The articles in this issue illustrate how the promise of Web GIS envisioned 17 years ago is being realized. The Geography Network, introduced during the 2000 Esri User Conference, created a community of users who shared maps, data, and related services to make better decisions. What the Geography Network—and to a far greater degree its successor, ArcGIS Online—enabled is something that has always been fundamental to GIS: collaboration.
GIS has been a sharing technology since its inception. At a time when divisiveness seems to be on the upswing, GIS demonstrates that working together improves outcomes. Whether we are dealing with natural disasters, planning more livable communities, or gaining a better understanding of the Earth and its systems.
During its response to Hurricane Irma, the GIS Division at the City of Fort Lauderdale used Web GIS apps to coordinate response activities, work with departments throughout the city to monitor the status of infrastructure and help preserve it while safeguarding city personnel and residents.
Faced with the demands of a rapidly growing population, Placer County has been using GeoPlanner for ArcGIS to iteratively evaluate the fiscal and environmental impacts of various land-use scenarios. Non-GIS staff can interact with scenarios using simple drawing and painting tools.
Esri partner Weather Decision Technologies, Inc. takes advantage of the scaling capabilities of the ArcGIS platform with Amazon Web Services to analyze terabytes of sensor data to provide weather forecasting and map services to many industries in real time.
Esri continues to move toward the vision that Jack Dangermond, Esri’s president, articulated in 2005. He saw GIS networks fueled by a geodata-rich environment that provided situational awareness and collaboration in real time that would benefit both individuals and organizations. By sharing services, “Individual systems would be connected into a kind of system of systems.”