A quick Q&A on the new Military features in ArcGIS 10

What are Military features?
Military features are ArcGIS features designed for use in military maps.  They’re made for operations planners producing orders, intelligence analysts making reports, and emergency managers building support maps for relief operations. Continue reading

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Online Training

Here are some free upcoming training seminars… 

 Best Practices for Working with Map Templates

Complimentary Live Training Seminar
Thursday, March 4, 2010
9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., or 3:00 p.m. (PST)

This seminar shows ESRI users how to use ArcGIS map templates to create professional-looking maps for use in print, online, or mobile applications. The 60-minute seminar will cover how to access map templates, the types of resources included with map templates, and considerations to take into account when configuring data for use with map templates.


Getting Started with JTX to Manage Workflow

Complimentary Live Training Seminar
Thursday, March 18, 2010
9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., or 3:00 p.m. (PST)

This seminar introduces key enhancements to Job Tracking for ArcGIS (JTX) that will be available in the upcoming release of ArcGIS 10. The 60-minute seminar will show ESRI users how to streamline tasks, create a workflow, and track and manage

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Geomedicine Application Links Health to Place History

A new application built with the ArcGIS API for Flex lets you examine toxic release inventories and heart attack risk for any location in the United States. You can create a map of the places where they have lived, then share the map by linking to it or embedding it in a Web page. This application is located at www.esri.com/geomedicine, and it is also part of the Mapping for Everyone Make a Map page.


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Managing your Display Caches in ArcMap – New at 10

Caching is a great way to speed up the performance of your day to day usage of ArcMap.  By retaining previously computed extents, ArcMap can display those extents much faster the next time you visit them.  

At ArcGIS 10, we’ve consolidated the cache settings for Globe Cache, GIS Servers, and the new Basemap Layer cache in one dialog.  You can use this dialog to change the location on disk that these files are written, evaluate disk usage for cache storage, and to completely clear the cache files if desired.

The new Display Cache tab

In ArcMap there is a new tab called Display Cache in the ArcMap options dialog.  This new tab supersedes and enhances the functionality that was previously found in ArcCatalog Options dialog’s GIS Servers tab.


When you open this dialog, ArcMap begins calculating the storage space used by your GIS Servers cache, your Basemap Layer cache, and your GlobeCache.  You can choose to wait for the calculation to finish, or you can use any other part of the dialog without waiting.

From here you can modify the Display Cache location or use the Clear Cache button to clear all files from your Display Cache.  One thing to note: if you are currently viewing a map which contains Basemap Layers, you’ll have to open an empty map or a map which doesn’t contain Basemap Layers in order to clear all the files.  This is because the Basemap Layer cache can’t be modified while it’s in use.

Cache tab on map service layers

Map service layers also have a per-layer cache that can be modified independent of the Display Cache.  To access the cache settings for a given layer open layer properties and visit the Cache tab. 

Here you can clear the local cache for this layer, see where the cache is being stored, and evaluate the amount of space being used by this cache presently.  You can also modify the caching options to change when and if a cache is stored for this particular layer.

Note that even if a layer is contained in a Basemap Layer, you’ll still get the Cache tab in layer properties so that you can invalidate the cache for this layer.  Keep in mind that this will also invalidate your Basemap Layer cache, resulting in a slight degradation in performance on the first draw of each new extent.  It’s also worth noting that some options, such as “Don’t cache any data locally” are not compatible with Basemap Layer display.  You’ll get an error when you drop these layers into a Basemap Layer.

We hope that you’ll find these changes to display caching in ArcMap useful.  Give them a try, and let us know what you think.

Content provided by Jeremy Wright

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Parameter Validation in the Task Framework

The Java Web ADF Task Framework provides a convenient way for developers to write simple, focused, functional units, known as Tasks, without having to deal with complexities of JSF or Javascirpt programming. The Task Framework shields you from low level programming like building UIs and wiring them up to server-side java objects through AJAX. Instead, the framework allows you to focus exclusively on the functionality you are trying to build.

For those of you not familiar with the Task Framework, this article provides a gentle introduction. Basically, a Task is made up of 3 fundamental units – Parameters, Actions, and Tools. Parameters represent input that needs to be captured from the user. This can be some text that the user needs to enter, or an option that the user needs to pick. Actions and Tools both allow the user to invoke the task after specifying the Parameter values. Tools differ from Actions such that they allow the user to interact with the map (like specifying a location or an area) before invoking the task. 

A Task is usually implemented by creating two java classes – a TaskInfo class, and a Task class. Parameters, Actions and Tools are declared via metadata (Descriptor objects) in a TaskInfo class. The Task class contains JavaBean style setter/getter mehods for Parameters. These methods are called by the framework to read and write Parameter values. The Task class also contains additional methods that are called by the framework when users invoke Actions and Tools on the Task. These methods implement the functionality of the Task. The framework is responsible for generating the HTML markup and Javascript required to render the UI for Task Parameters, Actions and Tools. You can find more information on how to write custom tasks here.

One of the most common feature requests we’ve received is the ability to validate Parameter values specified by a user. This is now possible in part due to the new and improved ADF JavaScript which is based on the dojo JavaScript library. To enable validation, a Task Parameter must be associated with a Validator object. Once this is done, the Task framework automatically generates the necessary JavaScript to apply the validation rules on the browser.

The ADF provides StringValidator, DateValidator, NumberValidator, and NumberSpinner java classes in the com.esri.adf.web.data.tasks.validator package which validate text, dates, and numbers respectively.

The following code snippet shows how to use a StringValidator to validate the text through a regular expression pattern.

TaskParamDescriptor paramDescriptor = ...; //Task Parameter
StringValidator validator = new StringValidator();
validator.setInvalidMessage("Please enter only letters.");
//Set Validator on Parameter

When a Task Parameter is associated with a DateValidator, the Task UI automatically provdes a JavaScript calendar control to allow the user to specify a date. If the DateValidator is also configured to accept a time component, the UI provides an additional JavaScript control to capture the time.

TaskParamDescriptor paramDescriptor = ...; //Task Parameter
DateValidator validator = new DateValidator();
//Format for displaying Date & Time
//Set Validator on Parameter


By default, Actions and Tools of a Task enforce validation on all Parameters of that Task. If any Parameter value fails validation, all Actions and Tools in the Task are automatically disabled so that the user cannot invoke the Task. You can override this behaviour for each individual Action or Tool by disabling validation or explicitly specifying which Parameters to validate.

TaskActionDescriptor actionDescriptor = ...; //Task Action

//skip validation

//or specify list of parameters to validate
List<TaskParamDescriptor> params = ...;

To summarize, the new Task Framework enhancements provide support for validating Task Parameter values entered by a user. The validation rules are specified using Java classes but the validation itself is done on the browser using javascript.

Content contributed by Divesh Goyal, Product Engineer, ArcGIS Java Team

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3D Vector Analysis

High-quality 3D data visualization is mainstream now thanks to Google Earth and Bing Maps (Virtual Earth). Users expect to see geospatial data in 3D. However 3D GIS users are now beginning to move beyond just visualization and need to do true 3D analyses, solving problems that can’t be solved in 2D.

ArcGIS 3D Analyst offers a range of 3D vector analysis tools enabling users to solve these 3D problems. New functionality includes the following:

  • A suite of 3D set operators, including Intersect 3D, Union 3D, Inside 3D, Is Closed 3D and Difference 3D, perform geoprocessing tasks using closed multipatches and 3D features.
  • Geoprocessing tools that expose 3D vector analysis specifically for virtual city workflows, such as Skyline and Skyline Barrier.
  • Enhancement of existing geoprocessing tools to work better with 3D. For example, the Select by Location dialog box uses 3D distances, and multipatch objects can participate in the Line of Sight tool.
  • Network datasets with full 3D connectivity.
  • Interactively measure in 3D using the Measure tool to display distance along a surface, height of 3D object, distance between two points in 3D, distance from observer (that is, how far away is an object?).

Benefits of 3D vector analysis
3D Vector Analysis3D vector analysis allows city planners to analyze their 3D city model and determine impact of newly proposed projects on the city environment.

Skyline and Buildable volume          Volumetric Shadows                Line of sight

Geoscientist can create cross-sections and fence diagrams using the new Intersect3D tool.

Cross-sections                                    Fence diagrams

Facilities managers can analyze 3D transportation networks to find the best route between locations.

Best route allowing use of elevators       Best route with stairs only

Mission planners can analyze flight paths / routes through hostile territory with regards to threat levels.

Initial analysis of threat levels                More accurate result using 3D vector tools
within range of AA gun            

Gert van Maren
3D Product Manager

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ArcGIS JavaScript API version 1.6 released

Version 1.6 of the ArcGIS JavaScript API is now available. To use the new version, update your applications to point to version 1.6, like this:

<script src="http://serverapi.arcgisonline.com/jsapi/arcgis/?v=1.6" type="text/javascript">

You will also need to update the style sheet to point to version 1.6:

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="http://serverapi.arcgisonline.com/jsapi/arcgis/1.6/js/dojo/dijit/themes/tundra/tundra.css">

Here is a brief overview of the features added at version 1.6:

  • Support for Dojo 1.4.1
  • Ability to rename Dojo namespaces
  • Support for the Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere (102100) as an overlay spatial reference for caches created in the Google Maps/Bing Maps tiling scheme. You can alternatively continue to use Web Mercator (102113) as an overlay spatial reference.
  • Several bug fixes

For a complete list of enhancements and bug fixes, view the ‘What’s new in Version 1.6′ document.

The ArcGIS JavaScript Extension for the Google Maps API was updated to add Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere (102100) as a supported overlay spatial reference for Google Maps. You can alternatively continue to use Web Mercator (102113) as an overlay spatial reference.

The ArcGIS JavaScript Extension for Bing Maps has not been updated.

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Planning your DevSummit: Web APIs

This is the first post in the Planning your DevSummit series aimed at helping you make the most of your time at the 2010 Developer Summit. We’re really excited by the technical sessions, user presentations, demo theaters and seminars we’ve got lined up for you and there is certainly a lot to take in. Hopefully we can help make planning your days at the DevSummit that little bit easier.

The Technical Sessions

Server developers have a rich set of sessions available this year so I’ve split them into three Planning your DevSummit posts covering Web APIs, Working with Services, and Administering ArcGIS Server.

This first post covers sessions related to our JavaScript, Flex and Silverlight/WPF APIs. Whether you’re already using them, or want to find out how to get started, we have a lot of sessions that will help you.

Day 0: Presummit Seminars

A 3 hour seminar on Monday entitled Getting Started with the ArcGIS Web Mapping APIs (8:30am) discusses the 3 APIs and typical workflows for building your own applications. Attend this session if you are interested in learning about what’s common between these APIs and how to build applications (using the JavaScript API for the examples).

Day 1

If you’re new to Server development and are looking for an in-depth introduction, A Developer’s Guide to ArcGIS Server (1:00pm) will provide an overview of ArcGIS Server’s capabilities and this might help you decide which other sessions you might want to attend.

There are then three overview sessions for the Web APIs in case you didn’t attend the Presummit Seminar mentioned above:

These beginner-level sessions introduce you to each respective API, discuss how to get started with it, how to best use the developer resources, and go through creating your first application. You won’t need to know any Flex, Silverlight or JavaScript for these sessions.

Using and Extending the ArcGIS WebMap for Flex (4:30pm) introduces the new out-of-the-box web mapping application built on the ArcGIS API for Flex. Be sure to catch this one if you are interested in RIA Flex mapping solutions.  Again, you won’t need to know any Flex for this.

Day 2

Three Web API specific sessions are available on day two which assume a little more experience with the Web APIs. They go over the new features available in ArcGIS Server 10 and how to make use of them.

These sessions will be repeated at the end of Day 3.

If you’re using (or planning on using) the Web APIs to work with ArcGIS Online Enhancing your Applications with ArcGIS Online (1:00pm) is worth considering.

Day 3

The last day offers three sessions on Patterns and Best Practices (again, one for each Web API):

These sessions look at common problems during design and development and talk about how to overcome them to provide the best user experience built on top of solid, maintainable code.

In case you missed them, the very last session at 1:30pm repeats the Working with the ArcGIS API sessions from Day 2 (see above) for Microsoft Silverlight/WPF, JavaScript and Flex.

Lastly, I should also mention the Developer-to-Developer: The ESRI Development Process (8:30am) session, as it will be useful and of interest to any developer.

More Details

You can download the complete Web API Sessions Overview as a PDF document to print out and bring with you to the DevSummit as a convenient reference.

In the run-up to the DevSummit we’ll be posting more of these guides to help you pick out the sessions you’ll likely want to attend, and we’ll also be discussing the User Presentations. These are the guides you can look forward to:

If you’ve got suggestions for what you’d like to see in these guides, let us know.

- Nick


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Geodatabase Team

Make sure and visit the Geodatabase blog as there are some new post on one-way replication using archiving and the new topology rules with version 10.

Rank the posts and give the team some feedback so they know what type of information you want to see on the blog.


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