Johns Creek, Georgia, Adopts ArcGIS Image for ArcGIS Online to Digitize Municipal Maps

Atlanta Suburb Moves Archival Imagery to the Cloud, Making It Easily Available to the Public

REDLANDS, Calif.—January 6, 2022—In the years before Johns Creek adopted Esri’s ArcGIS Image for ArcGIS Online, a two-person team in the city just outside Atlanta had been innovating ways of managing its data so it was more accessible within departments and to the public. That work included training Amazon’s Alexa device to answer residents’ questions about city services and creating an open data portal online. But the city’s massive archive of imagery has been one of the biggest challenges in its digitization efforts.

When the city incorporated in 2006, Johns Creek began collecting aerial imagery annually. Before, when the city would get a new year’s worth, the geographic information system (GIS) team would undergo the time-consuming task of merging the individual tiles to create a single mosaic imagery layer of the entire city. Typically, it would take a few days to cache one year’s worth of imagery.

To solve this challenge, Johns Creek used ArcGIS Image for ArcGIS Online from Esri, the global leader in location intelligence, to move all its imagery, some from nearly a century ago, into the digital cloud. The shift has freed up the city’s small GIS department to further innovate and analyze this data rather than spend scarce time maintaining imagery on physical servers and responding to simple data requests. Now, the process of updating a few years’ worth of imagery into the city map takes only a day.

“ArcGIS Image for ArcGIS Online makes managing our decades of aerial imagery easy and transparent. Staff, consultants, and the public can all easily access and use the imagery for visualization or analysis without any degradation of quality or responsiveness by simply going online, any time,” said Julie Kutz, the city’s senior GIS analyst. “Bringing our imagery to the cloud has helped us free up time and resources so we can focus more where it matters.”

Prior to the move, maintaining imagery had required the most resources. Among the images once stored on servers are black-and-white aerial views taken by the Farm Service Agency in 1938 that had been scanned and rasterized into the city’s databases. Another historic set includes black-and-white photos from the 1950s with hand-drawn elements signaling soil distinctions.

All the imagery is available and searchable online through the Johns Creek DataHub. The results are helping better inform decision-making within the city of about 84,000 residents by providing quicker, more reliable access to imagery.

To learn more about how organizations can streamline operations by freeing up time and server space, visit this site dedicated to ArcGIS Image for ArcGIS Online.

About Esri

 Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, location intelligence, and mapping, helps customers unlock the full potential of data to improve operational and business results. Founded in 1969 in Redlands, California, USA, Esri software is deployed in more than 350,000 organizations globally and in over 200,000 institutions in the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, nonprofits, and universities. Esri has regional offices, international distributors, and partners providing local support in over 100 countries on six continents. With its pioneering commitment to geospatial information technology, Esri engineers the most innovative solutions for digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics. Visit us at

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