City of Cam­bridge to be rec­og­nized for blight study

Dorchester Star - - News -

CAM­BRIDGE — The City of Cam­bridge and Sal­is­bury Univer­sity will be jointly rec­og­nized with a Spe­cial Achieve­ment in GIS (SAG) award at the ESRI user con­fer­ence in San Diego Cal­i­for­nia in July for its pi­lot blighted hous­ing study, which mar­ried Ar­cGIS and Sur­vey123 soft­ware to ef­fec­tively mea­sure risk fac­tors lead­ing to even­tual hous­ing blight.

ESRI, the soft­ware de­vel­oper which makes ARC GIS and Sur­vey123, has more than 100,000 users world­wide, and rec­og­nizes ap­prox­i­mately 150 ev­ery year at its user con­fer­ence. ARC GIS (ge­o­graphic information sys­tem) is soft­ware de­signed to cap­ture, store, ma­nip­u­late, an­a­lyze, man­age, and pre­sent spa­tial or ge­o­graphic data. Sur­vey 123 works in con­junc­tion with Ar­cMap to ap­ply real-time sur­vey re­sponses to ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tion.

“I am ex­cited to bring this tech­nol­ogy to the city,” said Scott Shores, the GIS Spe­cial­ist for the City of Cam­bridge. “Our re­la­tion­ship with Sal­is­bury Univer­sity has turned this into a project that is not only good for Cam­bridge, but good for the ed­u­ca­tion of lo­cal stu­dents.”

The project was con­ceived by Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works staff, across the Plan­ning, Engi­neer­ing, and Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment di­vi­sions as an in­ter­nal and cost-ef­fec­tive strat­egy to de­fine ‘blight’ in Cam­bridge and to po­ten­tially high­light pri­or­ity fund­ing ar­eas through­out the city.

Last fall, 18 Sal­is­bury Univer­sity stu­dents were able to score more than 950 prop­er­ties in one day. The City of Cam­bridge and Sal­is­bury Univer­sity are cur­rently mak­ing plans to con­tinue the ef­fort through­out the city and com­plete the ef­fort this sum­mer us­ing stu­dent in­terns.

“There are a num­ber of dif­fer­ent ap­pli­ca­tions for this ex­cit­ing tech­nol­ogy,” said As­so­ci­ate Di­rec­tor of Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment, Bran­don Hes­son. “Pri­mar­ily, it’s an op­por­tu­nity to make data-driven de­ci­sions, and con­tinue to use that real-time data to mea­sure the ef­fec­tive­ness of ex­ist­ing pro­grams in a way that is cost con­scious and uti­lizes cur­rent city re­sources.”

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

In the fall of 2016, 18 Sal­is­bury Univer­sity stu­dents were able to iden­tify and score more than 950 ‘blighted’ prop­er­ties in one day us­ing the Arc GIS and Sur­vey123 soft­ware pro­grams.

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