The Potential of ArcGIS Knowledge: Advantages and Integration Strategies


In the field of Geographical Information Systems (GIS), tools that enable efficient data management and analysis are essential. ArcGIS Knowledge is a platform that enables users to create and manage knowledge graphs for spatial data. In this blog post, we explore various implementations and benefits of ArcGIS Knowledge.

Graph Database Background

Graph databases and graph theory are powerful tools for managing and analyzing complex relationships between data. In recent years, the use of graph databases has exploded, and for good reason. Graph databases offer a number of benefits over traditional relational databases, including:

  • Flexibility: Graph databases are incredibly flexible, allowing organizations to store and manage a wide variety of data types, from simple lists to complex networks of relationships.
  • Scalability: Graph databases are highly scalable, making them well-suited for large, complex datasets that would be difficult or impossible to manage with traditional relational databases.
  • Speed: Because graph databases are optimized for managing relationships between data, they can perform queries much faster than traditional databases, which can significantly speed up data analysis.
  • Data Integration: Graph databases can easily integrate data from a wide range of sources, including social media, IoT devices, and other data sources, providing a more comprehensive view of your data.

Graph theory is the mathematical foundation behind graph databases and provides a way to understand the relationships between data points. It is a powerful tool for analyzing complex networks and identifying patterns that might not be immediately apparent using other methods.

“Graph analytics is really just another way to perform network analytics, only across spatial and nonspatial objects that are joined by logical relationships in addition to spatial relationships,” according to Adam Martin, product manager for ArcGIS Knowledge, Esri’s extension to ArcGIS Enterprise.

One of the key benefits of graph theory is its ability to identify the most important nodes in a network. By analyzing the relationships between data points, graph theory can help organizations identify the most influential data points and the connections that are most important to their overall data strategy.

Graph theory can also be used to identify patterns in data that might not be immediately apparent using other methods. For example, it can be used to identify clusters of data points that share common attributes or relationships, which can help organizations make better-informed decisions.

ArcGIS Knowledge

One of the key products in the ArcGIS ecosystem is ArcGIS Knowledge, a platform that provides access to a wide range of data sources, including maps, imagery, and other geographic information. This tool focuses on graph databases and graph theory, an advanced data storage paradigm.

When used in tandem with other ArcGIS products, such as ArcGIS Pro or ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Knowledge can help organizations make better decisions by providing them with a more comprehensive view of their data. For example, by combining data from ArcGIS Knowledge with data from ArcGIS Online, organizations can create interactive maps that allow users to explore and analyze data in real-time.

Another way that ArcGIS Knowledge can be used in conjunction with other ArcGIS products is by integrating it with ArcGIS Pro, a desktop application that allows users to create and edit maps, as well as perform complex geospatial analysis. By integrating ArcGIS Knowledge with ArcGIS Pro, users can quickly access the data they need to complete their projects, without having to search for it manually.

A link chart example, provided by Esri

Integration with Neo4j

One of the noteworthy integrations of ArcGIS Knowledge is its conjunction with Neo4j. Neo4j, a vendor of a popular graph database, provides powerful capabilities that allow organizations to store and analyze huge volumes of data with complex relationships. With Neo4j’s geospatial point features, users can perform spatial queries, visualize data on maps, and analyze spatial patterns to gain deeper insights into their data. This makes Neo4j a valuable tool for a wide range of applications, including logistics, transportation, real estate, and urban planning, including many others that rely less on spatial data and processing

When combined with ArcGIS Knowledge, users can acquire the ease of comfort and familiarity of Neo4j, while adding the advanced geospatial features of Knowledge to truly enhance their analytics and further their decision-making capabilities. Analysts can perform queries and analysis against the graph and 1000s of ArcGIS Living Atlas curated spatial datasets. Then enrich their entities and relationships in the graph with spatial properties and relationships like “has a drivetime distance from” or “located in.”

ArcGIS Pro also enables analysts to easily explore and visualize Neo4j data in link charts, maps and charts without needing to learn the new query language.

A mid-process photo of adding mobile sourced data to a Knowledge implementation
Mobile data automatically added to a map post-schema creation in ArcGIS Knowledge

ArcGIS Knowledge in Environmental Science

One area where ArcGIS Knowledge has found significant implementation is environmental science. Environmental scientists can use the software to develop knowledge graphs that represent complex relationships between various environmental factors. For instance, an environmental scientist can create a knowledge graph that links water quality to land use, population density, and topography. By analyzing such a graph, the scientist can identify the factors that contribute to poor water quality and develop strategies to mitigate the problem. ArcGIS Knowledge has thus become an essential tool in environmental science research, enabling scientists to identify patterns and relationships that would be difficult to discern manually.

ArcGIS Knowledge in Urban Planning

Another field that has benefited from ArcGIS Knowledge is urban planning. Urban planning involves creating livable and sustainable urban environments that meet the needs of residents. ArcGIS Knowledge has been used to develop knowledge graphs that represent the relationships between various urban factors, such as transportation, land use, and population density. By analyzing such graphs, urban planners can identify areas that require development and prioritize infrastructure projects. They can also predict future growth patterns and develop strategies to accommodate them. ArcGIS Knowledge has thus become an essential tool in urban planning, enabling planners to create sustainable and livable cities.

Urban Planning image courtesy of Unsplash

ArcGIS Knowledge in Disaster Management

Finally, ArcGIS Knowledge has found implementation in disaster management. During disasters such as floods or wildfires, it is essential to have accurate and up-to-date information about the affected areas. ArcGIS Knowledge is used to create knowledge graphs that represent the relationships between various factors such as topography, population density, and weather patterns.[1]  By analyzing such graphs, disaster management teams can predict the areas most likely to be affected by a disaster and develop strategies to mitigate the damage. ArcGIS Knowledge has thus become an essential tool in disaster management, enabling teams to respond to disasters in a timely and effective manner.

More than with hazard/location prediction analyses, I have seen the power of knowledge graphs explored more in helping understand ‘cascading’ affects of particular disasters by looking at relationships between a critical asset (power plant) and it’s downstream relationships. Or to manage efforts to efficiently match and supply relief resources (rescue teams and people with certain skills, trucks that can go through 2 ft of water, medical supplies) with local needs (distribution center).


ArcGIS Knowledge is a powerful tool that has found implementation in various fields, including environmental science, urban planning, and disaster management. By creating and analyzing knowledge graphs, users can identify patterns and relationships that would be difficult to discern manually. Overall, the key to using ArcGIS Knowledge effectively in tandem with other ArcGIS products is to understand the capabilities of each product and how they can work together to meet the specific needs of your organization. By doing so, you can leverage the power of ArcGIS to gain deeper insights into your data, and make better-informed decisions that drive business value. As time goes on, we foresee more plentiful integrations of ArcGIS Knowledge as a critical feature for geospatial analysis to build upon and connect with other tools. To get started with ArcGIS Knowledge with your GIS Enterprise, or discuss Knowledge and its integrations further, reach out to GEO Jobe at, and further your knowledge with us!

Extra Links

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Data Scientist / GeoAI Specialist