Monthly Archives: December 2009

9.4 and the Water Resource Center – Mobile Map Template

In the upcoming months, we will try to pull out some key pieces from 9.4 and start discussing how the templates will take advantage of the new functionality and how they will affect the water community.  Our first post, we will take a look at ArcGIS Mobile and the Mobile Map Template that was based on this platform. 

At 9.3 and 9.3.1, the ArcGIS Mobile platform included a SDK or developer kit and an out of the box application for Windows Mobile 5/6 handheld devices.  We used this SDK for the Mobile Map template that you can download from the water resource center.  At 9.4, ArcGIS Mobile is also going to include an out of the box tablet based application.  This application has been designed for the field personal using a touch base PC.  So it is very easy to navigate and interact with.  This application is also extendable, so you can use the base application and add extensions that provide custom functions or workflows.
At 9.4, we are going to release a configuration of the Out of the Box ArcGIS Mobile Tablet application with several Add-Ins focused on the field workflows for the water community.  The Add-Ins will emulate the functionality in the current Mobile Map Template. They will be starting point to show you how to extend the Out of the Box mobile application to fit into your utilities workflows.  The goal is that you will be able to use a core, supported mobile application, and just provide the add-ons to support your needs. 

The ArcGIS Mobile framework has many new enhancements that the water community will be able to take advantage of.  The most intriguing is the new supported data formats.  ArcGIS Mobile now supports both Operational Layers and Basemaps.  This means, you can separate the data into two different storage types. 

Your operational data is the data that you interact with, so data that you search, identify, and edit.  This is your water mains, sewer lines, valves, manholes, catch basins, etc.  This operational data is stored in the mobile cache format, which is a representation of your geodatabase.  This representation or cache stores the geometry, attributes and symbology.  By caching the data on the device, it allows the field personal to work disconnected from the office, but anytime you have a connection to the office, this data can be updated, and changes made in the field can be pushed back to the office. 

Your basemap is the data that helps your field personnel orient themselves, locate a particular asset or facility, and it provides a reference for the operational data.  In the past, the basemap data was included in the operational data cache and typically has been larger than the operational data.  This made managing the cache a lot harder. 

At 9.4, the basemap data can be stored or delivered in a number of ways.  One way basemap data can be delivered to your field personnel is directly from ArcGIS Server in the form of a tiled map service.  This means that none of the basemap data has to be deployed to the device.  ArcGIS mobile leverages the internet to retrieve the tiles and displays them for the user.  Those tiles are stored on the device for your session, so once they are retrieved, that can be used again and again, until the application shuts down.  This can be ArcGIS Online tile map services or map services that your organization authors.  The upside here is that only the operational data, or mobile cache, has to be managed on the device.  All the basemap data is provided by a map service.  That map service can deliver a tremendous amount of information to the user for the area they are working in.  Those tiles retrieved for the mobile worker persist for the user’s session, so once a tile is retrieved once, it saved on the device so it can be reused in that session.  The downside with this approach is that a data connection is required.  So you will want to look at your network coverage in your area and data fees before settling on this approach for your basemap data.

If you do not have a persistent internet connection but want to provide a large amount of basemap information on your mobile devices, there is another option at 9.4 that allows you to deliver content in a compressed format.  Those same tiles that ArcGIS server is reading and delivering to the field personnel through the map service, can be copied local to the device and used just like any raster dataset.  This allows you to extract out an area of interest at a series of scales and provision the device with this content.  If you worked with an ArcGIS Server tiled cache in the past, you know that there can be lots of files that make up the server cache and moving this number of files around can take a long time.  ArcGIS 9.4 has a new cache format called compact.  This compact cache format bundles up a large number of tiles into one set of files.  It significantly reduces the number of files that need to be copied and reduces the amount of disk space required.  There are also geoprocessing tools that allow you to extract out a section of the cache.  So you can build one large cache, covering your entire service area and pull out sub areas to reduce the amount of data that you would have to deliver to support a field application.

ArcGIS Mobile at 9.4 has many improvements and enhancements, we focused on the application and the data because we see these as important changes that the community will want to take advantage of.  The new application and the supported data formats will allow you to deliverer both a better application and better maps to you field users.  With an out of the box application that is extendable, you can focus on the workflows for the field personal and simplifying them with custom Add-ins without developing an entire application.  The new data formats will allow the field to use better basemaps and reduce the data that needs to be managed on the device. 

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USGS and ArcGIS Online map natural hazard events

12/30/09–Earlier this morning several of us sitting in our offices felt the roll of an earthquake – where could it be? Visiting the USGS Natural Hazards Support System site we quickly learned that the quake we felt was located in Baja California, measuring in at hefty 5.8 with a number of aftershocks, one measuring 4.9.

The USGS Rocky Mountain Geographic Science Center, based in Denver, recently released the Natural Hazards Support system application which is built using ArcGIS Online’s JavaScript API (one of several ArcGIS Web mapping APIs available via ArcGIS Online), several ArcGIS Online basemaps, and additional services powered by ArcGIS Server.

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Top Explorer blog posts for 2009

As we look back on the ArcGIS Explorer blog for this past year we see that we’ve covered a broad range of topics, including reviews of events, tutorials, and other noteworthy news for Explorer users.

Which were the most popular? They’re listed below. Hit counts still keep going up for more recent posts, and for some popular older posts. But here’s the summary of the most popular posts as of this morning.

The overall most popular post by a very wide margin was:

Mapping the Arctic using ArcGIS Explorer

In second place was:

Using add-ins from ArcGIS Explorer Labs

Coming in as third most popular was:

System requirements check for ArcGIS Explorer

And the rest of the top 10 in order:

Controlling navigation when you add content

New version now available and what’s new

A tutorial for creating good Layer Packages

ArcGIS Explorer at the 2009 Federal User Conference

ArcGIS Explorer at the BPC Plenary Part III

ArcGIS Explorer at the 2009 User Conference Plenary Part I

ArcGIS Explorer at the BPC Plenary Part I

Excluding reviews of Explorer at conference events, the last four above would be replaced by:

Exploring Crane Lake and the Crane Lake Web Cam

Getting started with the ArcGIS Explorer SDK: your first button

Placing photos in their geographic context

Exploring more of ArcGIS Online

Of the developer/SDK posts, the top three were:

Getting started with the ArcGIS Explorer SDK: your first button

Creating add-ins that execute geoprocessing services

Tip for add-in developers: How to bundle files in an EAZ file

We hope you’ve found this blog both useful and enjoyable. Please feel free to send us your comments about topics you’d like to see or posts about your own work with ArcGIS Explorer.

Happy New Year!

The ArcGIS Explorer Team

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GeoInformatics publishes ArcGIS Explorer article

The December, 2009, issue of GeoInformatics publishes a review of ArcGIS Explorer. The article provides a nice overview of features, including support for Layer Packages.

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AGIC posts ArcGIS Explorer workshop

The Arizona Geographic Information Council (AGIC) has recently posted an ArcGIS Explorer workshop presented by Jami Garrison of the Maricopa Association of Governments, who also served as the conference co-chair. Jami also featured her work with ArcGIS Explorer at the 2008 ESRI User Conference.

All workshop materials are available as a downloadable zip file at the AGIC conference proceedings site.

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Yahoo! Traffic in ArcGIS Explorer

In an earlier post we detailed how you can use add-ins published on the ArcGIS Explorer Labs group on ArcGIS Online. Here’s a closer look at one of the add-ins you’ll find there, the Yahoo! Traffic add-in.

After you’ve added it open it and click the magnifying glass to fetch traffic incidents from Yahoo! based on the center of your current view. They’ll appear on your map with a variety of symbols that indicate the type of incident.


To clear the incidents, click the red X.


To add one or more incidents to your contents select them and right-click, then choose Move to Map.


Here’s some of the current incidents in the greater Philadelphia area. Click an incident to open its popup with more information.


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How do you put a north arrow on a map with the UPS grid coordinate system?

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

UPS North thumb

We received this very interesting question the other day on Ask a Cartographer: “What is common practice for map orientation and the use of north arrows for maps using the UPS projection? Do you keep grid north up and turn the north arrow accordingly, or do you rotate the map so true north is up and so the UPS grid is tilted like with the UTM projection? With UPS the rotation could be very large, up to 180 degrees.”

For those of you not quite familiar with the terms, “grid north” is the positive northing direction of a grid coordinate system used on a map. Continue reading

Posted in Mapping, Migrate | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Retail value trumps economic blight

by Kyle Watson

“With the cutbacks of our competitors, this is a good time to expand.”

Ok, ok, ok – I’m writing another blog about Michigan.  Forgive me, but I still read the old local papers online.  And I found a good article written by Jaclyn Trop of The Detroit News that discusses the commercial retail industry.  Let’s have a look.

First off, we know many organizations use the Business Analyst products to aid in the following:

  • Booming Economy - Add stores!  Grow product mixes!  Expand our square footage!
  • Stagnant Economy – Consolidate stores!  Trim product offerings!  Find better markets!

So this article I speak of suggests an odd-couple-combination of the two.  It’s quite interesting actually.  It states that franchises are looking expand into an economically burdened areas looking for retail success – by hitting consumers with value.  Here’s a peek:

“The interest in Michigan seems counterintuitive given the state’s rocky economy, soaring unemployment levels, and the woes of two of its largest corporations, General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC. But a solid demand for affordable, quality products and services makes Michigan a viable market for retailers who can provide them.

Retailers here, long weighed down by myriad challenges including a shrinking population, wage stagnation, and uncertainty over various legislative issues, are wooing a penny-pinching population with a magic word: value.

“Value is a mysterious concept,” said Jim Hallan, president of the Michigan Retailers Association. “It’s not just a price component, but also includes convenience, service, comfort and quality.”

One person’s economic misfortune is another’s retail goldmine.



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Reports in ArcMap

Here is a high level overview of how to work with reports through the various user interface components for creating, viewing and designing your reports with ArcMap 10.

Reports menu

The Reports menu is accessed from the View menu off of the main menu bar.

Report Wizard

The Report Wizard steps you through the report creation process. Within the wizard you have the ability to set the major properties of the report, like choosing the fields, grouping, sorting, orientation and style. To launch the Report Wizard, click on Create Report from the Reports menu.

Report Viewer

The Report Viewer allows you to preview your report. The viewer generates the entire report, and includes buttons and a contents view of the report for easy exploration and navigation of the report by page. You can also save, export and add the report to the layout of your map from the Report Viewer.

Report Designer

The Report Designer allows you to modify the properties of your existing report. In the Designer you can change properties of the report, like style or printer settings, along with the individual properties of specific design elements, like font color and size of a footnote.

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Tips for using the ArcObjects .NET SDK

Click here for some tips and tricks to help you be more productive and successful when using the ArcObjects .NET software development kit (SDK). Some of these features of the SDK are less visible than others and some of these features make your responsibilities as a developer easier.


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