Daily Archives: November 5, 2010

Using Zipped Data from ArcGIS Online in GIS-based Educational Projects

Are you using ArcGIS Online yet? My colleagues and I have written about the many ways that you can use ArcGIS Online to foster teaching and learning. You can access a wide variety of maps in it, and you can also share your own maps, applications, and tools. In terms of maps, you can share a web map that you build on ArcGIS Online or an ArcGIS Server map, image, or feature service. You can also share a map package (.mpk) or a layer package (.lpk) that you can unpack and open quickly in ArcGIS Desktop. You can share an ArcGIS Explorer document (.nmf), an ArcGIS Explorer application configuration (.ncfg), or an ArcGIS Windows Mobile package (.wmpk). But have you also considered the implications of the fact that you can also share a .zip file on ArcGIS Online?

A zip file, representing a series of files compressed into one file for ease of transport, is created by programs like WinZip and 7-zip. Zip files are supported in ArcGIS Online in large part so that map templates can be shared, which are themselves powerful teaching resources that we will discuss in a future column. But here, think about your own use of zip files. Because GIS is a system, using GIS involves many different files simultaneously. GIS educators have used zip files for years to move GIS projects between colleagues and computers. Now, since ArcGIS Online supports zip files, you can upload and download zip files from the system as long as the zip files have to do with spatial data and that you are adhering to the size constraints of your ArcGIS Online account.

What does this mean in practice? I uploaded a zip file of a project that I frequently teach with, a study of a landslide in central Washington that occurred in 2009. My project includes an NMF, hyperlinked landslide photographs, faults from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and other pieces of data. If you search ArcGIS Online on “Landslide in Washington—Zip file with all data”, you will find it. After you download the 27 megabytes of data onto your computer, unzip it, and access the NMF, you are ready for analyzing the situation with ArcGIS Explorer Desktop, as shown below.

How will you make use of the capability of using zip files inside ArcGIS Online?

- Joseph Kerski, Esri Education Manager

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