Monthly Archives: November 2007

Symbolizing roads with cased line symbols (part 2 of 3)

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Example of masking on a USGS 1:24,000 scale map

Symbolizing road overpasses or underpasses typically requires that you perform two data preparation steps.  First, identify which roads overpass other roads.  This may be very simple intersections between two roads, or it may include many other roads when dealing with complex highway interchanges.  Second, represent the interchanges clearly.  This task may mean simply changing feature or layer drawing order, or it can also mean knocking out or masking portions of underpassing features.  The image to the left shows the underpassing highway being masked by an overpassing street and railroad. Continue reading

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Monitoring your services with a script

Paul Dodd of ESRI Technical Marketing recently posted a utility on ArcScripts
that monitors your critical services and will e-mail you if a service goes

The Service Monitor script uses a combination of public-domain/freeware
utilities and a configuration file in which you list the services you want to
be monitored. With minimal effort, you can schedule the Service Monitor to run
using the Windows Scheduler.

You can:

  • Specify the URL for a service WSDL or web site to monitor (even include user
    authentication if needed)
  • Specify a day of the week or time window for maintenance of a service
  • Specify days of the week that you don’t want the service to be monitored
  • Specify e-mail recipients for each service or a group of services

Optionally you can override other script defaults like:

  • Retry limits, retry delay, and send e-mail limits
  • E-mail Subject line and From origin
  • E-mail server
  • Log file location
Posted in Services | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

<CTRL>-ing Your Navigation

The Open Content dialog (File > Open) lists the different types of content that can be opened in Explorer. When browsing for local content like KML, shapefiles, rasters, or geodatabases, each of these choices ”remembers” its last visited folder. But suppose you’ve navigated to the correct folder, but then realize you’re browsing for rasters instead of shapefiles. To keep your current folder and switch data types, just use the <CTRL> key and click the file type you want. Your current folder will remain opened, and you’ll switch from one data type to another. 


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Symbolizing roads with cased line symbols (part 1 of 3)

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Roads Cased Part 1 - Thumb

This is the first of three parts that cover how to symbolize roads with cased line symbols.  This first part will cover how to symbolize road centerline data so that the symbols look good, the second part will cover data modeling and symbolizing underpass/overpass relationships, and the third part will deal with symbolizing cul-de-sacs versus dead-end streets.  The primary inspiration for this task is the design of the USGS 1:24,000-scale topographic quadrangle maps. To the left is an example from the 1952 Manchester, New Hampshire map. Continue reading

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Wikipedia Task

Many of us are heading to various places, some familiar some not, for the Thanksgiving holidays. It’s always nice to learn a little more about where we’re headed to. The Wikipedia task found in the Explorer Community Showcase is a great way to do just that, and also another great example of a task mashup. It was written by John Grayson of ESRI’s Applications Prototype Lab.

To use it, start up Explorer, go to the Community Showcase, and look for the Wikipedia task. Just click to add it to Explorer.

Using the task you can point to the map or use an existing result to seed the Wikipedia search location. Adjust the search radius and number of results to suit.

The task makes use of web services available at to search for Wikipedia entries that have a spatial context.

In the Explorer section on ArcScripts, Keith Fraley has also posted his own Wikipedia task, along with source code that you can download. Keith provides the source code and a discussion of the task on his Location Based Soup blog. Thanks Keith!


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What's in 9.2 Service Pack 4

ArcGIS 9.2 Service Pack 4 is now
available for download
on the ESRI Support site. In this post, Derek
Weatherbe describes some of the fixes
to Manager and the .NET Web ADF included in this service pack.

NIM011924 Manager is unable to publish applications when disconnected from the

ArcGIS Server Manager is now able to publish Web Mapping Applications when
disconnected from the network.

NIM010261 Unable to connect to an OGC WMS service with the .NET Web ADF when
disconnected from the internet

This change allows OGC WMS services to be consumed in a Web Mapping Application
when the client and server are on a machine that is disconnected from the

NIM007055 Enhance the Overview Map control to have a StaticMode property so that
the Overview Map image is not requesting a new image on each extent or scale

The Overview Map has been enhanced to include a StaticMode where the image it
displays is re-used rather than re-generated on each extent and scale change
that occurs in the Map. Taking advantage of this StaticMode property is a way
to improve performance in the Web Mapping Application.

The default behavior for the Overview Map at SP4 will continue to match the
behavior prior to SP4. If you would like to take advantage of this
optimization, open the web application in Visual Studio, navigate to the
Overview Map’s property window and change the StaticMode setting from False to
True. Due to the changes required to implement this new feature, when
StaticMode = True, the Area-Of-Interest (AOI) box displayed in the Overview Map
cannot be resized or dragged. The Area-Of-Interest box can be resized and
dragged when set to the default value of StaticMode = False.

NIM009808 The FeatureGraphicsLayer.FullExtent property is returning NAN values
instead of valid coordinates

This addresses the programmatic use case where the
FeatureGraphicsLayer.FullExtent property needs to return valid coordinates.

NIM011075 Spatial searches fail to return results for text searches against
ArcIMS ArcMap image services

Programmatic queries for string values now work against ArcIMS ArcMap image

NIM011110 Unable to run applications which have a single Toolbar control buddied
to 2 Map controls

Applications that contain one Toolbar buddied to two Map controls now build and
function correctly.

NIM011420 Applications containing cached services will fail to start when using
StateServer or SQLServer modes to store session state

This fix allows web applications that include cached services to use session
state storage modes of StateServer and SQLServer.

Posted in Services | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Learn about the categories

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Category Description
ArcGIS Methods Use of ArcGIS to accomplish specific cartographic tasks.
Cartographic Effects “What”, “why” and “how” about achieving special cartographic techniques.
Cartographic Design Visual hierarchy, figure-ground, legibility, visual clarity, visual flow, etc.
Symbology Assignment of qualitative and quantitative meaning to signs (color, size, shape, etc.)
Cartographic Representation Use of cartographic representations in the map production process.
Data Modeling Modeling GIS data for mapping and geoprocessing.
General Information Announcements and information about Mapping Center, cartographic resources and events, etc.
Labeling Type elements (font, size, form, etc.) and type placement.
Map Data Specific themes of data, e.g., transportation, hydrography, cultural, etc.
Map Elements Scale bars, north arrows, legends, tables, graphs, text blocks, etc.
Maplex Use of the Maplex Label Engine.
Page Layout Arrangement of the content on the page.
Publishing Printing and output for print, printing press, digital static or digital interactive media.
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Using rotation angles for markers, lines, or polygon fills

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

Rotation Angles - Thumbnail

If having the proper orientation, or rotation angle is an important characteristic of your symbols, it is important to make sure your symbols accurately display the phenomenon they depict. Thus, I thought it would be a good idea to review the use of rotation angles in ArcMap.

You have probably set rotation angles for symbols, (markers, hash lines, and Line or gradient fills), your data frame, and maybe even for point features which can be rotated by the angle stored in a field. Most of you already know your own data well, but if you’ve
ever downloaded data or inherited legacy data, you may not know which way the rotation angles were calculated (so if you publish data, remember to invest a few minutes in authoring the metadata).

ArcGIS has tools and functionality that may use any of three rotation methods:  Geographic, Arithmetic, and Graphic.

Continue reading

Posted in Mapping, Migrate | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

What's the Weather? Find out with the Weather Finder

Another useful and interesting custom task (written by Michael Waltuch) is found in the Community Showcase section of the Explorer Resource Center. It’s a good example of a custom task that leverages an available Web service for use within Explorer.

Weather Finder locates the nearest weather station to a specified location and reports its most recent weather observations. The task is based on a reverse geocoding web service located at To learn more about GeoNames go to their web site and see the service description.

To use the task, first go the the Community Showcase, locate the task, and click to add it to Explorer.

We can activate the task and click on our map to find the current weather, or we can use a result as the input location. Let’s use Find Place to locate Manhattan.

Now that we’ve found Manhattan, we’ll right click the result and use Send To and choose Weather Finder from the list (we also could have done this via the result popup window).

Now that Manhattan is the Weather Finder search location, click Find. The nearest weather station will be located, and we’ll automatically zoom to it. In this case the nearest weather station is found in Central Park.

The popup window associated with the weather station includes a link to the National Weather Service’s Telecommunication Operations Center which includes a 24 hour summary for the weather station.

You can also click the link in the popup to show the National Weather Service’s Web site for this location. Here we see that currently it’s a balmy 57 degrees in Central Park under overcast skies, with 6-mile visibility and calm winds.

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Time Navigator Custom Task

Richie Carmichael (of ESRI’s Applications Prototype Lab) posted a Time Navigator custom task for Explorer a while back. The task has gone through several iterations and improvements, and the current version (including source code) can be found at ArcScripts.

There’s also a YouTube video posted on the task, and Richie also includes a discussion of it at his blog.

We used it the other week for animating some of the fire spread data that we’ve been compiling. Here it is in use:

You’ll also find a number of other tasks for Explorer at ArcScripts, and we’ll be adding a direct link to ArcScripts from the Explorer Resource Center soon.

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