You are more than likely familiar with the ArcGIS Map Template Gallery. From this site you can download a collection of maps that work great for web, print and many other GIS applications. In this post I am going to show you how to create and share your own feature collection template similar to the template we have created for capturing Digital Oilfield assets.
Your work starts with a well designed Geodatabase. Represent the features and assets you are managing in the geodatabase. Consider adding domain values to describe the appropriate values for your features. This is a great way to enforce data integrity across your organization.
Once you have established a thoughtfully designed geodatabase it is time to symbolize your features, you will do this in ArcMap. Keep in mind anything you can do to help simplify and best represent your assets will help others in your organization tremendously. The image below shows the Table of Contents with the features separated by group.
It is also very helpful to fully document not only the map but each of your features. Anyone using this map will be able to understand what each feature is and how it is to be used. If this map is used to create a map service, the feature and map descriptions will provide useful information to those consuming the service in ArcGIS Online web maps and applications.
Your last step is to package the map schema. To do this you need to use the Shift Key to select all layers in your TOC. Once they are selected right-click and choose “Create Layer Package”. You should see something that looks similar to the image below.
You have several options in this dialog. You can share this package directly to your ArcGIS Online account or save the layer package locally. You will also want to make sure and check the dialog that says, “Package schema only”. This will ensure that no data is riding along with the package. Once you validate the contents you can share it.
Anyone opening the template you just created will be taken directly to an ArcMap edit session to see a consistent and properly symbolized map ready to manage new features for your organization. We have a video you can watch to learn more about how common map templates can be used by many different groups within your organization. Click HERE to watch it.
Check out Mark Romero’s article on how to map neighborhood issues using ArcGIS Explorer Online and the citizen requests feature template. The article just appeared in the latest edition of ArcWatch.
For more information on how this is done see the About feature templates help topic.
You may also want to subscribe to ArcWatch, a free, monthly e-Newsletter that will keep you up to date on what’s new with Esri, its software, and the desktop mapping and GIS industry.
In many scenarios, particularly in the built environment, you need to construct new features based on a series of measurements and offsets from existing features in your data. Although ArcGIS supports a variety of ways to create features using a combination of snapping and constraints, more permanent construction geometries are appropriate in some scenarios.
Rather than resorting to storing construction lines in a feature class, an alternative method to support construction lines is with the temporary guide functionality available by installing the Construction Guides add-in written by Esri’s Editing development team. You can use the guides to build a series of geometries to assist you with completing complex constructions for use while creating new features and modifying the shape of existing features. The guides can be created with common editing constraint capabilities, such as making geometry parallel to an existing feature, at distance from a known location, or at a specific x,y coordinate. You can use snapping both when placing the guides and creating features in relation to them, allowing you to precisely locate a position based on the construction guide geometry.
To use the Construction Guides add-in, download it from the Editing Labs group on ArcGIS.com and double-click the file to install it on your machine. When you start ArcMap you have access to the Guides toolbar, which hosts all the tools to create and manage the temporary geometries that can be used in constructions. Creating construction guides is a straightforward process. You just click the type of guide on the Guides toolbar and define its geometry on the map. You can do this interactively, or if you have specific values to enter, the tools support the ability to specify them using keyboard shortcuts.
To illustrate how the guides can be utilized during feature creation, I am going to digitize a new residential building with them. Once I position the guides, I use the regular feature construction tools to create the building feature. I have been given several measurements that I can use to place the guides, and ultimately, the new building. The northwest corner of the building is 12.5 feet from the corner of the lot. To locate this position, I first use a circle guide and snap to the corner of the lot to place the center point of the circle. I then drag a circle, but rather than clicking to define the circle’s diameter interactively, I can press the R key and enter 12.5 to define the radius. I also know that the edge of the building is offset eight feet from the western lot boundary. I can use the Line Guide tool to create a guide from that lot boundary and specify a distance of eight feet by pressing the D key. Similar to entering values in built-in editing dialog boxes, guide measurements are entered in map units.
With these two guides in place, I can now begin to create the building feature. Since the rresidential building is rectangular in shape, I can use the Rectangle construction tool to create it. To place the first corner of the building, I need to turn on Intersection Snapping from the Snapping toolbar and snap to the intersection of the circle and line guides.
Once I have created the corner of the building at that intersection, I set the orientation of the building in the lot by snapping along the line guide I created from the lot boundary. I can then right-click to access a menu that allows me to enter the length and width dimensions of my building.
The building feature is completed once I finish entering the measurements. The guides remain after the feature is created, so I could continue to use them for other editing tasks. In this case, I don’t need them any longer, so I can click Clear Guides to remove all the guides.
This is just one illustration of using guides to locate features precisely. In future blog posts, I’ll explain how this sample was developed and how you can extend your own code to utilize some of the same capabilities shown here.
Introducing Editing Labs on ArcGIS.com
The Construction Guides add-in is one example of how Esri’s Editing development team is building tools, prototypes, and practical examples and sharing them with you. We are adding these to an ArcGIS.com group called Editing Labs, which provides an opportunity, along with the ArcGIS Ideas site, for you to share feedback on some work that the Editing team is investigating. Tell us what you think about Construction Guides and our other samples by adding comments on the individual items in the Editing Labs group. We’ll be adding new content regularly to Editing Labs, so check back often.
Content provided by Doug (ArcGIS Editing Team)
Selecting the right features is a key part of editing since most tools operate on selections. For example, selections are used when updating attribute values, editing the shapes of features, and even creating new features. With ArcGIS 10, it is easier to set up the selection environment and refine the selected features by using the new List By Selection button on the table of contents. List By Selection dynamically groups the layers in the map by whether or not they are selectable and currently have selected features. The window’s contents sort automatically as I interact with the map, select features, and turn layers on and off.
Right now, I am working with a map containing parcels and other land base data. Two parcels that are zoned for office space were recently sold, and the new owner names need to be added to the attributes. The simplest way to make these updates is to select the features and edit their values in the Attributes window. This post describes how I can use the table of contents to help me select only the features I want to edit.
Managing the selection environment
Setting which layers are selectable is the first step toward selecting the right features. When a layer is selectable, features in it can be selected using interactive tools, including the Edit tool on the Editor toolbar. In my map, I have layers of road centerlines, parcels, neighborhood blocks, and aerial imagery. For some layers, I do not ever want to make a selection from them. For example, the Blocks layer draws on top of the Parcels layer, but with partial transparency, so the parcels can be seen beneath the blocks. Where the blocks overlap the parcels, the block features also get selected whenever I try to select an underlying parcel. The simplest solution for this is making the Blocks layer not selectable, which keeps it visible but allows me to select the parcels underneath it. I can make Blocks not selectable by clicking the icon to the right of the layer name. If the icon is colored , the layer is selectable; if it is gray , the layer is not selectable. When I click the icon, the Blocks layer moves automatically into the Not Selectable category.
Refining the selection
The quickest way to select features while editing is to drag a box on the map using the Edit tool. While this might initially result in selecting extra features, I can easily remove features I do not need using the table of contents. Any layer that contains selected features is automatically promoted into the Selected category at the top of the table of contents. This way, I do not have to sift through a long layer list looking for layers that have selected features.
When I dragged a box, no blocks were selected this time since that layer is not selectable, but I did inadvertently select an adjacent road centerline feature. Since I only want to work with parcels, I can remove the selection from all other layers by holding down the ALT key and clicking the Parcels layer’s white selection icon in the column between the set selectable icon and number of selected features. Now, only features from the Parcels layer remain selected. Without the ALT keyboard shortcut, clicking the white selection icon actually clears the selected features in only the Parcels layer.
Each selected parcel feature is listed individually under the layer name by an ID, which is obtained from the layer’s display expression. For the Parcels layer, I set up a display expression on the Display tab of the Layer Properties dialog box to append the text “Property ID:” to the value from the property ID attribute field and the value from a zoning field. When I click the ID in the list, it flashes the feature so I can locate it on the map.
I want to update just the two office parcels, but I still have that extra utility parcel selected. If I use the map to attempt to deselect the utility parcel, I might accidentally clear the selection on the office parcels or find that I have added other features to the selection. Instead, I can deselect features quicker and with better accuracy using the table of contents. By clicking the blue square icon to the left of Property ID: 3390 (Utility), I can deselect this feature individually.
Now that I have confirmed that I have the correct office parcels selected, I can open the Attributes window and complete the attribute edits.
For more information, see Using the table of contents, Selecting features interactively, and Selecting features while editing.
Content provided by Rhonda (Editing Team)
This week, we updated the Editing, Mobile and CIP template. There are too many changes to list here, so check out each templates release notes for a full list. I did want to highlight the new overview docs with the editing and mobile template. These documents walk through each component of the templates and discusses the configuration options for them. We also provided better comments in the configuration file. We hope this helps you configure and understand how to set up the templates with your data. We also wanted to thank you for all your great feedback. All the new functions, the bug fixes, the enhancements have been from your requests. We could not make this great toolset without you. So please, if you are having an issue, or you see an area that we could expand on, post a thread on the forum so we can discuss the enhancement request and get the communities feedback.
ArcGIS Team Water
With the release of ArcGIS 10, Esri is now providing you a Land Records solution as a core part of the ArcGIS. This solution will help you produce great web maps, implement efficient workflows, and incorporate best practices from the land records industry at large.
This week we have posted several major infrastructure app updates. In summary, these updates include:
1. Added error logging to the Attribute Assistant Add-In. Note: If you installed a previous version of the Construction tools, you need to add this tag to that config file – <add key=”AttributeAssistant_Debug” value=”True”/>
2. Added new option to Attribute Assistant to persist values between edit sessions
3. Added option to Rotate Features on non-network features
4. Added summary field for isolation trace routines
5. Added new Attribute Assistant value method called LINK_TABLE_ASSET. Note: This method will monitor a table/layer and calculate a field with information from another layer.
6. Added new Attribute Assistant value method called UPDATE_INTERSECTING_FEATURE. Note: This method will update the feature the current edit feature intersects with.
7. Added a new Attribute Assistant value method called GET_ADDRESS_USING GEOCODER. Note: This method will use a local geocoding service instead of ArcGIS Online.
8. Add additional error checking to Add Laterals tool
9. Added support for checking Line Features in the Connection Checker
10. Changed the Attribute Assistant to an Extension (previously an Editor Extension) so the configuration file can be checked when ArcMap starts, thus allowing the Extension to be turned on/off while editing
11. Added support for visible layers in the Connector Checker
12. Added a progress dialog to the Jumper tools
13. Added several error checks to the Jumper tools
14. Added functionality to the Add Laterals tool that allows a user to select a feature template for laterals and points along them
15. Removed several tags in the configuration file for Laterals
16. Removed several tags in the configuration file for the Points Along tool
17. Changed the Distance as Percent tag in the configuration file
18. Added several tags to allow the user to define a default template in the Points Along tool
19. Added a Control hotkey to the traces that replaces the Select Edge tool
20. Added a Control hotkey on the Add Lateral tool that bypasses the feature templates specified in the configuration file
21. Added a Control+Shift hotkey combination that replaces the Connect Closest Selected tool
22. Changed feature template overrides to the Control key
23. Changed the Shift override in the Connect Closest tool to use selected features only
24. Consolidated the ChangeOperableStatus_User_Point_Tolerence and TraceFlow_User_Point_Tolerence tags into a single tag called Trace_Click_Point_Tolerence
25. Added option to specify feature template for the ConstructLineWithEnd Points tool
26. Added option to specify feature template for ConnectClosestDetails tool
27. Added support for IsNull in the Expression ValueMethod in the Attribute Assistant
1. Resolved several issues in the Attribute Assistant configuration file
2. Replaced StartAtMain with LaterialLine_StartAtMain in configuration file
3. Resolved issue with Set Measures in Edit operations
4. Resolved issue with Merge Geometric Features when joining multi-layer features
5. Resolved issue when <PointsAlong> tag removed from configuration file
6. Resolved issue with Construction tool that limited selection on first click
7. Resolved issue with Add Laterals tool that occurred when using subtypes on lateral lines
8. Resolved issue with debug mode
9. Resolved an issue with the Attribute Assistant Icon
10. Resolved an issue with the Create Point and Add Lateral construction tools that caused an erroneous edit message to trigger
11. Resolved an issue with the EnabledOnStartup rule in the Attribute Assistant configuration file
12. Resolved an issue with the x,y tolerance in the Intersecting Feature tool
13. Resolved an issues with Com Interop flag on Network Trace to resolve issues with tool inactivity
14. Resolved several other smaller bugs
1. Removed Microsoft Ink DLL from custom application and Tablet PC Developer Kit 1.7 software requirement
2. Added redlining control options for freehand polygon drawing and larger redline cursors
3. Added sorting functionality to the result grid
4. Added option to set layers to be synced
5. Added option to set layers to be identified
6. Added option to set top layer in ID Tool
7. Added option to use a drag zoom control
8. Added option to set search tolerance in ID Tool
9. Added option to set zoom level for point features search control
10. Added option to set GPS baud rate
11. Added option to set default field crew
12. Added new Measure Tool
13. Added option to handle hyperlinks and place them in web control (web control has map and zoom controls)
14. Added notes in configuration file
1. Resolved an issue with service panel that precluded the cache from loading
2. Resolved an issue with intersection search geometry flash
3. Resolved an issue with geocoding that precluded partial name searches
4. Resolved issue with application code error and posting feedback
1. Added an additional CIP Project Locations feature class that can be used in small scale maps
1. Resolved issue that occurred when user tried to start editing on locked workspace
The updates to the Infrastructure Mobile Map and Network Editing apps are major releases that include direct feedback we have been getting from users. We encourage you to download these updates and tell us how they can improve the management of your water, sewer and storm water infrastructure.
The water utility industry is increasingly recognizing GIS as an authoritative repository of utility asset information that can be shared around the entire utility and can spatially enable other utility business systems. As a result water, wastewater and stormwater utilities are increasing focused on GIS data accuracy. More specifically water utilities need to ensure that their GIS data is positionally accurate (in the right place), descriptively accurate (describes the asset appropriately) and temporally accurate (up to date).
On February 15th Esri’s Water Practice and the Data Reviewer team will be offering a free webinar to discuss how water utilities can leverage the ArcGIS Data Reviewer as well as core ArcGIS functionality and the Water Utility Resource Center Templates to create and safeguard accurate asset data. You can sign up for the webinar here:
Over the last few days, we’ve updated several Land Records apps on the Local Government Resource Center. In summary, these updates include:
1. Added the Parcel Editor Utilities Add-In along with related source code and documentation
2. Added the most recent Local Government Information Model and schema-only layer package
3. Added a Parcel History Group Layer and associated feature templates to the Editing Map
4. Added an Encumbrance layer and associated feature templates to the Editing Map
5. Added a Data Dictionary and Editing Map documentation
1. Resolved several issues with the sample data to correct problems with public and prescriptive right of ways
2. Resolved several issues with the Bookmarks in the Editing Map
Tax Parcel Viewer for ArcGIS 10 (v.2.0)
1. Added Data Dictionary and map document (.mxd) documentation
2. Added ArcMap map service definitions and updated caching instructions
3. Added support for Internet Explorer 8
4. Added support for field aliases in the Tax Parcel Query map service
1. Resolved issue with basemap display that occurred when a parcel was selected from the results table
Value Analysis Dashboard for ArcGIS 10 (v.2.0)
1. Added Data Dictionary and map document (.mxd) documentation
2. Added ArcMap map service definitions and updated caching instructions
3. Added support for the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex v. 2.2
4. Added support for field aliases in the Tax Parcel Query map service
5. Added support for a multi-layer feature popup
6. Added support for time-aware sales and foreclosure information
As always, we encourage you to download the Land Records apps and give them a try. When you do, let us know what you think.
Feature templates provide an easy way to streamline the creation of features while editing. Choosing a feature template determines which layer the feature will be created in, the attributes the new feature will have, and the default construction tool that will be used to create the new feature. These properties can be changed through the user interface or developer customizations.
This post explains how an add-in can update a feature template property. I posted it to the Editing Labs group on ArcGIS.com so other users can install it. The add-in can be accessed directly at http://esriurl.com/2066.
Setting the default feature construction tool
I am editing a layer of building features and need to create new footprint polygons. My map contains feature templates with default attributes for each category of building I am capturing, such as Office, Residential, and Retail types. The Polygon tool is currently set as the default construction tool for all the templates. Because I am going to draw mostly rectangular features, I can set the default construction tool to Rectangle so that tool automatically becomes active on the Create Features window instead. Setting an appropriate default tool helps me avoid the extra click to switch from the Polygon tool to the Rectangle tool when drawing the rectangular buildings.
While I could change any feature template property manually on the Organize Feature Templates dialog box or the Template Properties dialog box, a simple add-in customization is an easy way to do it quickly for multiple feature templates at once. This add-in updates the default construction tool for all feature templates in a layer.
Writing the add-in
I can create the add-in within Visual Studio as an ArcMap button add-in. I’ll need to reference ESRI.ArcGIS.Carto and ESRI.ArcGIS.Editor, in addition to the default ESRI add-in references.
The full code for the add-in is as follows:
SetTemplateTool : ESRI.ArcGIS.Desktop.AddIns.Button
m_editor = ArcMap.Application.FindExtensionByName(“esriEditor.Editor”)
// get the selected template and current tool
IEditTemplate currentTemplate =
ICommandItem currentTool =
i = 0; i < m_editor.TemplateCount -1; i++)
IEditTemplate editTemplate =
if (editTemplate.Layer.Name ==
Guid g = new
editTemplate.Tool = g;
this.Enabled = (m_editor.EditState ==
The code simply loops through all the possible templates in the map during an edit session, identifies those that share the same layer as the currently selected template, and sets the default tool on those templates to the tool active in the Construction Tools portion of the Create Features window. It is important to note that this code only works within an edit session. I can still make programmatic changes to feature templates in a map outside of an edit session, but I must set them via the layer extension instead of the Editor object that already knows about all templates in the map.
While this particular add-in only changes the default tool for a template, I could have also changed the default values for other template properties during this edit session via the properties and methods on IEditTemplate. For more information on working with feature templates, see Using feature templates in the ArcGIS 10 ArcObjects .NET SDK help.
Content provided by Sean Jones (Editing Team)