Tag: Import

Working with tens of thousands of features in GeoPlanner for ArcGIS

GeoPlanner icon

Applying GIS tools to urban planning projects sometimes entails working with tens of thousands of features. Determining the number of bus stops in a city, houses in a town, or streets in a county are a few examples. GeoPlanner for … Continue reading

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The Military Features template is now available

Military Features in ArcMap

The Military Features Template is now available for download from ArcGIS.com. The Military Features Template is an Esri Defense template for importing and exporting military features symbolized according to MIL-STD-2525C for planning, operations, and intelligence use. View a brief video … Continue reading

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The Incident Analysis template is now available

Incident Analysis Map

The new Incident Analysis template is now available for download from Arcgis.com. The Incident Analysis template is an ArcGIS for the Military template for intelligence analysis. The template contains a map, tools, and supporting layers for incident analysis, and a … Continue reading

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Placing photos in their geographic context

In past blog posts we covered adding geotagged photos using the Add Photo task available under tasks at the ArcGIS Explorer Resource Center. This task reads the coordinate information that is embedded into the header of the image, and uses that to place it at the appropriate location.

But if you don’t have a camera that geotags photos, but you do have a regular camera and a GPS device, here are a couple of ways for you to accomplish the same thing.

We found a USGS dust collector while out hiking the other weekend. It’s an odd-looking device made from an angel-food cake mold, wire mesh, and marbles. We’re not kidding – you can check out the USGS link which describes the device in more detail.

We took a photo of it, and recorded the following GPS location (not the actual location):

Longitude: 115°16’43″W
Latitude: 35°3’14″N

We used Go to Location, found under Tools:

And entered the coordinates


And then chose Create Result. Here’s the result on our map, and note the coordinates displayed in the hover text and the popup window and title.

We can place the photo at this location by editing the popup window properties and adding the path to the photo. To edit the popup properties right click the pushpin (or right click the result) and choose properties top make the edits. Here we’ve added the full path to the photo.

Now when we click the pushpin we see the photo displayed in the popup window.


So that’s an easy way to add a couple of photos at a precise location. But if we wanted to add many photos at once we can create a file with the information and import it, and here’s how…

In this example we’ve created a text file using Notepad, but could also have created the file by exporting data from a spreadsheet or database. ArcGIS Explorer supports both text and .csv files for import, as well as GPX – a standard that most GPS devices support. Here’s what our text file looks like:

In our text file we’re using the first line for field names and using commas to separate all information. In this example we’re only adding a single line with GPS coordinates and photo information, but obviously we could add (or export from a spreadsheet) as many lines as we want.

Now we can import the text file using Tools > Import File

Navigate to the file to select it

and from here the Import Text File Wizard guides us. In the first wizard dialog (shown below) the defaults are exactly what we want – comma delimited, and first line contains field names. Note the preview window at the bottom which provides a visual as to how the file is being parsed. If things don’t look as expected there we can try other options or double-check the file for formatting.

Clicking Next above, we reach this second dialog shown below:

In the circled area at the top we see that because we used “latitude” and “longitude” for our field names they’ve automatically been picked up by Explorer.

In the lower circled area we’ve made some selections. We chose the Name field as the title (which displays in the hover text and the popup window title) and the field named Photo for the description. The description is what is displayed inside the popup window, so since we used the pathname to the photograph it will automatically show when clicked.

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Spatial distribution of students visualized via Explorer

ESRI education manager Joseph Kerski recently explained how he looks at the spatial distribution of class participants in a recent blog post on the GIS Education Community blog. The post explains how Excel spreadsheets are used to map the locations of students using Explorer’s File Import capabilities.

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Three ways to view a good shaker

Well, we were sitting around this evening wondering what our first post for 2009 would be, when the answer came in the form of a little roller coaster ride, thanks to an earthquake whose epicenter was just 6 miles from ESRI. We’ve covered earthquakes here on the blog plenty of times before, so we thought we’d do something a little different and take a look at the USGS earthquake data in 3 different ways as it’s published at the USGS site.

First we viewed the GeoRSS feed. The connection was already stored in our list of connections since we’ve used that GeoRSS feed before. We just opened up the connection by choosing File > Open, and then choosing Servers in the Open Content dialog. Once we did, we could just scroll down the list of our remembered connections to find the quake feed to view it.

The feed displays all the quakes greater than magnitude 2.5 over the past day. We also used Find Address to locate ESRI, and used Measure to determine the distance from ESRI to the epicenter of the quake, which was just under 7 miles.

Next we opened the KML published on the USGS site showing all quakes greater than 1.0 in magnitude over the past 7 days. Note the display overlay in the upper left that came along with the KML, and the small aftershock (1.7 magnitude) located within a half mile of the initial temblor.

Finally we opened the USGS quake data delivered as a comma-delimited text file. We clicked on its link at the USGS site to view it in a browser, and this is what we saw:

We saved the file out as a text file, and took a look at it using Notepad. The first line in the file had field names, which was just perfect, but we had to do some minor edits to pull in the information the way we wanted. We removed quotation marks (using a global search and replace with a space) from around a combined day/date/time field, and added the extra field names to match the new formatting on the first line. We saved the file, then chose Tools > Import File to open the file import wizard.

In the first dialog we just accepted the defaults. Note the data preview panel at the bottom of this dialog which shows us how the text file is being parsed. This was especially useful since we could verify that we correctly made the edits to the file mentioned above.

After clicking Next, in the following dialog we again accepted all the defaults (the latitude and longitude fields were already found, since they had been named “lat” and “lon” in the text file) and chose “Magnitude” as the title field (so we could view it as we hovered over the location with our mouse) and “Region” as the description field.

Then we chose a symbol, and here’s our map with the quake information imported from the text file.

This file contains all the magnitude 1.0 or greater quakes for the last day, and you can see there’s been lots of activity in southern California during that time period.

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Weather Today, Weather Yesterday

NOAA’s National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center publishes tornado, wind, and hail reports on a daily basis, as well as offers an historical archive of past events. Under reports you can find the current storm reports, and also search back in time to retrieve previous reports. The reports are delivered as .CSV files, one of the formats that can be imported directly in ArcGIS Explorer.

Here’s yesterday’s hail reports shown in Explorer. By clicking on the report location we can view additional information, and can see there was golf ball size hail reported near El Paso, Texas, mostly pea-sized hailstones in Rosita, Colorado, and quarter-sized hail covering the ground near Elizabeth, Colorado.

And here’s what the hail report looked like a year ago yesterday. There were many more hail events reported, and the hailstorms stretched from the Oklahoma panhandle through eastern Kansas, across the southeast corner of Nebraska, and on into Iowa and parts of South Dakota and Minnesota.

To make the maps, we downloaded the .csv file with the events that we wanted from the NOAA Web site. Once we saved the .csv file locally, we used File > Import and opened the file.


Using the Import Text File Wizard, most of the defaults worked perfectly. On the first panel we just accepted all of them (after looking at Data Preview to make sure things looked ok), and clicked Next…

On the second panel most of the defaults were exactly what we wanted, but we made two additions. First, we chose the Location field from the .csv file as our Title Field. This is what we wanted to be displayed as the hover text, and is also the title of the popup window. We also chose Comments as the field from the .csv file to use in the Description. This is what we wanted shown in the popup window contents.

And here’s the final result:

See the File Import Wizard Help topic for more information on importing files.

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Mapping a Walkabout (and another sneak peek at 480)

Part II of a two part post on the GIS Education Community blog appeared the other day, picking up where the previous post left off with a discussion of how to take GPS readings and turn them into shapefiles, and then add hyperlinks.

But there’s another way to accomplish the same thing, and also new capabilities coming in ArcGIS Explorer 480 which will make things even easier.

One option might be to save the GPS coordinates as a comma or tab-delimited text file, and import the file to create results. We covered this topic in a post back in July, 2007, and while we were working with a much older version of Explorer at the time, the information in the post is still correct. A nice thing about results is that it’s very easy to do interesting things with their popups, which we covered in another post not long ago. So these methods could have been used instead of the shapefile creation method described in the Education Community post.

But soon there will be an even easier way. New in Explorer 480 is support for GPX format files. Wikipedia describes GPX as follows:

GPX, or GPS eXchange Format is an XML schema designed for transferring GPS data between software applications. It can be used to describe waypoints, tracks, and routes.

We visited the GPXchange site to download a file of interest, one with locations of hot springs in California. In the soon-to-be-released Explorer 480 we imported the GPX file and created a collection of waypoints from the downloaded file. We’ll save the step-by-step details for a later post, after we’ve released Explorer 480, but we ended up with a result group, with each result representing a waypoint in the file. Here we’ve clicked a couple of them to open the popup window to display more information about the waypoint.

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Importing Locations from Text Files

One of Explorer’s features is the ability to import locations from a text file or .csv file. A simple wizard steps you through the process the first time, and saves your choices so if you import the file again you don’t need to step through the wizard every time. This is handy if you’re constantly adding or updating locations, but want to use the same Import File preferences.

Here’s our text file:

Name, Longitude, Latitude, Description
Mount Saint Helens, -122.216191, 46.277887, Location of Johnston Ridge Observatory

In this file the first line holds the field names separated by commas (not required, but handy). The second line holds the values for the respective fields. The location can be expressed in a variety of formats, and there is no limit to the number of rows of values/locations.

To place this location on your map, choose Tools, then select Import File and navigate to your text file. A wizard will guide you through several steps. In the first step we specify the delimiters, and whether the first row has field names. You’ll see a preview of the file contents as they’ll be imported at the bottom:

Click Next. In the second step we specify that the file contains lat/long coordinates and choose the appropriate fields for those and also the Name and Description. Explorer will auto-complete most of these for you.

Click Next, and then choose a pushpin symbol and color. You’ll see the location(s) added to your Results, and you can fly to the location by double-clicking it. Click the pushpin to see the popup window with the Name and Description as found in the text file.


You’ll find additional information on importing text files in Explorer’s Help.


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