Updated Source Code for the Water Operations Dashboard

We have updated the Water Operations Dashboard.  This version is based on the ArcGIS API for Flex 1.2 libraries and the Sample Flex Viewer that was released on May 29th.  

The Water Operations Dashboard is based on the Sample Flex Viewer with a few enhancments. 

  • Identification Widget:  This widget allows the user to click on a asset to get a pop up of the information on that asset.  To use this widget in another sample flex app, you need to copy the index.swf and the IdentifyWidget widget.  This is because we made changes to the core components.
  • ChartWidget/ChartWidgetBar:  A widget to provide a bar chart or pie chart.  This can be used with the sample viewer or the water dashboard
  • LiveMapsWidgetWRefresh:  Added code so the live maps can be refreshed at a certain interval
  • Handle for null attributes:  Added error checking to a few widgets so null values are handled, this should fix some of the 1009 errors you may have encountered(SearchWidget, LiveMapWidget were updated)

You can find the source code on the flex code gallery.



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Exploring (and sharing) big holes in the ground

The other week I was flying into Salt Lake City on a regional jet. As we approached the airport our flight path took us over an impressive and very large hole in the ground. Looking in a Salt Lake area guide it become apparent that what I’d seen from the jet window was the Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation’s Bingham Canyon Mine. Whether you consider it a scar on the earth’s surface, a curiosity, or a triumph of resource harvesting, it’s also a popular tourist destination and listed as a National Historic Landmark. 

Visiting Wikipedia I learned that it’s the world’s largest man-made excavation and also the first and largest open-pit copper mine. Wikipedia also provided the coordinates for its location: 40° 31? 20.5? N, 112° 8? 58.1? W

In ArcGIS Explorer I used Tools > Go To Location

And copied and pasted the coordinates (in this case in degrees, minutes, and seconds) from Wikipedia into Go To Location.

I also could have entered the coordinates in decimal degrees (also provided via Wikipedia).

Clicking Go To I was able to zoom to the location and could see the large pit I’d noticed from the plane window. I then clicked Create Result to add a result to my map.

I refined my result by changing some of its properties; I right-clicked the result and changed the default red pushpin to a different symbol, changed the popup window title, and edited the popup window content to open with the Wikipedia entry for the mine.

Here’s what my newly modified result looks like:

Since I used readily available Web content in my popup I could share this easily with others. In the bottom right corner of the popup window you’ll see a link to E-mail the result.

I clicked that to E-mail it to one of my colleagues – Jim Barry – who I often collaborate with. The result was automatically added as an attachment to the E-mail.

Here’s Jim on the other end of the E-mail after opening the result from the attachment.

What’s interesting is that I didn’t know that Jim had installed the latest Beta 2 version of the soon-to-be-released ArcGIS Explorer 900, and the attachment I created using Explorer 500 worked perfectly in Explorer 900.

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ArcGIS Plug-ins and Eclipse Bundles

Starting with 3.2 Eclipse began to use packages instead of version numbers for each major release:

3.2.x = Callisto
3.3.x = Europa
3.4.x = Ganymede

Generally speaking, our Eclipse plug-ins work with Callisto and above. The server plug-ins require Europa and above. But there are some exceptions. Eclipse’s update manager usually does a pretty good job so you will normally not be able to install plug-ins that aren’t supported by a particular instance of Eclipse. For example, trying to install ArcGIS server plug-in on a non-JavaEE version of Eclipse will result in an error.

It can be confusing to tell which version of Eclipse one has, follow these steps to confirm your version:

  • Select ‘About’ in help

  • Your Eclipse version will show up in the ‘About Eclipse Platform’ dialog.

  • Further configuration details can be viewed by clicking the ‘Configuration Details’ button. 

The most popular bundles appear to be Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers and Eclipse IDE for Java Developers. Our server plug-in obviously requires the Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers bundle.  You can still start with the Eclipse Classic SDK bundle although our plug-ins will not work with the classic bundle of Eclipse. Specifically our core plug-ins depend on the org.apache.xerces plug-in which is not available in the SDK bundle, but is included in the Java EE and Java bundles.  If you choose to use the Classic SDK bundle, you will be required to manage the dependency plug-ins manually starting with the xerces plug-in.  Since 9.3, we introduced a new feature in the server plug-ins to support drag-and-drop style of web application design.  This feature is only available in Europa and above. So the server plug-ins now cannot be installed in Callisto.

Equinox P2

As of Eclipse 3.4/Ganymede M6, the Eclipse SDK contains a new provisioning system called Equinox/P2 which replaces the Update Manager as a mechanism for managing Eclipse, searching for updates, and installing new functionality through plug-ins.  Experienced users will notice the new software update dialog which replaces the ‘Find and Install/Manage Configuration’ approach.  The big change is the concept of ‘dropins’ folder which is a default ‘watched’ directory and scanned during start up.  This allows for changes to be immediately applied to a running system.  Plug-ins and features added to the dropins folder are properly installed into the system rather than being forced in by prior versions using the plug-ins folder concept.  Plug-ins installed via dropins behave exactly like plug-ins installed via  the user interface.  Something to note is that updating plug-ins located under the dropins folder through the UI will result in updated plug-ins being saved under the main eclipse/plugins & eclipse/features folders and not under the dropins hierarchy as one might expect.

If you use multiple eclipse installations, you can configure a central shared dropins folder where you can put Eclipse plug-ins used by all your Eclipse installations which links back to your central location. 

The Equinox p2 update UI supports drag and drop of an update site URL straight from your browser or from your OS file manager for local sites.  If you choose to use the UI to install plug-ins they lose control of where Eclipse installs the plug-in as all plug-ins/features go to the default location, which can be a bit overwhelming. 

Finally, you can also configure Eclipse 3.4 to use the legacy update manager which reverts Eclipse back to the ‘Find and Install/Manage Configuration’ approach from previous versions. 

Looking Forward

Eclipse Galileo arrives in 3 weeks on June 24, 2009. 


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Water Distribution Model for use with ArcGIS for AutoCAD

In the last post I walked you through how ArcView 9.3.1 Export-to-CAD automatically stores feature class information in an AutoCAD DWG file. A natural extension of this functionality is to use it to leverage existing ESRI data models to create template AutoCAD drawings.

A sample DWG template of the Water Utility Data Model has been created using Export-to-CAD and posted on the Water Utilities Template Gallery. To go to the Template Gallery click here.

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Introduction to the Templates Part 1: Building a Strong Foundation with the Data Models


The Emergency Management Templates provide a sample Geodatabase in each of the application downloads (COP, Mobile, Standard Maps). There is a fourth template for those of you looking to build your own GIS Server and Geodatabase for Emergency Management. This blog entry provides details about the structure of those Template Data Models and how you can use them in your project.

If you are new to GIS you will probably be surprised at the level of enthusiasm and interest in data models in the GIS user community. There are a few key reasons for this interest:

  1. Data is the biggest investment in GIS for most organizations. The data model directly affects the cost and duration of their projects.
  2. GIS databases always have to support many applications and many types of maps and reports. It is hard to anticipate all of the data requirements from a typical set of application requirements, so most organizations are driven to look for best practices for database design to make sure their system provides a foundation for future applications.
  3. Designing and building GIS databases is a relatively new profession and the tools, methods, and design patterns are still emerging.

The purpose of the Emergency Management Template data model is to provide a good design for a Local Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Louisville, KY. Yes, it can be used in other jurisdictions and for other purposes, but the style of data model and the similarity to the existing data provided by LOJIC, the Local Government GIS organization in Louisville, but there are a number of design decisions made specific to Louisville and the scope of the model is to support some specific applications for an EOC.

So on the one hand, the EMTemplate.mdb can be used as a ready-to-use Geodatabase design, but like we did in building the Louisville example, you will need to go through a process of selecting the right content for your applications and available local data to build your system. Some people think that it would be better for ESRI to provide a universal data model that can handle every situation and produce any kind of map, but we didn’t take that approach because solutions with a scope like that rarely work at a practical level. We want to help you to get to the point of deciding which attributes you need on the FireStation feature class, how your maps should look at 1:10,000 scale, and how you are going to manage a street centerline dataset that works for mapping and for dispatch. We won’t solve all of those problems with EMTemplate.mdb, but at an implementation level this example should help you to get there.

For an introduction to the content of the Template, watch the video.

From the video you should have an initial understanding of the content of the data model templates and you might have some ideas about how to use data you already have. Again, there are 3 main parts to the template geodatabase:

  • Basemap – Local Government GIS data and other feature classes to support a Public Safety Basemap.
  • Public Safety – Data that can be managed by local government and/or Public Safety groups. These datasets include emergency locations such as shelters, events, resources, along with more detailed information for facilities such as police stations and fire stations.
  • Emergency Operations – Data for incidents and related dynamic information.

Note there is a 4th category called LiveFeeds that has its own template to collect information from various sources and formats to create simple feature classes.

Some people may wonder why we are organizing the data into these “logical” groups. The reason is that we envision different workgroups/organizations will manage this information at different times and that the permissions on each of the datasets in those feature datasets will be the same. In general, it is a recommended practice for Geodatabases to put data with the same permissions into feature datasets and grant privileges for all data at the feature dataset level.

You will also notice the DOT_ tables and the Hillshade raster dataset in the screenshot here. The DOT Hazmat tables are part of Emergency Operations, and the Hillshade is used in the Basemap. The reason they are not in the feature datasets is that you cannot put tables and raster datasets into feature datasets in a Geodatabase.

We would like to once again thank the Local Government GIS organization in Louisville, KY for allowing us to include a sample of their data in the templates. You should be aware that we took a copy of the data at a point in time (1999) and built additional content on top of those datasets. As a result, the data in the templates has been significantly altered from the original database and also does not reflect real conditions. That will be obvious, but we want to clarify that for people who are just getting started.


The Basemap feature dataset contains a number of feature classes like Airports, Parcels, County Boundaries, Streets, and other datasets that are typically managed by local government GIS groups and their partners. The style of data model in the template is basically a copy of the LOJIC data model with some changes in field names, descriptions, and other content.

You can also see the key information (mentioned in the video) for FacilitySite and FacilitySitePoint. In general, you would expect that each site polygon (i.e., the Louisville Airport) would have one or more SitePoints that represent the front door and other key locations and businesses at the Site. In the Louisville example we only have a small set of the polygons and many more SitePoints.

The FacilitySite polygons include data from the LOJIC Areas of Interest feature class. If we had more time we would have added more of these polygons to the database – there are many more Sites in the real world than we have as polygons in the database. We did not add MetroParks into the polygon database but would do that if we were starting over.

We also added HazMat locations into the FacilitySitePoint feature class along with a number of other point locations. In hindsight we might have been better off making a separate HazMat feature class to house that information and include HazMat type and quantity information, although just having the location plus point of contact information is probably about right for a basemap. You will notice that a number of the SitePoints were geocoded/located using address information and should be placed more accurately on the Sites. You will also notice places with many points stacked on top of each other because they have the same address. We just didn’t have time to fix this in the data.

Beyond some of those details, this approach – having these 2 simple feature classes for these types of features – is a big shift in thinking for many local government GIS shops.  We are really interested in your feedback and ideas on this topic. We see many opportunities with this approach – maps, searches, performance, symbology all work better than having the information scattered across many feature classes.

Public Safety

The Public Safety feature dataset contains a number of feature classes that are of interest to Public Safety organizations. In many cases the Fire and/or Police departments maintain some or all of this data, but in other cases the local government GIS organization manages this information. There is no strong recommendation either way; it really depends on the GIS capability and priorities in these organizations.
This data is relatively static and is not large in size compared to the Basemap datasets. One key part of this data spans both planning and operations activities – the EmergencyFacility feature class.

The EmergencyFacility domain provides a better look at the kinds of features in this dataset:


This feature dataset contains data that is specific to incidents and emergency management activities. The information is dynamic and evolves quickly. Most of the content here should be easy to understand – especially after you try the COP template and/or watch the video.

One part that is not described anywhere else is the inclusion of DOT HazMat reporting content:

These tables are based on DOT reporting requirements and provide a place to store information on PHMSA incident reporting forms 171.15 and 171.16 as described at: http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/hazmat/incident-report. While you may not be required to report using these forms, it should at least provide you an example of how to build geodatabase content to support these kinds of requirements. 


We are interested in your feedback on this topic – especially comments on what we can do to make it easier for you to build your own system. Contact us anytime at ArcGISTeamPublicSafety@esri.com.

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Upgrades to ArcGIS Online premium servers on June 2, 2009

6/2/09-This evening from 5 PM PST to midnight, ArcGIS Online will undergo system upgrades to improve our infrastructure. These system upgrades will provide a more robust environment to support ArcGIS Online services usage today and as it continues to grow. Tonight’s upgrades will be made for the system that supports ArcGIS Online premium (subscription) map services (i.e., premium.arcgisonline.com). We anticipate minimal impact to your applications during this time, but you may need to reconnect to the ArcGIS Online premium servers. However, if you experience any ongoing service availability or performance issues as a result of this change, please post a description of them to this blog.

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Esri 2009/2014 Demographic Trends

by Catherine Spisszak

2009 Home Value Map

Esri is proud to announce the release of its 2009/2014 Updated Demographic Data. The 2009 data is currently available in Esri Business Analyst Online and for all ad hoc data only orders.

In the past year, changes in the nation’s economy have become extremely personal. The failure of the subprime mortgage market in 2007 extended its impact in 2008, shaking the foundations of the U.S. economy and in some capacity touching every household in the country. Following are some of the key demographic changes for the United States in 2009:

  • Foreclosures up 81% in 2008, with sharp increases since January 2009
  • 2009 median home value at $162,000, down 11.3% from 2008
  • 2008–2009 median home value declined in more than two-thirds of U.S. counties
  • Unemployment rate up to 10.6% (not seasonally adjusted)
  • Job loss at 5.6 million in past year
  • Median household income decline in 37% of U.S. counties
  • Median net worth decline by 7.6% to less than $98,000
  • Fastest-growing areas, 2000–2009:
    • Flagler County, Florida;
    • Kendall County, Illinois (Chicago metro area);
    • Rockwall County, Texas (Dallas-Fort Worth metro area);
    • Pinal County, Arizona (Phoenix metro area)
  • Fastest-growing ZIP Codes, 2000–2009: 89084—North Las Vegas, Nevada; 89086—North Las Vegas, Nevada; 89138—Las Vegas, Nevada; and 80238—Denver, Colorado

Esri’s Updated Demographics are available in a variety of geographies, formats, and variables. For more information please visit http://www.esri.com/data/esri_data/index.html

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ArcGIS Developers: What is your #1 enhancement for the code galleries?

Now that many of you have had the opportunity to use the Code Galleries we would like to get your feedback on some ideas we had for future enhancements.


To get the discussion started, we’ve posted a new poll here with the following choices:

-          Contact the Author (email directly)

-          Discussion Forums (for highly active entries)

-          Collaboration Support (project hosting/collaboration)

-          Versioning Support (upload ver 1.0, 1.1…)

-          Sort by date added (easier to find newest)

-          Improved Search (search across all galleries)


Please take a moment to vote for the #1 enhancement that is most important to you.  If you have any other feedback related to Code Gallery enhancements, we encourage you to leave your comments below.




EDN Team


Posted in Developer | Tagged | 2 Comments

Lakers vs. Nuggets – A tale of two 3D Sketchup stadiums

So the Lakers beat the Nuggets to advance to the finals, and we decided to take a look at both sports venues in 3D to show how you can use Sketchup to add 3D buildings to your maps.

First we went to the Google 3D Sketchup Warehouse where we can find lots of Sketchup models, many published as KML/Z files which can be used directly in Explorer. Sketchup models have long been supported in ArcGIS Desktop in ArcGlobe, part of the 3D Analyst extension. Google acquired the company on March 14, 2006.

We went to the NBA Arenas collection at the 3D Warehouse


and located the Staples Center and Pepsi Center models, home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets respectively. Note that there’s a link to “View in Google Earth” (highlighted in yellow below with a red arrow) but obviously we can view these in Explorer too.

If you’ve let the file association for KML and KMZ be registered to ArcGIS Explorer all you have to do is click the link and the KML/Z will open in Explorer. If the KML/Z file association is registered to Google Earth instead of Explorer you’ll see the following dialog when Explorer first starts which lets you choose which application should open the files.

A similar dialog will display from Google Earth if you’ve set the KML and KMZ file association to Explorer.

You can also right-click the link and save the KML/Z file locally using Save Target As…

And then choose File > Open and click KML to browse for the file.

 Here’s the Pepsi Center in Explorer:

And here’s the Staples Center. Note that the model author has added additional information about the arena which can be viewed by clicking the model.

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ArcGIS JavaScript API 1.4 released

Versions 1.4 of the ArcGIS JavaScript API and the ArcGIS JavaScript Extension for the Google Maps API have been released. Version 1.4 of the ArcGIS JavaScript Extension for Microsoft Virtual Earth will be available soon. (Update on June 12, 2009: The Virtual Earth extension is now available)

To use the new versions, just update your script reference with “v=1.4″, for example: http://serverapi.arcgisonline.com/jsapi/arcgis/?v=1.4.

New features in the ArcGIS JavaScript API 1.4 include:

  • Routing with ArcGIS network analysis services
  • Support for Microsoft Virtual Earth maps and geocoding
  • Support for multiple graphics layers
  • Class breaks and unique value renderers
  • Support for Dojo 1.3.1
  • Performance improvements in Internet Explorer
  • Bug fixes

See What’s New in Version 1.4 of the ArcGIS JavaScript API for a full list of improvements. There’s also a What’s New document for the Google Maps API extension. The principal new feature of the 1.4 ArcGIS JavaScript extensions for the Google Maps API and Virtual Earth is routing with ArcGIS network analysis services.

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