February 15th 2017 - SLUG Meeting DiGISt

Minutes of the 31st Quarterly Salt Lake GIS Users Group (SLUG) meeting, held on February 15, 2017, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Doty Education Center in Bldg #6 of the IMC Center in Murray. There were about 100 in attendance.

This meeting’s lunch was sponsored by Aero-Graphics. If you have any contacts that would be willing to “sponsor” a lunch by providing food/ drinks in exchange for giving a plug about their company at the meeting, contact Tom Toronto, SLUG Board member.

Welcome and Business:

Neal Fraser, SLUG Board Chair

Neal welcomed everyone to the meeting, and commented about how well SLUG has done for such a long time. This is our 31st meeting. This August we will have been meeting for 8 years!

  • The next SLUG meeting will be at the State Capitol on April 26th, 2017.
  • Dave Henrie from UGIC spoke briefly about the next UGIC Conference, which will be May 8th to 12th in Park City. He said one new activity will be what sounds like a cross between geo-caching and a progressive dinner. Stay tuned!
  • If you would like to present at SLUG, or know of someone you’d like to see present, please contact a SLUG Board member. This need not be anything spectacular, we can all learn from each other’s normal practices.

Sponsor Segment: 

Casey Francis from Aero-Graphics spoke about their appreciation for SLUG and the relationships they have with many of the SLUG members. He explained their new 2017 Wasatch Front project which will be 3” pixel imagery in 4 bands, with great accuracy, for a low cost. You can check it out HERE. They take pride in being flexible, providing products that are accurate and quickly delivered. He also showed a short film about Aero-Graphics.


Single Family Residential Growth, 1985-2015, in the South Valley Area of Salt Lake County

Scott Carter, SLCC Cartography Student

Scott presented what he did for a final project in his Cartography class at SLCC.  He used state, county, and municipality data from AGRC and the County’s parcel data, which includes a “year Built” attribute, to analyze the growth over time of Single Family homes in the Incorporated areas of the South Valley Area of Salt Lake County. His series of thematic maps showed homes built by 1985, 2000, and 2015, and a combined map showing them all together, colored by time group.

The presentation included tables of the counts and percentage of growth of new homes that have been built over the past thirty years in each municipality. The South Valley Area is continuing to expand as are the opportunities for businesses, especially to the South and West.


Creating Clearfield Small Area Plans: A Data-driven Approach

Payden McRoberts, West Jordan City

Payden presented a system he created when he worked at Clearfield that was used to find neighborhood-level areas in need of individualized planning efforts such as Small Area Plans. This was in order to give Planners data-driven tools to find what he calls areas of “disinvestment”.

Using a total of 13 economic, demographic, and transit-related variables, the system creates a single index for each parcel.  These values were normalized to remove weighing some more than others. The data used comes from parcels; American Community Survey (Census) data at the Block and Block Group levels; and others. This index was then symbolized to reveal patterns.

The initial problem this revealed was a great disparity between those parts of the city on one side vs. the other side of the railroad. Payden had to separate the 2 halves and process them separately to get around this.  He ended up changing the parcels to points, and “binning” them to avoid the misperceptions caused by large parcels of one color.  The bins were then symbolized.

The intent was to find areas of disadvantaged parcel clusters, and present these to the City Council for public input, area refinements, and so on.  This can assist planners in identifying areas that would be suitable for the Small Area Plans.  Such plans might include overlay zones or things like infrastructure improvements.

Overall, this was a great way to bring GIS analysis into the hands of the planners.


Geography Humor Segment 

Neal Fraser, SLUG Board

2 videos were shown. 

First up was a very short clip from the BBC Black Adder comedy, in which a General reviews, on a scale model, how much ground was recaptured during the latest WW1 battle. You can see this clip HERE.

Next was a video from the “Ultra Spiritual Life” Channel where he spoofs (or is he?) all the arguments for the Flat Earth Theory. You can see this HERE.

You can see many of the videos we’ve shown (not including the above ones) at SLUG meetings on our own YouTube channel HERE.


ArcGIS Arcade

Joseph Rhodes - Esri

“Arcade, released in December 2016, is a simple, secure, portable expression language that augments mapping functionality across the ArcGIS platform, including driving visualization, controlling labeling behavior, executing mathematical functions, and more, without the need to edit source data. In the first release, Arcade is focused primarily on giving users greater flexibility for styling layers, introducing logic to labeling and symbology, greatly simplifying styling tasks that previously required more complex scripting, manual workflows, and/or duplication of effort.”.

Joseph presented a demo using Arcade to change the classifications of data available on a web map service using ArcGIS Online. This involved typing JavaScript-like code into a window, which then altered the appearance of the map. It’s unfortunate that the screens were so dark and the text font was small making it hard to readJoe's Presentation on Arcade

Joseph also mentioned that Vector Tiles will be the new wave in the future. He stated that “raster tiles will be here for some time, but the writing is on the wall”. (How that applies to aerial photo tiles remains to be seen.) He also mentioned an update to Survey123.   View Joe's presentation from last meeting on Vector Tiles here.


Thank you to our presenters and our venue. If you have any ideas for a presentation or any other matter, please contact a SLUG board member.  And thanks for your interest and support!