Wendy’s Works with GISi to Implement Location Technology

In collaboration with GISi, Wendy’s is integrating location analytics into its core business practices to drive greater efficiencies and better decision-making. Wendy’s is using Esri technologies and data to enhance their reporting analysis capabilities, while also directly integrating critical business systems with their location technology platform.   Wendy’s ability to visualize business data and information from multiple data sources through a spatial lens enables them to make better business decisions.

“Wendy’s is breaking new ground in the utilization of geographic data and spatial analytics.  Their forward-looking and innovative approaches will result in more successful franchisees and better served customers,” says Keith King, General Manager for GISi’s Private Sector Group. “Wendy’s is a great customer and partner.  It is a pleasure working with them to integrate and revamp their business processes and systems around Esri’s location technology platform.”

For more information on how GISi uses location technology to empower retailers to make better business decisions, visit gisinc.com/commercial.

About GISi

GISi is an award-winning location technology consulting firm located in Birmingham, Ala., with offices throughout the United States.  GISi has a passion for delivering customer driven location technology solutions to federal, state and local governments, and commercial organizations.

For more information about GISi, please visit www.gisinc.com.


Portable Debugging Environment

By: Kevin Bupp

I’m sure I’m not the only developer out there that has had code working perfectly fine in their local environment, but the same code just doesn’t work in the client’s environment.  What makes the situation even more complicated is when the clients are not able to install applications in their environments … let alone precious developer tools.  Well, fortunately, there exists a completely portable version of Firefox that does not require an installation.  It is intended to be installed on a USB and taken with you anywhere to provide access to your bookmarks, extensions, saved passwords, etc., however, it has the wonderful side effect of being a light-weight standalone application.

With Mozilla Firefox®, Portable Edition you are able to install extensions (like Firebug) and plugins (like Flash Player) and once installed, the entire application directory can be zipped up, sent to a client’s machine, and used immediately without having to install anything on the client’s machine.

When the portable Firefox is combined with the Firebug extension and the Flash player plugin, developers have the ability to monitor URL requests from a flex application.  This can be immensely useful when trying to find exactly where a flex application is failing in a client’s environment.  The Firebug extension further allows developers to easily troubleshoot applications that make heavy use of JavaScript.  The JavaScript panel enables developers to run arbitrary code, set breakpoints, profile function calls, and log errors.

An just to help bring this idea home, here is a screen cap of the Portable Edition of Firefox showing the Net Panel of Firebug, on a webpage with Flash components, running in a remote desktop session of a server that has neither Firefox OR Flash Player installed locally.

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All of these tools are freely available and immensely valuable to any and all troubleshooting developers out there.  Here are a few steps to get started with your own portable debugging environment:

  1. Download the Portable Edition of Mozilla Firefox from here: http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/firefox_portable
  2. Install it to your local development machine.
  3. Launch the application (PortableFirefox.exe) and go to https://getfirebug.com/downloads/ to find, download and install the appropriate version of Firebug.
  4. (Optional) Getting Flash Player can be a little trickier, but if you google “portable firefox flash plugin” one of the first few results should provide a file you can download and extract the flash player dlls to the PortableFirefox/Data/Plugins directory.
  5. Zip it all up and you now have your own portable debugging environment that only needs to be copied to the destination machine and unzipped to be ready to go.

Enjoy your troubleshooting!

Building Attribute and Value Crosswalks in ESRI Data Interoperability Extension the Scalable/Dynamic Way

In my experience with migrating data between two different standards, the worst part of the whole process is building crosswalks. Essentially the way that I’ve built crosswalks in the past is to write out how each destination feature class or table is going to get migrated on its own Excel sheet. The Excel sheets do a good job in telling the story of how the data is going to be migrated, but that’s about all they are good for. You still have to wire up an ETL tool based on what is in Excel, which for large migrations can be a fairly large task. If crosswalks need to be changed, they have to be updated in Excel and then again in the ETL tool. So there is a large duplication of effort just to be able to have a document that explains how the migration will happen. The larger the migration, the more Excel sheets you have, which then presents a whole new problem with maintaining all of the crosswalks and tools. I have a small example that I will use throughout this how-to to show the problem and the solution. It’s fully scalable, so it doesn’t matter if you are migrating one feature class or a thousand; this is a good way to handle crosswalks in the future.

If you are interested in learning more about attribute cross walking, ETL, data migration, SchemaMapper, or the Data Interoperability Extension then please continue on to the rest of my piece on building attribute and value crosswalks in Esri’s Data Interoperability Extension.

You can click the read more link below or view the document as a PDF or Ebook (EPUB | Kindle) format.

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Cartography How to – Trees!

By Jonah Adkins, GISP

In the process of creating a cartographic product, there are several layers one must show to give the viewer an idea of the landscape. Boundaries of land and bodies of water provide the background for which to add layers. Next, roads, topography, and vegetation provide the viewer with physical barriers and points of reference. In this article I’ll share some techniques for adding vegetation data when you have none, leveraging your existing layers, and creating cartographically pleasing symbolization for your vegetation data, specifically trees.

Part One: Vegetation On Maps Through The Years

Before diving into vegetation data and symbology, let’s look at how showing vegetation has progressed through the years on maps. Typically on maps from ages past, vegetation, like other features, were shown pictorially or by combining traditional cartography with more illustrative elements.

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Figure 1 – Library of Congress: Virginia / discovered and described by Captain John Smith, 1606; graven by William Hole

In the above example from 1606, the forested areas are represented by multiple types of illustrative trees. This map also features Rhumb lines, a topic previously discussed in “Cartography How To: Rhumb Lines” on the GISi blog in November of 2012.

Fast forward to the 1880’s, and probably one of the more recognizable map publications created in the U.S., the USGS Quad. Started in 1879 and kept in production until 1992, the 24,000 scale maps showed vegetated areas with filled polygonal areas.[1] This method was furthered in the 1960’s with the USGS Land Cover/Land Use mapping program. Advancements in Remote Sensing and a published land cover classification system (1976)[2] led to this technique being continued with the advent of GIS technology in the late eighties and early nineties. The wide use of digital mapping from satellite imagery or aerial photography made it simple for technicians to delineate areas of vegetation within polygons boundaries.

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Figure 2- United States Geological Survey: Newport News North (excerpt), map id o37076a4, Published 1986

In the example above, polygonal views of vegetation areas are shown in green. This method is still widely used today for web applications and traditional maps of large areas, mostly due to the free availability of land cover and land use data from the USGS.

Starting in the late nineties and 2000’s, GPS technology made it possible to locate any and every feature on the ground without the need for traditional land surveying tools. Tree inventories gained popularity among forestry and park professionals, most containing delineation of tree types, heights, and other identifying information.

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Figure 3 – ArcGIS Online Topographic Basemap (Excerpt) Copyright Esri 2012

The above example, from the ArcGIS Online Topographic Basemap features a tree inventory on a university campus. Trees are shown by type, including varied symbology type, size, and color. This highly desirable method creates a detailed look at the area of interest.

In comparing Figure 1 and Figure3, both show vegetation as points at two different scales, and both map styles effectively work at showing the viewer vegetation. Figure 1 shows individual trees as a representation of large forested areas, a technique that will be shown in Part Three. All three examples shown above feature either point or polygon data. In Part Two, the focus will shift to gathering polygon data and creating point features from that data. With either dataset in your collection, you will be able to effectively and creatively show vegetation features on a map.