Tag: OpenStreetMap

Esri World Imagery in OpenStreetMap!


OpenStreetMap is a free, editable map built by volunteers largely from scratch and released with an open-content license. Since its inception, this global community has grown to over four million registered OSM users. The HOT (Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team) in particular focuses … Continue reading

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Hello Map! – Getting started with the ArcGIS Editor for OpenStreetMap

As we have written about previously in this blog after the earthquake in Haiti (here and here), OpenStreetMap is a great source of data for you to support disaster and/or humanitarian operations.  Esri has created a specific tool to empower the GIS Community to contribute and use OpenStreetMap data within ArcGIS.  The ArcGIS Editor for OpenStreetMap is a free tool you can download for ArcGIS Desktop from CodePlex. It allows people to do two key things from a disaster management / humanitarian relief perspective:

  1. Contribute data to OpenStreetMap using familiar tools
  2. Enable the conversion of OpenStreetMap (*.osm) files to a feature dataset for editing in ArcGIS

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Empowering Action — New Tools for Crisis and Humanitarian Response

This week several members of our team attended the 3rd International Conference of
Crisis Mappers (ICCM)
that was held in Geneva, Switzerland and we were blown away by the turn out (Follow #ICCM on Twitter).  This community has grown substantially over the last 3 years – when we attended the first conference held in Cleveland, Ohio back in 2009 there were about 100 attendees.  Now there are more than 400 gathered here discussing crisis mapping and the challenges they face.  There are really 3 main things that we keep hearing as it relates to GIS and mapping: Continue reading

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ArcGIS Editor for OpenStreetMap

The ArcGIS Editor for OpenStreetMap is a free, open source add-on for ArcGIS for Desktop that helps you become an active member of the growing OpenStreetMap (OSM) community. OpenStreetMap is an open and freely available database of geographic data. The editor makes it easy for you to download OSM data, make changes to the dataset, and contribute those changes back to the entire OSM community.

The OSM Editor provides

  • Simple tools to upload and download OSM data
  • An OSM-compatible geodatabase schema to locally store OSM data
  • An OSM symbology template for faster editing
  • Conflict-resolution tools for reconciling data back to the OSM database

The ArcGIS Editor for OpenStreetMap, its documentation, and its source code are available on CodePlex, Microsoft’s open source repository, and released under the Microsoft Public License.


For more information, read the documentation and discussions on Codeplex.

Download location

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Dev Meet Up – New York City, NY

It was quite an “Empire State of Mind” at the Heartland Brewery on W. 43rd for our Dev Meet Up the evening of Thursday, June 24th, 2010. A lot of people came out to learn a few things, listen to individuals highly involved in development, and meet and greet those with whom they may share common interests.

The keynote presentation was done by Nick Furness on user experience and design principles for GIS applications. In his presentation entitled, “SIMPLIFY: GIS for Normal People,” Nick discussed how GeoDevelopers or GIS Developers often fail to abstract the user experience (UX) of an application away from the detail of its underlying data and analysis, usually assuming (or requiring) that the user is fairly technical and professionally trained either in GIS or in their domain expertise. For example, users are given a bunch of menus and a bunch of buttons, and they can figure it out. However, with the rise of less costly ways to build and distribute GIS applications, the user-base need not be so technically proficient (nor in many cases would they want to be), and extra effort is required to design a user experience that is going to be much more intuitive and usable.

Nick used an ArcObjects/ArcView project from 2003 as a case study and demonstrated how, by careful consideration of the end user’s non-technical and non-GIS background and exposing maps only where necessary (even though GIS underpins the whole solution), the application is still in use today and has required almost no maintenance and no user training in GIS. As GIS becomes more mainstream by way of the Web, these principles apply all the more: GIS Developers, historically a somewhat nerdy bunch unphased by detail, need to learn to think more like UX designers and recognize that, where appropriate, the returns on hiding the complexity of a GIS can be highly rewarding to the end user.

After Nick’s keynote presentation, we had five lightning talks:

Greg Yetman, of CIEDSIN, Columbia University, did a presentation on his population estimating application, which uses geoprocessing services from ArcGIS Server to run a model to estimate the population within defined polygons. It also uses an Open GIS Web Processing Service (WPS).

Then, John Reiser with Rowan University did a presentation about OpenStreetMap, it’s history, development, how it works, and how GIS professionals can contribute toward improving the database as well as how to consume and use the maps within larger applications.

Next up was James Tedrick’s lightning talk. He revealed some helpful Python libraries that are out there that he has found useful, as he is using Python to create geoprocessing scripts.

Brian Flood did a lightning talk on his application called Arc2Earth to help publish data to ArcGIS Data online. It’s an application that gives smaller organizations an entry into cloud GIS. Being able to store their data and manage their services on the cloud, allows them to achieve lower costs and greater flexibility and scalability.

Tying up the night, Michael Uffer, who works for the New York City Department of Homeless Services, presented how his organization used ArcGIS to create a mapping solution to give the public access to info and maps as they relate to homeless shelters. He made extensive use of the ArcObjects API and also Network Analyst routing. For example, people may say, “I’m here; where are the homeless shelters, and once I pick one, how do I get there?” For people with Web access, they have that information, but if not, the Department of Homeless Services can create maps and drop them off at certain locations for people who are in need.

Everyone loved the appetizers (and of course the beverages too!), had themselves a great evening, and learned quite a bit of what our developer community had to offer in the world of GIS. Nothing less than great happens in NYC and that was definitely the case with this Dev Meet Up. A great big ‘hooah!’ to all those who came out, those who participated, and those who will be coming to the ones in the near future!

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Broad Range of Options for Collecting Data with Mobile GIS

By Tom Patterson, ESRI Wildland Fire Specialist and Tim Smith, National Park Service GPS Program Coordinator

In the wake of the disaster in Haiti, we wanted to share with you some of the options for collecting data in the field or conducting a damage assessment.  Given the expanse of the disaster and the number of people that responded with varying degrees of background we’ll present this information in order from the most basic to the most advanced.

GPS-Enabled Camera

During the 2009 Bushfires, we found that the easiest way to conduct a damage assessment survey with non-GIS trained personnel is to use a GPS-enabled digital camera like the Ricoh 500SE.  The location, direction you’re facing, time and date can be collected simply by taking a photograph of the damaged structure, for example.  Additional information about the feature you are documenting, including a voice narration, is embedded directly into the header file (EXIF) of each image and can be displayed in ArcGIS desktop with an extension such as GPS Photo-Link or ArcGIS Explorer using the Geotagged Image add-in.

Digital Pen

We’ve been in the 21st century for 10 years now and as wonderful as the technology has become, it will never totally replace paper maps and forms on a clip board. That’s OK because now we have the means to turn pen and paper into digital data that can be displayed in GIS.  Adapx has a very easy to use solution that requires minimal training for field personnel.  When used with a handheld GPS receiver, this clever method can be used by anyone.  Besides its simplicity and no learning curve, the major advantage to using the Adapx pen is you always have a paper map or forms as a backup.  This is not the case if your PDA, GPS receiver or digital camera becomes damaged or fails.

GPS Receiver

The most widely used GPS receivers by first responders are made by Garmin.   The DNR Garmin Application from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources lets you transfer data from the GPS device into a usable GIS format.  Here is a link to the GPS for Fire Management training course that explains how to collect field data with Garmin GPS receivers and use DNRGarmin to download/convert GPS data to shapefiles that can be used in ArcMap or ArcPad.

SendMap is a free application for uploading custom produced maps to your Garmin GPS.  The latest OpenStreetMap files for Port-au-Prince may be obtained from here and uploaded with SendMap for display on a Garmin receiver.

ArcPad 8

The next option is ArcPad 8 – which is a reliable Mobile GIS data collection method because you carry all basedata with you on the device.  A new feature of ArcPad 8 gives you the ability to synchronize with an ArcGIS server from the field (if you have Internet connectivity) for real-time updates that can be shared with all agencies and organizations.  Custom applets, specifically built for damage assessment purposes, make it easy for non-GIS trained personnel to use the technology.  Many of the newer PDA models have built-in digital cameras in addition to built-in GPS and wireless communication modems which provide a lightweight, all-in-one unit for field data collection and editing capabilities.


ArcGIS Mobile

ArcGIS Mobile is the most advanced solution because it is a part of the enterprise system. It is intended for use by non GIS-trained field personnel but requires a GIS Technical Specialist to maintain an ArcGIS Server and create ArcGIS Mobile data collection projects that can be run from any Windows mobile device including cell phones.  This was illustrated in our recent Live Training Seminar – Creating a Common Operational Picture with ArcGIS.  To get started the Damage Assessment Template could be used to collect data and leverage the base data from ArcGIS Online as shown below.

ArcGIS Mobile supports accessing, consuming, and using data to improve situational awareness where it is most important-in the field. Learn how solutions are designed and built to support this capability

A couple of other ESRI Business Partner Solutions include:

  • Blackberry users can collect field data and upload onto an ArcGIS Server through Freeance Mobile.
  • GeoCove has an ArcGIS Mobile solution specifically for damage assessments. This was detailed in a recent Podcast from Amy Hoyt in Lee County Florida.
  • GeoVisus also provides a hosted solution for ArcGIS Mobile.

We hope that this post improves your productivity as you support the response and recovery to the Haiti Earthquake.  For the latest information on how ESRI is supporting our users with the response, visit our Haiti Disaster Relief and Support site.  If you need disaster assistance, please fill out our Request Assistance form.

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Accessing OpenStreetMap data within ArcGIS to support the Haiti Earthquake Response

In continuing support of our users who are helping with the response to the Earthquake in Haiti, here are some ways to consume data from OpenStreetMap.  OpenStreetMap consists of widely available basemap data to support the response in Haiti.  In this blog post, I’ll lay out the options for consuming OpenStreetMap data within ArcGIS.  We’ve posted some of the layers to the Haiti Earthquake group on ArcGIS Online where we are organizing the relevant data.  There are two basic ways to consume this data – connecting via web service or downloading the data directly.

OGC Web Mapping Service (WMS)

One of the ways to connect is via Open Standards like WMS.  There is a layer package on ArcGIS Online for the Live Updating OpenStreetMap data.  This comes from this WMS service – http://tile2.dbsgeo.com/? and can easily be added to ArcMap by adding the layer from ArcGIS Online.  You can then combine this with other layers to support your work.  By adding this layer to ArcMap, you see what’s shown below – both the live, updated Damage Layers and also the basemap layers.  The individual layers within these groups can be turned on and off depending on the mission and need.

Download an Export of OpenStreetMap Data

Another option to access OpenStreetMap data within ArcGIS is to get an extract of the OpenStreetMap XML data either directly or via http://labs.geofabrik.de/haiti/ – which has updated extracts for Haiti in both OSM and ShapeFile Format.

The ArcGIS Data Interoperability extension supports the direct read of the OpenStreetMap XML format.  The easiest way to bring this in to a geodatabase is to right-click on the *.osm file and use the Export > To Geodatabase (multiple) tool in ArcCatalog as shown below.

To support our users who are supporting the response effort, we’ve been providing a layer package with the data downloaded from http://labs.geofabrik.de/haiti/. We provided that as a layer package that can be downloaded from ArcGIS Online here.  This will facilitate the use of this data offline in ArcGIS Desktop or even field use with ArcGIS Mobile or ArcPad.  We’ve been updating this data once a day (note – for the most up to date version of the data use the WMS service above).  Once the layer package is added to ArcMap it will look like the image below:

Here are a couple links to other related resources:

We hope that this post improves your productivity as you support the response to the Haiti Earthquake.  For the latest information on how ESRI is supporting our users with the response, visit our Haiti Disaster Relief and Support site.  If you need disaster assistance, please fill out our Request Assistance form.


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