Kick off 2011 with the Local Government Resource Center Webinar

On February 2, 2011 at 1:00pm EST, we’ll be hosting a
webinar that explores the Local Government Resource Center and the maps and apps you can download and configure in your organization.

You can sign up for the
webinar here.

During the 90 minute webinar, we’ll provide an overview of the maps and apps available on the Resource Center and how they can save your organization time and money, help you publish great maps, and simplify your GIS implementation.  In addition, we’ll discuss how you can actively participate in this community and guide future work on the Resource Center.

We look forward to your participation and feedback in 2011.

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Visualizing Facebook friends using ArcGIS Explorer Desktop

In a recent Facebook note by Paul Butler he explained how he created a map visualization showing how Facebook friends connect on a global basis. Plotting the connections from city to city using graduated symbols and great circle arcs, he came up with a compelling representation of the Facebook community. Here’s a snip from his note showing his map:

Recently we highlighted one of the add-ins that enables you to georeference any image. So we deicided to grab Paul’s Facebook visualization, georeference it, and look at it on Explorer’s 3D globe.

First we georeferenced the image; it’s the same process as we covered in our georeferencing add-in blog post. The georeferencing was done in 2D mode in Explorer, since this made it easy to georeference the “flat” Facebook friends raster. Here’s the georeferencing in-process:


After georeferencing it we could take a look at it in 3D mode on the globe, as shown below:

Now we can do other things like look at the cities underneath by adjusting the transparency or using swipe (shown below). Or we can add other data, like demographics to learn more about why people might connect the way they do, or… The possibilities are endless.

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Using attachments to manage associated feature content

Attachments are new in ArcGIS 10 and provide a flexible way to manage additional information that is related to features. Attachments are similar to hyperlinks but multiple files can be associated with a feature, attached files are stored in the geodatabase, and files can be accessed in several different ways. Recently, I was working with some water utility data and decided to use attachments to add photographs, documents, videos, and other files to the city’s utility infrastructure and asset features. This post describes how I utilized the new attachment functionality to include this content with the features.

Because ArcGIS uses a relationship class to maintain the link between the features and the file attachments, an ArcEditor or ArcInfo license is required to add and edit attachments. ArcView users can read and open attachments.

Enabling a feature class to store attachments
To add the external files to my water utility layers, I first need to enable attachments on each feature class in the Catalog window or ArcCatalog. To do this, I right-click the feature class, point to Attachments, and click Create Attachments. This automatically creates a new table to contain the attachment files and a new relationship class to relate the features to the attached files. I want to use attachments with the hydrants, water meters, and sewer manholes feature classes in the utility geodatabase.

My geodatabase was created in ArcGIS 10, but an existing geodatabase from ArcGIS 9 needs to be upgraded to ArcGIS 10 before attachments can be enabled on the feature classes.

Adding attachments to features
Now that my feature classes support attachments, I can add the files to the features during an edit session. The first feature I want to attach files to is a point representing a fire hydrant. I have a .jpg photograph taken by a field crew and a PDF containing a log of records regarding the installation and maintenance work that has been performed on it. I select the hydrant on the map and open the Attributes window (I could also use the attribute table).

Since attachments are enabled on the feature class, a section for attachments is shown in the middle of the Attributes window. The value in parentheses indicates the number of files; in this case there are zero (0) attached items because I have not added any files yet. To add the files, I click Open Attachment Manager, click Add on the dialog box, and browse to the files on disk. I need to repeat the process of opening the Attachment Manager and browsing to the files for each feature. For example, I have a water meter feature to which I want to attach a Microsoft Word document, PDF, and several photographs.

Once a file is attached, the attachment is stored in a geodatabase table and no longer has a linkage to the original source file. If I update the source file, I would need to re-add the attachment.

Viewing attachments
When I finish adding the attachments, I can open the files from several different windows in ArcMap. I can use the Identify window and attribute table, or when editing, I can also use the Attributes window. ArcView users can open attachments only from the Identify window or the attribute table. Similar to the Attributes window, the Identify window also contains a section for attachments when they are enabled on the feature class. Now, there are two (2) attached files, which are listed in the drop-down menu next to the paper clip.

To open an attachment, I can either click it in the list or use the Attachment Manager, where I can also add, remove, or export it to a new file on disk. The attachment opens in the Windows default application for that type of file. For example, the .jpg photograph of the hydrant opens in the Windows Photo Viewer and the PDF opens in Adobe Reader. If no default application has been specified on my machine for a certain file type, I would be prompted to choose the application to use to open it.

Attachments can additionally be accessed through HTML pop-ups. Using HTML pop-ups to open attachments is useful because I can quickly get to the attached files and keep multiple pop-ups open for different features at the same time. Through HTML pop-ups, the attachments can also be opened in Web applications, ArcGIS Explorer, or ArcReader. Since I included images of the water meter (left pop-up) and the fire hydrant (right pop-up) as attachments to these features, they are automatically shown at the top of the HTML pop-up window. Any other attachments appear as links that I can click to open the files.

Attachments make it very easy for me to manage all these files. If I had used traditional ArcGIS hyperlinks, I could link a feature to just one item and access the file only through the Hyperlink tool, rather than through various windows. With hyperlinks, I also must make sure to add the file and the correct path to it if I move the data or send the geodatabase to a colleague. However, since attachments are stored inside the geodatabase, I can share a geodatabase or make a layer or map package and all the attached files are included with the data automatically.

The data I used in the examples is modified from the Water Network Utilities Template by Esri and Fort Pierce, Florida.

Post content from Rhonda (Editing Team)

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Rasters: Get Speed, Save Space

In ArcGIS we generally recommend using a TIFF raster format that has been compressed using JPEG compression, to get the overall best performance and conserve disk space when using it in Desktop or serving it with ArcGIS Server. There are two ways we recommend you compress your data—you can use ArcGIS geoprocessing tools, such as Raster To Other Format or Copy Raster, or you can use the FWTools utility created by Frank Warmerdam, which uses the GDAL library.

GDAL is an open source translator library for raster geospatial data formats. Starting at version 10, ArcGIS uses GDAL to read and write its raster data.

Using the Raster To Other Format tool or the Copy Raster tool is similar to using FWTools but they have fewer options. For example, FWTools lets you define a photometric value to control the color space used to store the pixel value and define the interleaving (band or pixel). However; using the tools in ArcGIS you can create the statistics ArcGIS uses, which I don’t think is possible with FWTools.

ArcGIS 10 did introduce some options for writing raster datasets that were not in earlier versions, such as more compression options on the raster dataset and the ability to compress the pyramids.
Recommendations for TIFF file

The recommended settings for converting raster data, such as 8-bit aerial photography, to TIFF files using ArcGIS are:
- BILINEAR pyramid resampling
- JPEG compression for the pyramids and datasets
- 80% compression quality

Also, statistics don’t always need to be calculated from every pixel; therefore, you can increase the speed at which they’re calculated by specifying a skip factor. One way to identify a reasonable skip factor value is to divide the number of columns in the raster dataset by 1000 and use the quotient (integer) as the skip factor. For example 5000 columns = a skip factor of 5. (The examples below use the default skip factor.)

You could also increase the tile size for the TIFF files to 512 for each dimension.

Before you convert all your data using these settings you should resample a few to find the settings that work best for your data. For example, the compression quality could be higher or lower depending on your data and its uses. Or if you’re compressing scanned maps you may get better results with Nearest Neighbor resampling.

Using FWTools

You can apply the same recommended settings using the FWTools utility by running it at the command using the following:
gdal_translate.exe -of Gtiff -co “COMPRESS=JPEG” -co “JPEG_QUALITY=80″ -co “TILED=YES” -co “PHOTOMETRIC=YCBCR” -co BLOCKYSIZE=512 -co BLOCKXSIZE=512 Input.tif Output.tif
A simple interface to the FWTools utility has been posted on the Image Samples Gallery to help you convert your files using these recommended settings, called Compress Imagery. This tool allows you to convert an entire folder of images to JPEG compressed TIFF files.
Using ArcGIS Geoprocessing Tools

You can use the Raster To Other Format tool to convert a collection of raster dataset to JPEG compressed TIFF files. Simply identify the input raster dataset, the output location, the format, and modify the Raster Storage settings mentioned above in the Environments Settings.

You can use the Copy Raster tool to convert a folder of images by batching, creating a model, or writing a script. The Copy Raster tool provides the extra ability to modify the raster datasets by defining a different pixel type or converting pixel values to NoData.

To run this tool using a script, you can use the following:
# Import arcpy module
import arcpy, os

# Set the geoprocessing environments for the input and output folders
arcpy.env.workspace = “e:\inWorkspace”
rasList = arcpy.ListRasters()
outWs = “c:\outWorkspace”

# Define the output settings for compression
arcpy.env.pyramid = “PYRAMIDS -1 BILINEAR JPEG 80″
arcpy.env.compression = “JPEG 80″

# Run the Copy Raster tool
for ras in rasList:
arcpy.CopyRaster_management(ras, ras, “0″, “”, “”, “NONE”, “NONE”, “”, “NONE”, “NONE”)

Keep in mind that this script assumes the inputs and outputs are tiff files and will output raster datasets using the same name.


Submitted by: Melanie Harlow


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The Tenth Day of the Twelve Days of Esri Holiday Maps – Wine

On the tenth day of the holiday, Esri gives to you…a color-coded map of the spending on wine in the U.S.

Whether red or white, a bottle of wine makes a great holiday gift.  Give a bottle of wine to the hostess of a holiday party, a neighbor, a friend, or even to yourself!

The map above shows the amount spent on wine for consumption at home by U.S. county using Esri’s Consumer Spending data.  Counties shaded in red spend more on wine for home consumption than those shaded in pink.

Esri’s Consumer Spending data estimates current spending patterns by combining the latest Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CEX) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) with Esri Tapestry™ Segmentation and Esri’s Updated Demographics.  Data is reported for over 750 products and services and includes total expenditures, average amount spent per household, and a Spending Potential Index (SPI).  The SPI compares the average expenditure for a product locally to the average amount spent nationally. An index of 100 is average. An SPI of 120 shows that average spending by local consumers is 20 percent above the national average.  For more information on Esri’s Consumer Spending Data, please visit


Two more days left in the Twelve Days of Esri Holiday Maps!  Please join us again tomorrow for the next map in our series.



Happy Holidays from Esri!



By Catherine Spisszak

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Present at the 2011 Esri Developer Summit

The 2011 Esri Developer Summit is just a few months away and we’d like to remind you that you have an opportunity to present at this conference. A few years ago, Esri opened the door to user presentations in which you can share the lessons you’ve learned while using Esri software. These are some of the most popular and interesting sessions at the Developer Summit.

If you’re interested in presenting at the 2011 Dev Summit, submit an abstract by December 31, 2010 on this site. In the weeks following, the Esri user community will then vote on which presentations will be accepted to fill the available slots.

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How to find news and updates for the World Topographic Community Basemap

By Mamata Akella, Esri Design Cartographer

CMP Thumb

Over the past several months, there have been many updates to the World Topographic Basemap which is part of Esri’s larger Community Basemap initiative. If you are interested in tracking the most recent additions and/or the latest news about the map and the program, there are a couple of websites that you can visit.

Continue reading

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Crash Safety Templates Updated

Three new templates have been posted to our Roads & Highways Resource Center and are available in the Gallery!  Check out these analysis tools and web viewers.
The Crash Safety Analysis Template provides three industry standard tools – sliding scale, spot, and strip. These tools are now available in ArcGIS 10 as geoprocessing tools. The crash safety analysis tools can also be accessed through the web by using the Crash Safety Web Analysis Template. In this template the same geoprocessing tools are published with ArcGIS Server and consumed in this configurable Flex widget.
Our Crash Safety Dashboard Template has also been updated to the Flex 2.1 framework. This new framework allows for increased functionality as well as a more user friendly sample viewer layout.

Posted in Transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Migrating from Military Analyst DTED and RPF catalogs to mosaic datasets

Mosaic datasets were introduced at ArcGIS 10 and are now the best management tool for large sets of raster tiles. If you currently use Military Analyst (MA) DTED and RPF (CADRG and/or CIB) catalogs, we recommend that you move to using mosaic datasets to manage and display these collections of raster data. There are two methods to migrate DTED, CADRG, and CIB data: by reloading the source data into a mosaic dataset; or, by including the MA catalog in a referenced mosaic dataset. Of these, we generally recommend the first method, as it has advantages over referenced catalogs. However, there are cases where you will want to use a referenced catalog, for example, when you are using ArcGIS with an ArcView license. Continue reading

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The Ninth Day of the Twelve Days of Esri Holiday Maps – Big Screen TVs

On the ninth day of the holiday, Esri gives to you…a color-coded map of the potential for owning a big screen television.

Is there someone on your holiday list that thinks a bigger television is always a better television?  Maybe dropping subtle hints that they can’t read the score of the game on your current tv?  If you don’t want to buy them an eye exam, then you might be in the market for a new big screen television.

The map above shows where in the country households are watching televisions that are bigger than 42 inches in size.  Those counties shaded in dark green are more likely to have big screen televisions in their homes than the counties shaded in light green. 

Esri’s Market Potential data measures the likely demand for a product or service in an area.  Esri computes the Market Potential data by combining Esri Tapestry™ Segmentation and data from consumer surveys conducted by GfK MRI.  The Market Potential Index (MPI) values at the U.S. level are 100. A value of more than 100 represents higher demand, and a value of less than 100 represents lower demand. For more information on Esri Market Potential Data, please visit

Happy Holidays from Esri!

By Catherine Spisszak

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