Very late post. I have been house sitting for some friends for the past 5 weeks and I moved back to my house late yesterday and have been running around trying to get things done, but I definitely wanted to get this post in because there are just too many videos from ESRI IUC to talk about. Let us get to today's post.
The Urban Observatory
This video gives an overview of a project where a web application was designed that allows people to compare cities in storyboard view. A number of cities lines up together in the same view. Population density, real time traffic congestion, road speed, etc. I think that the most important thing about it though is that it shows the data at the same size, the same scale. People do not often think about how scale factors into the maps that they view. If you make maps of two cities absolute geographic size and one is very dense and the other is not, you may not see how that density effects the city itself. One will appear larger despite having a smaller population.
This project is great because it provides singular platform for comparison. They are also crowd sourcing the data (where the crowd is the municipalities). We all know how much I love crowd sourced geographic data. I think Jack Dangermond said it best, "The purpose of this is...I don't know." A project like this grabs you. It is fun and interactive, but it allows the viewer to process a significant amount of information. It seems like people, in general, are pretty closed minded. They view the world or life's experiences through their own personal experiences. Opening up your mind to the experiences of other people allows you to understand them and yourself. That is what I like about what Jack Dangermond said. It does not matter what the immediate benefit is for a project like this. It just is important. It is human nature presented in web application form.
For more information on the project and the web application itself visit
I am a GIS professional in Walla Walla, WA. I use this blog to force myself to really read through all of the GIS news that I get in my inbox. It also helps me practice writing.