Monthly Archives: January 2011

ArcGIS Online, Social Media, and the Egyptian Unrest Map

Not long ago, on January 25th, anti-government protests started across Egypt in an unusual outcry. Today an Egyptian Unrest Map was added to Esri’s home page that enables users to follow the social conversation via videos, tweets, and more.

The app uses ArcGIS Online basemaps and the ArcGIS Online-hosted JavaScript API to provide the foundation, and leverages ArcGIS Server and custom hooks into YouTube, Twitter, and Flickr to pull in additional public content. Everything is hosted in Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

You can hover over the Social Media in the map contents and enter your own search keywords and hashtags.

The About this application page tells you more.


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Finding Latitude and Longitude for a Point

Question: Is there anyway to click on a point on a map (aerial photograph, shapefile, etc that has been projected in NAD 1983 UTM Zone 15N) and get a latitude and longitude value for that point? Without using the editor tool and creating a new point file? Thanks.

Answer: There are two ways (and probably even more than that) that you can do this — the one you choose will depend on how precise you need to be. If you just need approximate values, then right click on the name of the data frame in the table of contents and click Properties. On the General tab, set the display Units to Decimal Degrees (or Degrees Minutes Seconds – whichever you prefer). Then use the Selection tool to select and then zoom to the feature (of course, there are also many other ways to zoom in on the feature). Move your cursor over the feature and in the bottom right you will see the coordinates displayed in either DD or DMS, whichever you selected as the Display Units.

If you need to be more precise, then the best thing is to add the lat and long to the feature class. This is easy and does not require an edit session. Just open the attribute table of the point feature class and add a short integer field called Latitude. Then add another called Longitude. Right click the Latitude field and click Calculate Geometry. Set the Property to be the Y Coordinate of Point. Then do the same for the Longitude except select the X Coordinate of Point. Now, for any point feature in your feature class, you will have the exact latitude and longitude coordinates.

Formerly a Mapping Center Ask a Cartographer  Q & A.

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New Releases of Land Records Maps and Apps Now Available

Over the last few days, we’ve updated several Land Records apps on the Local Government Resource Center.  In summary, these updates include:

Tax Parcel Editing for ArcGIS 10 (v.2.0)

New Functionality

1.    Added the Parcel Editor Utilities Add-In along with related source code and documentation

2.    Added the most recent Local Government Information Model and schema-only layer package

3.    Added a Parcel History Group Layer and associated feature templates to the Editing Map

4.    Added an Encumbrance layer and associated feature templates to the Editing Map

5.    Added a Data Dictionary and Editing Map documentation

Resolved Problems

1.    Resolved several issues with the sample data to correct problems with public and prescriptive right of ways

2.    Resolved several issues with the Bookmarks in the Editing Map

Tax Parcel Viewer for ArcGIS 10 (v.2.0)

New Functionality

1.    Added Data Dictionary and map document (.mxd) documentation

2.    Added ArcMap map service definitions and updated caching instructions

3.    Added support for Internet Explorer 8

4.    Added support for field aliases in the Tax Parcel Query map service

Resolved Problems

1.    Resolved issue with basemap display that occurred when a parcel was selected from the results table

Value Analysis Dashboard for ArcGIS 10 (v.2.0)

New Functionality

1.    Added Data Dictionary and map document (.mxd) documentation

2.    Added ArcMap map service definitions and updated caching instructions

3.    Added support for the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex v. 2.2

4.    Added support for field aliases in the Tax Parcel Query map service

5.    Added support for a multi-layer feature popup

6.    Added support for time-aware sales and foreclosure information

As always, we encourage you to download the Land Records apps and give them a try. When you do, let us know what you think.

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Data driven pages

By Wes Jones, Esri Design Cartographer

DDP thumbnail

“Data Driven Pages” is the term used to describe some new functionality in ArcGIS 10 that allows you to create a multi-page map series from a single map document. Data Driven Pages are available at the ArcView license level.

Continue reading

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Customizing the editing environment: Changing feature template properties

Feature templates provide an easy way to streamline the creation of features while editing. Choosing a feature template determines which layer the feature will be created in, the attributes the new feature will have, and the default construction tool that will be used to create the new feature. These properties can be changed through the user interface or developer customizations.

This post explains how an add-in can update a feature template property. I posted it to the Editing Labs group on so other users can install it. The add-in can be accessed directly at

Setting the default feature construction tool
I am editing a layer of building features and need to create new footprint polygons.  My map contains feature templates with default attributes for each category of building I am capturing, such as Office, Residential, and Retail types. The Polygon tool is currently set as the default construction tool for all the templates. Because I am going to draw mostly rectangular features, I can set the default construction tool to Rectangle so that tool automatically becomes active on the Create Features window instead. Setting an appropriate default tool helps me avoid the extra click to switch from the Polygon tool to the Rectangle tool when drawing the rectangular buildings.

While I could change any feature template property manually on the Organize Feature Templates dialog box or the Template Properties dialog box, a simple add-in customization is an easy way to do it quickly for multiple feature templates at once. This add-in updates the default construction tool for all feature templates in a layer.


Writing the add-in
I can create the add-in within Visual Studio as an ArcMap button add-in. I’ll need to reference ESRI.ArcGIS.Carto and ESRI.ArcGIS.Editor, in addition to the default ESRI add-in references.
The full code for the add-in is as follows:

public class
SetTemplateTool : ESRI.ArcGIS.Desktop.AddIns.Button


IEditor3 m_editor;


public SetTemplateTool()


m_editor = ArcMap.Application.FindExtensionByName(“esriEditor.Editor”)



protected override
void OnClick()


// get the selected template and current tool

IEditTemplate currentTemplate =

ICommandItem currentTool =


for (int
i = 0; i < m_editor.TemplateCount -1; i++)


IEditTemplate editTemplate =

if (editTemplate.Layer.Name ==


Guid g = new

editTemplate.Tool = g;




protected override
void OnUpdate()


this.Enabled = (m_editor.EditState ==



The code simply loops through all the possible templates in the map during an edit session, identifies those that share the same layer as the currently selected template, and sets the default tool on those templates to the tool active in the Construction Tools portion of the Create Features window. It is important to note that this code only works within an edit session. I can still make programmatic changes to feature templates in a map outside of an edit session, but I must set them via the layer extension instead of the Editor object that already knows about all templates in the map.  

While this particular add-in only changes the default tool for a template, I could have also changed the default values for other template properties during this edit session via the properties and methods on IEditTemplate. For more information on working with feature templates, see Using feature templates in the ArcGIS 10 ArcObjects .NET SDK help.

Content provided by Sean Jones (Editing Team)

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Geodatabase Toolset for ArcCatalog

I hope that all Desktop users saw the announcement on the Geodatabase blog that the ArcGIS 10 version of the Geodatabase Toolset (GDBT) is available for download.

The GDBT is a popular, unsupported extension to ArcGIS Desktop. It provides a collection of tools that you can use to troubleshoot, monitor, and investigate ArcSDE (enterprise) geodatabases. The GDBT works with geodatabases stored on SQL Server, Oracle, Informix, DB2, or PostgreSQL databases. It provides a wide variety of information including:The total number of rows in the add and delete tables

  • Users connected to the geodatabase and locked schemas
  • A graphic of the state tree lineage
  • Detailed information of a features class spatial index
  • Parent-child relationships between versions for version management
  • Table and Index Statistics for geodatabase stored in an Oracle database

Note: The GDBT is an “unsupported” extension so Esri Technical Support is not available for the toolset.

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What's coming in the map viewer – the FedUC Preview

At last week’s Esri Federal User Conference (FedUC) plenary in Washington, D.C., we previewed some of the forthcoming new features and capabilities of the map viewer. Here’s recap of what was shown, plus a couple of things that weren’t. Note that the exact appearance and details of these new features is subject to change:

Cross-dateline navigation

The world no longer stops at the dateline, and now continues around and around the globe.

Temporal layers

ArcGIS Server introduced temporal services at the 10.0 release. When you add one of these service layers you’ll see a time button appear in the app:

which is used to toggle the time slider, shown here:

You can also configure the temporal slider and adjust the time interval to display, playback rate, and more. Shown at the FedUC was an example showing the movement of the Gulf spill over time. The playback can be controlled manually, or set to auto-play.

Configurable pop-ups

Not shown at the FedUC, but coming in this next release, is the ability to configure the pop-up for any layer you add to your map. Here’s an example that is displaying information from chosen and formatted fields in the layer, including a photo:

And if you embed your map in a website, that same pop-up is supported in your embedded map as shown in this test website below:

WMS and KML support

Shown at the FedUC were forward-looking glimpses of WMS and KML support in the map viewer. These won’t be included in this upcoming release, but will be included in the next release to follow. 

 To view the FedUC video and the demonstration of these new features, see our earlier post with the video timelines.

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Geodatabase Toolset (GDBT) for ArcCatalog – Now available for 10.0!

I’m pleased to announce that the Geodatabase Toolset (GDBT) for ArcCatalog is now available for 10.0.

You can download it RIGHT HERE!!

What a great month for pleasing announcements!

The GDBT is a popular, unsupported extension to ArcGIS Desktop. It provides a collection of tools that you can use to troubleshoot, monitor, and investigate ArcSDE (enterprise) geodatabases. The GDBT works with geodatabases stored on SQL Server, Oracle, Informix, DB2, or PostgreSQL databases. It fits neatly inside all Hoel Endorsed carry-on baggage and provides a wide variety of information including: Continue reading

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ArcGIS Portal at the FedUC

At last week’s Esri Federal User Conference (FedUC) plenary we introduced and previewed some up and coming, but not yet released, products and capabilities for ArcGIS Online. Here’s on overview of ArcGIS Portal, a new product announced at the conference and part of the road ahead for ArcGIS Online.

What is the ArcGIS Portal? Simply put it’s the framework that Esri uses to create our public GIS portal – ArcGIS Online. Using ArcGIS Portal you can bring ArcGIS Online capabilities completely behind your firewall in a secure, self-contained facility. Or implement your own in-house version of ArcGIS Online that features your maps, apps, and tools and provides ways for users within your organization to share resources and form groups and communities, all within your organization’s walls.

Your portal can be used in combination with Esri’s public ArcGIS Online, or can be used in isolation. And, when coupled with the ArcGIS Data Appliance, also includes a selection of the same basemaps and other layers offered via Esri’s public ArcGIS Online.

The prototype shown at the conference was running completely self-contatained, on an isolated hardware environment, and included the ArcGIS Data Appliance and locally hosted versions of the map viewer and ArcGIS Explorer Online. Here’s the setup on the stage (photo by Eric Laycock, Esri):

Shown below is the sample startup web page for the on-premises portal that was shown. It’s similar to, but has unique branding (the “My Agency” placeholder) and unique links on the page.

The gallery has also been modified to show featured maps and apps from an organization. These placeholders represent what an organization might want to highlight.

Groups can also be created to suit an organization’s needs, and can help department staff find essential resources quickly.

And finally, the map viewer can be configured to open an organization’s chosen basemap (insted of the default World Topo basemap you open when using Esri’s public ArcGIS Online). In the prototype shown during the FedUC we used an imagery basemap zoomed to an area of our choosing, but it could be any basemap chosen by the organization.

Here’s Jack Dangermond’s slide summarizing the ArcGIS Portal:

We’ll be providing more details about the ArcGIS Portal as the product evolves. You can view the video of the ArcGIS Portal demonstration by viewing the timelines published in our previous post on the FedUC.

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Live Training Seminars Offered for Templates

The application template gallery offers an easy way for you to leverage your ArcGIS Online maps in a custom application of your own. A previous blog post provided an introduction to how they can be used.

If you’d like to learn more about how to leverage these samples to build your own custom applications, you can attend one of the live training seminars that will be offered tomorrow, January 27, 2011. The seminars are live, interactive, and free – with no registration required – and are streamed directly to your desktop. The seminar is offered three times throughout the day at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. Pacific time.

Seminar Overview offers an online map viewer and application templates that can help you quickly create and share GIS-enabled Web maps. In this seminar, you will learn how to publish and share your GIS data with ArcGIS Server, use that data to make a map on, and then turn the map into an app using the templates. You’ll also learn simple ways to customize the look and feel of the templates using style sheets and the ArcGIS API for JavaScript.

To learn more and add a training seminar to your calendar, visit the Templates Live Training Seminar page.

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