Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Thin Road Network tool in ArcGIS 10

GIS analysts have become the default cartographers for some organizations. The primary task of a cartographer is to simplify reality in such a way that maps can convey the maximum amount of information with a minimum amount of clutter. Accordingly, analysts have been required to develop datasets and layers that work at a variety of scales. Street datasets are particularly troublesome. Detailed road inventories are ideal for large scale mapping, but individual roads quickly turn into indecipherable blobs during the visualization of large cities and regions. Over the years, a combination of definition queries, scale range settings, and creative uses of symbology have been employed to create road basemaps that work at a variety of scales.

Figure 1:The Thin Road Network tool

The Thin Road Network tool (Cartography Tools/Generalization), available in ArcGIS 10, provides another method for the digital cartographer to simplify a street feature class, while maintaining the integrity and connectivity of the street network. The tool can pare a detailed street’s datasets for medium scale mapping of urban areas. The tool does not actually delete features—instead it identifies road segments that could be removed from the map without compromising connectivity or removing high-order routes.

Preparing the Streets
Slight modifications are necessary to prepare the street data for use as an input to the Thin Road Network tool.

  1. Add an Invisibility field
    Create a new integer field and use the Field Calculator to set the field to 0. After the tool is executed roads that should be removed from the display are assigned a value of 1.

  2. Add a Hierarchy field
    The street feature class must have a Hierarchy field. If this attribute needs to be created, speed limit is a decent corollary. For instance, roads with a speed limit of 65 are generally more important than roads with a speed limit of 45. Number of lanes or functional class could also be used to define hierarchy. The Hierarchy field should be an integer field with values from 0 through 5. Roads where Hierarchy = 0 will be considered “locked” and will remain visible.

Executing the Thin Road Network Tool
Running the Thin Road Network tool requires a Minimum Length parameter to be defined. This parameter defines a “sense of the resolution or granularity of the resulting simplified road collection (ArcGIS 10 Webhelp).” This value should represent the minimum length of road that is significant enough to include in the final map. The value is dependent on the desired scale at which the road layer is meant to be viewed. The tool will place a value of 1 in the Invisibility field based on an analysis of hierarchy, visibility locking, resolution, and the morphology and connectivity of the road geometry.

Figure 2: Tool Dialog Box

Time Considerations
The structure and size of the street’s feature class that is used as an input, in tandem with computer specifications, will determine the time it takes to run the tool. With large datasets, it can take quite a while. For instance, in recent testing, the Thin Road Network tool ran for 30 minutes on 170,000 road features representing the greater Washington DC urban area.

Minimum Distance Improvement* Time Segments
200ft 6% 27 minutes 10,254
300ft 10% 29 minutes 17,205
500ft 17% 29 minutes 28,217
1000ft 27% 31 minutes 46,654
1500ft 34% 31 minutes 58,559
5000ft 40% 40 minutes 67,362
Table 1: Sample Input Parameters and Results (* Percentage of links set to Invisible)

The following graphic contains two maps. The first map contains all of the streets in the Greater Washington Urban Area. Streets in this map are not well defined and run together to form amorphous gray spaghetti-blobs. The second map shows the same street’s file after the Thin Road Network tool has identified superfluous segments that are hidden using a definition query. This map is more legible. Routes can be easily distinguished from one another. While this dataset cannot be used at all scales due to the many ensconced collector streets, it will serve as an effective basemap with more detail than a road’s layer that just contains interstates and freeways.

Before Thin Road Network Tool

After Thin Road Network Tool

For more information, refer to the online help documentation for the Thin Road Network tool accessible at the following link: Thin Road Network (Cartography).

- Jake P., Support Analyst – Desktop Group, Esri Support Services

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

DesktopIndexingService.exe Error Message when using ArcGIS 10 on Windows 7 or Windows 2008

When using ArcGIS Desktop 10 on Windows 7 or Windows 2008, you may get the following error when creating a search index (either manually or if you have turned on automatic re-indexing):

This issue is caused by a conflict with the Raster To Video Geoprocessing tool in ArcGIS Desktop and the Apple QuickTime Player version 7.6.6. For updates on the status, you can use bug number NIM055479. Esri is actively working on a solution to this issue. In the meantime, please use one of the following workarounds:

Workaround #1:

Despite the error message, ArcGIS will not crash, and the indexing will complete successfully. Therefore the error message can be dismissed and ignored. Optionally, you can set the indexing recurrence to a larger time interval from the Index/Search Options dialog box in the Search Window. That way, the error will not pop up as frequently.

Workaround #2:

Uninstall Apple QuickTime 7.6.6. Optionally, install an older version of QuickTime. Version 7.6.2 will not conflict with ArcGIS Desktop.

Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. Please leave any comments in the comment section below this blog post. NOTE: You must be logged in to your Esri Global Account to leave comments.

- Jeff M., Desktop Development Lead – User Advocacy Group, Esri Support Services

Posted in ArcGIS Desktop, export | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

System Requirements – Now Located Within Each Product’s Page

(Note: Some of the information below refers to legacy content and workflows. For updated information, please refer to our Comments section.)

With the Support site redesign of 2010, the System Requirements pages were moved. Several people have inquired about where they have been placed. They are now located within each ArcGIS product’s page on the ArcGIS Resource Center web site. So, for example, if you are looking for the system requirements for ArcGIS Server, click on the ‘Server’ link under the Popular Communities heading on the main page of the Resource Center web site. Once the ArcGIS Server page opens, you will see a list of links on the right-hand side of the Web page. One of these links is the ‘System Requirements’ link. This link takes you to the ‘ArcGIS Server 10 System Requirements’ Web page.

Note: If you do not find the link you are looking for, the System Requirements can be easily searched by entering ‘system requirements [product name]‘ in the search bar.

For ArcGIS software versions prior to version 10, there is a link to the earlier versions’ system requirements available on all of the version 10 products’ system requirements pages.

If you are using the ArcGIS Resources site for 10.0, below are some screen shots to help you along the way and point you in the right direction for finding version 10 and previous versions’ system requirements pages.

Resource Center landing page with products highlighted
ArcGIS Resource Center landing page with ArcGIS Products list highlighted

ArcGIS Server product page with sys req. link highlighted
ArcGIS Server product page with System Requirements link highlighted

ArcGIS Server 10 System Req. page with the link to earlier versions
ArcGIS Server 10 Systems Requirements page with the link to the earlier versions highlighted

You can utilize the System Requirements pages to get the latest details and information on supported operating systems, third-party tools, and hardware requirements for all ArcGIS products. I hope that this helps you in accessing the system requirements associated with whatever product and/or version of that product you are using.

If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the comment section below this post. NOTE: You must be logged in to leave comments on blog posts.

Collin W. – Esri Support Services

Posted in Announcements, export, | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

After installing ArcGIS 9.3.1 SP2, there are issues opening map documents when clicking on them

esri logo

After installing Service Pack 2 for ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1, opening a map document from Windows Explorer, ArcCatalog, Windows Desktop, Windows Recent Documents, or the Web does not open it in a new ArcMap session. That is, if you open an existing map document, ArcMap opens as expected. However, if you now open another map document, it will not start a new instance of ArcMap. Instead, the map document is sent to the existing instance.

This is a known issue. For updates on the status, you can use bug number NIM059009. Esri is working on a permanent solution to this issue. In the meantime, please use the following workaround:

  1. Run C:Program FilesCommon FilesArcGISbinArcGISFileHandler.exe.

  2. Click OK to close the ArcGIS File Handler application.

    Map documents should now open correctly.

Esri apologizes for any inconveniece this may have caused you.

- Jeff M., Desktop Development Lead – User Advocacy Group, Esri Support Services

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

Closing the Loop – eSurveys and the Voice of the Customer

There have been a couple blog posts regarding updates to our surveys, such as the post in February 2009 entitled ‘e-Surveys and the Winds of Change’ and more recently February 2010 by Monte regarding ‘eSurveys and How They Help Us and You’. This must mean that e-surveys are valued feedback from our users, right? Exactly!

You may receive an e-survey after finishing up work with one of our team members, as they are generated and sent out upon the resolution of your support incident. Members of the Support team are continually following up with users like you in order to gather additional details from feedback that was received in your survey scores and comments. I wanted to expand on how members of the management team have been and will be contacting you for more information. Since we value your feedback as our customers, we may call or e-mail you to gather further details on surveys you have recently submitted when we need clarifications on comments or specifics on below satisfactory scores.

As a group lead within Support, I can say this definitely helps us get the most out of your feedback and/or advice regarding how your most recent incident was handled. From our conversation, we can learn more about your experience and what we can do to improve our service. We try to pinpoint an area for improvement, such as within the quality of the product, online documentation, the responsiveness/communication you received from the Support Analyst, etc. We’ll take these ideas and share with other members of Support, and even other departments throughout Esri.

For example, a short comment about the product quality within your survey may lead to a phone conversation to discuss the details of your concerns. Your concern could be that the software defect was fixed at a later release or that the workaround provided doesn’t suit your business needs. Getting more details like this on the phone can help us offer more options within Support Services, such as utilizing the User Advocacy Group (UAG) as an avenue to communicate your need for a fix in an upcoming service pack or release. You can quickly see how these conversations can help us improve your experience with Support by gathering suggestions/feedback and acting on this information.

During our conversation, we may be able to give you some information regarding suggestions on moving forward or involve you in initiatives that we have in place within Support, such as the UAG program. Your advice is definitely used to promote awareness or for ideas on new initiatives to better serve you. Our goal is to help make the use of our products and services more efficient. Some recent online resources that pertain to Support that you may be using are the ArcGIS Ideas site and also the Customer Care Portal, which gives visibility on status of software defects/enhancements after they have been submitted/linked to your customer number. Information is power, and your input is helping us build stronger and more reliable products and services.

Keep those survey comments coming!

-Melissa J., Geodata Group Lead, Esri Support Services – Charlotte, NC

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

Online Support Resources – Our Week at UC

We have had an excellent week of demoing our Online Support Resources (ArcGIS Ideas and at the 2010 User Conference. We just hit 1,000 ideas on the ArcGIS Ideas site.Thanks for making ArcGIS Ideas a success! We have had people from all over the globe stop by and check out the online resources. We have gotten a lot of excellent feedback from people, and it has been great to get to interact with people throughout the GIS community. Once again, thank you for stopping by and checking out the online resources. We hope to see you around and ArcGIS Ideas. Here are some photos of us hanging out at the UC:

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

The Catalog window: Falling in love all over again

Hello, this is Cassandra again, bringing you a blog post about my favorite thing about ArcGIS Desktop 10 – the Catalog window. In a nutshell, the Catalog window provides a tree view of file folders and geodatabases, just like in ArcCatalog, but directly within ArcMap. Need to add to add a feature class, but can’t quite remember where it is? Browse for it with ease in the Catalog window. Need to perform some geoprocessing and geodatabase organization but don’t want to shut down out of ArcMap? Do it in the Catalog window. Getting frustrated with schema locks on your geodatabases? Just stay in ArcMap and do your processes in the Catalog window.

The most common question concerning the Catalog window I’ve seen is ‘Where’s the preview tab?’. This question is easily understandable, especially since the Catalog button on the ArcMap Standard toolbar now opens the Catalog window, not ArcCatalog.

There is neither a Preview nor metadata tab directly available in the Catalog window. However, you can preview the data, view the metadata and more by right-clicking on the item and then select Item Description. The Item Description dialog box gives you access to view, print, edit, validate, export and import the metadata on the Description tab, as well as previewing the geography and table of the item on the Preview tab.

The Catalog Window includes a choice of three views as well. You can cycle through them by clicking the ‘Show Next View’ button.

For more information on the Catalog window, see the following help topic: What is the Catalog window?

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

- Cassandra L., Desktop Support Analyst, Esri Support Services

Posted in export, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments has been Upgraded

wiki logo

As with any resource, ease of usability is a big factor (at least for me). Well, has been upgraded to do just that – increase the ease of usability. With the newly upgraded wiki, you can now use the editing toolbar to assist you in creating and editing pages. There is a lot of functionality within the editing toolbar – from changing the text to bold and adding internal or external links to creating references and even seeing a preview or the changes made to the page. See the screen shot below for a more detailed look at the editing toolbar:

editing toolbar
The editing toolbar with the Advanced functionality opened

The search functionality has also been improved with this upgrade. Now, when you search for a word or some letters within a word, a drop-down menu appears to assist you in either finding the exact word you are looking for or allows you to select the “containing… ” to return pages containing those letters.

search functionality
Example: Search drop-down

Overall, the usability of has been improved and will continue to improve as we move forward. As is the nature of wiki, there is always work to do and ways in which to make it better – both functionally and content-wise. If you have not had a chance to see, create an account, or add some of your GIS knowledge, feel free to join the community and help us to continue to make this an excellent resource for all levels of people using and interested in GIS.

If you are looking for a place to collaborate and share your ideas with other people on the wiki, you can always use the Discussion Room, which is accessible within the ‘Site Management’ links along the left-hand side of any wiki page or create a discussion on a particular wiki page by using the ‘Discussion’ tab.

We are always looking for feedback. To send feedback, click the feedback link located on the bottom of each wiki page or just send us an email to

We hope you enjoy the upgraded wiki and look forward to seeing you around.

-Collin W., Administrator

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

ArcGIS 9.3.1 Service Pack 2 is now available!

esri logo

We are pleased to announce that ArcGIS 9.3.1 Service Pack 2 was released today. We recommend that all ArcGIS 9.3.1 users download and install Service Pack 2 at their earliest convenience, to ensure the highest quality experience when working with ArcGIS 9.3.1.

With Service Pack 2 now available, there is an accompanying list of the issues that were addressed within the new service pack. These issues are listed in the links below under the “Issues Addressed” section. Many of these issues came directly from customers reporting them to Esri Support Services and were prioritized to be included in this service pack.

For details on each individual product’s service pack, the issues addressed, instructions on how to install the service pack and other information, see each product’s link below:

If you run into any issues with the installation of this service pack or have any feedback, please contact Esri Technical Support at 1-888-377-4575 option 2. International sites, please contact your local Esri software distributor.

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

Mike H., Program Manager
 Follow me on Twitter:

Posted in export, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Esri Support Services (ESS) at the 2010 User Conference – There To Assist You.

Do you have a question you want to ask us in person? Bring it to us at the 2010 User Conference!

Or even if you just want to say ‘hello’, come by; the Technical Support Island (Doctor’s Office) within the Customer Care area is located in Hall C on the Ground Level of the San Diego Convention Center.

As part of the Esri Showcase, we will be at the User Conference from 9 AM to 6 PM on Tuesday and Wednesday, and from 9 AM to 1:30 PM on Thursday.

Senior Support specialists from ESS will be glad to meet you and provide one-on-one support for your specific technical questions. You can also ask the User Advocacy Group your questions about bugs that have been identified in the released software.

During this year’s User Conference, members of Esri Technical Support will be giving presentations on various Support topics. Topics include ArcGIS Ideas, Chat, Premium Support Services, What’s New in Technical Support, as well as several technical presentations about tips and tricks for troubleshooting Esri products. You will see demos of and ArcGIS Ideas, as well as My Support – a powerful new online tool for users to view incident reports, track progress, make notations, create reports, and much more. You can also provide your feedback to help steer and focus future Esri Support Services offerings.

Stop by the Esri Technical Support Island located within the Customer Care Area to learn more about the ongoing initiatives to help you be more successful with GIS and any GIS work you may be doing.

Please provide any questions or comments that you may have via the comments section below this post. NOTE: You must be logged in to your Esri Global Account to leave comments.

- Michael “Monte” M., Server Unit Manager, Esri Support Services

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