Monthly Archives: June 2007

Tutorial: Putting YouTube in Your Notes

One of the things we demonstrated at the User Conference was a note that began playing a video when it was clicked. In this particular case the note popup opened a link to one of the videos published on YouTube. We’ve had several questions about how this was done, so here’s how:

First, go to the YouTube site and find a video you’d like to open in the note popup. If you’re not familiar with notes, we covered the basics in an earlier post so you might want to check that first, or go directly to the notes Help

Here we’ve gone to YouTube and searched for “ESRI” and found that the first hit is a video showing the TouchTable at the 2005 ESRI User Conference.

Click the video to play it, and look for the Share Video link on that page. Once you click Share Video you’ll see an input box that contains the URL link to the video that you can copy and paste into an email to send to others.

Highlight and copy the link. Then in Explorer create a new note. Use this link along with a little HTML as the note text as shown below:

Then place the note, and click the pushpin. The video will open automatically in the note popup.

You can do the same with any video, just substitute the new URL or path in place of what you copied from YouTube. In the next release (coming in July) it will no longer be necessary to add those few HTML tags, so it will be even easier to include videos in your Explorer maps.

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Making maps that show flow from place to place

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Example of expressive flow arrow in a map made using ArcGIS

We’ve received a few requests this week asking how to use ArcMap to show flow from place to place. The requests ranged from, “What might the data look like?” to “How do I make the flow arrows?” One thing to note, this isn’t a topic that I have much first-hand experience with, but I can certainly get things started with the hopes that others will add their experiences and perhaps, together, we can build a body of knowledge to benefit us all. Continue reading

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Heads up color proofing for Esri style's colors

By Jenny Reiman, East-West Gateway Council of Governments

Layout from ColorPalette_ArcGIS.mxd

Here’s a useful little map document called ColorPalette_ArcGIS.mxd that I put together to anticipate the variation between colors on my monitor and the printers and plotters in the office. It contains no geographic data, only graphics that correspond to the standard color palette in ArcGIS. Each color swatch is labeled by name and by CMYK values. I print a copy from each printer and hang them near my monitor so I can choose colors for my layout based on what they look like on paper, not just based on what the colors look like on my monitor. Someday everything may be perfectly calibrated with a color matching system like Pantone. Until then, this helps – and it makes great cubicle wall paper!

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Tutorial: All About Notes

ArcGIS Explorer’s Notes are an easy way to add pushpins to your maps, and also offer unique capabilities to link to a variety of content, including local files as well as anything that’s published on the Web. Here’s a quickie tutorial on the topic that covers the whole gamut of possibilities

The Basic Note
Here’s an example of a simple Note:

Just click the Create Notes task and type what you see above. Zoom to the ESRI campus (by using the Find Address task and entering 380 New York Street, Redlands, CA) and use the Point tool to place the note. After you add the note you can click the pushpin and you’ll see something like this:

Adding Links to a Note
The above is a very basic example, but there’s a lot more that you can do with notes. One nice feature is that you can link multiple documents easily to the same note. These can be documents on your local drive or on your network, or can be Web links. Next we’ll add a link to the ESRI Web site and attach it to the note we’ve just created. In the Results Window where your note resides, right-click the note and choose Add a link to File…

In the Select a File to Link To dialog box, you can select the path to a file or document that is located on your local drive, your network, or you can type a URL to create a link to a Web site. Enter in the Filename input box and you’ll see that you’ve added a new item under your note. When you click the item it will, of course, open the ESRI web site. You can add multiple links, and combine all sorts of different document types and Web links.

Opening a Web site in the Note Popup
Now let’s try a different approach to adding a link to a Web site. In this next example we want to open the site automatically when the user clicks the note pushpin. To do this we can use the note text, but instead of entering plain text as we did above we will enter an HTML statement as follows:

Place the note somewhere on the map and click the pushpin. The popup window will appear, displaying the Web site automatically.

Playing a Movie in the Note Popup
Now let’s do something a little different. Instead of linking to a Web site from a note, let’s link to an online movie. The movie that we’ll link to is one about ArcGIS Explorer published on the ESRI Web site. The direct URL to the movie is:

To play the movie directly from a note we just add the appropriate HTML. This is very similar to the previous example except that we have substituted the URL pointing to the movie after “url=” appears in the note text.

<meta HTTP-EQUIV=”REFRESH” content=”0; url=”>

You can save this text out somewhere handy, and just copy and paste it into your note text when needed, making specific changes to what is inserted after “url=”

Now when we click the note the Flash movie will start playing in the popup. You may have to give it a second or two to begin streaming from the ESRI Web site.

And don’t forget that you can export your note as an NMF file and email it to others, put it up on your Sharepoint site, etc. But remember that whomever you send your note to must be able to access whatever files or links you’ve included with it.

A Note about Notes in the next Explorer Release
The next release of ArcGIS Explorer, scheduled to be released in July, has some really nice enhancements and additions to note functionality. You may have seen us demonstrate some of these at the User Conference. These include:

  • Notes can be grouped, renamed, and reorganized
  • The view position, extent, and perspective can be captured as a note property
  • Entering HTML (as we did above) is no longer required, all you need to do is type the URL to the Web resource you want to open
  • Popup windows will automatically resize on open
  • And more…

We’ll be covering some of these new capabilities in more detail in future posts.

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Determining layer IDs at runtime

In this post, Rex Hansen provides a tip for determining the ID for a given layer: 

The SearchAttibutesTask and QueryAttributesTask controls are designed to use a layer ID to define the layer within a resource on which a query will execute. When both tasks are configured at design-time the layer ID is stored in the definition of the query. The layer IDs are determined by the order of the layers in a resource (i.e. map service).

The layer order can change when existing layers are reordered or removed, or when new layers are added. In this situation, the layer IDs defined when you configured the SearchAttibutesTask and QueryAttributesTask become invalid. However, if the layer names will remain constant and unique you can discover the layer ID at runtime and update the query definition for both tasks. Although this pattern will add some overhead to each request, the layer ID will be dynamically updated without having to manually change and recompile the web application. The following code provides an example of this technique.

    protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)


        ESRI.ArcGIS.ADF.Web.DataSources.IGISFunctionality gisfunctionality = 



        ESRI.ArcGIS.ADF.Web.DataSources.IMapFunctionality mf = 



        string[] layerids;

        string[] layernames;

        mf.GetLayers(out layerids, out layernames);


        for (int i = 0; i < layerids.Length; i++)


            string layername = layernames[i];

            if (layername == "counties")


                SearchAttributesTask1.SearchFields = 

                    string.Format("MapResourceManager1:::MapResourceItem0:::{0}:::NAME", layerids[i]);

                QueryAttributesTask1.PredefinedQuery.LayerID = layerids[i];




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Thanks and User Conference Summary

The ArcGIS Explorer Team would like to extend a big thanks to everyone that attended one of our sessions or stopped by to say hello or ask questions in the Explorer Showcase area. We enjoyed meeting you and learning more about what you plan to do with ArcGIS Explorer, and we enjoyed the opportunity to share with you our excitement about the product. Most important of all, we got lots of great feedback, comments, and suggestions, and we’ll be talking about some of these in more detail here in future posts.

In the Showcase and at the sessions we were using both the currently available public download (Build 380) and also showing one of the more recent software builds (Build 392) to highlight some of the new features that you can look forward to in the next release. This upcoming release of Explorer will continue to evolve for a few more weeks and will be delivered sometime in July.

The Explorer Team’s philosophy is to push out releases incrementally and often, and we’ve been averaging a release every two months since the initial release that came out along with ArcGIS 9.2 back in November. We often refer to releases by their build number, and to find yours just choose Help on Explorer’s main menu, then choose About ArcGIS Explorer.

Over 14,000 attended the 2007 ESRI User Conference, but if you were unable to join them you can learn more about what happened at the conference by visiting the User Conference Blog. In case you missed the opening Plenary presentation which highlighted ArcGIS Explorer and ArcGIS Online, you can listen to the ESRI Podcast of that section.


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Finding depression contour lines

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Note the two depression contour lines with ticks pointing downhill

Unfortunately there currently is no automated way in ArcGIS to evaluate contour lines and select those that are depression contour lines. There are some tools in the Spatial Analyst extension such as FLOW DIRECTION, SINK and FILL which may look useful for this purpose, but in fact are designed to find small irregularities in digital elevation models (DEMs) and fix them, and thus they don’t find larger depressions, which are typically the basis for depression contour lines. Continue reading

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User Conference 2007: Technical workshops to attend if you want to get more out of your existing ArcGIS Server deployment

Some technical workshops at the conference are appropriate for all ArcGIS Server users, even if you’ve installed the product before and you’re already familiar with it. These workshops can help you make better use of your existing deployment:

Designing, Deploying, and Using Cached Map Services
Map caching is the recommended way to make your ArcGIS Server maps run as fast as possible. Presented by the authors of this very blog, this workshop covers basic to advanced topics in map caching. This workshop is offered three times, and is a good one to catch on Friday morning if you have a late flight.

Creating and Using ArcGIS Server Geoprocessing Services
This workshop shows how to use geoprocessing services to send GIS work to the server and get back the results when the work is done. When you use geoprocessing services, you don’t have to copy and distribute your toolboxes to everyone, and the model runs on the server, freeing up your own computer’s resources.

Deploying and using ArcGIS Explorer
If you’ve only “played with” ArcGIS Explorer, this workshop will help you reach the next level to understand how you can deploy and use Explorer in your organization. This workshop, presented by Bern Szukalski and Mark Bockenhauer, is appropriate for ArcGIS Explorer beginners as well.

ArcGIS Server: The Road Ahead
A large number of you mentioned in the pre-conference surveys that you want to know what’s in the next release of ArcGIS. The “Road Ahead” workshops are meant just for you. At this workshop you’ll hear development and product leads explain what’s coming for ArcGIS Server in 9.3 and beyond.

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Explorer at User Conference Plenary

An excellent write-up on one of the demonstrations performed during Jack Dangermond’s opening plenary at the 2007 ESRI User Conference this morning appears on the ESRI User Conference Blog. The post, titled Integrating Online Geospatial Services Delivers Superior Visualization and Information, details the use of ArcGIS Explorer and ArcGIS Online. The write-up includes several screenshots of what was shown. If you are at the User Conference, make sure to stop by the Explorer showcase area to see these demonstrations again, and learn how you can do similar things with Explorer.

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User Conference is almost here!

It’s User Conference time! There will be numerous glimpses of ArcGIS Explorer as part of the opening Plenary Session and the development team will be rooting for a great show from the back of the room. The entire team is excited to be a part of this year’s Conference and you can find us in several Technical Workshops, Demo Theater sessions, and at the Explorer island located in the middle of the Server GIS area. ArcGIS Explorer will be shown at the the ArcGIS Server islands, the 3D visualization island, and the ArcGIS Online island.

Some of the ArcGIS Explorer team setting up at the showcase area for UC07. That’s Dara Hughes on the left, Mark Bockenhauer in the middle, and lead ArcGIS Architect and Explorer Engineer Euan Cameron on the right.

We’d like to meet you and answer your questions, so feel free to come over and introduce yourself. Just about the entire team will be at the conference this year, and we’ll be providing a sneak peek at the Island of some of the new features the team is working on for the next release of the software right after the UC.

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