Let’s suppose that I regularly command a small detachment that consists of two infantry platoons, a combat engineer squad, and two combat reconnaissance teams. I need to be able to share my order of battle and plans with my parent and subordinate commands.
I’m going to share these maps using layer packages. To do this, I’ve decided to download the Military Overlay layer package and tailor it to fit these units and my typical order of battle and planning needs. Weeding out the symbols I don’t need and creating a new, specialized layer package will save me time and effort later. The new layer package will also simplify the editing experience for my team, by limiting the number of available symbols. I’ll be able to send out layer packages that include the positions of units in my detachment and keep an empty template for my own use later. In this blog post I’ll show you how.
Step 1: Add units to the template
Before I add units to my display they need to be in my feature template.
The Military Overlay layer package I downloaded came with no units, so I’ll add three friendly unit templates: infantry platoon, combat reconnaissance team, and combat engineer squad. See this blog post or this Help topic for details on how to add new unit templates.
Step 2: Remove unwanted features from the template
I need some control measures in my template, but not all of the ones that came in the C2 Military Operations Area and Line feature feature classes. I’m primarily concerned with objective areas, so I’ll remove some of the others (like Assault Position and Assembly Area).
I’ll click the Organize Feature Templates button…
…and delete the unwanted feature templates.
Here is a picture of my Create Features window after I’ve cleaned it up.
Deleting feature templates this way removes them from the Create Features window. I’m removing the feature templates instead of removing the layers because if I happen to need them later, it will be much easier for me to add the feature templates if the layers are still present.
For example, suppose I need to have an Assault Position feature later on. I would open the Organize Feature Templates dialog, click the C2 Military Operations Areas layer, and click New Template.
The New Template wizard would start and I would see the available layers and templates. I’d choose the C2 Military Operations Area layer, where I’ll add the Assault Position template, then click Next. I wouldn’t want to add any duplicate templates, so I’d click Clear All and then check the templates that I did want to add (Assault Position).
I’d click Finish to add the template back to the Create Features window.
Step 3: Create features using the new template
Now that the feature template is tailored to my needs, I’ll draw some features on my map.
Editing military features is the same as editing any features in ArcMap. I just click on the feature template I want in the Create Features window and then draw on my map to add those features. Here’s the plan I’ve drawn.
Step 4: Prepare layers for packaging
After I’ve finished drawing my features I’ll add a description to the properties page of the layers I want to package, and then I’ll create a layer package to share my plan.
You can package a single layer, several selected layers, or a group layer. If your intent is to have a highly tailored template for your order of battle, you might just package the “Units” layer from the “Friendly UEI” group layer.
In this case I want to be able to quickly distribute a common operational picture (COP), so I’ll package the “Friendly Plan” group layer. This will package all of the layers and group layers contained within the group layer.
If you want to add layers that are not associated in a group layer, you can control-click them to select multiple layers to package. You can also create your own group layers and package them. Remember that if you create a new group layer, you will need to add a description to its layer properties page before it can be packaged. The package validation tool will catch this and give you a chance to add the description.
Step 5: Create a layer package
Once I’ve got the layers prepared, I’ll create my layer package. To do so, I right-click the Friendly Plan group layer and click Create Layer Package.
I’ll post this layer package to my ArcGIS Online account as “My OOB” so others can download and use it. I could also save a layer package to a local or network drive.
Since I’m distributing this data to give my parent and subordinate commands a COP, I’ll use the deafult type of layer package that contains the features I created. The layer package will include a file geodatabase of the features I created in the selected layers.
I’ll click the Validate button to check that the layer package is ready, and then click Share to create the package.
Once this is done, I’ll repeat the packaging process and save the layers in an empty “schema only” layer package. This will make it easy to create a set of empty feature classes that I can use later as the basis for multiple plans. I can also share it with my team, so we’ll all be working from the same simplified template.
Content provided by Derek Foll