed out that Next Generation 9-1-1 is necessary because there are significant gaps between the data that can be sent via cellphone over data networks and the information most emergency call centers are capable of receiving.
  • Steve Souder, Director Fairfax County Dept. of 9-1-1 / Public Safety Communications, discussed the importance of accurate GIS mapping for the successful implementation of Next Generation 9-1-1. Souder stressed that GIS is of utmost importance to Next Generation 9-1-1 because it will be the lone utility that determines where a call was made from and where it will be routed.
  • Scott Roper, Executive Director of the Maryland Emergency Number Systems Board, spoke about the challenges of federal regulation for Next Generation 9-1-1. Roper also discussed the importance of collaboration between local government officials and wireless telephone carriers, especially in the event of a system failure.
  • Dave Sehnert, Senior Consultant, Mission Critical Partners and Lori Stone, Region III Lead, FirstNet, spoke about the technological capabilities of Next Generation 9-1-1, along with a potential increase in staff required to implement new technologies associated with the platform.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for updates on the work of MACo’s Emergency Management Affiliate on this subject, and programming on this topic at the MACo Winter Conference.


Published with the permission of : Maryland Association of Counties


Originally Published:
September, 2016
MaCO Blog
Written by Kevin Klase

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Posted in Events


Whether you are completely new to GIS or you have been working with the software for years, ESRI is the place to go for ArcGIS training.  ESRI offers training for all academic levels including new users, students, GIS managers, data editors, GIS analysts, map designers, GIS technical leads, GIS application developers, or anyone else interested in learning about GIS.  The best news is that they now offer FREE TRAINING.  You can sharpen your skills or learn a new skill altogether by completely one of their many forms of training.  ESRI offers web courses, instructor-led training seminars, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), teacher resources including GeoInquiries and SpatiaLABS, as well as others.

ESRI President, Jack Dangermond said that “ESRI encourages lifelong learning,” and the new training website that went online this summer provides an easy way to learn more about GIS.  Many resources on the website are free to everyone, all you have to do is login with your ESRI account.  Others are for individuals who have, or are members of an organization that has an ESRI qualifying product with a current maintenance subscription.

To find training that fits your needs search the catalog and register for an instructor-led class or learn at your own pace with e-Learning.  Then manage your learning activity to see your upcoming classes and seminars.  You can also view your training history and certificates, as well as manage your training wish list.  This new training site makes it easy to learn valuable skills for FREE.  Find your next training at ESRI’s website here.  There’s so much to learn, so go check it out!

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Pokémon Go, Ingress, and the New Evolution of Geographic Gaming

As it often happens on a summer afternoon, you may find yourself going for a stroll in the park just to enjoy the scenery and sunshine. As you approach the fountain, you see a group of people standing around and looking down at their phones. Though they are in a tight group, none of them are communicating with each other.

Chances are you’ve just found your local Pokémon Go players. The new app sensation is modeled after earlier versions of Augmented Reality Gaming, meaning players must participate in real life outside of their chosen gaming platform (this time, it’s smartphones). For Pokémon Go, players are encouraged to explore their surroundings to find and catch Pokémon. In the game, and in your town, certain places were determined to be important enough to become Pokéstops or Gyms. These are locations where players go to gather special items or fight each other. So how does a giant international phenomenon put your small park’s fountain on the map?


Augmented/Alternate Reality Games (ARGs)

In 2012, a small startup under Google called Niantic Inc. created an app called Ingress. Ingress was a SciFi game that you could play by invite only. But if you weren’t invited, don’t feel too disappointed. Ingress was plagued with bugs and server problems, the same problems that Pokémon Go had during it’s launch but quickly fixed. Players for the game Ingress carefully cataloged interesting locations with coordinates and pictures. These are mostly churches and statues in rural areas, but could also be murals, historical markers, or anything special to the locals. Most importantly, the sites could not be businesses, residences, or anywhere that isn’t pedestrian friendly.


 ”Ingress players also provided Niantic with locations which they thought would be excellent portals, with 15 million worldwide submissions in all. Five million were approved, with some portals located at the North Pole and Antarctica. This data helped Niantic get things rolling with Pokémon Go. The most popular Ingress portals are now gyms while other locations are Pokéstops.”

- John Hanke – CEO and founder of Niantic |  Mashable


Crowd Sourced Maps

Since locations are not commercial (yet) and are more often historical landmarks, there have been reports of inappropriate Pokémon Go activity in public spaces. The Arlington National Cemetery, for example, is not the ideal place for players to celebrate their latest catch. Also, certain Pokémon are coded to show up in specific areas, often leading players to unfamiliar streets and private property. Though the criteria for Pokéstops is improving, submissions are currently suspended so that Niantic can deal with the huge backlog.  Of course, crowd-sourced maps come with their own strengths. Using the public to build a comprehensive map with varied locations saves time and money, and who knows an area’s quirky places better than the locals? But there are also weaknesses. Using this method of data collection risks using data points that don’t meet the creator’s standards.

 PokeGo_Pentagon Gym

I would leave this one alone, but that’s just me - Twitter


Evolution of Geographic Games

In playing the game, I find myself heading to the bay to catch more water type Pokémon for my team. On weekends I’m hitting different towns around the eastern shore; Easton, Oxford, St. Michaels, Cambridge, Ocean City etc. But I also find myself in the smaller, more distant towns, looking for easy gyms to take over. I’ve found a mural in my hometown that I’d never noticed before. Of course, there are often groups to be found around the Salisbury University campus, as playing in a team makes you stronger. It reminds me of the days when geocaching was the major mapping game. In those days I would use my GPS to search for secret locations with treasure caches. However, both geocaching and Pokémon Go-ing have been advertised as community activities that I more often find myself trekking solo. Maybe that’s the strength of Geo-games, encouraging us to go out and explore.






Arlington National Cemetery Wants People to Stop Catching Pikachu on it’s Hallowed Ground – Washington Post

Massive Crowd at Santa Monica Pier Playing Pokemon Go – NBC LA

Crowd Sourced  (Third Party) Maps – PC World

Australian Police Station Has a Pokemon Problem – The Verge

Interesting Pokemon and DC Demographic Map Crossover – Washingtonian 

Ingress Site Criteria – Ingress

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GIS Blunts Winter’s Threat in Maryland – County Tracks Snow Operations in Real Time

If you’ve been following weather forecasts, this August is gearing up to be one of the warmest on record in Maryland. Though you may have some sunburn from your summer activities, (sunscreen is an everyday essential at this point) it’s best to appreciate summer before it’s gone. I for one would take beach traffic on my commute over dangerous icy roads any day. To remind you of cooler thoughts, here is an article about GIS being used to dispatch snow plows from ESRI.



Prince George’s County, Maryland, bustles with traffic. It’s no wonder, being home to nearly 900,000 people, government facilities such as Joint Base Andrews, and major football and shopping venues. Many residents commute to jobs in nearby Washington, DC on weekdays, and on weekends, they drive to FedEx Field to see an NFL game or the National Harbor complex to shop.

But during a snowstorm, commuter and other traffic can grind to a halt. Plows need to quickly get onto the county roadways to clear the hardest-hit areas. That’s where GIS comes in.

Real-time data about snow and road conditions is fed into Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS

To speed up the process of coordinating where to send snowplows and salting trucks, the county’s Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T) teamed with Esri and the consulting firm Whitney Bailey Cox & Magnani (WBCM) to set up a real-time, GIS-based snow operations monitoring system. The team implemented a system that uses ArcGIS Online, Collector for ArcGIS and Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS. The system reports observations from snow inspectors in real time and helps supervisors coordinate deployment of snow-clearing crews.

“[In the past], DPW&T snowplow inspectors would drive around their districts documenting snow conditions on a spreadsheet, which they would submit to the county’s Emergency Operations Center when they returned to their district offices,” said Patrick Callahan, GIS manager at the Prince George’s County Office of Information and Technology. “Now, they are able to capture real-time snow condition information in the field with just a couple of clicks on a tablet, even sending pictures that document issues. This information is sent immediately to the Emergency Operations Center to give decision makers a great picture of the conditions so they can target areas with the most need.”

A Big Job

The county manages 2,000 miles of county roads, a network divided into five districts. When it snows, 25 inspectors (five per district) report the conditions along the entire road network so that snow operations managers can coordinate snow removal. A map of all five districts appears on the dashboard, giving snow operations managers the information and view they need to prioritize and direct snow removal.

Inspectors in each district drive through their jurisdictions and report on snow conditions using Android tablets loaded with Collector for ArcGIS, a simple, form-based mapping app (Collector for ArcGIS is also available for iOS and Windows). They observe and report the road conditions before and after salting or plowing.

“After inspectors hit ‘send’ [in the app], those records instantly get translated into symbology in the spatial context of the route and district,” said Callahan. “If a road needed salt or plowing treatment, it would be marked with a solid triangle. Passable roads with one lane open would get marked with a pink square. A green circle indicates ‘all clear curb to curb.’ ”

Plows in Prince George's County wait to be dispatched.
Plows in Prince George’s County wait to be dispatched.

A True Common Operating Picture

Each district crew can only see its own road condition feature layer on the map in the dashboard, but all district crews can view emergencies in the emergency layer, such as downed power lines and traffic accidents, since those issues can affect neighboring districts. The dashboard’s map displays snowplow routes and color-coded symbols to denote closed, passable, and clear roads; accidents; and where trees and wires are down.

To avoid cluttering the map, data older than 12 hours is filtered out. The team that created the new system also added a widget on top of the dashboard that shows the newest data.

Instantly translating data from Collector for ArcGIS into map layers within the dashboard gave the county the ability to respond to snow emergencies faster than ever before. Snow operations managers can now see updated conditions on maps within clearly labeled, numbered routes. They can prioritize where to dispatch plows and keep the database updated entirely via the map. The new process gave the county a live common operating picture, hugely eclipsing the old analog method in efficiency and awareness of overall road conditions.

“Imagine seeing the map gradually change from a field of solid triangles to hollow triangles to, eventually, all green circles,” said Beth Schrayshuen, an engineer for WBCM and a project manager on the team. “The county couldn’t even come close to that before with the old system.”

Schrayshuen was impressed with what Esri technology brought to the new snow removal monitoring system.

“I’m not a GIS professional at all,” said Schrayshuen, who currently works for EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc. “I’m just an engineer by trade, but I really really appreciate what ArcGIS Online does. Pairing a simple field app with a dashboard that displays live data from the inspectors at the scene is a great example of what it can do in any county or municipal operation.”

Adding extra sizzle to the system: the inspectors’ ability to snap pictures of road conditions, which display as clickable orange stars on the map. The pictures serve as empirical proof in case of a mistake in data entry within the app. “Staff love the option of clicking the photograph to verify the road conditions,” Schrayshuen said.

Expanding the Use of Collector for ArcGIS

Collector for ArcGIS worked so well for snow removal operations that the county now uses the app in other departments. The fire department now uses the app to keep track of where it distributes free smoke alarms. Plans are also under way for field staff from the Department of Environmental Resources to use the app to inventory and assess the condition of storm water drainage channels throughout the county.

The Department of Public Works and Transportation acknowledges the following individuals as being key to the successful launch of the real-time snow monitoring system: Darrell Mobley, director of the Department of Public Works and Transportation; Liz Miller, chief of engineering for Department of Public Works; Muralidaran Karuppiah, Claude Hendje, Teddy Hailegeberel, and Patrick Callahan from the Office of Information and Technology; and Marla Johnson, GIS professional, formerly of WBCM.


Published with the permission of ESRI ArcWatch


Originally Published:
February, 2016
ESRI Newsletter
Written by Matthew DeMerritt

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Posted in Data, News

The Grave-Site Map – A Presentation at The Robbins Heritage Center

Given a map of your area, could you indicate where the historical family plots, churchyards, and cemeteries reside? MSGIC’s very own Ashley Samonisky could, with her comprehensive map of grave-sites in Dorchester County. After over six months of data collection in the field, she presented her findings at the Robbins Heritage Center in Cambridge this week.


[Samonisky explains her process in a presentation to the Heritage Center, peers from the University, and local news]

The project began when she was inspired by her grandmother to research her own family history. Starting with local records, and using a combination of USGS markers and GPS, she began to document the locations of grave-sites in the county. However, this proved to be a much larger challenge, since many of the previously recorded sites were grown over, worn down, or in flood zones.

 “With an interest in genealogy learned from my grandmother and a lifelong interest in photographing these beautiful, serene places of rest and remembrance, sharing this passion was the next logical step.”   
- DorchesterGraves.com

As a Salisbury University geography major, Samonisky recruited a team to help her with her growing project. Through her website, she has collected tips from locals about previously undocumented sites and crosschecked them with google earth. From there, she and her team would travel to the site with their cameras in search of grave markers.

But Ashley would advise caution to future geographers in search of family gravesites. The loose ground and overgrowth is potentially dangerous, and many of the graves are on private property.

The result? A map with single points representing all of the grave-sites in Dorchester County. The map, which can be found here, also has a layer of flood model information which projects areas that will be underwater by 2100. This leaves over 109 graves in the water. In fact, her website has a collection of photos from current grave-sites that are slowly being washed into the bay.


[A beautiful paper map, but the interactive version can be found online]

But she isn’t finished yet. Her goals in the future are to use ground penetration radar to confirm suspected sites without proper markings. If interest continues to grow on the site, perhaps we will see a radar layer added to the map.

Data collection resumes in July.


The event at the Robbins Center was covered by WBOC local news. See their footage here.

More information can be found at dorchestergraves.com

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The National Address Database: It’s time to “Just do it!”

The National Address Database (NAD) represents a single database containing address information for every residential and non-residential structure and interior unit, and optimally, for every point of ingress to real property. Providing accurate address data in a centralized open data portal will benefit nearly every aspect of government service, consistently improve the delivery of services, and spur innovation in the public and private sectors. Advanced technologies make the NAD possible today.

The necessity for an open NAD is real and present. Last October, the National States Geographic Information Council summarized the need and proposed steps to build Address Points for the Nation, based on information contained in the final National Address Database Summit Report from the April 2015 NAD Summit in Linthicum, Maryland.

Emphasizing the summit’s pervasive “just do it” attitude, there exists a catalyst to begin building the NAD point layer while deliberation continues over the form and function of address attributes.  The ideology of address attribution is secondary to the primary need for creating a point layer denoting the physical location of building structures and ingress points. A point layer has instant value and directly begs for greater applications. Construct this foundational layer and addressing will surely follow.

Originating from existing datasets

An iterative NAD system that progressively integrates additional addressing capability and complexity begins with a database of existing building structure points and ingress points/lines to provide fundamental common elements that generate immediate benefit and usage. Advanced technologies exist to create temporal baselines of existing local and independent databases, and to extract features for building structures and points of ingress in void areas such as rural and frontier lands. Many existing databases are current and others only need to be baselined against new imagery to make them complete, correct, and temporal for inclusion. As these local baseline datasets are published to the NAD, the underlying address “feature” layer expands and quickly attracts widespread participation and use by multiple levels of government, public, and private sector users — even prior to aggregating and integrating local address attributes.

Immediate value and usage

Government entities, educational institutions, public and private enterprises all have immediate use for a concise NAD point layer, especially when linked to proprietary datasets. Users could efficiently use points, with geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) serving as a unique ID, in advance of requisite NAD addresses. In addition, these points could be easily conflated with what3wordsMapCode (TomTom), Open Location Code (Google) and others to provide an immediately useful framework of instant addressing for multiple users and contributors. The more complex NAD system for address attribution and accessibility would continue to develop from there.

Advanced NAD technologies

FinitEdge™ technologies, developed by World of Change, USA, represent change detection and feature extraction processes for creating and updating address point locations with a stated accuracy of greater than 98% (99.5% per independent client tests) and essentially for pennies per point. FinitEdge™ combines fully automated image segmentation and vector matching processes with a proprietary global analyst crowd workforce — Authoritative Geographic Information, not Volunteered Geographic Information — for iterative intelligence processes, resulting in rapid feature extraction and near real-time change detection for data creation and updates.

Two important NAD address points

FinitEdge™creates and/or detects changes to the two most important NAD address points — rooftop building structure points, “Pintroids”, and points of ingress to real property, “Ingressoids”. It analyzes imagery for rooftop areas and for signature ingress-egress objects at travelways, such as driveway aprons, culvert crossings, cattle grates, etc., to detect changes in an existing address point dataset.

In areas with no existing address point layers, FinitEdge™processes automatically extract Pintroids and Ingressoids as new points. Additionally, when processed with an existing road centerline dataset, FinitEdge™also creates “Enterlinks.” These are short lines, usually under 60 meters, connecting Ingressoids to an existing centerline vector.

Maximal interoperability

FinitEdge™ technology is uniquely designed to both construct and maintain the foundational layer of the NAD system. It only requires an area of interest polygon and orthoimagery — temporal or historical — for address point extraction, and an existing point layer for change detection. When fully released as a forthcoming SaaS platform, the simple FinitEdge™ interface will provide maximal interoperability with complete governance and process at the local agency level for a NAD system that encourages aggressive participation of inclusion and updates based on local growth and change. Areas can be processed in whole or in part, on demand, depending entirely on the budgets and desires of local authorities. It is possible that this SaaS could also be hosted by other imagery producers on systems like DigitalGlobe’s GBDX platform with easy access to a vast library of current and historical imagery.

Address point location integrity

Address points would be created and maintained by local authoritative agencies and coordinated through states to a regional or federal level for hosting on the NAD system. This data would then be accessible to a multitude of government, public and private users and could possibly be licensed with varying degrees of access to address attributes based on a demonstrated need to know. Regardless, the point layer would be the fundamental element available to all users, and its integrity would be maintained by the originating agency.

Users would, at a minimum, manage those identical address points and locations for proprietary applications. Attributes would be linked to points and synchronized with the NAD system whenever applicable updates, originating from the local authoritative agencies, have been made available.

In this NAD system, it would be imperative that address point locations, once baselined by local agencies, remain fixed until physical changes to building structures or points of ingress force updates. New and deleted address points would be expected where new construction or demolition necessitates, but moving points from originating baseline locations should not be permitted outside of extenuating circumstances. Users, especially those applying relational tables to proprietary data, require seamless access to all validated address point additions and deletions as well as updates to address attribute data on fixed existing points. Moving existing point coordinate locations would disrupt workflows, adding complexity and expense to all users when synchronizing with the NAD for these updates.

Crowdsourced NAD point locations

Users will have access to the published NAD but not to the local NAD “piece” where updates should always originate. Active OpenStreetMap-type crowdsourcing — Volunteered Geographic Information or VGI — through existing or emerging systems such as OpenAddressesCommunity TIGER, orArcGIS Earth, could potentially refine disparate address attributes, but all locational VGI should be limited to an agree or disagree format for the purposes of change detection, and not used for making active changes to points and their geospatial positions.

Imagine, for example, the disruption caused by allowing the public to freely move Pintroids around to change preferences for what3words addresses on buildings. The NAD system could eventually be structured to handle such occasions, but only through formal request and due process with local origination.

Positional VGI data should only be an interim validating agent for checking the integrity of point locations in their originating database between authoritative local area change detection updates, rather than as a source of readily useable content. Local authorities will own the completeness and accuracy of geospatial locations and can thereby decide when to accept VGI updates or to schedule an authoritative FinitEdge™ update.

Benefit to NAD contributors

Taking direct advantage of published NAD points requires GIS/LBS data managers, such as Google, Here, TomTom, Uber, Apple, USPS, FedEx, UPS, U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Homeland Security, Amazon, CoreLogic, etc., to either maintain the same exact positional location of each address point, or to elect to build and maintain relationships between NAD point coordinates and their proprietary point locations. Proprietary addressing and other private information would always be honored; however, a maturing NAD should ultimately make proprietary building and ingress point locations irrelevant. Therefore, contributors of validated point locations will realize direct benefits.

Entities that are required by law or elect to withhold point locations can certainly synchronize points from the NAD and maintain multiple points and lookup tables for each address. This situation would result in significant initial time and expense to reconcile and separately baseline their proprietary data with published NAD positions. The increased complexity and operational cost incurred would not warrant this scenario, but a benefit is still obtainable from all future NAD updates. Either way, potential big data stakeholders should recognize fiscal advantage and possible market opportunity from having their current address points, with latitude and longitude, construct as much of the cornerstone NAD feature layer as possible.

Just do it!

Whether extracting address points from scratch or detecting change in contributed NAD datasets, FinitEdge™ technology could provide nationwide point locations within 18 months to establish the initial NAD baseline. Once the originating pieces are baselined, the SaaS interface would make near real-time change detection for point location updates available on demand.

The National Address Database of fundamental geospatial points is at hand, and the 2015 NAD Summit has sounded a trumpet call to action, declaring a growing momentum to “Just do it!”

Published with the permission of Directions Magazine.

Originally Published:
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016
Directions Magazine
Written by J. Michael Brown

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Esri Receives Champions of the Chesapeake Award

Chesapeake Conservancy Honors Esri for Providing GIS Software and Support Benefiting Restoration and Conservation of the Chesapeake Bay

Annapolis, Md. – Last night, the Chesapeake Conservancy presented Esri with a Champions of the Chesapeake Award at the second annual Champions of the Chesapeake Awards and dinner celebration.

“The Chesapeake Conservancy is pleased to honor our partner Esri; for their innovative GIS software and staff support that helps propel the Conservancy’s work in GIS mapping and precision conservation to the forefront of the conservation movement,” Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO Joel Dunn said. “In particular, Esri’s support has made the groundbreaking data work of the Conservancy’s Conservation Innovation Center possible. Through its strong nonprofit program, Esri make its software and staff accessible to the Chesapeake Conservancy and its partners.”

“Esri is proud to support the important contributions Chesapeake Conservancy is making to collaborative conservation in the Chesapeake watershed and to the field of conservation GIS at large. Chesapeake Conservancy uses Esri’s complete platform from big data storage and processing with ArcGIS Server and Image Extension, to visualization of and interaction with their data in ArcGIS Online, and communication of their work through Story Maps. At Esri, we’re fueled by the belief that geography can change the world. Chesapeake Conservancy’s work is proof it can. We are honored to be a part of their work and receive this award.”

The Conservancy uses Esri ArcGIS technology for innovative conservation and restoration planning through data-driven, web-based applications. The Conservancy works with local partners to identify their biggest challenges and develop the information and customized applications, to take advantage of the latest technology and to make informed decisions at the parcel scale. Among other things, the Conservancy uses Esri ArcGIS technology for high-resolution land cover mapping and change analysis, multi-resource conservation planning, and viewshed protection and impact assessments.

Founded in 1969, Esri, is an international supplier of GIS (geographic information systems) software, and a catalyst in the environmental community for using technology for conservation prioritization. Esri’s founding mission was “to organize and analyze geographic information to help land planners and land resource managers make well-informed environmental decisions,” and they have carried that same commitment through their work today.

The 2015 Champions of the Chesapeake Awards dinner took place on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at the Governor Calvert House in Annapolis, Md.


The Chesapeake Conservancy’s mission is to strengthen the connection between people and the watershed; conserve the landscapes and special places that sustain the Chesapeake’s unique natural and cultural resources; and restore landscapes, rivers, and habitats in the Chesapeake Bay region.

For more information, please visit www.chesapeakeconservancy.org

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The National Geodetic Survey (NGS) is preparing new horizontal and vertical datums for release in 2022, as part of the NGS Ten-Year Plan.

What does this mean for MSGIC?  MSGIC is advocating education about the new datums and engaging the community by forming a sub-committee on New Datums.  Executive Committee member Matthew Webb will head this subcommittee, which will guide MSGIC through the change, as we go from today to 2022.

The sub-committee intends to help educate and prepare the community for this change through several possible formats and resources, such as newsletter articles, updates, presentations, workshops.

In the meantime, some resources that are worth reviewing are:

New Datums

What to expect

New Datums FAQ’s

Get Prepared

As part of the Spring 2014 MSGIC Quarterly Meeting, Mr. Dave Doyle made a presentation on Modernization of the National Spatial Reference System.

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Interactive Mapping for the Maximize2040 Long Range Plan

Maximize2040: A Performance-Based Transportation Plan is the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board’s newest long range transportation plan (LRTP). The BRTB is required by federal law to identify the demand for transportation services over the next 20 years and determine the potential regional affects to land use, economic development, jobs, and housing. The LRTP looks at both highway and transit projects. Cost, existing infrastructure, system efficiency, and regional impacts are all considered in the plan. The goals of the plan are to promote transportation safety, improve accessibility and mobility, encourage investments in existing communities, and maintain or improve air and water quality.


As staff to the BRTB, the Baltimore Metropolitan Council has been using online maps to augment and publicize planning projects for 10 years. In the last few years, BMC has been transitioning to ESRI online products, including ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Online for Organizations. Maximize2040 is the first major project at BMC to take full advantage of this new technology. Online maps were used in all phases of the project for outreach, analysis, and publication. These maps serve to expand the utility and accessibility of the planning process.

Maximize2040 Public Project Ideas (http://gis.baltometro.org/Application/Maximize2040/index.html)

The Public Comment map was used as part of early outreach efforts to solicit input from the public on what sort of transportation projects people wanted to see in their area. This map was publicized through newsletters and social media. Users were able to add a point to the map where they wanted to see a project and add information about the idea and its benefits. The project ideas were visible to anyone who looked at the map. Users could also include contact information which was suppressed in the public map but could be accessed by BMC staff for further outreach. On the back end, the data from this map fed directly into BMC’s enterprise geodatabase, allowing for easy data cleaning and analysis.


Environmental Data for Maximize2040 (http://arcg.is/1SpioL3)

The Environmental Data map was created to allow planning staff in BMC’s member jurisdictions to analyze the impacts of the proposed projects on environmental and land use assets. Project sponsors were asked to view the interactive mapping and assess the proximity of resources as they proposed their projects for the LRTP. This map was presented to state and federal agencies as well as shown at jurisdictional outreach meetings. These efforts are part of the environmental coordination required by federal transportation regulations for the Long Range Planning process. This map heavily utilized web services available on the MD iMap Open Data website.

Equity Data for Maximize2040 (http://arcg.is/1FadzEP)

In accordance with Title VI regulations and Executive Order 12898, an LRTP must ensure that new highway and transit projects do not have a disproportionately adverse affect on minority or economically disadvantaged populations. In addition, the process must ensure that these groups have a chance to take part in the planning process. This map was used as a tool at jurisdictional planning meetings to demonstrate how different projects related to demographic and equity factors. The demographic data came from the American Community Survey 2006-2010 Estimates.

Maximize2040 Story Map (http://arcg.is/1O3nVZZ)

Along with the print and PDF versions of Maximize2040: A Performance-Based Transportation Plan, BMC created an online Story Map that brought together report documents, graphics, interactive maps, and a survey to create a single multimedia presentation that allows users to explore different aspects of the planning process. This map was promoted through BMC’s website, newsletters, and on social media.

Maximize2040 is the first major project at BMC to take full advantage ESRI online technology and it is likely that other projects will follow. Many of the technical lessons learned during the process will allow for more sophisticated maps to be created in the future. Interactive maps will most likely be integrated into product planning instead of being used to illustrate work towards the end of a project phase. One unexpected result of Maximize2040 was to illustrate the versatility of these maps. While originally envisioned as links to be distributed to individuals through web and e-mail, the maps were also used as presentation media at outreach events and as collaborative tools during planning meetings. Elements of the LRTP not usually associated with GIS were brought together to create an integrated planning product that helped expand the utility and accessibility of the planning process.

For more information on Maximize2040: A Performance-Based Transportation Plan, go to http://www.baltometro.org/our-work/transportation-plans/long-range-planning/maximize2040.

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