Category: Community Maps

Community Maps Product Manager Announcement


We are pleased to announce that Don Cooke is the Product Manager of Esri’s Community Maps Program. Don has been with Esri since October 2010 with the Sales department as Community Maps Evangelist, and has recently been appointed Product Manager for the Program. This new position within the Product Management Division shows Esri’s commitment to the Community Maps Program. This position was added to respond to the rapid expanse of the program over the last few years.

A few of Don’s responsibilities in this position will be:
• Developing and sustaining the Community Maps Roadmap – planning for future program enhancements
• Promoting and recruiting authoritative data owners to contribute
• Documenting and distributing success stories
• Connecting ArcGIS Technology with the Community maps program

Don brings a wealth of knowledge to the Community Maps Program. He was a member of the Census Bureau team that developed the “DIME” map encoding system in 1967. He has business experience as founder of three startups, one of them Geographic Data Technology (GDT), which was bought by Tele Atlas for €100,000,000 in 2004. In 2007 he received Esri’s Lifetime Achievement award.

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ArcGIS 10.0 Service Pack 4 (SP4) for English

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

ArcGIS Online web site

ArcGIS 10.0 Service Pack 4 (SP4) for English, is now available to our users for download via the ArcGIS Resource Center. This Service Pack contains performance improvements and maintenance fixes. Here are links to the downloads:

ArcGIS 10 SP4

ArcIMS 10 SP4

ArcSDE 10 SP4

Release Note: ArcGIS 10.0 Service Pack 4 for the other five languages (French, German, Japanese, Simplified Chinese and Spanish) will be released in the next two weeks. A follow up blog entry will be posted to announce the availability once they are ready.

Posted in 3D GIS, Analysis & Geoprocessing, Community Maps, Defense, Developer, Editing, Electric & Gas, Geodata, Hydro, Imagery, Local Government, Mapping, Migrate, Mobile, National Government, Public Safety, Python, Services, Spatial Statistics, Telecommunications, Water Utilities, Web | Tagged , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Esri's Community Maps Program Joins Twitter

Is your organization on Twitter? The Community Maps Program is now!

We’ll be tweeting announcements and interesting news on the Program.  Feel free to share how your organization is using your basemap or applications.

 Follow us @AGOL_CM_Program!

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Evolving the Community Maps Workflow

Over the past two years Esri’s Community Maps Program has been collecting cached basemaps from authoritative data owners from around the globe.  These cached products are then integrated into the World Topographic basemap on ArcGIS Online and served out to the public as a free basemap service.    While participants in the Community Maps program are enthusiastic about the benefits of contributing their content, they have also provided feedback that the process of caching their basemap can be a challenge.   Whether it is lack of expertise, hardware limitations or simply a case of more pressing priorities, difficulties with caching often result in organizations delaying their content submissions to the Community Maps Program.

If you attended one of Esri’s free Community Maps Training events prior to December 2011, you were taught the basic four steps in the map production process: Inventory, Migrate, Author, and Cache.  This workflow is now changing to: Inventory, Migrate, Author, and send a Map Package for Esri to cache.














In order to help out all organizations and make the process easier, Esri is now offering to cache your authored basemaps.  Our purpose in this workflow modification is to reduce the workload on the contributor and allow these projects to be published in the World Topographic map service more quickly.  We changed our Training format recently and announced that the workflow step of caching is now replaced with submitting your data and authored basemap as a Map Package (ArcGIS 10) or at minimum the Map Document (MXD) and associated source data in a geodatabase.  Help for creating the Map Package refer to the help at this link.

As software and hardware technologies evolve and become more efficient, the process of contributing to the Community Maps Program will evolve as well. The Esri team continues to strive for making the contribution process easier and quicker and all around more manageable to deliver authoritative map content to the user community.

If you have any questions please email at

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Changes to ArcGIS Desktop basemaps

The National Geographic basemap has now been added to the File > Add Data > Add Basemap dialog in ArcGIS Desktop 10. It has also been added into the list of basemaps that appears if you choose the File > Add Data From ArcGIS Online command in ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1.


In the Add Basemap dialog, the Shaded Relief basemap entry has been removed in order to make space for the National Geographic basemap and keep the number of basemaps to 12. However, we have updated the Terrain basemap so that it includes the Shaded Relief service. So if you want to add shaded relief to your map, choose the Terrain basemap, and then in the Table Of Contents you can choose between the terrain service and the shaded relief service, whichever looks best for your map. The layer also includes reference overlays that you can turn on.

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New Community Maps Training Seminar Now Available

On September 15, Mark Stewart and Seth Sarakaitis from Esri’s Community Maps team delivered a live training seminar titled “An Introduction to the Esri Community Maps Program”.  Over 600 listeners tuned in to hear Mark and Seth discuss how Community Maps is an Esri-led cooperative effort to build multi-scale basemaps of the world using the best available data sources, including contributed content from the ArcGIS user community. They learned about the available basemaps (Imagery, Streets and Topographic) and how they can enhance their productivity and support collaborative workflows by using these basemaps in both ArcGIS Desktop and web-based applications.  Listeners also discovered how their organizations can contribute content by participating in the Community Maps Program.If you didn’t get a chance to see the live presentation, or if you would like to view it again, the recorded version is now available on the Esri Training website, where you can watch it any time.  We hope that this is a valuable resource for understanding the Community Maps program and spreading the word throughout your organization.

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Community Maps at the 2011 User Conference

Recap coming soon!

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Multiple Road Shield Labeling Procedures

Occasionally freeways and highways share more than one route designation. In the present Community Map data model, the RoadCenterline feature class is only set up to handle one route designation per feature. In order to display multiple road shields on the same feature, you must add some fields to your RoadCenterline feature class.

Example: Interstate 000 and US Highway 999 converge


In ArcCatalog, to the RoadCenterline feature class:

  1. Add a second HWY field named HWY2. Use the same field properties as HWY.
    • Data Type: Text
    • Allow NULL Values: Yes
    • Length: 100
  2. Add a second HIGHWAYTYPE field named HIGHWAYTYPE2. Use the same field properties as HIGHWAYTYPE.
    • Data Type: Short Integer
    • Allow NULL Values: Yes
    • Domain: HighwayType

In an ArcMap edit session, to the RoadCenterline feature class:

  1. Assign one route designation to HWY/HIGHWAYTYPE. Example: Interstate 000
    • HWY = 000
    • HIGHWAYTYPE = Interstate
  2. Assign other route designation to HWY2/HIGHWAYTYPE2. Example: US Highway 999
    • HWY2 = 999
    • HIGHWAYTYPE2 = US Highway

Once assigned, the HWY/HIGHWAYTYPE information should immediately display in your Community Map map document (MXD). Now you just have to get the HWY2/HIGHWAYTYPE2 information to display.

Open your Community Map MXD, zoom in on the area at 9K:

  1. Open the RoadCenterline_9K layer properties and select the Labels tab.
  2. Scroll through the Label Classes until you locate the shield type you will need for your HWY2 information. Example: US Highway 999 would be a USHighway_WideShield since it contains 3 or more characters.
  3. With the USHighway_WideShield label class selected, click the Add button to copy that label class’s properties and edit as follows:
    • Change Label Class name to USHighway_WideShield2
    • Change the Label Field to HWY2
    • Open the SQL query and change any mention of “HWY” to “HWY2” and any mention of “HIGHWAYTYPE” to “HIGHWAYTYPE2“. The SQL query: “RoadClass” IN (1, 2, 4) AND “HIGHWAYTYPE” = 2 AND CHAR_LENGTH (“HWY“) >= 3 should become “RoadClass” IN (1, 2, 4) AND “HIGHWAYTYPE2” = 2 AND CHAR_LENGTH (“HWY2“) >= 3

Both road shields should now display on the shared section of road.


Repeat the steps for adding the new Label Class USHighway_WideShield2 to scales 4.5K, 2K, and 1K in your Community Map MXD.

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Updates to the Community Maps Video Gallery


A new series of videos have been published to the Community Maps Resource Center to help contributors develop their basemap.  These short 3-5 minute technical videos are a response from the amount of questions Esri has received over the past few months on specific topics in the map production experience and are intended to assist users during the process. 

They can be viewed or downloaded at the Community Maps Videos web page within the ArcGIS Resource Center.

Three of the new videos are centered on the Community Maps template and the required and preferred data layers or ingredients of the map.  These videos provide details and best practices to the geometry types and attributes used in the template as well as how these layers are organized in the map document (MXD). 

Some additional videos were also produced for data migration techniques to the Community Maps Data Model.  Many of our participants requested further demonstration on using the Data Interoperability Extension and the pre-configured ETL (Extract Transform and Load) tools that are also available for download in the gallery.  The Data Migration videos demonstrate the configuration of Data Interoperability workflow for several popular data layers such as Parcels, Parks, and Road feature classes.  These three feature layers were chosen for demonstration since they represent the easiest migration techniques (Parcels) to the more complex (Roads).

Please be sure to let the Community Maps team know of additional video topics that might be useful for future participants by e-mailing subject line “Community Maps Video Ideas”. Additional videos are currently in the works, so please be sure to check back in the near future!

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College Interns Help Build the Community Map

It is that time of year when your local GIS college students will be knocking on your door looking for work!  You could send them down to the public works department to spray weeds again, or give them the GIS experience they are yearning for by putting them to work on your Community Map.
Using student interns over the summer in the GIS department is a great, cost effective way to get essential projects done and give interns the opportunity to gain the valuable and practical experience they need to be the next generation of GIS professionals.
The Community Maps Program could be just the initiative your summer help is hungry for this year.  Whether your organization is new to the program or only needs to update a previously submitted basemap, your interns will find this work very valuable working with your data and with the latest GIS technologies.
In the last year Esri has trained several interns from around the world in our free workshops (see the Resource Center Calendar page for latest schedule), and we’ve have already heard from several clients that their interns provided valuable support during their basemap production.  Here is what we heard.
UNC Senior Gets Credit for Carrboro, NC Community Map
The GIS department for the City of Carrboro North Carolina hired Matthew Scruggs from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an intern to work on their Community Map.  Matt is currently completing his senior year with career ambitions of working in the field of energy sustainability and environmental modeling.
The City of Carrboro has hired interns from the local university in the past and maintains a relationship with the various departments at the University.  Ruth Heaton, the Carrboro GIS Administrator, saw this year’s internship as an opportunity to build their City basemap for the Community Maps Program and provide a concrete body of knowledge for an intern.
Matt was able to use the Community Maps project gain valuable experience with many GIS technologies such as developing vegetation layers using NDVI Image Analysis tools, loading geospatial data into map templates and developing Python scripts to populate attribute fields. 
“The Community Map project has enabled me to explore a variety of tools and techniques for achieving high-quality cartography that also functions for informational purposes. This skill will be useful in my career as it gives me a unique and powerful way to represent information to my colleagues as well as the general public.”  - Matthew Scruggs
When asked about a particular issue he worked through for the production of the basemap Matt states:
“While our source data for road centerlines contained road class information (arterial, collector, etc.), the organization that owns the data classed them in an inconsistent way that was inappropriate for this project’s symbology. Furthermore, several of the road features were incorrectly named or unnamed. To produce correctly named road features for the community map, I checked each road feature’s name against other established data sources and updated hundreds if not thousands of names. I ensured appropriate symbology using the same method. This should also be valuable for other projects in the future, and it’s interesting to note that the Community Map project encouraged data improvements.” – Matthew Scruggs
Matt was able to gain this important technical GIS experience and at the same time earn three (3) college credits for his internship.
Broomfield gets Community Map ‘Automated’ from University of Colorado Intern
The GIS department at the City of Broomfield Colorado has an active internship program to expose students to real-world GIS projects as well as completing GIS initiative to accomplish the City’s GIS department goals.  Adrian Kropp, the City’s GIS Manager in the Information Technology department, has a successful track record of using interns to carry out small projects and will look for interns who have skill sets to fill these particular needs. 
“With each new candidate, I evaluate their unique skill set and strengths to see how they would best fit in with the particular needs of the GIS Department and the City of Broomfield as a whole organization. In this case, the candidate was familiar with python geoprocessing and we needed someone to script the data transformation process with Python.  I had just completed the Community Maps workshop at our regional Esri office and I was excited that the project could move forward with the help from the intern.”- Adrian Kropp
The student who worked on Broomfield’s Community Map was Kayla Anderson a recent graduate from the University of Colorado at Boulder where she majored (double) in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Anthropology with a minor in Geography.  Kayla worked at the City on a volunteer basis but had the option of gathering further college credits but felt the opportunity was more for career experience in the GIS industry.  Kayla had recently taken a class in Python programming at the University which gave her the foundation for the data processing tasks for developing several of the data layers used in the topographic map.
“I made the feature classes for the Community map almost entirely in Python so that updates to the city data would be incorporated into the map automatically. It helped me strengthen my programming skills, and I also learned about working across different ArcSDE databases and caching maps with ArcGIS Server. “- Kayla Andersen
Kayla mentioned she ran into some problems getting data processing tools that were built for the Community Maps Program to run on some of the City’s data so she took it upon herself to rewrite the tools to work with their data. 
When asked about her overall experience at the City Kayla states:
“I learned some of the more technical skills of IT in general, which we never learned in school. My GIS labs in school used static data sets that were always in my own personal folder. Through working at Broomfield I have learned how to deal with data that is stored throughout a large organization-navigating across servers and in different databases, and using data that is dynamic and constantly being updated by different users throughout the organization. These skills have proven to be just as important as my GIS knowledge, and I feel that doing this project will help me adjust to using GIS in the working world later on.” – Kayla Andersen
These are just a few examples of how interns can become a valuable resource to you while at the same time gaining experience that will directly be applicable in their chosen career field.  If your organization has employed interns for building the Community Map, we’d like to showcase them and their experience on our blog.  Feel free to submit your stories to subject line “Community Maps Interns” and we will post these stories.

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