Monthly Archives: May 2010

Getting Ready for 10 – Preparing Your Computer for ArcGIS Desktop


Hi everybody, this is John with the Implementation team here in Tech Support. In preparation for the ArcGIS 10 release, I’d like to take a few minutes and let you in on some tips for the upgrade procedure. This isn’t comprehensive, but keeping these concepts in mind should make for a smooth upgrade.



  • Prior to actually running the ArcGIS 10 installer (and before 10 is even released), there are several things that you can do to get your system ready for the upgrade. I try to keep my system well maintained, but if you’re like me your computer ends up cluttered anyway. Preparing for a major upgrade is a great time to clean up the hard drive, and a guide like this one from Microsoft is a great way to do it. If you have the infrastructure, it’s always a good idea to make a backup of your system, just in case.


  • If you’re reading this, you are probably someone who always reads the manual. I strongly recommend checking the Systems Requirements page before you start to make sure there aren’t any special considerations you need to take for your system. For example, 10 is the first version of ArcGIS Desktop that needs the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 before it can be installed. It’s also worth a few extra minutes to take a look at the installation guide on the DVD.


As you get closer to the actual upgrade, there are a couple other considerations:



  • Authorization numbers: Start thinking about licensing considerations before upgrading the software, so you don’t end up with unexpected downtime. ArcGIS 10 (final) authorization numbers will be emailed to the primary maintenance contact when the software is ready for download. There will also be a new section called “Authorization and Provisioning” available on the Esri Customer Care Portal http://customers.esri.com, where people that have existing 9.x software or ArcGIS 10 pre-release can get new authorization numbers when ArcGIS 10 final is released. Older versions of the License Manager will also need to be upgraded. For more information about these changes, please see: http://resources.arcgis.com/content/arcgis-desktop-licensing.

  • Uninstall third-party extensions, add-ons, and even ArcScripts that work with ArcGIS Desktop 9.3/9.3.1. There’s a chance that some of them may work from 9.x to ArcGIS 10, but they may cause severe issues and can be very difficult to troubleshoot after the upgrade. Once you have ArcGIS 10 installed, you can start fresh and install your extensions one at a time to test for compatibility.

That’s about it – best of luck with the upgrade!


-John P, Senior Implementation Support Analyst, Esri Support Services



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Words (by Reservation Only)


Are there reserved words for File Geodatabases?


Here at Esri Support Services, we often field questions related to reserved words within databases. While these are usually determined by third-party sources, such as the host RDBMS on which a database resides, Esri’s File Geodatabase is the exception, is proprietary, and contains its own reserved words. The following are the reserved words: ADD, ALTER, AND, AS, ASC, BETWEEN, BY, COLUMN, CREATE, DATE, DELETE, DESC, DROP, EXISTS, FOR, FROM, IN, INSERT, INTO, IS, LIKE, NOT, NULL, OR, ORDER, SELECT, SET, TABLE, UPDATE, VALUES and WHERE.


With the above list of reserved words in mind, please remember that all geodatabases are compatible and that importing or exporting data into another ArcSDE or Personal Geodatabase enforces reserved words found within each disparate RDBMS. It is worthwhile to be aware of these limitations when developing a data model.







Does ArcSDE have reserved words?


We are often asked whether or not there are ArcSDE reserved words that you should be aware of when creating a data model or feature class.


While all geodatabase field names must be SQL compliant and only allow an underscore (_) as a special character (No other special characters are permitted), it is important to note that ArcSDE does not have reserved words. These are determined by the host RDBMS on which ArcSDE resides. This also holds true for Personal Geodatabases, as they are built off of Microsoft Access.


Although not reserved words, the following is a list of words that are fully qualified within an ArcSDE geodatabase: FID, AREA, LEN, POINTS, NUMOFPTS, ENTITY, EMINX, EMINY, EMAXX, EMAXY, EMINZ, EMAXZ, MIN_MEASURE, MAX_MEASURE.


For a complete list of reserved words within each of the supported RDBMS’, please follow the links below:



Please post any questions or comments that you may have in the ‘Comments’ section below. NOTE: You must be logged into your Esri Global Account to post comments.


- Jon D., Geodata Support Analyst, Esri Support Services



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Preparing for the ArcGIS 10 release


Over the next few weeks, the Support Center News blog will be posting some blogs to help prepare you for our upcoming release of ArcGIS 10. These blog posts will cover a lot of topics, such as testing your system for the upcoming release, new functionality and how it may be used, some of the changes to the software or the interface, and other support-oriented topics concerning ArcGIS 10 that will help you be more successful with our software upon the upcoming release.


You will also be seeing more posts on a regular basis. We at Esri Support Services hope that our blog posts are helpful and that you enjoy seeing more from the Support Center News blog. Please feel free to comment and send us any feedback. NOTE: You must be logged in to post comments.


Thank you for continuing to read and enjoy the Support Center News blog!


-Collin W., Support Center News blog content manager, Esri Support Services




Testing, testing, and more testing


With ArcGIS 10 coming soon and Pre-release being used by some of the user community, some of you might wonder if it would be a good idea to setup a testing/pre-production/sandbox environment. It’s a good idea to have a testing environment prior to going live, because it will help you to become familiar with the new technology and will make the transition to a production environment run more smoothly. I’ve compiled some ideas on things you might consider when thinking about a testing/sandbox.



  1. Mimic the setups in the production environment. It will make life easier to have a testing environment that’s close in terms of configurations to where the final deployment is going to take place. It will save a lot of time and effort in learning how the application and OS will coexist and will help in figuring out how to resolve any issues that may arise early on. If you’re planning to a have a distributed install or some sort of load balancing, you better have that in your sandbox as well.

  2. Consider virtualization. Some users are already using virtual machines in the production environment, so why don’t you use them in the testing environment? A lot of vendors and companies are virtualizing their servers for lots of reasons these days. It will help you cut costs, have a low-maintenance and high-available machine, and you don’t have to throw as much money on cooling a big server. Also, you’ll get a chance to run the software on multiple platforms if you want. The good news is that ArcGIS 10 is supported on a Virtual Machine.

  3. Test different scenarios. Whether it’s a geoprocessing map service or just running ArcMap on a virtual machine, you’re more than welcome to test the software at all levels. You can install, deploy, and get the end users to use the software to make sure you’re comfortable before going live.

  4. Let us know. We are always looking for our customers’ feedback and doing our best to help them out. If you tried a geoprocessing tool that will work on one shapefile and not on another, we’d love to hear from you and assist you in resolving the issue. If you think that a certain tool or functionality should be improved or want to see an additional feature in ArcGIS 10, let us know. You can put your ideas on the new ArcGIS Ideas Web site: a place where you can go online and post any idea(s) that would like to see in the ArcGIS software, and the GIS community can vote for or against the idea(s).

- Mostafa Radwan, Support Analyst – ArcGIS Server Unit, Esri Support Services.



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Maximizing Your Search Returns

Esri logo

The Esri Support Services’ Online Support Resources group understands the importance of having effective search mechanisms available to sift through all of the Support areas, especially since we use our own site as a resource, just like you do. As we continue working to improve the capability of our Support site search tools, we want to make sure that when using the Support site search, you understand what the tools are actually searching and how to maximize your search results to find what you need.


General Support Site Search Tips


Here are a few general tips that may improve your search experience:



  • If you are searching for information on a released product, be sure to use the Support search tool at support.esri.com. To search for information about products in beta or pre-release, such as ArcGIS 10, use the search available at resources.esri.com.

  • When searching for information on a bug, be sure to use the complete bug number with its NIM prefix. The current search is not configured to recognize sub-string text, so you must enter, for example, NIM576784 and not just 576784.

  • Support search does not recognize or utilize search operators (such as double quotes, and, or, + or ~). The best results come from using a good combination of search terms and post-search filtering.

Post-search Filters


A quick way to fine-tune your search results is to use the search results page filters. You can easily filter content by source, and this speeds up finding what you need.


Searching Old User Forums


The old User Forums are full of valuable information. In response to feedback indicating that our old User Forum search was hard to find and use, we have made a few improvements.



  • The old User Forum content has been indexed and is now searchable.

  • You can now search the old forums (forums only) using the new search at forums.esri.com.

When searching for User Forum content, it is best to select a specific conference using the ‘Select Conference’ drop-down menu, if possible, rather than ‘Select All’ areas. This reduces the search time and narrows search results.


Remember that the forums search is limited to searching only forums. The search bar on the main Support and Resource Center pages also provides results from the old forums; however, these results are included among results from other Support areas, such as the knowledge base.


- Online Support Resources group, Esri Support Services



    Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

    Successful e-mail communication with ESRI Support Services

    Esri logo

    Here at Esri Support Services, we use an application to maintain all the information for an incident in one form. Due to database requirements, this application requires a lightweight, text-based e-mail system. Because of this system, there are a few important things to remember about sending e-mails to Esri Support Services:



    • Always reply to the e-mails you receive from us with the ‘Subject’ line unchanged. The pound sign (#) and incident number are essential for routing your e-mail to the appropriate incident form.

    • When replying to an e-mail you received from a Support Analyst, be sure to include your responses above the greeting line of the e-mail. Our system removes everything below this line, so e-mail correspondence is not repeated within the incident form.

    • Colored, italicized, and bold fonts in e-mails to Esri Support Services are changed to plain text. If you would like to highlight a particular point, **wrap it in asterisks**.

    • Be sure to include all screen shots and other images as ‘Attachments’ to your responses, either as an image or within a Word Document.

    • Finally, be sure to spell your analyst’s name correctly! If you’re not sure of the spelling, check the subject line to verify.

    We hope these tips help your e-mail communication with Esri Support Services be more successful!


    -Emeline R., ArcGIS Server Usage Senior Support Analyst, Esri Support Services



    Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

    Troubleshooting Memory Leaks with Dynamic Display

    please wait image

    Nobody enjoys seeing their applications slow down due to an increase in memory usage. Dynamic Display is a memory intensive approach, so this blog post provides some tips and links to further documentation to help you avoid any possible memory leaks or to check if a there is a memory leak at all.


    Since ArcGIS is COM based and we use .NET/Java programming languages to write our applications, it is important to see how these manage memory. A Web help topic on our Resource Centers Web site discusses how to release COM references. The bulleted list below has some general guidelines:



    • AoUninitialize.Shutdown should be used to remove libraries for which there is no corresponding COM object.

    • The ComReleaser class should be used to release a COM object when it goes out of scope.

    • Marshal.ReleaseComObject should be used to explicitly release objects that the .NET garbage collector cannot release.

    There is also Web help documentation about the best practices to be used with dynamic display in the ArcGIS framework.


    Here’s a tip for you: Even though the Windows Task Manager is the easiest way to check for a memory leak, many analysts within Esri Support Services recommend using “Performance” (also referred to as Perfmon and/or Performance Manager) to monitor memory usage. “Performance” generates reports and charts to monitor memory usage. It also provides the option to view “private bytes” and display logs, counters and alerts. The “Performance” tool can be found at Start > Settings > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Performance.


    So, the next time you encounter a performance issue with Dynamic Display, consider the above tips, guidelines, and help documentation. Esri Support Services is always here to help solve any issues you many run into when using our software.


    I encourage you to ask questions or leave comments in the comments section. NOTE: You must be logged in to your Esri Global Account to leave comments.


    - Ajit M., Esri Support Analyst – SDK group, Esri Support Services



    Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

    Introduction to ESRI’s User Advocacy Group


    This is Mike Hogan again with some information about the ESRI User Advocacy Group (UAG) within ESRI Support Services. If you’ve been involved with Support Services over the past few years, you may have heard the acronym UAG and have been wondering what we are talking about! It’s been quite some time since you’ve heard from members of the UAG, such as, when Beth Guse was interviewed in our initial Support Center News Blog post, ‘More At The Door’, providing a sneak peak of the UAG as it was starting out in 2007.


    As the new Program Manager for the User Advocacy Group, I wanted to take some time to reintroduce ourselves on this blog and let you know how we are actively networking with users just like yourself through our relationships within Support Services and Development.


    Let’s start with our mission statement:

    “The mission of User Advocacy Group aims to enhance the productivity of the user community by actively engaging with ESRI customers and providing feedback to shape the direction of products and enriching the quality of ESRI software and services.”


    In order to accomplish our goal of helping you enhance your productivity in using our products, we have specific Support staff collecting, communicating, and prioritizing customer issues. Much of your initial communication with a Support Services Analyst will be delivered to members of our group internally in the form of software defects or enhancements. This is where all of the work of the UAG really begins!


    There are Development Technical Leads (DTLs) for each technical area of the software who work on your behalf, advocating and pushing for fixes on defects/enhancements identified by customers. This is all done through the collection of information, active communication/collaboration, and lastly, the prioritization of your request. By using the feedback you deliver to Support Services while working with Support Analysts, these members of the UAG can deliver valuable feedback to the ESRI Development team members that will be taken into consideration for future software patches, service packs, and releases.






        

    So, what can you take away from all of this? As a user of our software products, you hold the key to a lot of valuable feedback, and we want to know about it. Please let us know when you are running into a software defect/bug by submitting a support request through our website. This may be a newly discovered issue or may already be an issue that we have been tracking internally. The more users that are attached to specific items in our database, the higher priority it holds. Also, if you can tell us the Business Case behind a bug (for example, how it affects your organization on a daily basis, and why it is important to be fixed), it helps us to prioritize issues. The more we know, the more we can work on getting a fix for you.


    The UAG is also spearheading a new project to collect feedback and ideas for new enhancements to ESRI Products. We just launched a new website called ArcGIS Ideas, http://ideas.arcgis.com/, where you can post your ideas, the ESRI user community can vote on them, and you can comment on and refine others’ ideas. We are actively listening to this feedback and want to start incorporating your ideas into future releases.


    We hope to hear from you soon!



    Mike H., Program Manager
    User Advocacy Group, ESRI Support Services


    Mike H., Program Manager
     Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mikehogan

    Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

    Changes to the Support Site


    Hello ESRI customers! Thank you for your continued feedback while we work to improve your online experience with the ESRI Support Site – http://support.esri.com. We apologize for any inconvenience the changes may have brought to your workflows. Through this blog post, I would like to apprise you of the newest changes that we are planning to implement in the next few weeks:


    1. The Support gateway page will display direct-access links to content repositories.

    2. While retaining the new look-and-feel, you’ll have fewer clicks into the databases that are within each repository.

    3. Search engine improvements:


      1. Comprehensive indexing of the data.

      2. The Search engine results page enables sorting search returns by date and by relevance.

      3. Search results will include results for only the released products. ArcGIS 10 content will be added to search results after the ArcGIS 10 launch. For those who are interested in accessing ArcGIS 10 content, go to the ArcGIS Resource Centers at http://resources.arcgis.com/.

    We hope these changes will provide you an improved Web experience. Please feel free to send us your feedback and/or your ideas for improved online service:

    Support website feedback: http://support.esri.com/en/feedback.

    Ideas: http://ideas.arcgis.com/.


    -Sanjay L., Program Manager – Online Support Resources, ESRI Support Services



    Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment