Category: Community Maps

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.

Posted in Community Maps | Leave a comment

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!

Posted in Community Maps | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Community Maps | Tagged , | Leave a comment

CA/NV/HI Regional User Conference Community Maps Recap

The Community Maps Program was highlighted in several presentations during this year’s CA/HI/NV Regional User Conference on February 23-24, 2011.  During the conference Plenary Mr. Jack Dangermond highlighted the Community Maps Program by stating the importance of trusted data sources and how the program is helping GIS professionals expand the reach of their data to a global audience.

Also in the Plenary Esri’s Bern Szukalski presented a tour of recent contributors to the Community Maps Program in the ArcGIS Explorer Online presentation; several of these contributors were in the audience to see their maps being showcased!  I had the opportunity to conduct a technical session called “Community Maps – Sharing Online” to a great audience in the large Building Q Auditorium.

The best part of this technical session was being joined by Josie Jenneskens and Solomon Nimako as guest, client-presenters. Josie and Solomon were former students of mine in our Community Maps workshops, so I knew they had a great foundation of the program and were underway with making great things happen in the program in their corner of the world.

 Josie is a GIS Analyst for the City of Carson California.  Josie gave a brief presentation and demonstration on Carson’s participation in the program and highlighted the data contributed from the California State University Dominguez Hills campus.  The City of Carson incorporated into their basemap data created by students of the Earth Sciences Department which added a detailed area of interest using the Campus Map Template.  Josie and Alex Rocco the City of Carson GIS Administrator, created a great basemap which is scheduled to go-live in ArcGIS Online in April 2011.

Solomon Nimako, a GIS Analyst from Rancho Cucamonga California also gave a short presentation to describe some of the high points of their map production and how Rancho Cucamonga is using their basemap in Web and mobile applications.  Solomon highlighted an application developed from the ArcGIS Flex API which uses the Community Map as the basemap for organizing sidewalk repair with the public works department in Rancho Cucamonga.  The application is used by field technicians to report issues, document repair techniques, and manage aspects of budgeting and resource planning at the public works department.  Big congratulations to Solomon and his colleagues, Ryan Wilson and Rafael Balneg, for their work on the basemap!

It was great to have Josie and Solomon share their success stories with the RUG attendees, and demonstrate how the program is helping clients expand the reach of their content and meet specific goals of their local government organizations within their region.

To view the proceedings of the 2011 CA/HI/NV Regional User Conference follow this link.

Written by:  Seth Sarakaitis

Posted in Community Maps | 1 Comment

Community Maps App Showcase

Last week the Community Maps App Showcase was launched within the Community Maps portion of the Resource Center.  The App Showcase is part of our continuing effort to promote those who contribute to and use the Community Maps Program.  If you have built an application which uses one of the Community Maps services we encourage you to register the app with to showcase your work and inspire other organizations to build upon these ideas.


The Community Maps App Showcase can be found here:

All applications registered on with the tag Community Maps Program will also appear in the Community Maps App Showcase.  The first step is to register your application with on, which is an excellent way to promote your applications.  Use the instructions in the Show Us Your Maps blog post to register your app with

During the app registration process, in the Add Item window add the following tag: Community Maps Program:

If you have already registered your app with, edit your application registration information to include the Community Maps Program tag:

1.       Click the Edit button at the top of the page:


2.       Add the Community Maps Program tag and click Save:

Your application will now be displayed in the Community Maps App Showcase.


If you have questions feel free to contact the team at or directly contact Brian Sims ( on the Community Maps team.

Posted in Community Maps | Leave a comment

Community Maps Program at the FedUC 2011

Fed UC Blog
The Fed UC hosted several Community Maps activities this past January at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC.  The Esri Professional Services group hosted a booth at the convention and two technical sessions were held by Esri employees. The booth was well attended by Federal Users and much interest in the program was discussed with agencies spanning forestry to emergency management.
Esri presented a two-part session for ArcGIS Online and Community Maps.  These sessions were presented by Esri’s Allen Carroll, Bern Szukalski, Clint Brown, Charlie Frye and Deane Kensok, to an audience of over 75 people. 
Talking with maps… Allen Carroll introduced the session, explaining how the concepts of community maps could help enable a national GIS; next Deane Kensok demoed the World Topographic basemap and described its community of contributors, and lastly Charlie Frye expanded on the potential for community maps as a means of working toward a GIS for the nation. Following the presentation there was a lively discussion; participants included representatives of the USGS National Geospatial Programs Office, Eros Data Center, and the Census Bureau. Attendees of the session seemed to be quite enthusiastic about community map concepts and potential benefits to government efforts.

Presentation Slide on Community Maps
If you missed these particular sessions be sure to check out the proceedings of the Fed UC at  Simply search for “Community” to find the sessions on the Community Maps Program.

Posted in Community Maps | Leave a comment

Integrating Large-er scale maps with ArcGIS Online Services


Integrating Larger Scale maps in ArcGIS Viewer for Flex


While conducting Community Maps client workshops over the past year I’ve had one particular reoccurring question from clients which seemed like a good topic to bring up in a Blog.

 ”How can we build and consume larger scale basemaps than the ArcGIS Online World Topographic Service in our Web-Applications (larger than 1:1,000)?”

First a brief review on the current ArcGIS Online (cached map) scales.  The current World Topographic map service for ArcGIS Online follows an industry standard tiling scheme (Google Maps and Bing) which dictates the zoom levels and coordinate system used for the cache tiles.  The tiling scheme used for ArcGIS Online and Google Maps/Bing ranges from zoom levels (0-19) or map scales 1:591 Million to 1:1,000.  See the illustration below for more detail or visit the Planning Map Cache online help here.

ArcGIS Online levels and scales

This means that the largest scale that can be cached in the World Topographic Service is 1:1,000.  However, this does not necessarily mean that a web application couldn’t consume other map services hosted by a client with larger scales cached in a similar tiling scheme!

I recently met with Derek Law, the Esri Product Manager of the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex to discuss this very matter.  He was intrigued to hear this user request and stepped in to provide the following instructions for integrating multiple map services in the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex.

Instructions for implementing two (2) map services with different cache scales in the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex

The ArcGIS Viewer for Flex is a released ready-to-deploy viewer application. It is configurable, so you can easily add tools and data content without programming. You can also extend its functionality with custom widgets available from the Esri community, or create custom widgets yourself with the ArcGIS API for Flex.  To get started, the viewer can be downloaded at this link.

The Viewer’s map scale level is determined by the first basemap layer that is loaded into it; this is the first layer that is specified in the application configuration file (e.g., config.xml) with a <layer> tag. Subsequent layers that are added to the viewer will confirm to the map scale level set by the first basemap layer.

In some instances, you may want to include more levels of detail (LOD), for additional map services that contain more detailed information than the first basemap loaded into the Viewer. These LODs would be at a finer (i.e., greater) resolution than the highest map scale set by the first basemap. This capability can be enabled by editing the Viewer’s application configuration file.

map service 1 (Hosted on ArcGIS Online) – City level data, cached map service (1:1,000 to 1:9,000 scale levels)
map service 2 (Hosted by Client) – City Block level data, cached map service (1:500 to 1:250 scale levels)

By default, the Viewer’s application configuration file (config.xml) would look something like this:

<map initialextent=”-14083000 3139000 -10879000 5458000″ top=”40″>


            <layer label=”Streets” type=”tiled” visible=”true”                       url=” service 1″/>



In which case, the Viewer’s map scale level would be set from 1:1000 to 1:9000 scale levels. Now, if you wanted to include more LODs by adding map service 2, you would use the <lods> tag, like so:

<map initialextent “-20037507.067168 -20037507.0671618 20037507.0671618  20037507.0671619″ top=”40″>


            <layer label=”Streets” type=”tiled” visible=”true”                        url=”” displaylevels=”8,9,10″ />



<lods><!– show levels that you want to see on Navigation Slider–>

        <lod resolution=0.0439453125" scale="18468599.9106772"/>

        <lod resolution=”0.02197265625″ scale=”9234299.95533859″/>

      <lod resolution=”0.010986328125″ scale=”4617149.97766929″/>



The resolution and scale attributes of the <lods> tag can be determined from the REST Endpoint:

Open this link in browser:

Copy paste levels of display from:

  • Levels of Detail: (# Levels: 9)

Resolution: 156543.033928
Scale: 591657527.591555

Resolution: 78271.5169639999
Scale: 295828763.795777

Resolution: 39135.7584820001
Scale: 147914381.897889

Resolution: 611.49622628138
Scale: 2311162.217155


View from REST Endpoint for Levels of Detail

These instructions are specific for the ArcGIS Viewer of Flex, however if you need assistance with a similar situation for another ArcGIS API such as JavaScript or Silverlight send an email to and I can direct you to the appropriate product specialist.

For more information on the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex or other web API’s be sure to check out the Web Resource Center at the following link for further information.

Written by:  Seth Sarakaitis



Posted in Community Maps | 1 Comment

January 2011 Community Map Contributors

We are starting off 2011 with a great batch of new participants! Congratulations to all.

City of Arlington, Texas

Arlington Community Map

 City of Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Chapel Hill Community Map 

City of Fredericton, New Brunswick

Fredericton Community Map

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Sequoia-Kings Canyon Community Map

Sudan (73M – 144K)

Sudan Community Map 


City of St. Albert, Alberta

Williamson County, Texas

City of Greenville, South Carolina

Langley-Surrey, British Columbia

City of Oak Bay, British Columbia

City of San Antonio, Texas

Don’t feel left out! Join us by sharing your little corner of the world through our Community Map program. Complete the participation form and you could be one of the next contributors listed here!

Posted in Community Maps | Leave a comment

Creating stadium seating in a Community Maps area of interest

Often the AOI (area of interest) in a Community Map consists of a university or a park that includes a sports stadium. You can use the following process to create details for your stadium feature:

Create a polygon based on the inside stadium extent and copy it to its own separate feature class.

inside stadium extent

Edit corners to eliminate extra jags.

Eliminate jags

Open ArcToolbox and select Analysis Tools -> Proximity -> Multiple Ring Buffer

Add 2, 4, 6, 8 and so on until you reach the number 40 (this may need to be adjusted based on the size of your stadium)

Dissolve Option (optional): NONE

Outside Polygons Only (optional): Check on

 Multiple Ring Buffer dialog box


Compare new multipleringbuffer layer to your original stadium polygon and make sure your multiple ring buffer completely covers the stadium seating area.

 Multiple Ring Buffer


Clip the multipleringbuffer to the original stadium polygon

Use the Polygon to Line tool to make your clipped multipleringbuffer into a line coverage

Using airphoto imagery, add section lines, walkways and exits tunnels

Symbolize with these suggested values:

a.       Seating lines

                                                               i.      9K to 1K: RGB: 204,204,204; Outline Width: 0.40

b.      Sections lines

                                                               i.      9K to 1K: RGB: 204,204,204; Outline Width: 1.00

c.       Walkways lines (should draw on top of Seating and Section lines)

                                                               i.      9K: does not display

                                                             ii.      4.5K:  RGB: 255,255,255; Outline Width: 1.50

                                                            iii.      2K:  RGB: 255,255,255; Outline Width: 2.50

                                                           iv.      1K: first dashed line RGB: 189,189,197; Outline Width: 1.00

                                                             v.      1K: second solid line RGB: 255,255,255; Outline Width: 3.00

d.      Stadium Tunnel polygons

                                                               i.      9K: does not display

                                                             ii.      4.5K: inner rectangle RGB: 204,204,204

                                                            iii.      4.5K: outer rectangle RGB: 255,255,255

                                                           iv.      2K: inner rectangle RGB: 178,178,178

                                                             v.      2K: outer rectangle RGB: 255,255,255; Outline Width: 0.50; Outline RGB: 225,225,225

                                                           vi.      1K: inner rectangle RGB: 178,178,178

1K: outer rectangle RGB: 255,255,255; Outline Width: 0.50; Outline RGB: 225,225,225

Stadium example at 4.5K:


Stadium example at 1K:

1K example

Close-up of Stadium Tunnels, walkways, sections and seating at 1K:

Close up stadium tunnels, walkways and seating

Posted in Community Maps | Leave a comment

Momentum Patterns for Contributors


Community Maps Program Momentum

The expanding global community of content providers is fueling momentum in the Community Maps Program. With over 250 authoritative content providers joining the program over the past 12 months participants range from college campuses to municipalities to state/province and entire countries.  In addition to the overall rate of growth in the program, we have identified some interesting participation patterns.

Total Participation Chart

Contributor momentum is occurring in both vertical and horizontal patterns.  Vertical momentum is occurring when municipalities are joining with their respective counties or state governments.  The vertical data integration pattern shows national and state organizations producing maps for the medium scales while contained within the larger boundary, counties/cities/universities are developing the large-scale map layers.  City government organizations are working with their county to partner in the program and build up content for their areas.  These nested organizations are recognizing the benefits of the organized consistency for maps at different scales for organizations which need basemaps which extend outside of their boundaries. For example the State of North Carolina content is being used for medium scales of the map and Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte fill in the large scales. 



Vertical Data Integration

This vertical data integration is apparent for the international community as well.  Nation-wide maps at small and medium scales are being developed with content from National Mapping Organizations while cities are supplying content for the larger scales.  For example the Canadian medium scale basemap includes data provided by Natural Resources Canada while City of Toronto content makes up the larger scales in the World Topographic Map service.

Participation to the program is also growing in a horizontal pattern.  Neighboring city and county government organizations are expanding the map coverage for their areas.  City GIS departments are reaching out to their neighbors to join the program and build seamless large-scale basemaps.  The City of Boston Massachusetts encouraged neighboring City of Cambridge, MA to join and create a smooth, consistent map across their boundary.  This momentum was observed by the Waltham, MA GIS coordinator and was the trigger for his organization to join.  Waltham, located in eastern Massachusetts, is a western suburb of Boston. Eric Rizzo, the Waltham GIS Coordinator saw this as a great opportunity to be a part of a bigger effort and showcase his city’s data along with the surrounding larger municipalities in the Boston metro area.

This participation has encouraged regional agencies to join up on the program.  The Metro Area Planning Agency (MAPA) of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa see tremendous benefit to having a metro-wide basemap.  MAPA is a five-county Council of Governments (COG) with two Iowa Counties (Pottawattamie and Mills) and three Nebraska Counties (Washington, Douglas, and Sarpy).  As a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) they are focused at looking at the metro area as a whole and work to address cross-jurisdictional concerns.  MAPA contributes to the regional GIS effort regularly through support for various GIS positions and projects and acting as a “funding umbrella” of sorts when aerial photography acquisition is needed and regional jurisdictions (many outside of the MAPA COG) join together and pool money for these costly products.

Paul Hunt, the MAPA Assistant Transportation Planner states, “The Esri Community Maps Program was brought to our attention by one of our County GIS departments.  We immediately recognized the benefits of a seamless MAPA basemap and met with all our county jurisdictions and gathered their participation in the program.  We feel there will be many benefits of having the seamless basemap coverage at large-scales for our area for daily (ArcMap desktop) GIS activities as well as providing a basemap for our Web-applications.
“Our biggest jurisdiction, Douglas County NE (City of Omaha), has engaged in Web-mapping application projects where the coverage expands outside their jurisdiction.  We feel that contributing our trusted content to the ArcGIS Online World Topographic Map Service will provide the seamless basemap to aid in the success of these applications. “

Metropolitan Area Planning Agency Coverage Map

“We are very gratified and encouraged by the growth of this community map in the past year” states Esri’s ArcGIS Online manager Deane Kensok.  “We are finding new publishing opportunities for the user community with this basemap.  As for the growth among these neighboring communities, we know that these agencies communicate with their neighbors on a regular basis about GIS activities and see that word-of-mouth can be a great driver for broader collaboration and participation in these community maps.”


Written by:  Seth Sarakaitis

Posted in Community Maps | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment