I’ve just worked up my appetite for the gala dinner by giving our presentation about Optimising Analysis using Geoprocessing. It was a good crowd for an afternoon session and the message of harnessing the out-of-the-box geoprocessing functionality in ArcGIS to improve areas of business not usually considered “GIS-related” was well received.
It’s important to emphasize that ArcGIS is much more than a plotting tool. Many organisations use ArcMap just to plot the locations of their assets, but there’s so much more it can do. Sometimes, though, the functionality of the software is overwhelming, and it’s difficult to know where to even get started, let alone which tools are best for the job. We focused on showing how some of the builtin tools can be used in ways which may not be immediately obvious, and how they can be linked together to streamline the process and reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed.
We covered a scenario of a hypothetical power company who had been receiving an unusual level of customer complaints for a particular region. We then dove into the details to try to find the cause of the complaints, and find mechanisms to improve the service. By using a combination of desktop tools, modelbuilder, and Python code, we were able to streamline our work planning process, increase communication and efficiency between business units, and improve customer satisfaction.
We showed how the advanced features of the software such as the spatial statistics tools, the arcpy.mapping module, the Network Analyst extension and Python email libraries can be combined to automatically determine optimal service areas for work plans, produce maps of road closures, and email PDFs to affected customers. All of this is well within the reach of any GIS officer – ArcMap is not just about making maps!
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