Monthly Archives: January 2010

Broad Range of Options for Collecting Data with Mobile GIS

By Tom Patterson, ESRI Wildland Fire Specialist and Tim Smith, National Park Service GPS Program Coordinator

In the wake of the disaster in Haiti, we wanted to share with you some of the options for collecting data in the field or conducting a damage assessment.  Given the expanse of the disaster and the number of people that responded with varying degrees of background we’ll present this information in order from the most basic to the most advanced.

GPS-Enabled Camera

During the 2009 Bushfires, we found that the easiest way to conduct a damage assessment survey with non-GIS trained personnel is to use a GPS-enabled digital camera like the Ricoh 500SE.  The location, direction you’re facing, time and date can be collected simply by taking a photograph of the damaged structure, for example.  Additional information about the feature you are documenting, including a voice narration, is embedded directly into the header file (EXIF) of each image and can be displayed in ArcGIS desktop with an extension such as GPS Photo-Link or ArcGIS Explorer using the Geotagged Image add-in.

Digital Pen

We’ve been in the 21st century for 10 years now and as wonderful as the technology has become, it will never totally replace paper maps and forms on a clip board. That’s OK because now we have the means to turn pen and paper into digital data that can be displayed in GIS.  Adapx has a very easy to use solution that requires minimal training for field personnel.  When used with a handheld GPS receiver, this clever method can be used by anyone.  Besides its simplicity and no learning curve, the major advantage to using the Adapx pen is you always have a paper map or forms as a backup.  This is not the case if your PDA, GPS receiver or digital camera becomes damaged or fails.

GPS Receiver

The most widely used GPS receivers by first responders are made by Garmin.   The DNR Garmin Application from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources lets you transfer data from the GPS device into a usable GIS format.  Here is a link to the GPS for Fire Management training course that explains how to collect field data with Garmin GPS receivers and use DNRGarmin to download/convert GPS data to shapefiles that can be used in ArcMap or ArcPad.

SendMap is a free application for uploading custom produced maps to your Garmin GPS.  The latest OpenStreetMap files for Port-au-Prince may be obtained from here and uploaded with SendMap for display on a Garmin receiver.

ArcPad 8

The next option is ArcPad 8 – which is a reliable Mobile GIS data collection method because you carry all basedata with you on the device.  A new feature of ArcPad 8 gives you the ability to synchronize with an ArcGIS server from the field (if you have Internet connectivity) for real-time updates that can be shared with all agencies and organizations.  Custom applets, specifically built for damage assessment purposes, make it easy for non-GIS trained personnel to use the technology.  Many of the newer PDA models have built-in digital cameras in addition to built-in GPS and wireless communication modems which provide a lightweight, all-in-one unit for field data collection and editing capabilities.


ArcGIS Mobile

ArcGIS Mobile is the most advanced solution because it is a part of the enterprise system. It is intended for use by non GIS-trained field personnel but requires a GIS Technical Specialist to maintain an ArcGIS Server and create ArcGIS Mobile data collection projects that can be run from any Windows mobile device including cell phones.  This was illustrated in our recent Live Training Seminar – Creating a Common Operational Picture with ArcGIS.  To get started the Damage Assessment Template could be used to collect data and leverage the base data from ArcGIS Online as shown below.

ArcGIS Mobile supports accessing, consuming, and using data to improve situational awareness where it is most important-in the field. Learn how solutions are designed and built to support this capability

A couple of other ESRI Business Partner Solutions include:

  • Blackberry users can collect field data and upload onto an ArcGIS Server through Freeance Mobile.
  • GeoCove has an ArcGIS Mobile solution specifically for damage assessments. This was detailed in a recent Podcast from Amy Hoyt in Lee County Florida.
  • GeoVisus also provides a hosted solution for ArcGIS Mobile.

We hope that this post improves your productivity as you support the response and recovery to the Haiti Earthquake.  For the latest information on how ESRI is supporting our users with the response, visit our Haiti Disaster Relief and Support site.  If you need disaster assistance, please fill out our Request Assistance form.

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Beta 2 changes the ArcGIS Server software setups

When you install 9.4 Beta 2, you’ll notice that ArcGIS Server for the Microsoft .Net Framework has been organized into two setups:

  • ArcGIS Server – GIS Services
  • ArcGIS Server – Web Applications

ArcGIS Server – GIS Services

For the majority of you, the GIS Services setup is the only setup you need to install. This setup installs the Server Object Manager (SOM), Server Object Container (SOC), and Web Service handlers for REST and SOAP. It provides you with a version of ArcGIS Manager that allows you to publish GIS services, administer the server, and configure security.

Here is a screenshot of the panel to choose the features you’d like to install in the ArcGIS Server – GIS Services setup:

 GIS services setup

ArcGIS Server – Web Applications

For those of you who create .Net Web applications, you should install this setup. This setup provides the ability to publish Web Mapping Applications from Manager and develop Web ADF applications inside of Visual Studio. Shortcuts that point to the online APIs are also part of this setup.

Here is a screenshot of the panel to choose the features you’d like to install in the ArcGIS Server – Web Applications setup:

Web Applications setup 


Can I install both setups on a single machine?

Yes. The setups can be installed on a single machine. And the setups can be installed in any order.

What does Manager look like if I install both setups?

By installing the Manager features from both setups, you will create a single version of Manager that contains all possible features (what you are familiar with from the 9.3 release).

Is there any manual configuration required after the install to make the software work on a 64 bit environment?

No. One of the goals of the 9.4 install improvements was to make it easier to install ArcGIS Server on a 64 bit environment. The setups will create IIS application pools for you, respectively named ArcGISServicesAppPool and ArcGISApplicationsAppPool. These application pools will be created on both 32 bit and 64 bit environments. Additionally, on 64 bit environments the application pools will be automatically configured to support 32 bit web applications.

For a machine where both the ArcGIS Server – GIS Services and ArcGIS Server – Web Applications setups have been run, here’s a look at the application pools in IIS and how they were configured:

Application pools in IIS 

Does this setup work on Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2?

Yes, please go ahead and test with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and give us your feedback.

What version of Visual Studio 2008 is required?

You must have Visual Studio 2008 SP1 installed in order to install the Visual Studio 2008 Integration feature.

I see Visual Studio 2010 Integration listed as an install feature. What does that mean?

The Web Applications setup now supports integrating the Web Mapping Application templates and Web ADF controls into Visual Studio 2010. The latest available Visual Studio 2010 version is Beta 2. We will continue to test VS2010 as Microsoft releases additional versions.

Contributed by Anne Reuland of the ArcGIS Server software development team.

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Vote on the 2010 DevSummit user presentations

This is just the second year we’ve had User Presentations at the DevSummit, and we’re thrilled that we’ve received 40 abstracts from the community which we now have to fit into only 22 available slots! That’s almost twice as many slots as last year for about one and a half times the number of hopefuls, so we’re heading in the right direction, and to make sure the User Presentations fit your needs, this year the selection process is in your hands.

It’s your summit, so you have your say

Since we will record the presentations and put them online in the Resource Centers, voting is not just for DevSummit attendees, but is open to the general public.

If you want to see a presentation make the cut, promote it. If you think a presentation doesn’t fit the DevSummit, the demote button is your voice. If you don’t mind either way, just leave it alone. Oh, and by the way, you can only vote once either way per presentation and you can’t change your mind, so vote carefully!

Comments can also be left for each presentation, so if you have a question before you cast your vote, start a conversation with the presenter or your fellow voters.

With that in mind, head over to the voting portal and register to be able to have a say in which User Presentations make the cut. Look under the Ideas tab to browse the presentations and cast your votes.

Vote now

Voting closes in less than two weeks on February 7th, so get registered and cast your votes soon. Selected presenters will be notified the week of February 8th.

- Nick


Key Links for the Developer Summit:

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Social media and geo-services: ArcGIS Explorer and disaster modeling for Haiti

A new video has been posted on the ESRI YouTube channel that provides an example of social networking and feeds integrated using ArcGIS Explorer to look at the recent Haiti disaster.

The video illustrates how to use ArcGIS Explorer, the Twitter Add-in, and a number of GeoRSS feeds to build a real-time model of the disaster situation in Haiti.

Check out the recent post on the ArcGIS Developer blog to learn more.

The Twitter add-in can be found in the ArcGIS Explorer Labs group on ArcGIS Online.

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New Geoprocessing Tools Introduced in 9.4

Since 9.3.1, there have been over 150 new Geoprocessing tools added to 9.4.  Here is the complete list of new tools for 9.4 grouped by Toolbox and Toolset. 

New tools that are new for 9.4 beta2 are marked with an asterisk and summarized here. Continue reading

Posted in Analysis & Geoprocessing | 1 Comment

New Geoprocessing Tools for Beta2

With the 9.4 beta2 release, there will be 27 new Geoprocessing tools.  These new tools are listed below.  If you would like to see more information regarding these tools, simply click on the link which will take you to the 9.4 online help.


3D Analyst Toolbox

   3D Features

Feature to 3D By Attribute



Cartography Toolbox


Contour Annotation



 Conversion Toolbox 

    From KML

KML To Layer

    To Collada

Multipatch To Collada

    To Coverage

Import from E00

    To Geodatabase

CAD to Geodatabase



 Data Management Toolbox 


Bearing Distance To Line

            Points To Line

            Table To Ellipse

            XY To Line


Calculate End Time

            Convert Time Field

            Convert Time Zone

            Transpose Fields 

   Projections and Transformations          

             Mosaic Dataset

 Convert Coordinate Notation


             Mosaic Dataset

                        Add Rasters To Mosaic Dataset

                        Applanix DSS To Table

                        Color Balance Mosaic Dataset

                        Compute Dirty Area

                        Define Mosaic Dataset NoData

Generate Exclude Area

ISAT To Table


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ArcGIS Code Migration AddIn for Visual Studio

The ArcGIS Code Migration AddIn provides the developer with the information required to migrate ArcGIS 9.3 projects, and above, to ArcGIS 10. Migration information can be provided for single projects or all projects in a solution.

Here are the steps required to run the ArcGIS Code Migration AddIn.

  1. 1. Start Visual Studio 2008 and open a 9.3 Engine project or a solution that contains 9.3 Engine project(s).
  2. 2. From the Tools menu select the ArcGIS Code Migration add-in.
  3. 3. A dialog will open that lets you select projects to be migrated. By default all projects are selected for migration and listed in the right box “Projects to Migrate:”
  4. 4. To remove a project from the “Projects to Migrate” select the project in the right box and click on the back arrow.
  5. 5. To add a project to the “Projects to Migrate” select the project in the left box and click on the forward arrow.
  6. 6. Create a backup of all projects to be migrated by checking the box “Create a backup of the solution before migrating”.
  7. 7. Click on Migrate to start the migration process.

The migration process provides a detailed summary of each project in the Visual Studio Output window. This lists the changes that have taken place and identifies changes that must be undertaken by the developer. All such developer changes are listed as warnings in the Error List. 

View the Error List and click on a warning to navigate to the appropriate line of code the warning refers to.



  • AddIns are not supported in Microsoft Visual Studio Express; therefore, this tool is not available in that environment.
  • Migrate your projects from Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 to Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 before running this AddIn
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    A concise history of bump mapping

    By Jeffery S. Nighbert, Senior Technical Specialist for GIS, Bureau of Land Management

    Bump Map thumb

    Hi, folks— I have never blogged before so forgive me if I ramble on too much. I have been working with Esri to convert ideas and snippets of code from my past work presented at the Esri International User Conferences into a usable set of tools for all to use. This is a great honor indeed, and I thank them for the opportunity. Continue reading

    Posted in Mapping | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

    Business Analyst 10 – What's coming…

      by Kyle Watson

    In recent weeks you may have seen that the next version of ESRI’s core desktop software “ArcGIS 9.4″ is now beefed up to “ArcGIS 10.”  There are many significant additions and efficiencies in “10″ and I’d like to share we also plan a Business Analyst 10 release.

    Here is a quick look at some of the new features we plan on including in BA10:

    • Workflow based toolbars:  Business Analyst and Territory Design toolbars will get facelifts, making them less “tools” based and more focused on solving business problems from start to finish.
    • Business Analyst Window:  This will be a dockable location for all of the common Business Analyst features.  You’ll be able to easily add favorite commands (almost like adding iPhone apps).
    • Revised custom data creation wizard:  We’re making it easier to bring in your own custom data and make BDS layers.
    • Color-Coded Maps:  A new way to easily access data and create thematic maps.
    • Enhanced business search:  A new way to search and filter for competitors to export exactly what you want.
    • Enhanced reports:  New reports and better styled ones too.  Plus we’re adding a way to hit data hosted as a service and include them in reports…so you don’t have to wait for new datasets shipping to you on DVDs.

    So check back in regularly for further details on ESRI Business Analyst 10.


    Posted in Location Analytics | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

    Do you need to draw graphics on the screen?

    Before ArcGIS 10 (formally called 9.4) you could manage the location, rendering and movement of graphics on your map or globe using either a GraphicsContainer, a graphics layer, or a custom layer. The globe display needs one code solution, the map display requires another and a dynamic display needs yet more complex code.

    To simplify this experience, at ArcGIS 10, we have introduced the GraphicTracker class so that you can use the same code for all three display mode. For example, if you want to display a graphic on a map just

    //Initialize the GraphicTracker with a Map object
    IGraphicTracker myGraphicTracker = new GraphicTrackerClass();
    myGraphicTracker.Initialize(axMapControl1.Map as IBasicMap);

    //Make the 2D GraphicTrackerSymbol
    myGraphicTrackerSymbol = myGraphicTracker.CreateSymbol(my2DSymbol, null);

    //Add the GraphicTrackerSymbol to the GraphicTracker
    int myId = myGraphicTracker.Add(myGeometry, myGraphicTrackerSymbol);

    If you want to display the graphic in dynamic map simply enable it

    IDynamicMap myDynamicMap = (IDynamicMap)axMapControl1.Map;
    myDynamicMap.DynamicMapEnabled = true;

    If you want to use the globe simply initialize the GraphicsTracker with a globe object. 

    //Initialize the GraphicTracker with a Globe object
    myGraphicTracker.Initialize(axGlobeControl1.Globe as IGlobe);

    //Make the 3D GraphicTrackerSymbol
    myGraphicTrackerSymbol = myGraphicTracker.CreateSymbol(null,my3DSymbol);

    The GraphicTracker, itself, will manage all rendering and map refresh issues so you don’t need to. For more information please read the document: Using a GraphicTracker

    Note – Please test GraphicTracker with at least Beta 2 of ArcGIS Engine

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