Now that the New Year has begun, we’d like to provide a glimpse of what’s coming up in the near term for ArcGIS Explorer. First, we’ll be publishing a new release of ArcGIS Explorer Online which you can expect to be publicly available shortly after the Esri Federal User Conference in January. We’ll be showcasing the new version of the application at that event. One of the first things that you’ll notice is new streamlined user experience shown below. This new implementation replaces the ribbon, and provides more real estate and a more intuitive user experience when working with maps.
Other features include:
- Interoperability with other clients, including a shared notes model with the ArcGIS.com Map Viewer.
- Improved viewing, query, and analysis via new popups, time-enabled web maps, and simplified query definition capabilities.
- Support for editing, including editing feature services powered by ArcGIS Server and a shared, cross-client, user experience for both editing feature services and map notes.
- Easier to share your map information via direct URL access to presentations (no longer opening the application first) which makes it easier for anyone to view, and for you to share your map information.
Though there are lots of improvements, all of your existing Explorer Online maps and presentations will work as-is without any changes.
Also coming up in a subsequent release are localization (5 languages) and more analysis capabilities, including statistical mapping and support for spatial analysis layers. We’ll cover all of these in more detail as the release approaches.
There’s also new things coming for ArcGIS Explorer Desktop, and one of the first is an update release that will focus on setting the stage for ArcGIS 10.1 capabilities and fixes and minor enhancements for reported issues. Later on you can expect some new features and capabilities that we’ll keep a lid on for now, but will be introducing here at this blog.
If you’re involved in education and want to learn more about how to use Explorer Online effectively in your teaching activities, you won’t want to miss this Webinar.
Fast Web Mapping with ArcGIS Explorer Online and Community Atlas
Date: Thursday 4 November 2010
Time: 9:00PM Eastern/8:00PM Central/7:00PM Mountain/6:00PM Pacific
Duration: 45 minutes with an additional 15 minutes for Q&A
Location: Included in confirmation email
Webinar Description: New to GIS? Learn to use Esri’s free browser-based GIS, ArcGIS Explorer Online to create a Community Atlas with students. You will learn how to create your maps for class tomorrow, choosing from a multitude of high resolution base maps, a limitless variety of hosted GIS data, and your own content makers with images, text, and more. We’ll even explore how you can create and share your content with students and other educators. Join Charlie Fitzpatrick as we explore and visualize community geography – including the 2010 Geography Awareness Week theme “FreshWater”!
Register at: http://edcommunity.esri.com/im/webinars
The Customizing ArcGIS Explorer Desktop Part 3 post introduced you to the steps you should follow to learn how to create add-ins. In this post we will run through a scenario in which we build an ArcGIS Explorer add-in, highlighting some common activities with the ArcGIS Explorer API along the way.
The scenario is that we would like to write an add-In which allows the user to draw a polygon on the map then use that shape to perform a spatial query against a layer in the map, and finally display the results as a new layer.
The first task is to decide which type of add-in will provide the right user experience for our users. Since the only interaction required from the user in this add-in is to draw a new polygon on the map, a Button add-in will be perfect.
The Button add-in class has an OnClick method which we override allowing us to implement some code which will respond to the user clicking our button on the ribbon. The first piece of code we write (in almost every add-in we create) will retrieve the ActiveMapDisplay. This can easily be done via the activeMapDisplay snippet provided with the ArcGIS explorer SDK in Visual Studio.
Next we will use the TrackPolygon() method on the MapDisplay class. This method puts the application into digitise mode and waits for the user to click on the map two or more times ending with a double click to create a polygon which is returned from the TrackPolygon call.
In order to perform the spatial query against the USA States layer we need to find that layer in the map. This is easily done with the convenient FindByName() method on the Map object (accessed via the MapDisplay). In this case we know it will definitely be a FeatureLayer and can safely cast it as such. FeatureLayers have a Table property which provides access to a Table object containing the actual data underlying the FeatureLayer.
The Table.Search() method is the reason we’re interested in the Table. In order to successfully use the Search() method we must provide a Filter object. One of the options for creating a Filter object allows us to pass in a geometry to act as a spatial filter. In this case the user defined polygon has been provided as the input Geometry and the type Intersects as the FilterSearchOption. This will return all the features in the USA States layer which intersect the polygon the user drew on the map.
The Search() method returns a RowCollection which can be processed in a number of ways depending on your scenario. However, we would like to explore a new area of the API in the 1500 which provides support for filtering FeatureLayers directly via a new QueryDefinition property. In this scenario we loop through all the rows in the RowCollection to build up a comma separated string of ObjectIDs which can then be used with the “IN” SQL operator in a query string set as the QueryDefinition property.
Once the QueryDefinition property has been set on the FeatureLayer the SetSymbol() method can be used to define how the layer will appear in the map, in this case we chose a simple red outline. Finally we use the Connect() method on the FeatureLayer to check we can successfully connect to the underlying data source and if the response is true we add the layer to the map, inserting as the topmost layer.
In this blog post we have covered the process of implementing an ArcGIS Explorer Add-in right from choosing the right type of Visual Studio Add-in project appropriate for our purpose and overriding the OnClick method as the entry point for our code to writing some code which demonstrates several activities commonly undertaken with the ArcGIS Explorer API. More information about the various pieces of the API we have used can be found in the SDK help: http://help.arcgis.com/en/arcgisexplorer/1500/sdk/index.html
Source code for this example can be downloaded from ArcGIS Online.
(Mike Branscomb & Mike Rudden - ArcGIS Explorer product engineers)
In Customizing ArcGIS Explorer Desktop – Part 1 we showed you how easy it is to extend ArcGIS Explorer using pre-authored add-ins. In this post we’ll look at the resources available to help you get started creating your own add-ins.
Before you begin, there are a few steps to complete:
- Install ArcGIS Explorer
- Install Visual Studio 2008 or 2010 – any edition including Express (Note that Visual Studio 2010 is only supported with the latest release – build 1500)
- Download and install the ArcGIS Explorer SDK
At this point you could simply open Visual Studio, create a new solution using one of the ArcGIS Explorer Add-in templates, and then start writing some code. The templates make it very easy to get going, and our goal has been to ensure that the Explorer API is very intuitive to use.
But we also realize that it can be fairly daunting to start programming if you are a non-programmer, so here are some recommendations to help you on your way.
Walkthroughs in the Explorer SDK
We provide step-by-step instructions on how to create each of the supported add-in types in a series of walkthrough topics. You can find these in the installed developer help or in the online SDK help.
We suggest that you start with the Creating a custom Button walkthrough which shows you how to create the Button add-in and will introduce you to the Visual Studio templates, the entry points in the Explorer API, and how to build, deploy and test an add-in.
Introducing Add-ins for ArcGIS Explorer Resource Center Video
When ArcGIS Explorer 900 was released, several members of the team (some of whom thought that Hollywood stardom may soon follow) created a few videos and posted them on the Explorer Media Gallery. If you want to learn about customizing Explorer then we’d recommend watching the Introducing Add-ins for ArcGIS Explorer video. Though the video was recorded with an earlier build in mind, the information shown is up-to-date for all releases.
Extending ArcGIS Explorer for Developers Virtual Campus Seminar
For a more in-depth look at add-ins and the Explorer API the Extending ArcGIS Explorer for Developers free online seminar provides an excellent learning resource.
In the next customizing Explorer post we’ll look at the Explorer API in more detail as well as providing some code examples to show you how easy it is to use.
(Mike Branscomb & Mike Rudden - ArcGIS Explorer product engineers)
Lots of users tell us how pleased they are to discover that ArcGIS Explorer is so easy to customize. This is obviously nice to hear, but we’d really like to make sure that all of our users know about this. So, over a series of posts we’ll be taking a look at all aspects of customizing ArcGIS Explorer desktop.
There are few important things you need to know about customizing ArcGIS Explorer – first that you don’t have to be a programmer to use pre-authored add-ins or to configure it. Second, that the Explorer SDK is free. And third, that we fully support Visual Studio Express which is also free.
So let’s get started by having a look at extending Explorer’s out-of-the-box capabilities by incorporating pre-authored add-ins. If you’ve been following the Explorer blog for a while you’ll have probably noticed a few posts about the add-ins that are hosted in the Explorer Labs Group on ArcGIS.com.
Below is the ArcGIS Explorer Labs group and some of its contents. Note that if you are searching from ArcGIS.com you should toggle your option to view all content, not just web content (otherwise the add-ins won’t be listed). Click on the image below – we’ve used a parameter in the link URL to ensure you see all content:
One of the most popular is the Street Viewer add-in. You’ll see it in the list of add-ins found in the group.
To use this add-in with Explorer click the thumbnail or choose Open and the add-in will be downloaded, and will appear in your Add-Ins tab ready to be used. Other add-ins you may open from the Labs group will also appear in your Add-Ins tab.
Using this add-in you can click on any street on your map and display the Google Street View (if available). Below we’ve clicked on our map, and opened the view:
There are other ways you can add add-ins, depending on how you’ve received them. Add-ins can be shared as files, and those will have a .EAZ extension. If you choose to save the add-in above, or in other situations where you’ve received an add-in in some other way (like via email), then you’ll need to explicitly add it to the application using the following steps.
To add from an add-in file (.eaz), click the Explorer button (the globe in the upper left) then choose ArcGIS Explorer Options:
Click Resources from the list on the left, then click Add-Ins (next to Manage Add-Ins):
Add your add-in from the file – you’ll see the add-in appear in the list, and when you click Close you’ll be prompted to restart the application.
After start-up, you’ll see your new add-in in the Add-Ins tab.
And that’s all there is to extending Explorer with pre-authored add-ins. For more information view the Add functionality help topic, a detailed discussion is found at the bottom of the page. And don’t forget to browser the ArcGIS Explorer Labs group, there are many useful add-in you’ll find there.
In the next post in this series we’ll look at application configurations, which provide you with the capability to integrate custom add-ins into the ribbon itself.
(Mike Branscomb & Mike Rudden - ArcGIS Explorer product engineers)
The new release of ArcGIS Explorer (build 1500) SDK for the Microsoft .NET Framework adds support for Visual Studio 2010, including the free Visual C# and Visual Basic Express editions.
For ArcGIS Explorer development, you will use the multi-targeting (compiling for a specific version of the .NET framework) functionality in Visual Studio to target .NET Framework 3.5; this is the version supported for Explorer add-ins, and is required by the application and API.
Add-in projects created by the Visual Studio Tools for ArcGIS Explorer will target 3.5, regardless of the framework chosen in the New Project wizard.
Add-ins that target.NET Framework 4.0
One of the features introduced in Visual Studio 2010 is support for targeting the.NET Framework 4.0, which includes a new Common Language Runtime (CLR).
Add-ins which target framework 4.0 cannot be loaded by the CLR which Explorer uses by default, and so Esri does not support development with .NET 4.0 for ArcGIS Explorer. However, if you do need to make use of framework 4.0, it is possible to configure Explorer to load both 3.5 and 4.0 frameworks side by side.
First, you must make changes to the application configuration file of the ArcGIS Explorer application to force it to load with the CLR and Framework version 4.0; see Scenario 3 in this MSDN article http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee518876.aspx. This change is necessary because if framework 3.5 is loaded first, the application cannot then load framework 4.0. Next, change your add-in project to target framework 4.0, by setting the Target Framework in Project Properties.
Now compile your add-in and start ArcGIS Explorer; both framework 3.5 and 4.0 will now load side-by-side in the application.
Remember this is not a supported configuration; incompatibilities in between the frameworks and the Common Language Runtime (CLR) versions may cause errors, you should only attempt these steps if you intent to fully test and certify your add-in and support your users with this unofficial configuration.
You can read more about Version Compatibility in the .NET Framework in this MSDN article: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff602939.aspx.
You can also refer to MSDN for full information about application configuration files and their contents, at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bbx34a2h.aspx.
Upgrading existing 1200 add-in solutions from Visual Studio 2008 to 2010
You can open existing add-in solutions in Visual Studio 2010, which will trigger the integrated upgrade wizard to upgrade the solution (note that this is a one-way process, it cannot be opened in Visual Studio 2008 any longer).
If you upgrade a project created with ArcGIS Explorer 1500, you should find your add-in works with no manual changes required. Alternatively, you can create a new add-in from scratch in Visual Studio 2010 using the New Project templates there.
However, it’s more likely that an existing add-in project will have been created with 1200 – in this case, you may find the add-in fails to load in Explorer once upgraded to Visual Studio 2010, with a message indicating “This assembly is built by a runtime newer than the currently loaded runtime and cannot be loaded.”
This is because the upgrade wizard does not deal correctly with project files that were created initially using ArcGIS Explorer 1200, resulting in an add-in that targets framework 4.0. As mentioned in the section above, add-ins targeting framework 4.0 cannot be loaded by the runtime which Explorer uses by default, and so the Add-Ins error handler prompts you to remove this add-in.
If you find this error from an upgraded add-in, and did not intend to target framework 4.0, you can correct it with a simple edit to the project file before you perform the upgrade; full details can be found in Knowledge Base article 38236.
(Shelly Gill, ArcGIS .NET API Product Engineer)
ArcGIS Explorer Current User is a way for people who are not administrators on their system to use ArcGIS Explorer. It does not require administrator privileges to install, so anyone can download and install ArcGIS Explorer Current User for themselves.
Please note that ArcGIS Explorer Current User is not intended for users that have also installed other ArcGIS products – those users should install the standard ArcGIS Explorer setup (which does require administrative privileges).
See the ArcGIS Explorer Current User installation guide for more information.
In addition to ArcGIS Explorer Current User, there are two expansion packs created specifically for use with ArcGIS Explorer Current User that are available. Use the Data Access Expansion Pack for ArcGIS Explorer Current User to expand geodatabase functionality. With this expansion pack, users are able to make direct connections to multi-user geodatabases from ArcGIS Explorer Current User.
The Projection Engine Expansion Pack for ArcGIS Explorer Current User is also available. Use this expansion pack to add more projection and geotransformation options for use within ArcGIS Explorer Current User.
(Lindsay King – ArcGIS Explorer release manager)
We updated the Bing Birds Eye View add-in back in March, and recently it got some kudos from happy users at the ArcGIS Explorer Labs group. We thought it was worth having another look at this useful add-in.
After opening the add-in in Explorer you’ll be able to see the Bird’s Eye View anywhere that it’s available. The add-in will appear in your Add-Ins tab, along with any others you may already be using.
Click the add-in, and then click any location on your map. The Bird’s Eye View will be displayed in the popup window for the note.