GIS in the Rockies 2017

Published September 20, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

Dawn Siegel, Pete Erickson, and Marshall Worthey will be representing us at this year’s GIS in the Rockies event at the Hilton Denver Inverness. We’ll have a booth in space #20 each day of the event showcasing our Colorado presence with clients such as Grand County, CO, Eagle County, CO, Greenwood Village, CO, and Westminster, CO. From ArcGIS Jumpstarts and Cityworks Implementations to GIS Support Blocks and Discovery Workshops, we have assisted several Rocky Mountain organizations accomplish their goals and take their GIS’ to the next level. Reach out to our company reps if you’re at the show to learn more about our work.

Arizona Connect

Published September 20, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

Our Regional Account Manager, Corey Baker will be in the state of Arizona during the week of September 25th. Reach out and connect with him here to meet with him while he is in your area.

Opelika Utilities – Dead Meter Solutions Powered by Insights for ArcGIS

Published September 15, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

For years, Opelika Utilities, of Opelika, AL, serving nearly 20,000 customers, had employed a manual process to identify potential dead meters and extremely high/low monthly meter readings throughout their service area. An office team member would spend an entire day, once a month, reviewing the meter reports,painstakingly reviewing the daily Microsoft Excel reports line- by-line of more than 14,000 readings. Due to this daunting manual process, there was a high probability of significant amounts of information being overlooked; including revenue loss. They had no way of knowing how vast of a problem they had on their hands. They needed an automated way to review meter readings, analyze, and, automatically generate work orders so that non- operating meters could be attended to.

In 2016, GISinc partnered with Opelika Utilities to connect GIS and Cityworks, with the billing system, utilizing backend processing scripts to develop a report of meter reading discrepancies. The scripting process was very intensive on the hosted servers and would take hours to complete. The effort proved to be a major improvement in process, which led to an estimated increase of annual revenue of over $100,000.

In April 2017, Opelika Utilities and GISinc traveled to Esri’s Philadelphia office to participate with the Esri water team in a Business Intelligence Summit. Armed with literally hundreds of thousands of records of data (service connection, meter usage and work order history, etc.) we could connect all the data to Insights for ArcGIS.  Insights for ArcGIS handles large amounts of data very efficiently.  The process of getting the necessary data into Insights for ArcGIS includes prepping the billing usage data tables, then uploading the items into Portal for ArcGIS.  This creates a copy of the items in a relational Data Store.  The Data Store is a PostgreSQL database designed to streamline how data is served for Web GIS.  Upon uploading the data, each data item is then available for analysis inside of Insights for ArcGIS.  By creating a relationship in the Insights for ArcGIS workspace between the service connection and the billing usage history, using the meter number in both datasets, we were quickly able to visualize and filter the billing data for each meter.  A filter was then added to the only show records where the last three readings all read zero, which immediately displayed which meters were dead in the system.

The results were remarkably eye-opening. Out of 14,000 meters, Opelika was looking at results that were telling them over 20%, (3,000 ) were dead. This translated into an estimated $25,000/month revenue loss ($300,000/year).

Using Insights for ArcGIS and further analysis, they could identify a trend of dead meters of a specific manufacturer, model number, and meters that were recently installed in new developments in their network. The good news was these meters were still under warranty, therefore, replacing the majority of the dead meters came at no expense to Opelika Utilities.

Some of the next steps include GISinc working with Opelika Utilities to streamline the results to include visualization and integrations with Operations Dashboard, Collector, and Cityworks. Additionally, Opelika Utilities is identifying the next big question and data to push through Insights for ArcGIS; as this analysis is just the beginning.

Client Alan Lee of Opelika Utilities featured in Esri E360 Video

Published September 1, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

Alan Lee, Capital Projects Manager for Opelika Utilities in Opelika, AL was featured in an E360 video while attending the Esri User Conference in July. Alan discussed the Dead Meter Solution, powered by Insights for ArcGIS and explains how they were able to better serve their 15,000 customers and also make an extra $25,000 a month in revenue. You can view the full video here:

GISinc Client, Roanoke County, Virginia Deploys Open Data Portal

Published August 25, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas


Geographic Information Services, Inc. (GISinc), a premier GIS services firm, announces their client, Roanoke County’s deployment of their Open Data Portal. The portal is free to citizens and will provide them easy access to numerous datasets, making it easier to search and download.

GISinc helped Roanoke County to design and deploy the Open Data Portal, which provides access to data organized into eight categories: Boundaries, Community/Schools, Environmental Infrastructure, Parks, Recreation and Tourism, Planning and Zoning, Public Safety, and Transportation, as well as several meaningful applications aimed to answer specific questions and provide decision support.

“GISinc had the opportunity to work with Roanoke County on this project and infuse the County’s design standards into their version of the Open Data Portal,” says Kevin Stewart, GISinc’s State & Local Sales Director. “This is a great example of how to leverage another Esri template solution to free up County resources and their time with fulfilling data requests. Instead, the County residents and constituents can fulfill their own requests, anytime, anywhere.”

“The County is committed to sharing data with the public to increase transparency and customer service,” said David Wray, Roanoke County’s GIS manager. “This portal puts information in the hands of citizens, businesses and community organizations enabling them to explore, conduct research, develop applications, and help drive economic development.”

People can access the Portal at: or visit, click on “Maps and Apps,” then click “Open Data” button.

Find the official Press Release for this announcement here.

Hub, Pro, Big Data – Our UC Tech Takeaways

Published August 23, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

Esri’s User Conference has come and gone but the excitement around the future of location based technology and the platforms supporting it are still very much a part of every discussion we have here at GISinc. I’d like to take a few moments and recap what we’ve learned at this year’s users conference for us as a Platinum Partner and for our customers.

Esri has been hard at work this past year, I noticed a lot of enhancements and capabilities have been added to the ArcGIS Platform. ArcGIS Enterprise is now at version 10.5.1. No changes to the base components; Web Adaptor, Portal, GIS Server and the Data Store. You can find a blog post on What’s new here. One thing to note, there is a new Enterprise Builder tool that will guide you through the complete installation of all components. This currently takes place on a single server only but is a great tool for getting started.

Other platform enhancements:

  • ArcGIS Content – Esri continues to improve upon, the already largest collection of geographic information in the world, with new and updated content. Important to mention this content can be accessed through ArcGIS Online through the Living Atlas or hosted as managed service on-premise through ArcGIS Enterprise. Discover the many datasets at the improved Living Atlas Portal.


  • ArcGIS Hub – This is a new product and is scheduled to be released in October of this year. This product will provide a web based platform for two-way engagement connecting governments to its citizens through initiatives. Initiatives provide a way to prioritize meaningful policy driven goals; organize data, content, information and teams together which feed into applications, dashboards and survey. You can learn more about the ArcGIS Hub here. An important note, the ArcGIS Hub is built on top of the ArcGIS Open Data, also provided as a solution of ArcGIS Online.


  • ArcGIS Online – ArcGIS Online had an update prior to the User Conference in June with several notable enhancements; to get a full list, visit the What’s New blog post. The ones that stand out to me are:
    • Map Viewer – Arcade is an expression language that the entire ArcGIS Platform will utilize moving forward.  Arcade allows for creating custom attributes in popups, in addition to defining rules on Geodatabases. You can think of this as similar to the attribute assistant.
    • Smart Mapping – Better support for callout graphics and text as well as SmartMapping is now part of the user experience.
    • User Experience – Most of the item management process has been improved with a new user experience.
    • Operations Dashboard – ArcGIS Online will provide an online dashboard experience like the desktop application. This new Dashboard will be tied to your ArcGIS Online organization account and can be shared like other web applications. The Dashboard is currently in beta, read more about it here.
    • Vector Basemaps – Although this is not something new, it is becoming more pervasive throughout the Online experience. Vector Basemaps can now be part of your organizations basemaps alongside the traditional tiled services.


  • ArcGIS Desktop – Version 2.0 of ArcGIS Pro is now available and is fully integrated with ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise. There is a great presentation given by James Sullivan where he highlights his top 10 enhancements made to Pro. Here’s a list that stood out to me.
    • Annotation, inline editing of text
    • Charting and layout improvements
    • Auto GeoReferencing
    • Catalog is Back!
    • Full WFS support
    • 3D editing and visualization, onscreen navigation
    • Sharing options (Visualization, Editing, Exploratory)
    • Multiple instances of Pro on single desktop

The conference was full of Big Data discussions alongside real-time monitoring and analytics with regards to the Internet of Things or, IoT. ArcGIS Enterprise at release 10.5.1 becomes more integrated into this emerging technology through GeoEvent, GeoAnalytics, Spatiotemporal Big Data Store, Insights for ArcGIS and now the new Operations Dashboard. We are seeing a big uptake with organizations leveraging this new technology and looking for ways to integrate into their existing business systems to provide better experiences to citizens through Smart Community initiatives.

Mobility through field collection and collaboration is gaining in capabilities and user experience. We now have access to several mobile solutions through Explorer, Collector and Survey123. For some, this may not be much of new information as it is a reminder, but Explorer for ArcGIS has made some big enhancements over the past few months.  In fact, it’s editing functionality is comparable to Collector; if not better with built-in functionality for things like red-lining.  We are also seeing more use cases for Survey123 when we are deploying Collector type applications; like editing existing features is now possible in Survey123.

Final note, the User Conference was full of exiting technology and user stories. We at GISinc look forward to the remainder of the year as we implement this technology and find ways to better support our customers as you upgrade to ArcGIS Enterprise.


Chad Cooper featured in Esri’s Summer 2017 ArcUser

Published August 22, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

We’re very proud to announce that an article written by our very own Solutions Engineer, Chad Cooper, is featured in the Summer 2017 Edition of Esri’s ArcUser. “Empowering Workers & Informing Customers” tells the story of our company’s project work with Florida Utility Department St. Johns County to utilize the Esri ArcGIS Platform to enable its workforce and empower its customers with accurate and current data on the state of water, sanitary sewer, and reuse water services. For more information about this project, contact Chad at

2017 SAG Award Winners

Published August 14, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

We’re very proud to announce that two of our clients received SAG (Special Acheivement in GIS) Awards at this year’s Esri User Conference in July.

Opelika Utilities in Opelika, Alabama

Opelika Utilities received their SAG Award for their Dead Meter Solutions, powered by Insights for ArcGIS. With a focus on improving operational efficiency, Opelika Utilities began taking a closer look at potential revenue loss and solutions to help them increase revenue more efficiently. Opelika had no way to identify dead meters in their network and came to GISinc to connect GIS and Cityworks, with a billing system, utilizing backend processing scripts to develop a report of meter reading discrepancies. Opelika learned by taking this newly connected data and connecting it to Insights for ArcGIS, that out of 14,000 meters, 3,000 meters (20%) were dead. This translated into an estimated $25,000/month revenue loss ($300,000/year). Using Insights for ArcGIS and further analysis, they could identify a trend of dead meters of a specific manufacturer, model number, and meters that were recently installed in new developments in their network. The good news was these meters were still under warranty, therefore, replacing the majority of the dead meters came at no expense to Opelika Utilities.

Read more about the Dead Meter Solution here:

View the Esri E360 Video about the project here:

City of New Orleans, LA

The City of New Orleans won their SAG Award for accomplishing increased citizen engagement via Esri Local Government Solutions. The city was able to attain data collection for blighted properties and citizen catch basin adpotion by working with the Esri Local Government Solutions team to design Photo Survey and Adopta.

Read more about the project here:

Aircraft Tracking From Home

Published July 24, 2017 by Jeff Galang

Written by Dan Huber

Have you ever looked up at a plane flying overhead and wondered what type of aircraft it was or where it was heading? While there are a myriad of web and smart phone applications to answer these questions for you, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to capture the information directly from the airways using equipment you set up at your home? If you’ve answered yes to these questions and are comfortable configuring hardware and installing software, then continue to read on to learn about an inexpensive way to do this from your home.

In order to get started with this project we need to take a quick sidetrip on the technology that makes all this possible. The first is the ADS-B signals sent out by the aircraft. ADS-B stands for Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast. This signal is broadcast by most aircraft and contains information about the aircraft’s speed, heading, altitude, location and identity, and is used to help avoid collisions and provide situational awareness beyond the current Air Traffic Control systems. The second technology we will leverage for this application is Software Defined Radio (SDR). Simply put, an SDR is a cheap and inexpensive piece of hardware you can purchase that when coupled with a computer acts as a radio receiver. The best place to read up on this is the site RTL-SDR.COM. The final bit of tech we will be using is the RaspBerry Pi – an inexpensive microcomputer that the system will run on.

Hardware setup to make this all work

Now that we know what technology is used to make this application run, here is a quick list of the hardware needed to be acquired. All can be purchased for around $75 from online sites, so I will leave it up to you to decide where to buy it.

  1. Raspberry Pi: Recommend version 3 as it has built in wifi, but version 2 will also work
  2. RTL-SDR: Any of the RTL-SDR DVB-T usb sticks will work
  3. Micro SD Card: 8GB or larger

With the hardware in hand, it is a pretty straight forward process to get everything setup. The first thing you will need to decide is how indepth you want to go with building your system. For this activity, I’m going to recommend we take the easiest route that gets us up and running in the shortest amount of time. For those so inclined to going down rough road, I recommend reading about all the possibilities on the RTL-SDR ADS-B page.

To get the software installed and running on our RasPi, FlightAware has gone ahead and done all the heavy lifting and created an image file that contains the operating system and software needed to run the aircraft tracking application. They’ve done this to make it easy to increase the coverage of receivers listening to aircraft, with the understanding that what your station is picking up is resent to their service. If you are uncomfortable with sending data from your home up to FlightAware, I recommend taking a look at the RTL-SDR ADS-B page references above to getting the software installed and running. While the end results are the same, you just have to put a little more effort into it. Here is a quick breakdown of the steps to take, with detailed information found on the FlightAware build page

  1. Download the PiAware RasPi image and install it on the SD Card
  2. Configure the application for your network or the type of receiver you are using if necessary
  3. Install the SD card on the RasPi, connect the RTL-SDR usb device and antenna, and then plug it in.

Once it has started up, you can view the signals being received by the device by opening the application in a web browser on your local network. The web address will be http://raspi-ip-address/dump1090-fa/

FlightAware Web Application

Now that we have a cheap and simple device capturing the aircraft flying overhead, be sure to check out my next post where I will outline the processes for pulling this real time data into a professional GIS. To be continued…….

Esri User Conference 2017

Published July 3, 2017 by Kaitlyn Thomas

This year, as a dedicated Esri Platinum Partner, we will be holding a stronger presence than ever before in San Diego, CA at the annual Esri User Conference Events.

On July 9th, we will be a Diamond Sponsor exhibiting at B109 at the Esri Business Summit. We’ll be showcasing our new initiative, the GeoIoT Platform and we’ll be on the main stage with client Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and partner Acuity Brands presenting on our recent project work.

Then starting July 10th, the Esri User Conference kicks off and July 11-13 we’ll be exhibiting in booth 1619 also showcasing our GeoIoT Platform. We will have live demonstrations to illustrate how GeoIoT is innovating the power of where for clients in Federal, State & Local Government as well as private industries. We will be able to visualize live convention center foot traffic in our booth while featuring a smart LED light table with the help of our partner, Acuity Brands. In addition to our new GeoIoT Platform, we will also showcase the latest innovations in our traditional GIS capabilities.

Please be sure to stay tuned to our social media platforms to catch interviews with our clients about our project work with them, updates on where our clients are presenting at the UC, as well as which Esri Event Socials we will be sponsoring.