Tag: Data Model

Input Needed to New Arc Marine Data Model Survey

ArcMarine_sml

Posted on behalf of Shaun Walbridge, Esri Help us set the direction for the Arc Marine data model by sharing information about how you use and manage your marine data. In April, we started a discussion with a webinar to … Continue reading

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Setting a New Course for the Arc Marine Data Model

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On April 2, 2013, an informal working group of twenty-five (including four Esri staffers) participated in a 1.5-hour webinar to discuss the development of a new, improved version of the Arc Marine Data Model (also known as the “Marine Data … Continue reading

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New Arc Hydro Groundwater Release + Adding Geophysical Plots to Cross Sections

by Gil Strassberg, Aquaveo

AquaveoA new release (3.2.0) of the Arc Hydro Groundwater (AHGW) tools is now available. You can download the new version from the Aquaveo website, or read about the new features on the AHGW Wiki.

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Expanding the power of the Attribute Assistant

Here at Esri, we always try to help one another out.  Well the Local Government team asked if we could expand the functionality of the Attribute Assistant and make a series of construction tools to help with address data management workflows; and we obliged.  We came up with some pretty cool new rules for the attribute assistant and some interesting construction tools that will be used to streamline address maintenance workflows.  Even though these have been designed for managing address information, you may find them very helpful.  Let’s first take a look at these new attribute assistant rules.
The first rule we needed to create was CASCADE_ATTRIBUTE.  This rule will allow you to make a change to an attribute in a table or layer and push that new attribute value to every feature that contains the value. So in the address world, we have implemented a Master Street Name table.  Say a road was renamed, we can go into the table, change the road name, and the rule will open up the Road Centerline layer and make that change to every road with the old name, then open up the Site Address Point Layer and update the road name as well.  Pretty cool, huh?
The second rule we created was VALIDATE_ATTRIBUTE_LOOKUP.  This rule will validate an attribute change against a look up table or layer.  Let’s look out how you would use this in address land.  If I created a new road and I want to make sure the road name matches a road in the Master Street Name table, I can set this rule up to monitor my Street Name field and check that value against the Master Street Name table.  The cool thing about this rule is all I have to do is enter a piece of the road information.  If it finds more than one record in the street name table, it presents a prompt, where you can select any of the matching values.  How is that for data validation?
I also mentioned we are working on some new construction tools.  These are still in development, but here is what we are working towards.  One tool will allow the user to click a reference point, in our case, an address point that represents the location on the centerline of which the address is derived, create this point if it does not exist, then create a series of site address points with information from that reference point or the centerline underneath it.  So basically, you can create a series of points all with information from source point.  The second is a tool to draw a new road and split any intersecting roads and prorate their address information.
If you want to try the new rules out, as well as a few other enhancements, we have posted a beta of the tools on the forum.
Thanks
Mike from the Water Team

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Benefits of the Local Government Information Model for Water Utilities

Why should a water, wastewater or stormwater utility adopt the Local Government Information Model?

Easier Deployment

One of the biggest benefits of a water utility adopting the Local Government Information Model is that it makes deploying the ArcGIS for Water Utilities maps and apps easier, faster and cheaper.  The further you deviate from the Local Government Information Model, and in particular it’s geodatabase schema, the harder it will be for you to implement the maps and apps that are part of ArcGIS for Water Utilities. It will also be hard and time consuming to upgrade your ArcGIS for Water Utilities implementation when we release updates.

Changes you make to the Local Government Information Model schema may necessitate extensive modifications of the maps documents, and changes to apps (web apps, mobile apps, ArcGIS Desktop, etc.) that are part of ArcGIS for Water Utilities.  So the closer you stay to the core Local Government Information Model, the easier your initial deployment will be and the easier it will be to migrate your ArcGIS implementation to new releases or to deploy updates to the maps and apps.

It’s also important to note that when we say “adopt” the Local Government Information Model we don’t mean that you necessarily have to use it as is (or more appropriately – as downloaded).  You probably will need to configure the Local Government Information to meet the needs of your organization.   But the key thing to keep in mind is you should only be making changes to accommodate the true organizational needs of your utility. For example, instead of changing the field names to the field names you’d like to use in your organization, modify field and map layer aliases.   Bottom line, don’t reinvent the wheel, just make changes that are required to meet specific business needs in your organization.

At the very least you need to change the projection to the appropriate coordinate system and set up the domains to reflect the assets in use at your utility.  Small utilities or utilities that are new to GIS may choose to take the Local Government Information Model as is, while larger utilities, mature GIS implementations, or GIS implementations that are integrated with other enterprise system will undoubtedly need to make more significant configurations or extensions to the schema to reflect their organizational needs.  

Water, Sewer and Stormwater Data Modeling Best Practices

The Local Government Information Model incorporates many best practices for water utility GIS.  One of the most important best practices is how to represent a water, sewer or stormwater system in GIS.  

For years Esri had downloadable data models for water, wastewater and stormwater utility networks.  Those data models were the first freely available water utility GIS data models.  They were stewarded by Esri, but built by the user community and became the industry standard.  Globally thousands of water utilities have built their GIS around Esri’s free data models.  

The Local Government Informational Model is the next iteration of Esri’s water, sewer and stormwater data models.  In essence we’ve modernized the data models to reflect how water utilities have been deploying GIS over the past few years and we’ve also modified the schema to fit the requirements of the ArcGIS for Water Utilities maps and apps.  As water utility GIS continues to evolve Esri will regularly maintain the Local Government Information Model to keep introducing new best practices into the user community and functionality into our apps.

Comprehensive Data Model

There is no doubt Esri’s water, wastewater and stormwater data models were an incredibly valuable starting point for water utilities to get their utility networks into GIS.  Since the original data models focused primarily on a data structure for the assets that comprise utility networks, we received feedback that many utilities wanted more guidance on how to model operational data (workorders, service requests, customer complaints, main breaks, capital improvement projects, etc.) and base data (roads edge of pavement, road centerlines, elevation data, parcels, etc.) in their GIS.  The Local Government Data Model solves this problem because it includes a complete schema for typical water utility base data and operational data.  

Over the years, an observation we’ve made is that water utilities struggle with how to model and manage schemas for datasets that aren’t their utility networks or operational data – simply put managing base data can be a challenge for water utilities. For example we’ve seen a lot of utilities struggle with managing roads, parcel, buildings, etc. in their enterprise GIS, especially when these datasets are coming from other organizations or departments.

This is a particular issue for water utilities that serve multiple units of local government such as authorities, county wide utilities, state wide utilities and private companies.  A good example of this is a water authority whose service territory includes three counties.   The water authority needs parcel data that is maintained by the counties.  County A, County B and County C all use different schemas for their parcels.  So the water utility had two choices – leave the parcels in 3 different data layers and use them as is – which makes analysis, map creation and integration with other systems at the utility that need parcel data (such as a customer information system) difficult.  Or invest time to extract, transfer and load (ETL) the parcels into a common schema so they can be used as a single seamless layer across the service area.  The Local Government Information Model can now serve as the common schema in this example.
 
Easier Data Sharing

We describe the Local Government Information as a harmonized information model – meaning designed to accommodate typical GIS needs across local government.  If organizations that commonly share data all adopt the Local Government Information Model, it will greatly reduce the time and resources spent establishing a common schema and migrating data to these schemas – thus allowing water utilities to focus on the maintenance and management of their authoritative data.

For example a private water utility may serve two municipalities.  If the water utility and both municipalities all adopt the Local Government Information Model then they can all very easily exchange data.   When the water utility needs road centerline and edge of pavement layers from the municipalities than the utility can just import the new data without having to manipulate the schema and will have seamless layers for their service areas.  The same logic applies to the water utility sharing data with the municipalities – when the water utility updates the location of their upcoming capital projects, the utility can share that data back with the municipalities and the municipalities can use it without any schema manipulation.

Best Cartographic Practices for Water Utility Maps

As we’ve discussed in a previous blog, the Local Government Information Model includes geodatabase schema, map documents and specification for services necessary to deploy the ArcGIS for Water Utilities and ArcGIS for Local Government maps and apps.  

The map documents highlight
best practices for displaying water, wastewater and stormwater data in the context that each map is designed to be used.  For example the map documents included with the Mobile Map Template have best practice cartography for displaying water utility GIS data in the field in both a day and night time use map.  The same goes for the map document included with the Infrastructure Editing Template – this is a best practice map document for editing water utility data with ArcGIS Desktop.

Looking to the Future

The specification for the services (map, feature, geoprocessing, etc) necessary for the ArcGIS Water Utilities maps and apps are also part of the Local Government Information Model.  So if other local government entities in the service area of water utility embrace the Local Government Information Model, ArcGIS for Local Government and start to publish services, then water utilities can consume those services for their maps and apps.  In this scenario the water utility may no longer have to import some data into their own geodatabase and can just consume the services right from the organization that is the steward of the data.

We hope you’ve found this exploration of some of the benefits water, wastewater and stormwater utilities will experience when adopting the Local Government Information Model helpful.  We encourage your feedback on the information in this blog, the Local Government Information Model or ArcGIS for Water Utilities.

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What is the Local Government Information Model?

The maps and apps that comprise ArcGIS for Water Utilities are built around the Local Government Information Model, so we thought it would beneficial to explain what the Local Government Information Model is in this blog and in a  follow up blog explore its benefits for water, wastewater and stormwater utilities.

We’ll start by breaking down the term Local Government Information Model into two parts “Local Government” and “Information Model”. 

Local Government

ArcGIS for Water Utilities is a module of ArcGIS for Local Government.  ArcGIS for Local Government is organized around typical services or functions of a local government – water, sewer and stormwater utilities, public safety, land records, public works, etc.  From a GIS perspective, no matter what type of entity a water utility is – a municipal department, an authority, part of a county, part of national government, private or a public private partnership, the scale of the data necessary to effectively map and manage your utility is similar to the scale of GIS data used by other local government entities.  Simply put, water utilities need local scale GIS data.
 
The feature classes and feature datasets in the Local Government Information Model are “harmonized” meaning that they are designed to work across and support typical functions of local governments without duplication and redundancies.  This enables municipal departments, functions within an organization or entire organizations to manage data that is specific to their domain and utilize data from other domains within local government as base data.

If you look across a typical city enterprise GIS implementation that encompasses all of a city’s departments, what you’ll notice is that the “operational data” of one department is often “base data” for another.  For example the parcels maintained by a city’s land records department are typically base data for the city’s water utility. The water utility may use the attributes of the parcels for analysis or may join a table to the parcels with water utility specific information.  Another example is the GIS features of a city’s storm water system that are maintained by the water department but are used as base data for the city’s 411 system that is managed by the city’s public works department.    It’s important to point out that when we say “base data” we don’t just mean the data is used as a base mapping layer, it can be used for analysis or can be extended by the utility (in the example of joining a table of utility created data to a parcel data).  Data not maintained by the utility is used as base data to provide perspective but can also blur the lines and become operational data when used for analysis or joined to information maintained by the utility

The same logic applies to water utilities that are authorities or private companies.  Some of the layers they use for base data typically come from other local units of government (cities, towns, counties) within their service territory.

Information Model

We are using the term Information Model because this is more than just a data schema.  In the GIS realm the term “data model” has commonly implied a schema or database structure only.  The Local Government Information does include a schema, but we consider things like the Map Documents for our maps and apps and specifications for services to be part of the information model as well.  

We are including Map Documents in the Local Government Information Model for two main reasons.  First the Map Documents for our maps and apps are built upon best practices for each particular type of map.  For example  in the Mobile Map Template the .MXD documents have been designed to show best practices for building an interactive water utilities map for field crew use.     

Secondly the maps and apps are built specifically for the geodatabase schema that is part of the Local Government Information Model.  What this means is if you change the underlying schema to better reflect the true organizational needs of your utility than depending on the changes made you may have to modify any map documents that use that layer. Since you use the Map Documents to publish services to ArcGIS Server than the same logic applies for including services in the Information Model.  The schema, the map documents and the services are intertwined.

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Introducing the Emergency Management Maps Templates

Recently, an updated version of the Emergency Management Maps template and a brand new template, the Production Mapping for Emergency Management Maps template, were released on the Public Safety Resource Center. These templates provide useful maps and production configurations that will help you streamline your emergency management map production. Continue reading

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New release of Local Government Information Model supports upcoming Address and Facilities Maps and Apps

ArcGIS for Local Government provides a simple, harmonized local government information model that supports a series of maps and apps used by local governments. The information model reflects specific application requirements and the cartographic requirements necessary to produce rich, multi-scale base maps and operational layers.   You can download the information model from ArcGIS.com and migrate your content into this geodatabase design.  When you do, you can quickly take advantage of the maps and apps published on the ArcGIS for Local Government Resource Center.


The Local Government Information Model in ArcCatalog

This release of the local government information model includes a series of major updates.

Major Updates:

The Address feature dataset was updated to support the active management of site addresses. The SiteAddress feature class was retired and three new feature classes were added to the local government information model. This update supports a series of Address Editing apps currently under development. The new feature classes and a PostalAddress table in the local government information model are a physical implementation of the FGDC United States Thoroughfare, Landmark, and Postal Address Data Standard and were adapted to support site address maintenance in local government.

The FacilitiesStreets feature dataset was updated to support the active management of facilities and campuses.This update supports a series of Facility/Campus management apps currently under development.  For many who have already begun to use the features in this dataset, you’ll find we’ve done some pretty extensive work on the data model for features like, signs, streetlights, and signals. In addition, we’ve incorporated portions of the Building Interior Space Data Model (BISDM) to support building/interior space management and extended it to support exterior features found on government grounds, parks, and even campuses.  Much of this work will also support Public Works apps that require information about paved areas, pavement markings, poles, signs, signals, etc.

This update to the information model also supports a new campus basemap we will release later this summer.  When you begin to use this information model, you will be able to produce a great basemap for your government facilities, downtowns, and campuses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new campus basemap with sample data from the Esri Campus

This release of the local government information model also includes a series of more minor updates.

Minor Updates:

The Parcel Fabric, contained in the ParcelEditing feature dataset now supports the active management of PLSS Sixteenth Sections. A new parcel type was added to the ParcelType domain to accommodate this requirement.

The ParkRecInfo table was added to the local government information model to support the Parks and Recreation Finder application currently under development.

The ServiceRequest feature class in the CitizenService feature dataset now supports the creation of service requests within buildings.  The building floor and interior space attributes were added to the feature class to support Facilities Management applications currently under development.

Known Issues:

There are a few known issues we’re working to resolve in future releases.

Your imagery and surface models must be added to this schema manually.

Layer Packages (LPKs) do not currently support standalone tables in the geodatabase.  After you’ve created your schema, please copy the ten stand alone geodatabase tables from the sample dataset in a recent application download.  Refer to the Data Dictionary for a complete list of the standalone tables you’ll need to complete the Local Government Information Model.

If you are using ArcGIS Desktop SP1, the ParcelType domain will have to be applied to the Type field in the Parcel fabric class manually after you create your schema.  

Quick Summary:

We continue to evolve the local government information model as we add new maps and apps to the ArcGIS for Local Government system. Your feedback is vital. So don’t hesitate to let us know what you think about the information model and what maps and apps will help you in your local government.  

We’ve got some exciting things coming this summer and early fall so keep a close eye on the Local Government Blog or follow us on Twitter if you’d like to learn more about how ArcGIS for Local Government can help you effectively deploy GIS.  

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Whitepaper helps you load data into parcel fabric and use ArcGIS parcel maintenance solution

With the release of ArcGIS 10, Esri is now providing users a Land Records solution as a core part of the ArcGIS platform. This solution will help you produce great web maps, deploy useful applications, implement efficient workflows, and incorporate best practices from the land records industry at large.  This solution is described in more detail in an earlier Local Government blog post. To help users migrate to the Land Records Solution, we’ve published a whitepaper to address one of the first issues users will have to address as they plan their migration to Esri’s ArcGIS Parcel Maintenance solution. That issue is, how do you get your data into a parcel fabric data structure.

The whitepaper addresses many of the common issues users may encounter loading their data in to a parcel fabric and is based on experiences Esri’s Land Records team has quantified working with early adopters across the country. In addition, We’ll continue to evolve the whitepaper as we get feedback from users and the Parcel Maintenance Solution evolves.

You can download the whitepaper entitled Loading Data into a Parcel Fabric here.

As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions when you begin to migrate your parcel maintenance workflows to ArcGIS 10.

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Data quality concerns keeping you up at night?

What keeps water, wastewater and stormwater utility GIS professionals up at night?   Could be doubts about your system architecture or capacity, might be fears about data backups and recovery, maybe your backlog of unprocessed as-builts.  A common concern we are hearing right now from the user community is about being sure that your data is good enough to meet the needs of your utility.  This is driving more water utilities to focus on quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC).

Across the industry water utilities are expanding their GIS quality control procedures or implementing formalized quality control if they don’t have any in place.  Water utilities are also reviewing their existing GIS implementation and workflows for ways to increase quality assurance.  At some water utilities these changes are coming out the GIS department, driven by proactive GIS managers and staff.  At other utilities these changes are coming top down from utility management that recognize GIS data now runs throughout their utility like a steel thread or from the IT department as it assess the state of all utility digital data.

But haven’t we always been concerned about data quality?

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