User content from ArcGIS Online

A couple of posts ago we showed how you can connect to ArcGIS Online directly to add additional content, and we highlighted a couple of the services, including the ONC charts from NGA. Continuing that thread, we’ll take a look at user contributed content in this post.

On the ArcGIS Online resource center you’ll find information about the Content Sharing Program (CSP) which enables users to contribute content that will be hosted and published by ESRI. Some of the CSP content is part of the World Events Imagery service which we’ll take a closer look at.

Connect to ArcGIS Online like before, and select the CSP_Imagery_World globe service, shown here:

Some of the CSP content is highlighted by shaded polygons, and after you’ve added that service you’ll see those on your map. Here we’ve zoomed in to the Texas and Louisiana coastal region, and can see the yellow shaded polygons indicating where the new content has been added.

As you zoom in you will see the new imagery, and here we’ve used the swipe tool to compare the default basemap imagery with the newer contributed imagery showing the damage immediately after Hurricane Ike went through the area. The basemap imagery is on the left, the imagery flown just after Ike went through is on the right.

Zooming out to Portugal we see another area of contributed imagery highlighted in this service.

And as we zoom in we eventually reach the scale threshold at which the imagery can be seen.

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What's your ZIP Code?

by Jim Herries

Joseph Kerski, ESRI Education Manager, posted a nice blog titled “What Is My Neighborhood Really Like?” last week about ESRI’s free ZIP Lookup Tool.  Thanks, Joseph, for the plug!  It’s one of my favorite free things that ESRI does, and I’m not just saying that because our team is going to update that tool soon.

Based on our statistics, it’s also a favorite of many people who know ESRI but don’t know we have data like this; and of people who know data like this but don’t know about ESRI.  Why the popularity?

When I want a sure-fire way to warm up a room of people to what I do, what ESRI does, what demographic data really is, I start with the Free ZIP Lookup tool.  Usually I go for that person in the audience who’s giving you that face that says “look, I’m here but I’m on the fence about this topic.”  So I pretend I’m a Radio Shack employee again (from 1988, $3.35 an hour plus commission pushing everything from diodes to 286 computers) and I ask them for their home ZIP Code. 

I type in the ZIP Code — it is the perfect demo because you only have to type five numbers, press enter, and a page full of data pops up.  Try it yourself — what I enjoy is the interaction with the crowd, as we read through the names of the top segments in the ZIP Code, e.g. 

Segment 03 Connoisseurs

Second in wealth to Top Rung but first for conspicuous consumption, Connoisseurs residents are well educated and somewhat older, with a median age of 47.3 years. Although residents appear closer to retirement than child rearing age, many of these married couples have children who still live at home. Their neighborhoods tend to be older bastions of affluence where the median home value is $706,720. Growth in these neighborhoods is slow. Residents spend money for nice homes, cars, clothes, and vacations. Exercise is a priority; they work out weekly at a club or other facility, ski, play golf, snorkel, play tennis, practice yoga, and jog. Active in the community, they work for political candidates or parties, write or visit elected officials, and participate in local civic issues.

Why does this break the ice?  Everyone in the room looks at the person you called on for the ZIP Code to validate whether he or she is a “Connoisseur” as described, or someone quite different.  Suddenly, demographic data is not a dry recitation of facts and figures, it becomes a conversation…I’ve had people shout out “do my ZIP Code next.” 

Try it out, and post your favorite “ZIP Lookup Tool” story here…


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ArcGIS Developer Poll Results – Most Valued DevSummit Presentation

Thank you for participating in the last survey.  When the final scores were tallied, the Technical Sessions were voted the most valuable, followed by the User Sessions, Plenary Sessions, Presummit Seminars and Demo Theaters.  We were glad to see the User Sessions were highly valued this year!  Hopefully we can offer more next year.

The next poll is coming soon.

EDN Team


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ArcGIS Developers: Status Report #2 on DevSummit 2009 Videos

We are proud to announce that all of the technical session recordings are now posted online and available for viewing. You’ll find the recordings in two locations:

Resource Centers:  The Media Galleries provide the full session descriptions, videos, and links to PowerPoints and code (if applicable) for each presentation.  The videos are categorized by the type of community you are in; for example,  ArcGIS Desktop > DS2009: Introduction to ESRI’s Developer Technologies. 

  • DevSummit Proceedings:  The Developer Summit 2009 proceedings page  provides a master list of all of the recordings.  Each entry links back to the associated video and media in the Media Gallery.If you are looking for a particular video by name, you might find it helpful to search this page first. 

Three user presentations are also viewable, and more will be uploaded this week.  We’ll keep you posted as they become available. Here’s what’s ready today:

Using OpenLayers with ArcGIS Server REST API, presented by James Fee

Building RESTful Apps and Services Using MVC, presented by Brian Noyle

Unit Testing 101: Building Testable Applications, presented by Dave Bouwman

Keep in mind, once you are in the Media Gallery you have two viewing options.  You can either use the embedded Flash Player to view the video at 800 x 600, or you can download the WMV file and watch it locally with the Windows Media Player at a slightly higher resolution of 1024×768.  

Thanks again for your patience and we hope you find these helpful!

EDN Team

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ArcGIS Business Analyst desktop 9.3.1 – Turbo Charging Data Retrieval

 by Garry Burgess

We are hard at work completing the 9.3.1 release of ArcGIS Business Analyst desktop.  This release will ship with 2009/2014 data update early this summer.  Over the next few weeks we are going to highlight some of the major improvements of the next generation of desktop and server releases.

Let’s start by taking a stroll down Business Analyst memory lane. Back in the days before I had any grey hair, we created the first generation of the Business Analyst extension on top of the old ArcView GIS platform.  The link below provides information about this early release of Business Analyst:

ArcView 3.2 with Business Analyst Extension – 2001

I have highlighted one section from this document that highlights one of the most dramatic shifts in the extension over the years:

“Preliminary market study begins with an analysis of rings being drawn around each location or new site. The underlying demographics can then be extracted…”

Back in the day, you had to extract data prior to running your analysis.  This involved extracting data locally before you could run reports and analysis in Business Analyst.  Most of the processing time was spent extracting and writing data locally before your analysis could be run.  Translation – it was pretty slow.

When Business Analyst migrated to ArcGIS we made a dramatic leap to read and work with compressed data directly without having to extract anything to your local machine first.  This improvement saw quite significant increases in speed from the old ArcView 3.x platform, as data did not have to be extracted before you create reports or run other Business Analyst capabilities.

At the 9.3.1 release we have continued to fine-tune and improve the speed at which Business Analyst performs key operations.  For example, in cases where your analysis is geographically constrained to a single area (city scale or finer) we leverage in-memory feature classes to actually cache the Business Analyst data.  The Dynamic Ring tool in Business Analyst is a great example of a capability that will take advantage of this new approach.  When you use this tool at the 9.3.1 release, Business Analyst data is cached for your analysis extent and the tool then is able to aggregate information extremely fast because all the calculations are done in memory.  In testing, this one particular tool works about 3-5 times faster as the previous 9.3 release. When you click and drag the dynamic ring around the map the data aggregation and chart happen almost instantaneously – pretty snappy stuff :)

Dynamic Rings with ArcGIS Business Analyst 9.3.1 – 2009

More details to follow about the 9.3.1 release in the coming weeks.

Cheers – Garry

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9.3.1 – Assign Store Logos

by Kyle Watson

ArcGIS Business Analyst 9.3.1 for the desktop is set to release around the 2009 User Conference timeframe.  Traditionally the mid-year release is our data update (read up on product cycles here).  We do plan to include the 2009-2014 data in 9.3.1, but are also adding a fair amount of new functionality. 

One of those new features is the ability to easily assign a logo to a store layer.  Of course, this can be done now in ArcGIS by creating a Picture Marker symbol using BMP and EMF formatted images. In Business Analyst 9.3.1 we have streamlined the process and added JPEG, GIF, PNG, and TIFF formats.  You can assign the logos during the StoreSetup/geocoding process, or if you’ve already created store layers, you can add the logos from the Store Setup/manage dialog.  Pretty cool?  We think so.

We have ideas, maybe in the 9.4 era, to add functionality for automatically assigning logos to business listings by NAICS or SIC codes.  So let’s say you’ve added all coffee shops in Seattle, a coffee cup logo would display on the map at each location…without having to bury yourself in picture properties dialogs.  If you are showing multiple industries at once, this could be a huge time saver.  Pretty cool as well?  We hope so.  Add your thoughts to the comments section, we’d love to hear them!

Stay classy,


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Using the Operational Navigation Charts from ArcGIS Online

In a previous post we showed you how you could connect directly to ArcGIS Online from ArcGIS Explorer to view additional content found there.

Another interesting service is the Operational Navigation Charts (ONCs). This service presents a digital version of the charts at 1:1,000,000-scale. The ONCs were produced by the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The map includes over 200 charts across the world, excluding parts of North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania where charts are not publicly available. Here’s what the coverage looks like:

Connect to ArcGIS Online like we described in our earlier post and open the Specialty folder. Choose the EVC_Topo_World globe service.

Here’s what the service looks like around the Strait of Gibraltar.

If you want to learn more, see the World Topographic Map information on the ArcGIS Online Resource Center.

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ArcGIS Developer: New name for the ArcObjects Blog

The “ArcObjects Development Blog” has been renamed and is now the “ArcGIS Developer Blog”.   

In this blog, you can expect to find similar posts, but they’ll now have a wider “ArcGIS developer” focus.  This means you’ll find more developer content in the form of How To<’>s and Did you know articles, resource summaries, and highlights about activity in the ArcGIS developer community. 

You’ll also be happy to know that the RSS feed hasn’t changed, so there’s no need to re-subscribe. 

As always, we encourage feedback, so feel free to leave suggestions for future articles as well as comments on posts. 

We’ll also be posting a number of new ArcGIS developer polls, so stay tuned.

Thanks in advance for participating in the online ArcGIS developer community. 

EDN Team




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Service Pack 2 (ArcGIS Business Analyst Desktop) Almost Ready…

  by Kyle Watson

A quick update from Redlands…

Service Pack 2 for ArcGIS Business Analyst 9.3 Desktop is in the final certification stage.  This should be released in the next couple days and will close out our 9.3 work.  More details to follow shortly, check back soon. 

I assure you my service pack skillz are better than my MS Paint skillz.


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Design approach for Business Analyst Online (beta)

 by Sooria Jeyaraman

The design approach we’ve taken for the next version of ArcGIS Business Analyst Online is quite simple. Lead the user whenever necessary and stay back and relax when not needed. The decision when to step in and when not to was taken based on the frequent and infrequent tasks the user is trying to accomplish using the application. By “frequent” we mean the tasks that have a very little chance of user error…and the “infrequent” are the ones that are most prone to error and need help and directive from the application. The design team followed the approach from the following famous graph in user centered design.


From our experience we found out that users need most help during creation of a site, this includes all workflows using entering address, drawing a polygon, importing an excel file and selecting from a list of geographies. We made a wizard kind of approach during site creation for all the workflows mentioned above.  In the example below, I’ve created a site by entering an address. After an address is entered a contextual menu pops up which confirms the address of the user.


User can click on the Next button at the far right to go to the next step of applying rings or drive times or donuts to the specified location.



By clicking Next , user will be given options to Get Reports, Save this site or Add another site.

If the user clicks on the Get Reports button above then the application takes the back seat and lets the user lead in picking and choosing variety of reports for the site created.  User is provided with options to pick and choose the reports, format, and view a sample add a report to their favorites etc. This is the area where the user would like to really explore all the report options that are provided to them and would like to choose the perfect ones that matches their needs.

We found from our usability testing so far that this approach has been highly appreciated. We hope you do too!!

As always we’d love to hear from you, share with us your opinion about this approach and the application by clicking on the Feedback link on the top of the application.

See you when I see you..

- SJ

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