Monthly Archives: November 2008

Formatting Excel Data for Use in ArcGIS Desktop

Many ArcGIS users store nonspatial attribute data associated with GIS features in Microsoft Excel worksheets. Starting at the ArcGIS 9.2 release, it became possible to directly access Excel worksheets in ArcMap and ArcCatalog.

As a best practice, before using an Excel worksheet in ArcGIS, you should verify that its formatting will not cause any issues, particularly if the worksheet will be joined to another table or used in a geoprocessing operation. There are some common things to check. Depending on your organization’s data requirements, if you have an Excel worksheet that’s not formatted properly as described below, it may be a good idea to make a copy of it, then reformat the copy. Continue reading

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ArcGIS Mobile Course: Defining the Vision, Part 1


In this post, we report on how the ArcGIS Mobile instructor-led course project introduced in an earlier post is coming along.

All Esri instructor-led course development projects have discrete phases, the first one being envisioning. In the envisioning phase, the team defines the course mission statement, target audience, and learning objectives, and decides on the high-level content that the course will cover. The end product of the envisioning phase is a course outline that will be the map for content development (phase 2).

During the envisioning phase, the instructional design strategy is the focus. As a result, Nancy and Eileen have been busy leading the ArcGIS Mobile course team through a series of exercises to accomplish the first item on the to-do list: Continue reading

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ArcGIS Mobile Course: Target Audience Profile


The target audience for the Esri ArcGIS Mobile instructor-led course is people working in the GIS analyst role. A GIS analyst is a member of the team responsible for designing, creating, and deploying a mobile GIS solution. This person has the following knowledge and skills: Continue reading

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Editing Tip: How to Generalize a Feature

Digitizers can go overboard trying to accurately represent feature shapes. Accuracy is important, but for some maps you don’t need a lot of feature detail. For example, when creating a map that will be published to the Web, it is recommended to use generalized data when possible to optimize performance (draw speed).

The number of vertices in a feature indicates the level of detail it represents (the more vertices, the greater detail). If you have a dataset in which most of the features are simple shapes with few vertices but some are quite detailed, you can use the ArcMap Generalize editing tool to reduce the number of vertices in the more detailed features. Here’s how: Continue reading

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Adding a GIS Map to a Web Page: Easy As 1,2,3

This post shows how to use the ArcGIS JavaScript API and ArcGIS Online services to quickly create a Web page that includes GIS content. Non-developers can accomplish this by using some tricks frequently employed by developers.
1. Find a Sample That Does What You Want To Do
  • Open a new Web browser window or tab and go to the ESRI Resource Center for the ArcGIS JavaScript API at
  • On the right side of the Home tab, in the “Using the JavaScript API” box, click Concepts and Getting Started.
  • On the left, click the Getting Started book, then click Adding a map.
On the right, you see an example showing HTML and JavaScript code for a Web page that displays a map. An explanation of the code is below the code sample. Continue reading
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Training Spotlight: ArcGIS for Server Administrators

Note: Updated January 14, 2014.

ArcGIS for Server is the Esri technology used to publish and share ArcGIS services (maps, globes, geodata, network, and geoprocessing). We’re often asked for training recommendations to prepare administrators for an ArcGIS for Server implementation. Here’s the answer.

  • ArcGIS for Server: Site Configuration and Administration is the go-to training course for administrators of a new ArcGIS for Server deployment, or for newly hired administrators of an existing ArcGIS for Server deployment. The course teaches strategies and techniques for building and maintaining a secure system that is optimized for performance.
  • Administrators of a version 9.x or 10.0 ArcGIS for Server system that are upgrading to the latest release (10.2) should take Migrating to ArcGIS 10.2 for Server instead. This course teaches what you need to know to plan an efficient migration strategy.

There are also many free training seminars covering specific ArcGIS for Server topics. You can see a list of these in the Training Catalog.

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From the Ground Up: Building an ArcGIS Mobile Course


Have you seen Blog Cabin, the DIY television network’s show about a group of home improvement experts building an upscale log cabin? While we don’t have a video crew at our disposal, we’ve decided to borrow the Blog Cabin concept and turn the spotlight on a group of education experts working together to design and build something from scratch, in this case an instructor-led training course.

Our “show” will center around creating a new instructor-led course to support ArcGIS Mobile users. The 9.3 version of this product has generated a lot of interest in the Esri  user community and requests for training have been pouring in. We’re on it. Continue reading

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Tallying the Votes


It’s Election Day in the U.S. and for voters, today is all about you. After suffering through countless TV ads, recorded telephone messages, stuffed mailboxes, and pontificating pundits of all persuasions, finally it’s your chance to speak.

We’ve decided to mark the end of the campaign by releasing our own “election” results. Each month, after every live training seminar, we ask attendees to vote for future training topics. We track eight broad categories, and ask you to vote on specific topics for each category. Some of the results from Q3, 2008 are shown below. Continue reading

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