Each year at WhiteStar, we give each employee $200 to donate to a cause they support. WhiteStar values giving back something to the community, and this program has been well received by employees. The only requirement is that the charity qualify for 5013(c) under the IRS tax code. Other than that, the employee can choose any cause. This year, we supported fifteen different causes from humane societies to cancer awareness to youth soccer and homeless organizations. Next year we hope to do even more.
In other news, I wanted to publicly thank our partner Esri for an amazing game changing software product - Esri Story Maps. This web application lets you tell a story using your own maps, text, and data. Think of how many times you have wanted to tell others about your project but cringed dragging visitors back to see a map on a monitor. Using Esri Story Maps, you can tell your mapping story and then share it via a link in an email, blog, or newsletter.
Here is a link to an interesting Esri Story Map on the bombing of Pearl Harbor marking the USA’s entrance into World War II. Here is another Esri Story Map on some troublesome borders around the world. Pointing your browser to the Esri Story Maps site, you can see many additional examples.
At WhiteStar, we use Esri Story Maps to better communicate what we do. If you are a GIS professional, you have doubtless felt frustrated explaining your job to people to others who do not work in the industry - “I’m in Maps.” Using Esri Story Maps, we can now show people a snapshot of what we do along with explanatory text. This entertaining example shows two Government Land Office (BLM) survey plat maps for a single township in Wyoming. We georeferenced the old plat and the new plat. Using the spyglass, you can move the lens over to compare the top map (oldest) with the underlying map (newest) to see the very dramatic differences. Obviously keeping your digital land grid data up-to-date and not just downloading “whatever data you find” is critical. In this case, it makes a difference of up to a mile in accuracy!
Here is another Esri Story Map example showing the entire lifeline of our data from ancient hardcopy map to digital vector data.
Bottom line, our partnership with Esri - we’re a Silver Partner - brings value to our customers. We understand, play with, and use a wide variety of Esri software offerings both in development and production, and then we share our expertise and quality products with you. Without the partner program, we simply would not bring as much value in our offerings.