Have a question? Want to talk GIS? Looking for some good ideas? Jump into the conversation!
A few weeks back we rolled out some new features that we hope will improve the forums’ usefulness. One of the new features is the ability for those who post questions in the forums to rate the replies. In addition, any logged in user can also join in and vote on the various replies and conversations in order to help us identify the best information, helping you find good information more quickly. Another huge benefit to the new voting tools is that it helps us all identify, recognize, and reward those forums users who contribute the most helpful information.
Until June 2010, our old discussion forums (now archived) supported what we called the “Forums MVP Program”. Once every 6 months we would identify the Top 10 members of the community and make them eligible for MVP recognition and some valuable prizes. Continue reading
Have a question? Want to talk GIS? Looking for some good ideas? Jump into the conversation!
A few weeks back we rolled out some features that we hope will improve the forums’ usefulness. To be candid, we’re sure many would say that some of these features should have been there since day one, or at least long overdue, but we listened to what you wanted and found a way to get them in there for you to use.
Let’s start with the big one…
If you read something and you like it, give it a thumbs up!
Now any forum user can let the community know where the good information is. How you do it is simple. If you read a post or a reply and you think it contains some really good information, click the “up” arrow on the right. This is similar to the “Like” button in Facebook.
If we all do this, then the best posts will bubble to the top. If you want to read the entire thread you can, but if you need to most quickly find the good stuff, look at the posts that have a high score.
There is also a “down” arrow, but you can only use that to “Unlike” something you previously Liked.
If you find “The Answer”, give it a check!
If you started a thread with a question, then whichever reply you think is the best, give it a check. That will mark your thread as “answered” for all to see, and it will give some MVP points to the person who wrote it.
Two birds with one stone
Clicking the checks and arrows has two benefits:
1. You are helping everyone find the best information.
2. You are helping everyone recognize the best contributors.
One of the great things about any community is the trust earned by those folks who share their experience and help others. Some pros out there are always going to stick out, but these new voting tools are going to help find others who are just as helpful and useful who you might not yet know.
Discussions versus Q&A
When you start a new thread, you can let everyone know if you’re starting a discussion or if you’re asking a specific question. Discussions show up in the thread list with a yellow “D” icon and questions with a red “Q”.
When the original poster or a moderator identifies one of the replies as the best answer, the “Q” icon turns into a green “A”.
This helps you find answers more quickly, and if you want to jump in and let everyone know what you think, this helps you more quickly find questions that haven’t been answered yet.
Most of the time an open public discussion is a great way to get the best information, but sometimes you may want to take it off-line.
Up on the menu is a “Private Messages” link. Click that to see your Inbox or to send direct messages to other users. Also, clicking their name anywhere in the forums provides a pop-up you can use to send a message to them if they’ve activated it.
You can use the “Forum Actions > User Control Panel” menu to control who can send you messages. You can turn it completely on, completely off, or limited to just those users in your Contacts list.
Badges are a great way to find those folks who have been around the block a time or two. Anyone with more than 200 posts in the forums becomes a “Senior Member”, and of course anyone on the forums who works for Esri is badged as “esri” with a globe logo.
And when you see someone with a “Forums MVP” badge, you know you’re talking with someone the community has said has the best information and is most dedicated to your success. These are folks who have been voted by the community to be in the Top 10 of all contributors during any previous six-month MVP rating period. And once you’re an MVP, you’re always an MVP.
And more importantly, now that the new community voting tools have been included, it’s time to roll out the new MVP program. Watch this blog post next week for a description of the new rules, new standards, and a list of awards you can earn through all of your good effort. So jump in and help us figure out who the players are; maybe it’s you!
The Advanced Search page gives you a lot of flexibility to build a complex search. What we’re working on next is giving you the ability to save that search definition. This will be good for bookmarking and sharing. We’ve also heard that most users participate in some forums a lot, some forums a little and others not at all. We are going to improve your “What’s New” page so that it only includes those forums you want to browse. If there are any other improvements you’d like to see, reply here, or jump into the conversation on the Resource Center Site Feedback forum.
Content for this post provided by Jim Barry
I created an application to demonstrate how easily a Flex programmer could customize and extend the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex. We can leave the artsy design up to a graphic designer to create Flex skins. After integrating the design into the viewer, we can then concentrate the majority of our effort on tools and workflows that are critical to our business.
“Go Electric” is an enterprise application that allows Go Electric management to view their current electric car charging stations, and evaluate the market potential for new charging station locations. Go Electric is a fictitious company used to model a realistic scenario.
From the image above, you’ll notice that this Go Electric example includes some intriguing customizations:
With the release of OS 10.6 Snow Leopard and Lion OS, the Mac Magic Trackpad and Magic Mouse allow you to interact with the system using touch gestures like tap, scroll and swipe. While not all gestures are passed on as native browser events, some gestures emit traditional browser scroll events that enable intuitive and powerful map exploration.
If you have a Mac with OS X 10.6 or greater, click here to view a demo that shows how to pan and zoom using the track pad gestures. The default behavior is pan, press the shift key to enter zoom mode.
An ArcGIS deprecation plan for versions of Microsoft Visual Studio prior to 2010 has been published. See this post on the ArcGIS Desktop blog for more info.
- EDN Team
Alright, alright you got me.
What was I thinking making New Years Eve the deadline for abstract submission? Let’s go with…
—> January 7th, 2011
…to make things a little easier for everyone. Sure, easier for us too.
If you haven’t submitted yet, here is where to get started.
We have 18 open slots this year and 16 abstracts already submitted. Some submitted in November but 10 of you threw your hat into the ring just in the past week so the pace is picking up. If you’d like a speaking slot and you want to give the community a chance to vote on it and get you into the agenda, the time is now.
The abstracts submitted so far look really good, so I’m already expecting the track will be even better than last year’s, no small feat. But don’t let that intimidate you. When it comes to your presentation, the simpler the topic, the more clear and useful it can be. If it’s something you’ve learned or had success with, then for sure there’s someone out there who can learn from it too.
ps- As an extra thanks for you early birds, for those of you who did get yours in before 12/31, we’ll give you first dibs on the time and date of your slot.
Esri’s development of a C++ API for the File Geodatabase is just about complete. With this API you will be able to create, edit, and read File Geodatabases without using the ArcObjects API and without needing a license for ArcGIS.
One of the most valuable parts of the Dev Meet Ups is the lightning talks. If you’ve missed out, then here’s a quick overview of what they are and how they work.
What is a lightning talk? These are short 5-10 minute, fun, informative, and
somewhat informal, presentations that give you a chance to share something you’re working on, something you’ve done, or something you’ve learned that you think might be of interest to the group.
How many are there? There are only four lightning slots available for each Dev Meet Up, so be sure submit your title and description as early as possible!
What’s the format? You have the stage for 10 minutes, so you decide. If you want to use PowerPoints, you can. If you want to just demo a website or an application or even code, you can. You shouldn’t spend hours putting detailed slides together!
What’s the set-up? A microphone, projector, and laptop with PowerPoint will be set-up for you, so just bring a USB drive and you are good to go. You can also walk up with your own laptop if you have special configuration requirements.
What should I talk about? In general, your content should be of interest to developers: designing, frameworks, coding, testing, and tips and tricks. It might include mapping, data management, geolocation, mobile devices, but it isn’t restricted to these topics.
Your talk does not need to include Esri technologies, for example, third-party technologies such as development environments and other products and libraries that can work alongside Esri products. Your talk shouldn’t be focused on promoting your business, or some other products and services for sale. Attendees want to learn something from you and take away something they can use.
- Don’t spend hours putting together a polished
- Keep it short and sweet, and get to the point soon.
- Try to emphasize the “how” over the “what” and “why”.
- Keep it less than 10 slides (if you use a PowerPoint
- Make your presentation available online after the
How do I sign-up? Submit your title and description at the time you RSVP, or send it to the host responsible for each Dev Meet Up. The sooner the better!
That’s it! So far the lightning talks have been one of the most fun and informative parts of the meet ups, so be sure to submit your talk today!
See you at the next meet up!
- EDN Team
If you are an Esri Developer Network (EDN) subscriber and new to the concept of cloud computing and GIS, let’s start from square one. First, take a look at this post on the ArcGIS Server Blog that provides the basics of ArcGIS Server with Amazon EC2, what it is and how you can start using it and really leveraging the web as your platform for GIS.
Can I develop in the cloud?
A popular question we have been hearing lately is this:
“Does my EDN subscription include the ability to use ArcGIS Server on Amazon EC2?”
The short answer:
“Yes, it is automatically included for all EDN subscribers”.
Why use the cloud?
The Amazon cloud can be a great choice for deploying or developing with ArcGIS. From a developer point of view, running ArcGIS Server in Amazon EC2 is interesting for several reasons:
- You can very quickly setup clean new machines for your projects: By simply following a wizard, you get ArcGIS Server completely configured and ready to go in a matter of minutes. You can load your data, setup your services and applications and run it all as an isolated sandbox. Just imagine, you can easily setup a separate machine for every project you have: develop on one, run performance and functional tests on another, and so on.
- You will only pay Amazon for the hardware you use. So let’s say you develop from 9:00am to 5:00pm. You can stop your server for the rest of the day, so you do not pay for it until you start the machine again. You can get servers for as little as $0.50 per hour or less. See details here.
- Your servers are out there available on the internet, which means that as you develop your application you can access them from anywhere: home, work, customer site, etc.
- If at some point you need lots of processing power (data preparation, analysis) as part of your development work, multiple ArcGIS Server instances can be started to get the job done. Then you can keep the results and terminate the servers you used to do the task. In the Amazon cloud, you can get immediate access to the computing power you need, without bureaucracy and without having to juggle to find more available hardware. You get computing power and storage using a self-service experience that you completely control.
But what if I won’t be deploying my production system to the cloud?
Then maybe just use Amazon EC2 as your application development test bed.
Let’s say you have your own server hardware and you will be using that for your production deployment. You can still use your EDN license to develop and test your application in the Amazon cloud. Use ArcGIS Server on Amazon EC2 for performing tasks such as prototyping, developing, and testing. It can save you time, money and headaches.
Ok, how do I get started?
To gain access to your ArcGIS Server Amazon Machine Image (AMI)…
1. Register yourself with Amazon Web Services.
2. Contact Esri Customer Service and request access to the ArcGIS Server AMIs. You will be asked to provide your Amazon EC2 account information (12-digit Amazon account number) as well as details regarding your EDN subscription.
3. If all is well (basically, if your EDN subscription is up to date), Esri will make the AMI available from the Amazon Web Services Management console or any other Amazon EC2 tool of your choice.
Here is a video showing a step by step guide to launch the ArcGIS Server AMI.
How do I pay for this?
Let’s be clear: as an EDN subscriber, Esri is simply looking to facilitate your work as a developer. EDN provides you “development-only” software licenses. It remains your choice whether you run on your own hardware or in the Amazon cloud. And just like you pay for on-premises hardware on which you develop with EDN, you will need to pay for the hardware and services used in the Amazon cloud. To understand how Amazon Web Services charges for use of their cloud infrastructure, see the extensive documentation on their web site.
Anything else I need to be aware of?
Just a few final notes:
- Security: If you are working with sensitive data, or projects, be sure you understand the security implications of working in the Amazon cloud. We are not saying Amazon Web Services are not secure (many find quite the opposite), but due diligence is recommended in understanding the nature of this infrastructure.
- OS: Be aware that at this point, we only have created ArcGIS Server AMIs for Windows. We have not built ArcGIS Server AMIs for Linux (that is, not yet!).
- Documentation: We strongly encourage you to go through the ArcGIS Server on Amazon EC2 web help. There is some very good information in there that will save you a lot of time, especially as you get started.
- Deployment: Your EDN license allows you to develop with ArcGIS Server on Amazon EC2, but if you want to put your apps into production, you will need a full “production” ArcGIS Server license.
- Tips and Tricks: You can always check for news and tips related to Amazon EC2 and ArcGIS, in the ArcGIS Server blog.
And that’s that! You’re ready to get started. Let us know what you think below.
- EDN and ArcGIS Server Teams
like to give a huge shout out to everyone that supported the Dev Meet Up we had in Decatur, Illinois on September 16th.
It was great to see all of you that showed up to the “Soybean Capital of the
World”, especially since a few of you traveled quite a distance to join us.
in Decatur? Well, quite a bit, although
it’s small. But since we all might agree that geography is important, it’s sort
of the hub in-between Springfield, Champaign, Bloomington, and I suppose Peoria
too. Gave us a really good chance of reaching a good crowd.
you weren’t there, here’s what you missed:
it off with his opening presentation, Chris Sergent (@chrissergent) from the City of Decatur supported
the theme of new events for the developer community by discussing new ways
we’re all using to share, collaborate, and as Chris said, “break down barriers”. If you think the same way, I encourage you to
follow Chris on Twitter here. If you want to
know why Decatur, Illinois was the logical choice for our third Dev Meet Up
after New York City and Los Angeles, you can ask Chris, and thank him for
pestering me as much as he did.
reached out to all of you and you showed us that there was a strong active geo-developer
community who would support get-togethers like this throughout Central
Illinois, so we held up our end of the bargain. Thank you for your dedication,
Chris! I’m hearing you’d like to get
another one going soon, perhaps January or February in Champaign-Urbana. We’ll
be up in the Chicagoland area in May 2011.
up the opening presentation were the lightning talks. We had four folks who
stepped up to show everyone else what they’re doing and share some tips,
tricks, and other ideas.
Crombez with Champaign County Planning jumped up and volunteered to go first. She
showed some web apps she built on top of ArcGIS Server data and GP services. She
tools and processes she needed.
Ostrander and JP Watters from way up north in Grundy County talked about ArcGIS
administration on top of a PostgreSQL database using Windows Authentication. There
were a few in the crowd (and a few who caught buzz of it across Twitter) wanting
copies of that presentation.
Barrett showed some of her apps built with the ArcGIS API for Flex – some being
apps they used to serve up using ArcIMS. She had just signed up for the talk
just a few hours before but didn’t need much prep time to keep it simple and show
what she’s working on and things learned along the way. Her talk was very “tips
& tricks” dense.
Williamson (@micahwilli) from Peoria County builds web apps too, but he was quick to point
out that he’s “not a code monkey”. But when it comes to building geospatial
apps these days, it helps to remember that there are no dumb users, only dumb
designs. Borrowing from some insurance
company, he said it helps to always think “intuitive!” so that even a caveman
can do it.
for all of you tchotchke lovers out there, we raffled off some shirts, a huge
messenger bag donated by our friends at The Code Project, and some arguably non-tchotchke prizes
such as a 12-month software bundle subscription to EDN and a free pass to
the 2011 Esri Developer
in Palm Springs in March.
the presentations, everybody mixed and mingled, ate and drank, and talked maps,
apps, systems, databases, with some Chicago Bears chatter mixed in. Most
importantly, there was the opportunity for everyone to get to know one another
through sharing their interests, work, and even some brainstorming.
Doherty’s Pub &
provided some great food, drinks, and service.
If you’re ever in town, stop by.
Great place and live music on Thursday nights. Micah was almost able to
get his talk done before the blues band kicked in. Anyway, the building used to
be a bowling alley. They left a few lanes for parties, but the whole place was
overhauled into an Irish pub motif. The bar was built using the wood from some
of the older lanes; they left the lane markers and ball return channels on the
bar too. That is, unlike regular
bowling alleys where I’m from, where the bar is already the primary function.
to all who participated (some of you traveling over an hour each way or more to
get there). We can see us all growing this, bouncing it around Central
Illinois. If you think it’s a great way to spend some time, share ideas, and
learn, let’s do it.
you were not able to make it out to our Dev Meet Up in Decatur, you haven’t
lost your chance to participate! You can still register for our events. They’re
free. While you’re at it, why not consider presenting a project that you have,
or are currently working on, at one of these meetings?
are on our way to a city near you!
- EDN Team