Monthly Archives: May 2012

Hydro Basemap Gone GLOBAL

by Caitlin Scopel, Cartographic Product Engineer, Esri

World Hydro BasemapThe Hydro Basemap is now the  WORLD Hydro Basemap.  The World Hydro Basemap uses the same design as its predecessor, but extends the coverage to the World at scales of 1:147 million to 1:2.3 million.  The World Hydro Basemap includes the map tiles from the original Hydro Basemap, providing coverage of the United States down to the 1:18,000 scale.

The World Hydro Basemap is comprised of two map service layers: the World Terrain Base, and the World Hydro Reference Overlay.  The World Terrain Base provides the elevation context necessary to understand why the world’s surface water flows where it does.

The World Hydro Reference Overlay provides the streams, waterbodies, drainage areas, and cultural reference information necessary to make the World Hydro Basemap useful for scientists, professionals and researchers in the fields of Hydrology, Geography, Climate, Soils, and other natural sciences related to water.

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Why is my georeferencing toolbar suddenly grayed out?

by Jeff S., Support Analyst, Esri




Here is another common question that our Support staff often get questions about.  So they decided to write a blog about the possible issues that might arise.

Click here to read the Support Blog about why your Georeferencing Toolbar might be grayed out.

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July Team Water/Wastewater Meeting

On July 21st Esri’s Team Water/Wastewater Meeting will be taking place in San Diego, CA.  This meeting is open to all who are interested in water, wastewater and stormwater GIS.  The agenda can be found on the Team Water/Wastewater web page. For registration and additional information contact Christa Campbell.

Don’t miss out on a full day of presentations by water industry professionals, Esri partners and Esri staff. We will be discussing redistricting, asset maintenance, ArcGIS Online for Organizations and much more!

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Applying the Watershed Approach to Flood Control Activities

by Laurie Williams, Senior Planner/Watershed GIS, County of Marin, CA

The Department of Public Works of Marin County, CA (just north of San Francisco, CA) launched a watershed program to integrate flood protection, stream and wetland habitat restoration activities, fish passage, and water quality improvements. Instead of looking at flooding issues on a site by site basis, we solve flooding problems at a watershed scale, and employ solutions such as habitat restoration to reduce flood risks.

From the outset, we decided to base our stakeholder outreach, collection of scientific studies and technical reports, and dissemination of information from the Marin County Watershed Program website ( in order to save paper resources, be more user-friendly, support community outreach and more efficiently advertise our updates than is possible with more traditional printed reports and documents.

Our website is the major repository of meeting notices, posted reports, and maps. Our website designer, Athena Design, chose a color palette to enhance and reflect the colors of nature: the blues of water, the greens of plants, and browns for earth tones; orange splashes complement the dominant blue. We use the palette extensively in producing the watershed maps, as well as for printed materials and PowerPoint presentations for a unified design.

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Using Python to update web mapping applications hosted on Amazon Web Services

This post describes how we at the Esri Technical Marketing group addressed the architectural challenge of frequently updating web applications hosted on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Because you may encounter similar scenarios when hosting your own ArcGIS Server applications on the cloud, we wanted to share our approach.


Esri Technical Marketing maintains an Amazon cloud based, load balanced, scalable, application server that hosts web mapping applications. These apps require high amounts of revision due to the nature of the type of applications we generally work on.  Many of our apps are built to provide information about emergency situations.  These apps are released very soon after the emergency, allowing for little testing beforehand. Between the bugs inherent in fast development and the changing nature of the emergency situations, the apps experience a lot of iteration. 

Updating these apps with traditional methods would require updating the staging instance, generating an AMI, and then launching new instances to replace the existing live instances: a tedious and time consuming task.  Another option would be to manually update each machine individually, but this can lead to human error on live machines.  In a load balanced environment like we use, this results in different experiences for users and it can be difficult to determine which machine is the cause of the problem. These solutions are not practical for our release cycle, which often consists of several changes per week or even per day.  We needed a way of updating multiple live instances seamlessly, while maintaining the ability to scale our servers as demand increases. Continue reading

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Well count aggregation web map

By Mark Smithgall, Esri Cartographer

Well Map Aggregetation Web Count - Thumbnail

This well count aggregation web map shows how a complex data source, such as gas wells in a producing field, can be aggregated and portrayed in an easy-to-understand manner.  This was designed as an ArcGIS Online web map to show the aggregation number as a proportional symbol of wells per administrative area.  In this case, three levels of aggregation were used based on the most logical administrative areas:  parishes, Public Land Survey System (PLSS) townships, and PLSS sections. Continue reading

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Lodgment Template is available for download

The Lodgment template for ArcGIS 10.0 is available for download from

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Historic Conservation and Preservation web map templates

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Historic - Thumbnail

Two new map templates are now available in ArcGIS Online. Both support creating services and web maps that feature historic preservation and conservation content.  You can find these templates in Historic Conservation and Preservation ArcGIS Resources Group in ArcGIS Online.

The Historic Buildings & Districts Conservation and Preservation Web Map template is an ArcMap editing map, a set of editing workflows for creating and managing historical information about buildings, and a set of ArcMap documents for serving historical building information in a Web Map. Continue reading

Posted in Mapping, Migrate | 3 Comments

Using alternative thematic basemaps with map viewer

By Kenneth Field, Esri Research Cartographer

The default projection for all basemaps in ArcGIS Online is Web Mercator.  In a previous blog entry, Bern Szukalski explained using custom basemaps as an alternative to Web Mercator and the ArcGIS Resource Center provides information on how to build online basemaps.  Mercator projections are very useful for certain mapping tasks but not so good for others because they dramatically exaggerate northern and southern latitudes.  This exaggeration deforms the shape and size of areas.  Whilst Web Mercator has become a widely adopted web mapping standard (because of the tiling system being well suited to this spatial reference), there are situations where you may want a different map projection. In thematic mapping, for instance, you might want to preserve areas or shapes or even use a more pleasing view of the world than Web Mercator provides at small scales.   This blog entry describes how you can switch out the default basemap for your own, simplified thematic basemap.

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Range Card Template is available for download

The new Range Card template for ArcGIS 10.1 (prerelease) is available for download from

Sample Range Card

This Esri Defense template simplifies the process of creating a set of range cards for a position. The template allows you to create range fans based on weapon characteristics and placement, and then lets you generate a set of standard range cards for each weapon at the position.  The template includes a variety of point features to represent reference points, target reference points, trees, and structures.  It also includes line features to represent limit lines, walls, fences, and ditches, and area features to represent range fans.The template tools create index features for each range fan feature, and the ArcGIS Data Driven Pages tool automates the production of layouts for each range card. 

The downloadable map package contains a finished example map, a starter map with an empty set of feature templates, and geoprocessing tools to build range fans and construct the index features for data driven pages.
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