ESRI Mapts NOAA’s National Water Model

From Informed Infrastructure
Todd Danielson on August 25, 2016 – in Featured, Water

New Real-Time Maps Transform Forecast Data into Vivid Pictures of U.S. River Flows 

REDLANDS, Calif.—August 25, 2016Smart-mapping leader Esri today released  a beautiful, robust new collection of Web maps that forecast NOAA stream-flow data throughout the continental U.S.

Esri’s multiscale visualization of the National Water Model enables forecast water flows in real time at high resolution. The maps weave together NOAA’s recently released water model data and Esri ArcGIS functionality to provide interactive views of current and future water-system behaviors.

Esri maps the flow of water along 2.7 million stream segments in the U.S. river network. These data-rich maps improve NOAA’s ability to meet the needs of emergency responders, reservoir operators, ecosystem professionals, and floodplain managers by providing detailed information that can anticipate flood and drought conditions. National Weather Service data populates the interactive maps with hourly updates and forecasts up to 10 days.

“In collaboration with our academic partners, the Esri team supported the development process leading up to the launch of the National Water Model,” said Edward Clark, director of geointelligence at NOAA. “We share a common vision for the value that high-resolution water prediction brings to the nation.”

Esri’s new maps enable users to access large amounts of complex data quickly and easily.  Although 10-day, mid-range forecasts contain more than 200 million records and short-term forecasts require hourly data refresh, Esri maps automatically integrate and synthesize NOAA data so that users have the real-time information they need at the click of a button.

“These attractive, accessible maps are part of our commitment to improve water awareness—a commitment we made at the White House Water Summit earlier this year,” said Esri President Jack Dangermond. “ArcGIS provides a visually engaging way to communicate complex scientific information simply so that anyone can understand it.”

Esri plans to continue its investment in water prediction and analysis by releasing an open-source toolkit later this year that will enable ArcGIS users to analyze data and create custom maps from water model records.

About Esri

Since 1969, Esri has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS technology, Esri software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. Esri applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world’s mapping and spatial analysis. Esri is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at

Copyright © 2016 Esri. All rights reserved. Esri, the Esri globe logo, and @Esri are trademarks, service marks, or registered marks of Esri in the United States, the European Community, or certain other jurisdictions. Other companies and products or services mentioned herein may be trademarks, service marks, or registered marks of their respective mark owners.


USGS: Volcano Hazards Program

30 Years of the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program

There are approximately 1,550 potentially active volcanoes around the world. 2016 marks the 30th year that the Volcano Disaster Assistance program (VDAP) has worked to reduce loss of life and property, limit economic impact and prevent volcanic crises from becoming disasters. The USGS and U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) established VDAP in 1986 in response to the tragic eruption of Nevado del Ruiz Volcano in Colombia, which killed more than 23,000 people from volcanic mudflows. Since then, VDAP scientific teams have deployed in response to 30 major crises, assisted counterparts with hundreds of additional volcanic events, and strengthened response capacity in 12 countries since the program began.

To recognize the milestone, the USGS is highlighting some of the major responses, showing how the program has helped save countless lives. Read the USGS Top Story to learn how VDAP works to support international scientists and agencies at the invitation of a host country.

Cartography Resources

Cynthia Brewer’s site

In case you aren’t familiar here is the description from her personal web page –

ColorBrewer is a web tool for selecting map color schemes. It was reprogrammed by Andy Woodruff at Axis Maps.   Links to another project apparently started in 2008 called Scale Master see here which has a host of other links and presentations but #19 is the Excel file titled “ScaleMaster for Proposed Design for Multiscale Topographic Mapping from USGS National Map Data, Cynthia Brewer and Chelsea Hanchett, Penn State Geography, July 2010”

Blurb from site:

ScaleMaster is a structured diagram for organizing multiscale mapping using multiple databases and design, selection, and generalization decisions.

In its rudimentary form, ScaleMaster is a do-it-yourself Excel file available for download (19. below). Other resources were listed and linked as we continued to develop the idea.

The ScaleMaster project was a collaboration among Cindy Brewer, Barbara Buttenfield, Larry Stanislawski, Lynn Usery, and Charlie Frye.

The research work was funded from 2008 to 2013 by the USGS Center of Excellence for Geospatial Information Science (CEGIS) through Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU) grants through geography departments at the Pennsylvania State University and University of Colorado at Boulder.

ScaleMaster research was initially funded by Esri through Professional Services Agreements 2003B6345, 2003B6346, 2003B6347 and 2006B2964.

Additional papers and talks by Buttenfield on her website.

Additional papers by Stanislawski and others on CEGIS Generalization site.
All papers and presentations by the Penn State researchers are linked below.

See new developments with ScaleMaster from Guillaume Touya and Jean-Francois Girres, COGIT lab, IGN France (e.g., sourceforge; ICC2013 paper; CaGIS paper).   The ScaleMaster approach is now popular with national mapping agencies.

Cartogram Special – The Olympic Games

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  • Written by  Benjamin Hennig
  • Published in Mapping

Cartogram Special – The Olympic GamesBenjamin Hennig/

Which country has been the most successful in Olympic history? Benjamin Hennig charts the winners and participants of the Olympic Games

The 2016 Summer Olympics are the first Olympics to be hosted in South America. More than 10,000 athletes of the over 200 member nations are expected to compete in Rio de Janeiro as well as events in Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, São Paulo, and Manaus.

The cartogram in Figure 1 shows the countries of the world resized according to the total number of participants from each country (data as of 30 June 2016). Competing athletes are entered by their National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and also have to go through competitions in order to meet the entry standards for the games. Some numbers are influenced by further special circumstances: Brazil as the host nations did not have to go through all qualifying rounds and received automatic entry in some disciplines.

Athletes from Kuwait will this year compete under the Olympic flag due to its NOC having been suspended. In this map, these are still shown as representing their country. Russia also faced suspension, leading to its athletes being banned from all athletic competitions, which reduces the number of athletes competing for Russia this year. In the light of the migrant crisis, a team of ten Refugee Olympic Athletes will also participate in the games for the first time

Figure 1Figure 1


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Attention GIS Students!! Should you have programming skills?

From Directions Magazine

GIS Jobs of Today: Should you have programming skills?

By Diana S. Sinton

Editor’s Note:In a field that evolves as rapidly as geospatial information science and technologies, the idea of “getting a GIS job” may not be as straight-forward as it sounds. What are employers looking for, and how do you know that your training and education will get you there? JoinDirections Magazineas we continue a short series of articles examining these topics.

Traditional textbook definitions of GIS often reference the inclusion of software, hardware, data, methods and people, indicating that all components are part of the system that works with geographic information. Characteristics and components of all of these have changed significantly over time, but perhaps none so much as the software itself. In practice, we have gone well beyond a black and white world of proprietary vs. open-source, or desktop vs. mobile. In professional practice, it’s all of them.

That’s not to say that people don’t use a GIS “out of the box” to do their work. They do. It’s that the box is not the defining container that it once was. Customization of solutions is an expectation, reflecting the diversity of applications and the expanding breadth of use cases. Interoperability is possible, so it is expected. The tremendous driving force of web- and mobile-based solutions can only continue.

Continue reading Attention GIS Students!! Should you have programming skills?