Monday 25 March 2019

Local community engagement

[Update 2: we since signed up to an Esri(UK) Nonprofit Programme.

Update: Part 2 builds a story introducing the community.]

This follows my transition introduced last September and last month. I first used Esri  web mapping tools to help me canvass for EU elections in my local community five years ago. I then found local community engagement - online in my old Texan hometown of Houston - 18 months ago with Hurricane Harvey. I presented social aspects  afforded GIS at Esri European Petroleum GIS  conference in London that fall.

As mentioned last month, an opportunity arose to help business social engagement, near Cambridge UK.  Terry Jackson  recently started a project to help local sustainability, not only environmentally (SusCott) but also businesswise:
How can we foster local business and community engagement, by providing open access to local geographic and environmental data that are time stamped?
I joined to facilitate not only the geo backbone, but to expand on Terry's Time Banking initiative: that link will also indicate our engagement with the local council, as well as Cambridgeshire Insight a local open data initiative. 

I created an ArcGIS Online public account to help share on an easy-to-use & engaging platform - below from left to right, I posted very simple admin boundary map, and reposted drive time and 'travelling salesman' (best route joining all points ) maps created five years ago as mentioned atop - thanks to @RichardTaylorUK for Cambridge City Ward data. Click images to enlarge:

This was as easy as 1-2-3:
  • data from Esri saved in file geodatabases are directly readable in both ArcGIS and Qgis
  • ArcGIS Online projects are copied over onto this new one using little-known AGO Assistant
  • drive time calculations done in ArcGIS Online were saved locally and re-posted in ArcGIS
The public ArcGIS Online account is free within limits, which our local datasets will not exceed - I posted elsewhere a much larger regional and static geo-history project mentioned last month - ArcGIS Online furthers  citizen engagement in easy-to-use web maps mentioned last November for climate change monitoring. So as blogged before, a variety of datasets created as file geodatabases, geopackages or shape files can be posted and distributed as story maps as described above.

Stay tuned as we add more data such as green spaces, UK Living Atlas, social media and audio such as bird songs so prevalent this time of year... Perhaps we can even map intriguing spots like these, click to enlarge:

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