Monthly Archives: March 2011

10 Steps to Configure the COP Template within Your Organization

The Public Safety COP Template is designed to be starter application to help you quickly implement the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex to provide situational awareness for your organization.  This download package contains many of the tools and feeds that you have seen in our demonstrations and training.  If you already have ArcGIS Server installed and configured you can go through these steps in about an hour.  Obviously having an ArcGIS Server instance available somewhere within your organization is a prerequisite.  Your data should be well organized and you should have your operational layers and basemaps published.  This blog post contains the 10 basic steps to get this application set up within your organization.

To get started you can download this template from  For these 10 steps we are going to basically walk through the main configuration file (config.xml).  More information is in the help documentation – see

Step 1 – Pick your title and subtitle

Up at the top select the title and subtitle for your application.  Often terms like GIS get lost on the broader Public Safety Community.  Terms like Common Operational Picture (COP) or Situational Awareness seem to resonate more.  In some cases specific application names and/or acronyms seem to take on a life of their own.  For example applications like Virginia’s VIPER or Florida’s GATOR applications are great examples of this.  Consider coming up with a good acronym (such as an aggressive animal) for your organization.

Step 2 – Pick your logo

Next find an image to include in the upper left of the application.  This image should be 48 x 48 pixels.

Optionally include your logo over the map as a Static Image Widget – see –


Step 3- Pick your colors

There are several color options that you can change quickly.  See –  I’ve been coached by our graphics department not to go overboard and have colors so bright that they distract from the map.  Setting the colors to match your organizations current web theme or “brand” can be quickly achieved by setting the colors appropriately. 


Step 4 – Set your initial extent

Set the initial extent of your map for your jurisdiction.  There is a handy helper utility here – – where you can zoom in to an area and copy the initial extent parameters and paste it in to your config.xml file.  Note to make sure you match the aspect ratio of the helper utility to how our app will be normally displayed.


Step 5 – Basemaps

In order to provide context to your operational layers select the basemaps that are appropriate for your organization.  New in version 2.2 of the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex you can combine local basemaps with global basemaps like those from ArcGIS Online or Bing.  There are several local government templates for basemaps.  Those include:

Step 6 – Live feeds from other organizations

The COP Template is already configured with live feeds from both the USGS and Pacific Disaster Center.  Add other feeds such as your State or Location Department of Transportation or make your own using the Live Feeds Template.


Step 7 – Your operational data

The next step is to organize the data you manage.  From the Emergency Management perspective this can include things like shelters, incidents, damage assessment, and field crew locations.  The COP template provides layers for these.  The other thing to consider is organizing your critical infrastructure data.  Access to other business systems is also important; this is where the “Common” in COP comes in to play and things like Computer-Aided Dispatch, AVL, and Traffic Systems are important to be connected to. 


Step 8 – Configure Public Safety COP widgets

The Public Safety COP Templates comes with three custom widgets – the ERG Widget, Report by Exception and Find Closest Facility.  Configure these widgets to point to your own data.  For example you can configure the ERG Widget to point to your own critical infrastructure layer.


Step 9 – Get other widgets and organize them

There are many widgets that come with the application out of the box.  There additional widgets from the community –  I’ve listed some of the Public Safety related widgets here:

Step 10 – Configure the Splash Screen

Finally configure the Splash Widget for your organization using HTML formatting standards.  You can include hyperlinks.

Now that you have this set up promote this within your organization!  Perhaps you can use this in support of upcoming exercise.  Here’s an example of the COP Template that I have configured in support of the 2011 National Level Exercise:


Here are some additional resources that may be helpful as you move forward:

Introduction to the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex – FREE recorded Live Training Seminar –

If you are looking to go from a configurator to a developer here are some good training resources:



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RF Prediction Cleanup Tools – Part 2

As promised i wanted to follow up on my previous discussion regarding the use of geoprocessing tools to automate the process of “cleaning” RF propagation data. In that article i talked about releasing an example GP model that shows how the different tools can be strung together to automate this complex business process.

I’ve just added such an example model to for download.

This download includes a sample map document containing 3 RF propagation studies in the Florida area. This is the raw engineering data output by a radio planning tool (in this case we used Cellular Expert).

Continue reading

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ArcGIS Online updates published

ArcGIS Online is frequently updated, and new updates have just been published. The new features that automatically became available with this latest update release include the following: Map Viewer

Time Settings: The time display options have been simplified. See the Working with time-enabled maps help topic for more information.

Pop-up Configurations: Layer pop-up configurations can now be saved for layers that you have shared, enabling anyone else that uses your layers in their own maps to view the pop-ups that you’ve configured. See the Configuring pop-up windows help topic for more information.

ArcGIS Explorer Online

Time-enabled Presentations: Presentations can now take advantage of time-enabled layers; time spans can be set for individual slides and the map can be animated over time while in presentation mode.

Time Navigator Auto-Hide: The time navigator (time slider bar) is shown automatically when there are time-enabled layers visible in the map, and as a result the time navigator button is no longer needed and has been removed from the toolbar.

Pop-up Configurations: Just as mentioned above for the map viewer, layer pop-up configurations made using Explorer Online can be saved for your shared layers.

More details about these important new features will be covered in future blog posts.

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Taking Analysis to the Next Level: Part 1

Lauren Rosenshein  By Lauren Rosenshein 

The Business Analyst team invited me to blog about some work I’ve been doing with the BAO API, and I’m really excited about the opportunity!

As a product engineer on the Geoprocessing and Analysis team, my team and I work hard to push the limits of what spatial analysis is and how it can be used to solve real-world problems, and we often use Business Analyst to take our analysis to the next level.

One very powerful use of spatial analysis and geoprocessing is Continue reading

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Taking full advantage of dynamic text

At 10 we released dynamic text for the layout. This is layout text that updates automatically based on a property from the map, a data frame, or the computer system.  Additionally, if you are using data driven pages, dynamic text can be used for page names, page numbers, or attributes from the index layer.  Dynamic text uses tags in a standard text element string to specify the properties to return. You can use dynamic text to display things like the current date and time, the current user logged in to the computer, or the map author. The most common dynamic text tags can be added using the Insert > Dynamic Text menu.  However, this is only a small number of the types and formats that can be used.

A dynamic text tag always includes a type, for example <dyn type =”document”/> is how you access properties of the map document and <dyn type =”page”/> is used to access properties of data driven pages.  There are seven types available. In addition to document and page are computer, user, date, time, and data frame. For each type there are additional properties or formatting options. You can specify these using the key words property and format.  For example,  <dyn type=”document” property=”credits”/> will return the credits stored in the map document properties, and <dyn type=”date” format=”dddd MMM yyyy”/> will return Thursday Sep 2010.

When working with data driven pages you can return the value of any attribute in your page index layer. Simply specify the dynamic type as page and the property as the attribute. For example, <dyn type =”page” property=”POP_2000”/> will return the population value of the POP_2000 attribute for the current page. 

There are other things you can do with dynamic text. For example, you can add the corner coordinates of your data frame to your layout.  Using the data frame type and the properties for upper left, upper right, lower left and lower right you can access the coordinates of each corner.  For example, <dyn type=”dataFrame” name=”DataFrameName” property=”upperLeft.x” units=”dms” decimalPlaces=”2″/> will return the x coordinate in degrees minutes seconds for the upper left corner of your data frame and <dyn type=”dataFrame” name=”DataFrameName” property=”upperLeft.y” units=”dms” decimalPlaces=”2″/> will return the y coordinate. If you pan and zoom, the coordinate will update dynamically with the changes to position.


There are a few special tags for handling null values or empty strings, and for specifying strings that appear either before or after the dynamic text.  These key words are emptyStr, postStr, and preStr. The preStr option allows you to add text before a dynamic text string and the postStr option allows you to add text after a dynamic text string. The emptyStr option lets you specify a string to substitute when the dynamic text returns a null value. For example, when the map author property is not populated, you could use the following: <dyn type=”document” property=”author” emptyStr=”Map author unknown.”/> to return a more descriptive explanation rather than just leaving a blank.  Or in some cases you may want the entire string to disappear. For example, if you are using dynamic text to label adjoining pages in your map book, when you don’t have an adjoining page you may want the entire “See page: “ text to disappear.  <dyn type=”page” property=”PageNumber_N” preStr=”See Page: ” emptyStr = ” “/> will hide the entire “See Page: “ string when the PageNumber_N attribute is empty.


There are many types and formats for dynamic text that are available in addition to those under the Insert > Dynamic Text menu.  These are all accessible through tags that can be added to any layout text element.  For a more complete list, and to start taking full advantage of all the dynamic text options, take a look through the tables and examples in the help doc Working with dynamic text located here.

Content from David Watkins

Posted in Mapping | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Viewing tubes / pipes in ArcGlobe

Some users have noticed that the option to display lines using 3D Simple Line symbols – tubes, strips and walls – is not available in ArcGlobe. This is a current technical limitation with ArcGlobe’s rendering pipeline (which has not been addressed in 10 or 10.1).

So, if you need them, how do you display tubes in ArcGlobe? The answer is to generate multipatch features from the displayed geometry in ArcScene.

The process is fairly simple:

  • Symbolize your line data in ArcScene as tubes (using a 3D Simple Line Symbol)


  • Use the Layer 3D to Feature Class GP tool to create a new multipatch feature class from the symbolized layer.

  • Then display the multipatch data in ArcGlobe

Things to be aware of:

  • Do not ratchet up the tube ‘Quality’ slider when you define the layer – this will minimize the number of triangles to be displayed later
  • Generate a full data cache for that layer in ArcGlobe (available on the layer’s context menu in the TOC
  • Aggressively use the distance-based visibility setting so you don’t see too many tubes at once
  • The layer will work marginally better as “floating” (ie: has absolute z-values embedded) than as “draped”

For those unfamiliar with multipatch features, it is simply a geometry type (like points, lines and polygons) where the geometry is captured in 3D triangles.  Like all other geometry types, it supports database concepts such as attribute fields, subtypes, relationship classes and table joins.  Multipatch layers can also use the various rendering options, such as attribute-driven colors, distance-based visibility, HTML popups, etc.

It’s also worth mentioning that the most current release of ArcGIS 3D Analyst (soon to be 10.0 SP2) contains a significant amount of performance improvements for displaying multipatches.

Nathan Shephard


Posted in 3D GIS | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Migrating 9.x CNT/VVT checks to 10

Those of you who have been using the Condition Table (CNT) and Valid Value Table (VVT) checks in Data Reviewer 9.x might have noticed these checks were removed in version 10. For this blog entry I’d like to walk you through configuring the Execute SQL check to validate your data in the place of CNT and VVT checks.

About CNTs and VVTs
Let’s first review what CNTs and VVTs were. CNTs were used to define a WHERE clause with invalid attribute values or attribute combinations. For example, a condition might be that, for certain subtypes, the NAM text field cannot be blank or contain N/A. This means the field must always be populated for the subtypes specified in the condition table. Running the CNT check within Data Reviewer 9.x would find features that satisfy the chosen conditions. This CNT information is stored in a combination of three tables:

  1. DBS_FC_VVT lists the features classes that will be validated.
  2. PLTS_Master_CNT has a record for each condition that must be met.
  3. PLTS_Error provides a description of the error that results if the check fails.

Continue reading

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“Raster acceleration, I want to do that too!”, exclaimed the developer.

One question we tend to get after developing new things is “how do I do that”? If you are writing your own application and want to include some of the new features, here are some examples.

Today, we will discuss raster acceleration. The snippet here is in C#, but our online help also has VB.NET.

Each time you apply accelerate you need to remove the layer, apply the change, and add the layer again. If you don’t want your whole map to refresh (with only a single layer in the map) you need to remember the extent. Also, acceleration works differently between a mosaic dataset and a normal raster layer.

private void btn_Accelerate_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
// Get the current extent to set later on the display update
IEnvelope env = axMapControl1.Extent.Envelope;
if (axMapControl1.LayerCount > 0)
// Getting the first layer (could also use selected layer here)        
ILayer ly = axMapControl1.get_Layer(0);
/* Check to see what kind of layer we have. Acceleration only works
* with IRasterLayer, IMosaicLayer, IImageServerLayer, and IWCSLayer
if (ly is IRasterLayer)
IRasterLayer rasLy = (IRasterLayer)ly;
IRasterBasemapLayerFactory rasterBMLFactory = new RasterBasemapLayerFactoryClass();
IRasterBasemapLayer rasterBML = rasterBMLFactory.Create(rasLy);
ILayer layer = (ILayer)rasterBML;
// Adjust layer name to show acceleration
layer.Name = “Accelerated “ + layer.Name;
// Update display with the new layer
updateDisplay(env, layer);
else if (ly is MosaicLayer)
IMosaicLayer mosLy = (IMosaicLayer)ly;
IRasterBasemapLayerFactory rasterBMLFactory = new RasterBasemapLayerFactoryClass();
// Accelerating mosaic datasets, only the preview layer is accelerated.
IRasterBasemapLayer rasterBML = rasterBMLFactory.Create((IRasterLayer)mosLy.PreviewLayer);
ILayer layer = (ILayer)rasterBML;
// Adjust layer name to show acceleration
layer.Name = “Accelerated “ + layer.Name;
// Update display with the new layer
updateDisplay(env, layer);

In this case I assume there is only one layer in the map that we want to work with, so I remove everything and add the single layer back in. Otherwise I’d have to see what layer I accelerated and remove that specific layer only.

private void updateDisplay(IEnvelope env, ILayer ly)
   // Get an enumeration of all layers in the Map
IEnumLayer enumLy = axMapControl1.Map.get_Layers(null, true);
ILayer lyen;
lyen = enumLy.Next();
while (lyen != null)
// Remove all layers rather than updating a single layer
lyen = enumLy.Next();
// Add my acceleratied layer
if (env != null) { axMapControl1.Extent = env; }

Happy AppAcceleration J


Written by: Robert Berger 



Posted in Developer, Imagery | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Creating custom feature templates using Explorer Online

In a previous post we covered editable features (notes) in the map viewer. These work in a very similar way in Explorer Online, though the implementation is slightly different. The most important thing to remember is that these are part of the common webmap foundation, so it does not make a difference whether you choose the map viewer or Explorer Online to add these to your maps. They can be used in both applications, in custom apps, embedded in a website, etc.

Notes work in a very similar fashion across both apps, but Explorer Online has some additional capabilities that are unique, and the one we’ll highlight here is creating custom feature templates.

We’ll start Explorer Online and begin with a new map. Open the map contents

And you’ll see Map Notes already available in your map:

Click Add Features and you’ll see the same feature templates as in the map viewer. Working with these is very straightforward and similar to what we’ve covered in our previous post, though you’ll notice some differences in the implementation details between the map viewer and Explorer Online. But these differences are small enough that we’ll skip covering how to edit, change symbols, and add photos and links in this post, and focus on a unique feature of Explorer Online – the ability to create custom feature templates. 

You can change the properties of any feature, and save your changes as a new feature template that can be used again and again. Below we’ve used the default Freehand Line feature

to add a highlight around Building Q on the Esri Redlands campus.

Because the line is thin and green and blends into the basemap, we’d like to make some changes to its appearance. Using the symbol options we can choose a different line style (we’ve chosen a dashed line), a different color (we went with bright red), and adjust the line thickness.

These changes make for a much more obvious highlight on our map. 

When you change symbol properties you’ll see a button that enables you to take any changes you have made and create a new feature template.

Click Create Feature Template and choose a name and the default tool that will be used for adding a feature of this type. We changed the name to Highlight Line, and left the tool Freehand, as this allows us to scribble freely around areas we want to highlight.

Click OK you’ll see the new feature template in the layer’s template gallery, shown below:

And we can use this to add other features based on this template to our map:

Once we save the map, even these custom features are part of the webmap, and so can be used in other places. Below is the same map shown above, but opened using the map viewer. It can also be used in a custom application or embedded in a website, and also viewed using ArcGIS for iOS. How cool is that?

For more information check out the About feature templates and Create a new feature template help topics.

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New Business Analyst Server Knowledge Base Articles: How to Enable Dynamic Content Compression


By Chris Wilcox 

Due to some responses generated by ArcGIS Server and Business Analyst Server, we have released two new Knowledge Base articles. The articles describe the process of enabling dynamic content compression in Internet Information Services (IIS). One article describes the steps in IIS 6. The other article describes the workflow in IIS 7. During testing of the content of the articles, there was an improvement in performance of ArcGIS Server and Business Analyst Server when Dynamic Content Compression was enabled.

For more information, please reference the articles listed below:

How to: Enable Dynamic Content Compression in IIS 6

How to: Enable Dynamic Content Compression in IIS 7

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