Monthly Archives: February 2009

ArcGIS API for JavaScript v1.3 released!

The ArcGIS API for JavaScript v1.3 is now available for immediate use. Below are just a few of the highlights. To check out the full list of enhancements, fixes and deprecations be sure to visit the What’s New page on the Resource Center:

  • Support for Dojo 1.2.3 - Check out the details closely if you are using externally hosted Dojo v1.2.3. 
  • Layer Extensibility - You can now create custom layer types for both tiled and dynamic services. And, you can also extend the associated based classes to support other layer types such as OGC WMS, and any tiled map service including ArcGIS Server 9.2 cached map services.
  • Error Handling – Now every layer and task has an onError event that returns more detail about the error in the callback function. For example now you you can get an error any time a graphics layer is unable to draw a graphic.
  • Enhanced Map Layer Management – You can add layers at specific indices in a map, and also remove layers from a map.

As for best practices, don’t forget to test your code after changing your script to point to the v1.3 URL.


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Why Business Analyst is Even More Relevant in a Down Economy…

  by James Killick 

Yep – I’m sure you’ve all heard enough already. Stores closing left right and center. Circuit City, Mervyn’s, Linens’n’Things,  … and likely many more to come.

The use case for ArcGIS Business Analyst has commonly revolved around where to open a new store or where to expand in a new market. Making the wrong decision about location can result in wasting huge amounts of money.

However, it’s important to realize the same is also true for downsizing and consolidation. If you need to close a store or exit a regional market the Business Analyst products can help you make the right decision about which store to close…

Using Business Analyst you can easily rank your stores according to performance based on market penetration or determine which stores have the greatest potential in the future based on their proximity to your best type of customers and predicted growth for the local market.

And it doesn’t stop at site selection. Customers are using Business Analyst to laser target their marketing on not only the right locations, but the right kind of people in the right locations. And they’re also using Business Analyst to optimize their sales and service areas using the Business Analyst’s territory design tools (more about those in a later blog).

Talk to us if you want to learn more about how to do all this – we’d be glad to help you out!

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PostGIS Install Issue During Enterprise Geodatabase Setup

This post was provided by geodatabase product engineer Kasia Tuszynska.

This post is an FYI for users who are planning to implement an enterprise ArcSDE geodatabase on PostgreSQL (for Windows) and intend to use the PostGIS Open Source spatial type. Note that PostGIS is not included with ArcGIS Server Enterprise and must be downloaded from online sources. We currently support PostgreSQL version 8.3.0 and PostGIS version 1.3.2.

 For new set-ups, the enterprise ArcSDE installer will check for the existence of a PostgreSQL instance. If it determines that PostgreSQL is not installed, it will launch a PostgreSQL installation wizard. A module called Application Stack Wizard is part of the installation wizard, and it enables the set up of additional components, one of which is PostGIS. 

If the PostGIS option is selected in the installer, the Application Stack Wizard will make a connection to the Internet and display the available releases of PostGIS for download.

By default, the Application Stack Wizard will only access the latest version of PostGIS from the internet, version 1.3.5 – which is not currently supported. One of the great things about open source software is that by nature is updated frequently. Unfortunatly this makes it very difficult to coordinate the latest PostGIS release with our software release cycles. We currently support PostGIS version 1.3.2 and this is the version you should use with your enterprise ArcSDE geodatabase on PostgreSQL (for Windows). You can obtain a copy of PostGIS version 1.3.2 from the PostGIS website.

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Symbolising data with lost data links

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer


I frequently come across data which has lost data links (a red!). This occurs when the data has been moved or no longer exists, thus breaking the link. On some occasions, even after I tracked down the data and repaired the data source, the symbology still didn’t draw — it exists, but the wrong field is listed on the Layer Properties Symbology tab. Usually the draw category (Value field) has defaulted to a non-matching field. Simply changing the Value field does not do the trick. Continue reading

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User Experience – We get it or we might have…

  by Sooria Jeyaraman

Usability: “The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.” (ISO 9241-11)

Major goal of our latest release of Business Analyst Online is to improve the usability and user experience of the product. Exposing our vast sets of data in our products has always been a challenge, to say the least let alone do some analysis with it. Most of you would agree with me that no design could be perfect until it serves the purpose effectively. We as a company have realized that and user experience is very much in ESRI’s radar these days (Woo hoo!!). We’ve incorporated some of the user centered design principles for this upcoming release of Business Analyst Online 9.3.


Let me explain the process a bit. A small window of opportunity was created within the project schedule to accommodate designers (user experience architect and visual designer) early in the product cycle. Designers along with the product management made use of the situation by incorporating these three simple steps.
1.    Listen to the users
2.    Usability testing and listen to the users
3.    Listen to the users again.

We actually listened (literally!) to the customers through our numerous customer interviews and tried to analyze the user’s goals and expectations of the product. Sample personas were created to bring life to our users and numerous white boarding sessions happened over months. Finally after several redesigns a working prototype was created.  This prototype was given to the actual users in the form of usability testing to initiate our second step of listening.

Usability testing as expected served as a great eye opener for the stakeholders of the project and for us designers too. We watched and listened to the miseries of our users actually trying to use our prototype. There were times we wanted to go across the one way mirror and show the user where that particular link was.. hey, but there were occasions where the users  were delighted about our design as well, so there was something to boost our egos :)

After these sessions, we got back to the drawing board to analyze the reasons why certain design elements didn’t work with our users. After remedying those issues, we tested it again with our users and repeated the process multiple times. The beta that is going to be out soon might not solve all the issues but we are hoping to hit a field goal ;) at the minimum. Having said that, there is always room for improvement and as I mentioned earlier no design is perfect until it solves the user goals effectively and efficiently. We still might go back to our drawing boards based on what we hear from you.

- SJ

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Beefed up tools in ArcGIS Business Analyst

 by Kyle Watson

Same great tools, more functionality.  We’ve beefed up some existing ArcGIS Business Analyst tools with additional feature – at the request of users like you.

Here’s what we did in Business Analyst 9.3…

Mean Store Center analysis – added ability to find multiple potential site locations based on high concentration of customers.  Why is this relevant?  Here’s a scenario:  You are a bank looking to add ATMs based on your customer residences. The multiple mean store center tool is perfect for analyzing where those ATMs should go.  In 9.2, only one mean store center could be located at a time.  Learn more here.

Threshold Trade Areas – added ability to determine a capacity by drive time.  Why is this relevant?  Here’s a scenario:  You know your franchises need a minimum of 150,000 people living within 10 minutes – not 10 miles – but 10 minutes.  In 9.2 you could determine a threshold area by ring only which may not accurately reflect the landscape, in 9.3 we’ve added a more real-world approach with drive times.  Learn more here.


Here’s a further breakdown, where your humble blogger breaks out the smelly markers…

So if  you have an “I like this Business Analyst feature, but want it to also _____” wish list…I want to hear about them.

Stay classy,



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What’s new for Java Developers in 9.3.1?

As a Java developer have you ever wanted to extend your desktop and server applications natively using the Java API?  If so, you’ll be happy to know that the ArcGIS 9.3.1 release allows you to extend the ArcGIS framework by creating Java extensions that plug seamlessly into ArcObjects components. This is a big improvement because to accomplish this before Java developers were required to develop functionality in a COM compliant language then use the proxygen tool to create the Java wrappers. Say good bye to those days!

Red Hat

The ArcGIS 9.3.1 release
provides enhanced support for Java developers to develop extensions in the native Java environment using a simple develop and deploy workflow. Some of the supported extensions include:

  • Custom geoprocessing tools
  • Server object extensions (SOEs) and utility objects
  • Class extensions for customized data behavior
  • Custom renderers
  • Plug-in data sources

Also, the development team will be presenting in-depth sessions on developing and deploying ArcGIS Java Extensions at our upcoming Developer Summit in Palm Springs, CA. These sessions include ‘Extending ArcGIS with Java’ and ‘Extending ArcGIS Server with Java’.  You can also listen to our podcast ‘2009 ESRI Developer Summit: Extending ArcGIS with Java’ for more information.



Contributed by the Java development team

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ArcGIS Explorer 900 at the 2009 PUG

Earlier this morning ArcGIS Explorer 900 was showcased at the ESRI Petroleum User Group (PUG) conference in Houston, Texas, marking the second time in a week the forthcoming 900 release has been featured at a major ESRI event. ArcGIS Explorer was also featured during last week’s ESRI Federal User Conference covered in a previous post.

At PUG, ESRI director of products Clint Brown set the stage for Explorer by introducing work being done with a variety of new basemap services that will be part of ArcGIS Online. Bern Szukalski demonstrated several of the basemap services via JavaScript applications, and then used the not-yet-public ArcGIS Online sharing to search for and add new basemaps to an existing ArcGIS 9.3.1 (still in beta) map focused on petroleum exploration in Wyoming.

Below is the map showing various petroleum operational layers (PennWell pipeline data, powder river basin, Wyoming oil fields) along with the underlying topographic basemap services from ArcGIS Online.

The Wyoming oil fields layer was saved as a layer package, one of the new capabilities in ArcMap at 9.3.1. Layer packages capture the cartography along with the data (or links in the case of Web-based services) into an easily portable and shareable file. The layer package was shared via ArcGIS Online in one of the groups; data can be shared publicly to anyone or reserved for use within specific communities.

Using ArcGIS Explorer, several features were highlighted including the new ribbon-based UI, the ability to dock and hide the contents in various ways, and the integrated 2D/3D display. The presentation tools were highlighted next, with a demonstration of how they can be used to author and then give a presentation or briefing. The presentation tools include the ability to control layer visibility, popups, and can include rich media content like videos, photos, and other documents.

Here’s the opening presentation view that included a popup title. Note how the application is in full-screen mode during a presentation, with tools available in the upper left to advance to the next slide or navigate. Though they can be thought of as slides, each stop in the presentation is ”live” and full control of the application can be had at any time.

Next, the Wyoming oil fields layer package was opened by dragging and dropping it onto Explorer, and the data was incorporated into the presentation. Note that since the layer package contained 3D data that it was extruded when viewed in 3D mode, and would be draped flat when viewed in 2D mode. The data shows the Wyoming oil fields shaded and extruded based on potential oil value.

ArcGIS Explorer has always been an ideal way to view ArcGIS Online maps and user-authored map services. Bern emphasized that layer packages make ArcGIS Explorer ideal for providing broad access to all types of GIS data, local content via layer packages as well as GIS services, and would unlock GIS data from “professional only” use. He characterized many of the potential users of ArcGIS Explorer 900 as geographic information users - those that need to use GIS data, but may not be GIS experts or analysts themselves.

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Deploy ArcGIS Business Analyst Server 9.3 remotely!

by Maia Pawooskar

ArcGIS Business Analyst Server has just had its second major release. Being two is so different, it is like being a toddler!

At version 9.3, ArcGIS Business Analyst Server installation has the look and feel of its parent, ArcGIS Server. In case you did not know, Business Analyst Server is an extension to ArcGIS Server.

An administrator can now deploy ArcGIS Business Analyst Server version 9.3 remotely! To do this the administrator/user will simply perform an admin install. Admin installs can be performed using the Windows Installer (MSI), which gives you more flexibility and advantages than the Setup executable.

ArcGIS Business Analyst Server version 9.3 has two setups, the data and the server setup. The MSI command for both the setups is the same.

msiexec /A (path to the setup)setup.msi

Using the MSI command the admin creation can even be performed silently with this command:

msiexec /A (path to the setup)setup.msi /qb TARGETDIR=(the location where you want the admin created)

The TARGETDIR can be a network location. The admin install will set up the structure needed for you to run the setup off of that drive instead of from the DVDs.

This can be handy if your server is remote, parked somewhere in one of your sprawling server farms and has no access to media drives. You would simply do the admin install over a network drive, then map the network drive to your remote server and start the installation!

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What I wish I had known about Model Builder before I started using it

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead


We’ve been compiling a list of tips for various “What I wish I had known about …” topics. Here are a few things that made my list for what I wish I had known about Model Builder before I started using it: Continue reading

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