ArcGIS Insights

Esri to offer interactive data analysis within ArcGIS

Maps are pretty, but getting your data into them can be tricky, especially if you’re dealing with large datasets or performing complex analytics. 

Esri, the Redlands, Calif., GIS software company, is currently road testing a new add-in for ArcGIS that promises to add analytic power and make the process of integrating enterprise data and maps far more intuitive. 

Insights for ArcGIS, which was unveiled at the recent Federal GIS Conference in Washington, D.C., is a plug-in that offers an interface for accessing and analyzing information.  When the user imports information – whether from a data warehouse, a geodatabase, an Excel spreadsheet or real-time streaming data -- the file format is automatically detected and the information is displayed as either tables, charts or maps.  The legend allows users to interact directly with the underlying data.

For example, click on crime data that has a temporal element in a table, drag the data set to a chart and a window pops open showing a timeline of the data.  Click on a point in the timeline and the appropriate data for that time period appears on the map.

Want to analyze the same data by neighborhoods?  Simply open a layer that displays the neighborhood boundaries, drag and drop it on the map and the point data will be reanalyzed and automatically displayed as proportional icons by within neighborhoods. Want to quickly check the underlying data?  Just click on a button to flip the map card and the program will display the data.

Insights also has built-in tools that make it easy to perform relatively sophisticated analysis with the click of a mouse.  For example, a rate-of-change tool can be used to display -- either in chart form or on a map -- the changes in each neighborhood’s crime statistics.

Another feature is Insights recorder, which automatically records workflows that can be shared with others.  The workflow can also be edited, and recipients of the workflow can input their own data and rerun the analysis.  Workflows also can be converted to HTML with a single click and then be shared with the public on a website.

While Insights doesn’t add new analytic capabilities to ArcGIS, it does make the tools already supported much more accessible and easy to use.  That in itself is a game changer, said Esri CTO Art Haddad.  “Think of it as a fusion of data and spatial analysis and a new way of thinking about GIS,” he said.

Esri plans to offer Insights to early adopters and beta testers within a few weeks, and to release the program later in the year.

About the Author

Patrick Marshall is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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