A collection of various GIS related links, information and other GIS blogs.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

FOXNews – Google Earth Accused of Aiding Mumbai Terror Attacks


An Indian court has been called to ban Google Earth amid suggestions the online satellite-imaging service was used to help plan the terror attacks that killed more than 170 people in Mumbai last month.

A petition entered at the Mumbai High Court alleges that the Google Earth service "aids terrorists in plotting attacks."

Advocate Amit Karkhanis has urged the court to direct Google to blur images of sensitive areas in the country until the case is decided.

There are indications that the gunmen who stormed Mumbai on Nov. 26, and the people who trained them, were technically skilled.

The group appears to have used complex GPS systems to navigate their way to Mumbai by sea. They communicated by satellite phone, used mobile phones with several different SIM cards and may have monitored events as the siege unfolded via BlackBerry Web browsers.

Police in Mumbai have said the terrorists familiarized themselves with the streets of Mumbai's financial capital using satellite images, according to the sole gunman to be captured alive.

The commandos who stormed the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai said the militants had made a beeline for the building's closed-circuit security-camera control room.

The legal petition also follows unconfirmed reports that Faheem Ahmed Ansari, a suspected militant who was arrested in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh in February, said he was shown maps of Indian locations on Google Earth by members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based terrorist faction that Indian officials are convinced was behind the Mumbai attacks.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop – 9.3

Many of you have probably seen – and hopefully used! – this book over the years. It has been very popular and I hear from many folks that it is very useful to them. So it is nice to see that it is being updated for ArcGIS Desktop 9.3!


ESRI Press Updates Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop for the 9.3 Software Release

Redlands, California—ESRI Press has published an update to its best-selling book Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop: Basics of ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo, Second Edition, with revisions that will make the exercises compatible with the latest software release, ArcGIS 9.3.

Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop, an ESRI Press best seller for seven years, has schooled tens of thousands of people in the basics of how to use geographic information system (GIS) software technology.

The workbook introduces GIS concepts and capabilities and describes the features and functionality in ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo, the core products in the ArcGIS Desktop line. Step-by-step exercises, accompanied by richly detailed illustrations, teach basic GIS tasks such as how to conduct spatial analyses, make maps, and build and edit spatial databases.

Readers will learn to use the software applications that form the building blocks of ArcGIS: ArcMap, used for displaying and querying maps, and ArcCatalog, used for managing geographic data. They also will learn how to create a personal geodatabase; geocode addresses; join or relate tables; and build models using ModelBuilder, a graphical interface for diagramming and processing solutions to complex spatial analysis problems.

Instructions in Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop have been updated to reflect ArcGIS 9.3 enhancements. To learn more about the latest version of ESRI's software, visit www.esri.com/whatsnew. The workbook includes a 180-day single-use trial version of ArcView 9.3 software on DVD and a CD of data for working through the exercises.

Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop: Basics of ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo, Second Edition Updated for ArcGIS 9.3 (ISBN: 9781589482104, 600 pages, $79.95), is available at online retailers worldwide, at www.esri.com/esripress, or by calling 1-800-447-9778. Outside the United States, visit www.esri.com/esripressorders for complete ordering options or contact your local ESRI distributor. For a current distributor list, visit www.esri.com/distributors. Interested retailers can contact ESRI Press book distributor Ingram Publisher Services.

Monday, November 24, 2008

California GIO

Many folks have been pushing for and working towards the establishment of a position for a statewide GIO. I heard a few weeks ago that it was approved, and now the job announcement is out.

If you think you have the skills, knowledge and everything else that will be needed to navigate in Sacramento – please take a look!


Nice pay too…

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Microsoft & ESRI team to geo-enhance FusionX

Watch for more on this in 2009.


November 20, 2008

Microsoft, ESRI to Help Improve Homeland Security Operations

Technology partnership in FusionX makes fusion center situational analysis affordable, easy to use.

Redmond, Washington, and Redlands, California—Microsoft Corp. and ESRI together are driving Homeland Security innovations to more effectively help protect citizens, prevent and solve crimes, and enable counter-terrorism through software. The newly formed collaboration will combine the best capabilities from both organizations in geospatial and collaborative technologies, and will result in advanced intelligence for state and local data fusion centers and emergency operations centers.

An intended product of this collaboration is the FusionX Appliance, a baseline IT architecture for fusion centers, which will provide users with advanced collaboration and geospatial intelligence capabilities by combining the power of ESRI’s ArcGIS Server Advanced Enterprise with the collaboration capabilities of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.

FusionX will enable homeland security and law enforcement personnel to analyze previously disparate data sets in a mapping context and easily share that information in near real time with relevant stakeholders. FusionX will enhance the abilities of fusion center directors at the strategic and tactical level, enabling them to visualize patterns and trends to help prevent future acts of terrorism and crime, and facilitate a faster and more informed response when necessary. Through the intake of raw data such as fire, police and citizen reports, FusionX will allow for geocoding and mapping of the data to help detect man-made acts of terrorism and crime, such as organized, gang and drug-related activity. Critical GIS data is made accessible and shareable, replacing current collaborative analysis methods that rely on paper exchange and e-mail.

The IT architectural features of the appliance include the following:

  • Sophisticated management dashboards through the advanced monitoring, modeling, analysis and planning capabilities of ArcGIS Server and Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007
  • ESRI ArcGIS Server Advanced Enterprise, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and access to terabytes of high-quality pre-rendered base maps and imagery
  • An advanced situational awareness portal with support for GeoRSS feeds, Keyhole Markup Language (KML) feeds and other data that will be integrated in the SharePoint environment for access control features and information sharing
  • Best practices and foundational content specific to anticipated operator and analyst requirements. Customers will be able to customize the software as necessary, but the goal is to deliver capability that is usable after only minimal configuration.

Our police forces, sheriff departments and fusion center managers are increasingly relying on collaboration tools that help them connect the dots in a world of asymmetrical threats," said Gail Thomas-Flynn, general manager of State and Local Government at Microsoft. "Microsoft and ESRI’s FusionX Appliance provides the layman- to expert-level technology that can facilitate the intake, analysis, visualization and dissemination of information to the right person, at the right time, in the right place."

The FusionX Appliance will deliver advanced geospatial and collaboration capability with minimal configuration and maximum ease of use, yet at an affordable price. It will be extensible so as to grow with the needs of an individual customer. The FusionX Appliance also will allow for the scaling of its technology architecture framework to a broader set of federal, state and local domestic security and public safety agencies with capabilities such as geoprocessing and geoanalytics.

"We understand what it takes to provide secure and mission-critical capabilities in ways that leverage the technologies that many customers already own," said Russ Johnson, public safety industry manager at ESRI. "And that is extremely important in this economic climate."

More information about the program is available at http://www.microsoft.com/industry/government/solutions/FusionX/default.aspx.

# # #

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Press Information:
Matt Donovan, Merritt Group
Tel.: (703) 390-1519
E-mail (press only): donovan@merrittgrp.com

Friday, November 21, 2008

What’s Shakin’?

Golden Guardian took place recently in California. It simulated a big quake as an opportunity for agencies to test their emergency preparedness and also to see if/how they could work together. In San Diego Caltrans District 11 was out with mobile units gathering information of “damaged” roadways and bridges that needed repair or inspection. This field collected data was transmitted up to Sacramento and loaded up into ArcGIS Server based webservices along with data from other agencies around the state. San Diego County EOC was one such agency.

Cities and counties were then able to consume these webservices in their own applications, in Common Operating Picture viewers based on the ArcGIS Server flex API, or in ArcGIS Explorer.

When the fires started breaking out in southern California (Freeway, Sayre, and Tea) before the exercise was complete, they re-tasked servers, loaded in real emergency information gathered at the fires and kept on serving it up to end users fighting the fires and making decisions on how to allocate resources.


November 17, 2008

GIS Delivers during the Largest Earthquake Drill in U.S. History

ESRI Provides Staff and Resources for the Great Southern California ShakeOut

Images for Publication

A GIS-based common operating picture provides continuous data updates. Understanding hospital occupancy levels helps officials direct emergency medical service crews transporting new patients.

Redlands, California—At 10:00 a.m. on November 13, 2008, millions of people throughout Southern California participated in the Great Southern California ShakeOut Drill, the largest earthquake preparedness exercise in U.S. history. The drill simulated a magnitude 7.8 earthquake along the San Andreas Fault in Southern California. ESRI supported participating agencies with software, staffing, and resources used during the exercise, which modeled assessment, rescue, relief, and recovery efforts. Geographic information system (GIS) technology was used to help build an accurate, continuously updated emergency information repository; aided decision support and resource management; and enhanced multijurisdictional communication.

"We worked diligently to create a realistic exercise that helps us see where we are with our response capability in the event of a major earthquake," says John Ellison, agency technology officer and geographic information officer (GIO)/California Environmental Resources Evaluation System (CERES) director, California Resources Agency. "By upgrading to ArcGIS Server 9.3 and ArcGIS API for Flex, we have an easy-to-use Web-based viewer suitable for this purpose. We are very pleased with our GIS experience including during the exercise."

The ShakeOut kick-started a weeklong collection of exercises called the Golden Guardian 2008, held November 13–18 and involving 5,000 participants from public agencies around the state. Based on scientists' predictions of what would occur during and after a major earthquake, the simulated results included 1,800 dead, 50,000 injured, and $200 billion in damages. The goal of the drill was to test and evaluate processes, equipment, technologies, and shared workflows. Results helped determine best practices, opportunities for improvement, and potential new capabilities.

"The GIS platform developed for the Golden Guardian 2008 exercise proved to be an invaluable tool," says Paul Hardwick, GIS project manager, San Diego Homeland Security Regional Technology Center. "We were able to post pertinent information to provide situational awareness to the state emergency command center and affected communities as well as areas adjacent to the disaster. The ability to transfer information between systems and to implement server-based tasks for analysis helped make the event a success."

Multiple Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs), including California Resources Agency, deployed ESRI's Situational Awareness Bundle for the ShakeOut. The bundle provides a complete framework for geospatial intelligence analysis, visualization, and management. Users managed multiple events with the bundle's ready-to-operate hardware solution, its powerful data fusion and analysis engine, and a set of fully customizable viewers to display the affected areas. Staff also used terabytes of prerendered data including street networks, raster imagery, topographic maps, shaded relief imagery, and elevation data.

GIS helped collect and manage large volumes of diverse data including simulated damaged buildings, roads, and power and water infrastructure; affected populations; delivered supplies; and the deployment of fire, emergency medical services, law enforcement, and homeland security staff. Live data, such as weather updates, video, and Global Positioning System (GPS) information, was streamed into the GIS database and disseminated to individuals using desktop computers, mobile devices, and Web-enabled laptops. Mobile GIS helped field crews collect remotely sensed data that was automatically sent back to the comprehensive spatial database.

The ShakeOut was organized by the Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA), a partnership of earthquake professionals, emergency responders, business leaders, and community activists. The group has been planning the ShakeOut since 2006.

Flex API for ArcGIS Server

The folks I’ve shown sample Flex viewer sites have really liked what they saw. I think these will be a popular item for a lot of users.


October 29, 2008

New ESRI ArcGIS API for Flex Enhances Web Mapping

Web GIS Tool Gives Developers Direct Access to ArcGIS Server 9.3

Redlands, California—Web geographic information system (GIS) technology takes a forward leap with the release of ESRI's ArcGIS API for Flex. With the Flex API, developers can combine GIS-based Web services from ArcGIS Server with other Web content, which can be displayed in simple, dynamic mapping applications over the Web or on the desktop.

The API exploits the powerful geospatial capabilities of ArcGIS services. Users can transform their local data into a visually rich interactive map, query and display GIS data features and attributes, locate addresses, identify features, and perform complex spatial analytics. Integrated with Adobe Flex Builder 3, Flex is a client-side technology that is rendered by Flash Player 9 or Adobe AIR. As long as developers have access to ArcGIS Server via a URL, they can program with ArcGIS API for Flex remotely. Since the API is built on the Adobe Flex framework, developers can put all Flex components, such as list boxes, data grids, landscapes, and text controls, into custom applications.

Developers can download the API library at the ArcGIS API for Flex Resource Center and access the source code for a variety of samples of displaying tiled maps, turning layers off and on, and switching between different kinds of maps and imagery. The samples demonstrate how to incorporate symbology, create a map layer, geocode, analyze data, add drawing tools, and much more.

The resource center contains specific documentation about using the packages and classes included in the library. The resource center also includes a code gallery with sample applications for the developer community to see each other's work and speed learning.

A podcast is available that features Mansour Raad, a senior software architect at ESRI, discussing the new ArcGIS Server API for Flex. It includes topics such as MXML, ActionScript, REST, and Adobe AIR.

An early adopter of ArcGIS API for Flex and ArcGIS Server is the City of Boston, Massachusetts, which recently deployed the Solar Boston application, a public-facing Web mapping application designed to showcase active renewable energy installations. The application with a fast and visually dynamic user interface allows users to calculate the solar power that can potentially be obtained via rooftops.

"We chose ArcGIS API for Flex because it allowed us to leverage the power of ArcGIS Server while delivering a rich, interactive experience to our users," explains Greg Knight, senior GIS applications developer, Boston Redevelopment Authority. "Development was both fast and enjoyable, and we are pleased with the functionality and performance of the application."

To learn more about the ArcGIS API for Flex and ArcGIS Server, visit www.esri.com/flex or call 1-800-447-9778.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Government Technology: GIS Saves Baltimore County $4 Million Annually

Aug 20, 2008, By Matt Freeman

Baltimore County, Md., operates an enterprise GIS that is available to all county agencies and departments. The county also gives the public access to its GIS maps, data and services through a fee-based program that's designed to provide printed copies of published maps and access to the digital data and services for the creation of custom products based on customer specifications.

While GIS is used extensively by most county departments and is popular with the public, it comes with a hefty price tag. The county's budget for GIS hardware, software, personnel, database maintenance and training has steadily risen since purchasing its first ESRI ArcInfo license back in the mid-1980s. As a result, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and Office of Budget and Finance initiated a strategic business plan focusing on determining the return on investment and use of Baltimore County's GIS.

The county contracted with Dewberry, a geospatial technology firm, to conduct the study. Rather than examining the historical costs and benefits of the county's GIS technology utilization, the study was accomplished during an eight-month period from September 2006 through May 2007. A thorough analysis of Dewberry's findings were outlined and published in the Baltimore County GIS Strategic Business Plan.

In the plan, Dewberry provides detailed information on existing GIS layers; identifies key users and their uses; establishes current benefits, including cost avoidance, revenue and productivity gains; distinguishes current costs, including software, hardware, support and maintenance; and delivers recommendations on key areas the county could focus on for future GIS use.

By the Numbers
Baltimore County's GIS Benefits

119,377 - Hours saved from using GIS.

$4,052,895 - Money saved from using GIS (total number of hours saved at $33.95 per hour).

$606,626 - Other benefits realized from using GIS (e.g., an agriculture preservation program, savings derived from performing work in-house as opposed to using consultants, and revenue collected from data-request fees).

$4,659,521 - Total annual benefits realized from the use of GIS.

121 percent - Percentage of annual benefits realized from the use of GIS after its cost is subtracted.

221 percent - Percentage of money saved from using GIS.

-- According to the Baltimore County GIS Strategic Business Plan, figures from September 2006 through May 2007

The plan suggests that the county's current enterprise GIS implementation is a viable technology that provides a significant return on investment and important quantitative benefits to its users. However, many business processes were uncovered that could further benefit from additional GIS integration. As a result, the plan sets forth a series of enterprise recommendations that prioritize these findings and proposes a course of action for their implementation. Recommendations and action plans include: hiring a GIS program manager, implementing a GIS-based disease tracker, developing a customized GIS application and automating the retrieval of current data regarding school capacity.

A large portion of the study focuses on GIS as a suitable technology for use by local government on a cost and benefit basis. Costs are broken down into the categories of enterprise, agency and capital. The plan defines costs as any expenditure required to support GIS activities within the county, such as personnel salaries for resources dedicated to database maintenance and administration, hardware and software costs, training and conference costs, capital expenditures, and miscellaneous supply and administrative costs.

Establishing the county's GIS benefits was a more extensive exercise. A team of county staff members worked to define hundreds of activities that utilize GIS for each agency within the county. GIS activities included range from determining the location of sidewalk ramps, to protecting and managing groundwater resources, to maintaining an inventory of all county-owned bridges. By analyzing and comparing the time spent

to perform an activity with and without GIS, Dewberry derived a time-savings benefit. The total hours were then multiplied by a standard rate of $33.95 per hour and used for all personnel savings calculations. Additional benefits included cost avoidance by applying GIS technology, and revenue from the license of GIS products, such as the maps, data and services gained through the public access Web site.

The team also compiled a list of individuals to gather information about the activities, which led to a series of interviews conducted by Dewberry. In the interviews, questions were asked to uncover specific business processes and applications for data uses. In addition to the interviews, questionnaires and follow-up phone calls were used to compile data about the GIS infrastructure, comparable industry practices and public-access programs within the county. The information was used to compile agency-specific reports, which Dewberry presented to each agency.

The impact of the GIS Strategic Business Plan is just beginning to be realized by Baltimore County. GIS personnel have been reassigned to streamline operations, and the OIT is developing GIS service-level agreements to better define the GIS infrastructure, product and services. Another benefit has been the increased communication between agencies on GIS activities and database needs. Overall, the study charts a course forward for GIS use and offers agencies the challenge to further integrate GIS into their business processes.

Matt Freeman is a writer with ESRI and contributed this article to Government Technology

[[ See original article here ]]

Friday, October 31, 2008

SANDAG GIS team – winning awards!

Longtime GIS users, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) has a lot of experience in doing GIS-based analysis for aiding in decision-making and making a lot of maps.

Recently some of these maps have won some awards (read about it here)!

And here are PDFs of the maps:

2007 San Diego Wildfires: Half a Million People Evacuated (Where did that number come from?)

Downtown San Diego - 2030 Commute Cost Analysis: How much do you really pay to get to work in the morning?

Visit the SANDAG website to learn more about how they use GIS technologies and to download free San Diego area data.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How far can YOU go on a gallon of gas??

Here's a fun way to find out. Take a look at this demo site called MapMPG (beta). This is based on Business Map (with fuel data from http://www.fueleconomy.gov) and takes your input information on the make, model and year of two cars, and a choice of locations - and gives you a map of how far those cars can drive.

Might be a good tool to use when thinking about new cars.

For example - if we had purchased a Hybrid Escape a few years ago instead of the 2WD, I would be getting about 8 MPG more...

This shows our 1998 F-150 and out 2006 Escape (click for full size):


We thought about getting the Hybrid, but just couldn't swallow the extra cost. Of course, gas was a lot cheaper back then too. Here's the distance of the 2WD gas versus the 2WD hybrid (click for full size):


For more information on BusinessMap, go to: http://www.esri.com/software/busmap/index.html

Mapping Center : I remember making this feature class...I wonder why?


I remember making this feature class...I wonder why?

Have you ever wondered where a feature class came from as you've browsed over one of your geodatabases in ArcCatalog? I think most of us have, and probably more often than we'd like to admit. In the example shown here to the left, I made these datasets a few weeks ago, and I have no idea what "GN" means, and if or how I selected, simplified, or dissolved the data.

There are a couple of things we can do to avoid that puzzled feeling: standardize your feature class naming convention; standardize your geoprocessing.  With the naming convention, I started doing the right thing here, but failed to follow through and leave myself the necessary clues. The data in the image above was also the result of a complex workflow, so rather than start with that, let's cover the basics. 

Use Standard Feature Class Names

My example here fell apart because I was using the framework for a standard naming convention, but my naming convention  wasn't entirely standard. The framework that I was using creates feature class names based on who first published the data, and then what the data represents.  So, NHD_Flowlines means I got the data from NHD (USGS National Hydrography Dataset), and the data represent stream flow lines.

Second, while my example started off with a good name, I had not developed a standard convention for any of the processes that I ended up doing to my NHD_FlowlinesPlus dataset to produce my cryptically named datasets.  Before I explain what I should have done, I'll share the standard naming conventions I use:

  • Scale: _24K, 100K, 250K, 1M, 2M:  The first example means the data are either captured or generalized to be at a resolution appropriate for 1:24,000 scale maps.  The 1M means 1:1,000,000.  This is a relatively good convention; I say relatively, because the meaning is map product and data-production specific.  The product in this case is an on-screen map, and I use different data production methods from that which I would use for a printed map.
  • Mapping Purpose: _lab _sym, _master:  This refers to how I use these data in a map. If it is for labeling only (_lab),  for symbology only (_sym), or a dataset that I use to derive cartographic data, (_master). The context I have found most useful to use these abbreviations is ArcGIS Server, my goal there is to optimize the data to the greatest extent possible to improve drawing performance.  I covered how to set that data up in a recent blog entry on tips for improving drawing performance.
  • Vintage: _03, _07, Mar_08, Jun_06, etc.:  This is just a two-digit year so I can tell when data are captured. For imagery, it's useful to add at least the month or even the capture date to the name as seasonality often carries significant meaning.

Read More: Mapping Center : I remember making this feature class...I wonder why?

Mapping Center : Color ramps reorganized

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 6:00 AM - Jaynya

Color ramps reorganized

We recently made some changes to the color ramp styles on Mapping Center under the ArcGIS Resources tab. You will now find a single ZIP file that contains a variety of color ramps. Our purpose in reorganizing the color ramps was to make it easier to find and use the color ramps.   The way we did that was to organize all the color ramps of a particular theme into a separate style file.  Then we gave each of the style file a name that better describes the purpose of the color ramps.

The .zip file contains color ramps for the following:

  • Desert environments
  • Hypsometry (elevation) developed using Imhof’s guidelines in Cartographic Relief Presentation
  • Special cartographic effects (like the park boundary used on the Crater Lake National Park map)
  • Special events (fire, global warming)
  • Water bodies
  • Water dynamics (water currents – direction and velocity)
Click on any of the images below to see a full-size version of the contents of each of these styles:

 Desert Color Ramps - Click to see full size Effects Color Ramps - Click to see full size Events Color Ramps - Click to see full size

               Desert                               Effects                                  Events

Read more: Mapping Center : Color ramps reorganized

Friday, September 19, 2008

ESRI & Google Earth at Where 2.0

From the ArcGIS Explorer blog

Explorer at Where 2.0

Earlier this morning here at Where 2.0 in San Francisco, John Hanke, Director of Google Earth and Maps, and Jack Dangermond, ESRI President, partnered in a presentation which showcased some of the capabilities of ArcGIS Server 9.3. ArcGIS Server was used to publish KML that was viewed in Google Earth. The KML showed the result of a fire model with predicted burn times from the current fire perimeter (red line at right).

While ArcGIS Explorer is tightly coupled with ArcGIS Server, and has been designed specifically to leverage ArcGIS Server capabilities, ESRI's open architecture also provides support for Google Earth, Google Maps, Virtual Earth, and other custom viewers.

Read the rest of the article here...

ArcGIS Mobile Blog : Oakland County Animal Control


Oakland County Animal Control

At the Mobile and LBS Special Interest Group meeting held Wednesday evening, Mike Dagle and Scott Oppmann from Oakland County Michigan shared their experiences deploying a solution for Oakland County Animal Control using ArcGIS Server and the newly released ArcGIS Mobile application.

Dagle Presentation
Mike Dagle discussing implementation lessons learned

Oakland County Animal Control was established in 1919 to enforce pet-ownership laws and control stray pet population. Each year Animal Control conducts a dog census. The goal of the census is to both estimate the number of domestic pets and locate/issue citations any unlicensed dogs. Due to the size of county, approximately 10 municipalities are canvassed each year and the County uses summer students to conduct the census.

Prior to implementing ArcGIS Mobile, the process involved geocoding current dog licenses, joining the geocoded location to tax parcels, creating a series of 11x17 paper maps, conducting the census on paper log sheets and then manually entering the logged results into a database in the office. There were several limitations with their current process that by implementing ArcGIS Mobile they hoped to overcome - needless production of many paper maps, redundant entry of information, potential error/loss of data by poorly written/lost/damaged logs, inefficient use of staff with considerable lag time between field logging and data entry.

Mike Dagle, Scott Oppmann, Dawn Beemer and Brian Ely from the County chose to use ArcGIS Server and deploy the new ArcGIS Mobile application to census takers. They were able to leverage their existing investment in ArcGIS. They replicated their Tax Parcels geodatabase and transformed the parcels feature class to include Animal Census attributes. Then using ArcMap, they symbolized the parcels layer to create a unique list of feature types that would represent the target properties for census takers.

Map Symbolization
Unique value rendering in ArcMap and ArcGIS Mobile

Once the map and geodatabase were in place, the next step was then to simply publish the map as a map service with mobile data access capabilities in ArcCatalog and then use the ArcGIS Server Manager application to author the Animal Control project for field use with the ArcGIS Mobile application. A Windows 2003 Server box running IIS 6...follow link below for the rest of the story...

ArcGIS Mobile Blog : Oakland County Animal Control

GIS Saves Baltimore County $4 Million Annually - Government Technology

Aug 20, 2008, By Matt Freeman

Found in: Geospatial

Baltimore County, Md., operates an enterprise GIS that is available to all county agencies and departments. The county also gives the public access to its GIS maps, data and services through a fee-based program that's designed to provide printed copies of published maps and access to the digital data and services for the creation of custom products based on customer specifications.

While GIS is used extensively by most county departments and is popular with the public, it comes with a hefty price tag. The county's budget for GIS hardware, software, personnel, database maintenance and training has steadily risen since purchasing its first ESRI ArcInfo license back in the mid-1980s. As a result, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and Office of Budget and Finance initiated a strategic business plan focusing on determining the return on investment and use of Baltimore County's GIS.

The county contracted with Dewberry, a geospatial technology firm, to conduct the study. Rather than examining the historical costs and benefits of the county's GIS technology utilization, the study was accomplished during an eight-month period from September 2006 through May 2007. A thorough analysis of Dewberry's findings were outlined and published in the Baltimore County GIS Strategic Business Plan.

In the plan, Dewberry provides detailed information on existing GIS layers; identifies key users and their uses; establishes current benefits, including cost avoidance, revenue and productivity gains; distinguishes current costs, including software, hardware, support and maintenance; and delivers recommendations on key areas the county could focus on for future GIS use. ...For more information and stats, follow link below...

GIS Saves Baltimore County $4 Million Annually - Government Technology

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

WOW Technologies and down-right cool stuff on the floor at the 2008 ESRI UC

[ Quite an extensive blog posting on a number of the vendors and their displays at ESRI UC 2009. Be sure to go look at the posting as there are numerous photos and even videos to view along with all the descriptions. From GIS User.com ]

Written by Glenn Letham

Tuesday, 26 August 2008
On the floor at the ESRI user conference. It’s always a flurry of activity and it’s always one of my favorite things to do at the UC… browse the exhibition hall floor and see all the great new apps and gadgets, while getting the low-down straight from the ESRI partners and solution providers. Read on for details of just a few of the great things we found on the floor at the 2008 International ESRI User Conference.

The gang from Avenza had announced some new features planned for the next release of MAPublisher so I had to stop by and see for myself. Turns out the news was big… very big for MAPublisher users and pretty much anyone that’s interested in creating high-quality cartographic output and then export the output to the web via intelligent, data-rich Flash SWF files. The MAPublisher 8.0 export to Flash capabilities will enable users to export complete Adobe illustrator map documents to Flash without any additional coding or software needed… NICE! The app also enables embedding of attributes, creation of rollover effects and pop-ups, embed images, weblinks, and other custom information. Look for MAPublisher 8 in the not too distant fall season. Oh,and to give you an idea what you can accomplish with MAPublisher… Avenza customer National Geographic used the application to produce it’s award winning Atlas of China (http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/product/202/2981/114.html)  – see www.avenza.com

One thing I always do at most shows is to stop and watch a large-format plotter grind away and check out the output… after all, I used to babysit a plotter for hours on end when I was in College so I find it amazing to watch how the technology progresses (I’m sure nobody misses the old pen plotters!)  I wrote a month ago about Oce and their sweet new ColorWave 600 plotter and incredible new inkless technology, well, unfortunately Oce didn’t have a unit with them (that’s how much in demand they are, even they can’t get one) but no worries, the team was touting the popular TCS300 and TCS500 plotters – these are true CAD/GIS plotting workhorses, fast, efficient, and produce amazing output. The company was even passing out $1500 discount vouchers – you can get one by visiting www.esri.com/oceoffers and be sure to tell em Glenn sent you ;0) If you happen to be from a shop that does relatively large volumes of output (say 10,000 square ft+ per month then you might want to check into the ColorWave 600, an affordable solution ($2500 mo. Lease option) that can handle 6 rolls of media, keep cranking for days solid, and generate high-quality, high-res output in a “green” environment (see article) - see also www.oce.com

I bumped into a colleague form New Jersey on the floor and he shared details of the NSDmaps data product with me. Developed by datamapi, the data provides the latest housing developments and n ew construction along with a number of attributes including: builder info, year of development, home age, numbers, development address, and more. These data are provided as SHP files along with the newly created street segments, cul de sacs, street center lines, and address ranges. See nsdmaps.com

Chuck and Matthew from TDC Group were on hand showing off the latest in Freeance - simply put, this solution enables ArcGIS users to extend the Geodatabgse to the field using Blackberry devices (like the new Blackberry Bold). Given Blackberry's penetration into the entrprise space this is a natural fit! Using Freeance, enterprises can now use data from their enterprise GIS and back office databases in mobile applications on BlackBerry smartphones. Mobile workers in government, utilities and business can now easily update their databases for uses...

... follow the link below to read the entire post!...

WOW Technologies and down-right cool stuff on the floor at the 2008 ESRI UC

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

ArcGIS Mobile Blog : New Community Center for ArcGIS Mobile!


New Community Center for ArcGIS Mobile!

The ArcGIS Mobile Resource Center introduced a new Community Center today!

The goal of the Community Center is to grow a vibrant online community centered around Mobile GIS. The community center aggregates all sources of information that change frequently so you have the most recent information. It includes this blog site, forums, knowledge base articles, and a code gallery for developers.

With the launch of the community center, the mobile dev team has uploaded a number of code samples that you can download in the code gallery. All samples uploaded by the dev team are clearly indicated by the "ArcGIS Mobile Development Team" tag on the sample.

During our presentations at UC2008 (both in the technical workshops and at the Mobile Island Demo Theatre), we wrote a lot of code and those of you who attended our presentations have asked for us to share it with you. So the code samples prefixed with "ArcGIS Mobile - " are exactly those samples. Once you have taken a look, please come back to the code gallery and give these samples a rating!

To post your code to the code gallery, all you need to do is log into the code gallery using your ESRI Global account. If you do not yet have one, you can sign up for one here.

...Follow the link below to view the full posting...

ArcGIS Mobile Blog : New Community Center for ArcGIS Mobile!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mapping Center : "Angeles River, Los"

[ From the ESRI Mapping Center ]

"Angeles River, Los"

Making maps with data that were never intended for mapping has it's challenges. One of them is trying to use the names from GNIS (Geographic Names Information System) (U.S. Board on Geographic Names).  Even when someone has gone to the effort of assigning these names to GIS features, the way the names are formatted can create problems.  In the case of the GNIS, the names were formatted for an old-style (i.e., pre-modern search engine) alphabetical index that you could visually scan like a gazetteer in an atlas.  The result is that there are entries like "Great Salt Lake, The" or "Grande, Rio" which need reformatting in order to look correct on a map. 

As a general rule if a name in the GNIS, or data compiled with GNIS names, has a comma, then it needs to be edited.  Rather than manually edit each of those names, I felt it would be handy to have something to automate that work. So I wrote a field calculator statement that you can download to do the job.  It gets the portion of the name after the comma and moves it to the front of the string, and removes the comma.

Be careful, first select by attribute all the features that have a comma in the name; minimally it will save time:

"GNIS_Name" LIKE '%,%'    (this is using the correct syntax for file geodatabase format)

Once the features are selected, verify that you have no unexpected commas.  Then while that selection is still applied, calculate the field by loading the FlipAroundComma.cal file that is inside the ZIP file in the hyperlink above.

The result will help your maps look more professional. 

Mapping Center : "Angeles River, Los"

Friday, August 22, 2008

ArcGIS Mobile Blog : Reflecting on UC 2008

[ I get this question a lot - which technology do I need, ArcPad or ArcGIS Mobile?  This post from the ArcGIS Mobile blog discusses this very topic! ]

Reflecting on UC 2008

The users conference has come and gone and we are very thankful to all that came to our technical sessions, demo theatre presentations, and engaged us in conversation at the Mobile Island. This year was a big success for ArcGIS Mobile and we are now back into Redlands busy planning our next release. We received a lot of wonderful feedback from you and are integrating that feedback into our planning and future development as I write this.

We will begin a series of posts on this blog site that provide detailed answers to the most frequently asked questions we received at the island and in our sessions. Here is a sample:

What is the difference between ArcPad and ArcGIS Mobile? How do I choose between the two of them?

ArcPad and ArcGIS Mobile are separate technologies designed for mobile GIS. When deciding which is the appropriate solution to deploy, you need to consider what your field GIS project needs are, the number of field workers you need to deploy Mobile GIS to, and how Mobile GIS fits into your existing IT infrastructure. Follow the link below for the rest of the post...

ArcGIS Mobile Blog : Reflecting on UC 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Are You ESRI Certified??

Some jobs out there are just impossible to get. I ran across a job opening in out in Reno NV today, and it states in the job announcement "Applicants must be ESRI certified and fully capable in the use and application of ArcGIS software...".

Why do I say that is impossible? Because at this time you can't become "ESRI Certified". There is no ESRI certification program in place at this time.

That just struck me as a bit funny - I know - get a life...

Friday, August 15, 2008

ESRI UC Blog : Governor O’Malley Fights Back with GIS


Governor O’Malley Fights Back with GIS

One of the biggest fans of GIS on the East Coast is undoubtedly Martin O'Malley.

As mayor of Baltimore and now the governor of Maryland, he spearheaded the use of geospatial technology to help measure government performance whether in fighting crime, filling potholes, or reducing water pollution. 

O'Malley told the story of the powerful nature of GIS from his perspective when he spoke Sunday at the 2008 ESRI Senior Executive Seminar in San Diego. Top-level executives from around the world attended the seminar, which preceded the start of the ESRI UC. The executives gathered to learn how GIS is being successfully implemented at major corporations, in government, and non-governmental organizations.

O'Malley said when he took the reins as mayor of Baltimore in 1999, he inherited some serious challenges: a high crime rate, a plummeting population, and therefore a loss of tax revenue to tackle the problems.

"This left us a legacy of underperforming schools, underperforming and unresponsive city services, littered streets and alleys-thousands of vacant buildings and vacant hearts," he said.

To revive the city...read the rest of the story - follow the link below...

ESRI UC Blog : Governor O’Malley Fights Back with GIS

ESRI UC Blog : The 4-H Technology Team at UC

[ Over the last few years a 4-H group has been coming to San Diego a few days early for UC to do real-world projects around the county. Last year they visited with the San Diego Wild Animal Park and did some GPS'ing. This year they worked with the San Diego County Animal Services Department. Good stuff! ]

The 4-H Technology Team at UC

In the early morning of Friday August 1st 2008, twenty 4-H'ers and their adult leaders from eleven states boarded the San Diego trolley.   A couple dozen people—all wearing blue shirts—boarding the trolley at the same time drew a lot of attention.   People wonder who they are and what they're doing.  The answer: the national 4-H Technology Team, in town for the international ESRI User Conference.  They were headed for the San Diego County Animal Services office.

After that morning trolley ride, the team met with a couple of the staff at the animal control facility—both to learn and to teach.  Laura Warde, an Animal Service officer, talked to the team about the San Diego Animal Service's role in emergency animal evacuation.  In the event of a disaster the Animal Services and Humane Society officers go into evacuated areas and provide food and water for abandoned animals.  If necessary, they evacuate the animals as well.

GIS plays a big part in their emergency evacuation work.  Ward said the San Diego Animal Service isn't very "tech savvy," but would like to be.  The 4-H Tech team helped them with that a little.  In the time available, the team took data about locations of issued kennel licenses and Geo-Coded the addresses.  With the Geo-Coded data, they will be able to create maps for the Animal Service.

The group also heard from Captain Denise Gove from the San Diego Humane Society and from the Glynn County Pirates 4-H club, a part of the 4-H Tech Team from Georgia who has done a lot to prepare their county for future emergencies.  They've made emergency evacuation kits, maps showing shelters, and information packets for county residents.

ESRI UC Blog : The 4-H Technology Team at UC

ESRI UC Blog : GIS in Action Video Contest Winners Announced


GIS in Action Video Contest Winners Announced

Congratulations to the very first GIS in Action Video Contest winners: Garrett and Robbi McKinney, creators of "Due South"; and Mike Morrison, James Mallory, and Larry Stein for their video, "Tracing the Trails." The two winning teams produced entertaining videos that creatively demonstrated the use of GIS in very different ways.

So difficult was the decision in selecting a winner, that a tie vote between the ESRI judges yielded awarding two first place prizes which included a Magnabrite magnifying glass page viewer, ESRI Map Book, ESRI 2Gb flash drive, ESRI cap, and an ESRI mini mouse.

In "Due South," the talented McKinney husband and wife team combined...read the rest of the story - follow the link below...

ESRI UC Blog : GIS in Action Video Contest Winners Announced

Mapping Center : How to scatter stacked or clustered marker symbols for point features


How to scatter stacked or clustered marker symbols for point features

Point Disperse OptionsOne of the most frequently recurring topics on Mapping Center is what to do with stacks or clusters of point features on maps. In August 2007, I wrote a blog posting on how to use Maplex to display coincident points, and this worked for some scenarios, but not all.

New with 9.3 is a tool called Disperse Markers; it's in the Cartography toolbox, in the Symbolization Refinement toolset.  The only caveat to using this tool is that your data need to be stored in a geodatabase because the tool works on representation symbology. This will be easier for many map makers, and it will work for more scenarios than the Maplex solution did.

Here is the basic procedure:

  1. Symbolize your point features.
  2. Convert the symbology to representations.
  3. Run the Disperse Markers tool with your point representation layer as the input.

Here is an example of my results...follow the link below for the full post and more information...

Mapping Center : How to scatter stacked or clustered marker symbols for point features

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The AnyGeo Blog - Anything Geospatial: Implementing GIS on the web and ArcGIS smashups

[ From The AnyGeo Blog ]

Implementing GIS on the web and ArcGIS smashups

From last week's International ESRI User Conference - A recap of Implementing GIS on the web - In a presentation titled “Implementing GIS on the web”, Clint Brown provided a Tuesday AM wake-up discussion on what’s happening in the web world and what opportunities are being created. Brown reminded us that at Web 2.0, our second generation web tools and organized access to information has proliferated. The term mashups, is relatively new to the web world but old news to the us in the GIS space… we’ve been mashing up data forever! Keep in mind though, the web is the platform to build a mashup world. I enjoyed Clint's reference to GIS mashups as "Smashups".

Interesting [and accurately in my opinion], Brown conveyed how to the web community, and the bloggers, it’s not GIS but rather, it’s web mapping with the citizens as censors providing the content – citizen censors - and in the future everyone will contribute their own content and search will organize it. BUT, users require an authoritative information framework. A framework to:
Understand and exploit observations
Analyze observations.
Visualize what it means
Give observations meaning.

Addressing the geo tech professionals, Brown pointed out......follow link below for the rest of the post and some related links...

The AnyGeo Blog - Anything Geospatial: Implementing GIS on the web and ArcGIS smashups

Google Geo Developers Blog: Using Google Maps to Visualize ArcGIS Data & Services

[From the Google Geo Developers Blog]

Using Google Maps to Visualize ArcGIS Data & Services

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Posted by Sterling Quinn, ESRI Developer

Hi, I’m Sterling Quinn and I work on the development team for server-based GIS technologies at ESRI in Redlands, California. We’re happy to report that ESRI software users can now expose their GIS in Google Maps through the recently-released ArcGIS JavaScript Extension for the Google Maps API. The extension is built on the Google Maps API and is designed to communicate with ArcGIS Server, ESRI’s product for serving GIS functionality on the Web.

The ArcGIS JavaScript Extension for the Google Maps API allows you to maintain the user-friendly front end of Google Maps while tapping into an advanced GIS on the back end. You can use the extension to display your own maps on top of Google’s, query features in your database and display them on the map, or expose tasks that run GIS analysis models on the server. You can display your results using the Google Maps API’s native graphics engine and info windows.

To learn how to use the ArcGIS JavaScript Extension for the Google Maps API, use the online SDK, which contains basic concepts, an API reference, and examples of how to create custom maps and Mapplets. The examples contain detailed descriptions on how to do things like adding an ArcGIS Server map type button, displaying query results as KML, or running a task on the server to return a route and elevation profile.

Following are some quick links to example Mapplets...follow the link below to the full story and links...

Google Geo Developers Blog: Using Google Maps to Visualize ArcGIS Data & Services

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Web site helps police,neighbors stay informed | The San Diego Union-Tribune

[ What's missing from this site? A few things. A map might be nice to show where things are happening, but what would really be useful in my mind is the result of map analysis - which is what I thought this was going to be when I saw the headline - like the City of San Diego has (and which has a very similar name - Neighborhood eWatch - but has been available for years). For more info on the San Diego version go here: http://apps.sandiego.gov/ewatch/index.jsp ) What the San Diego version does is take any address within the city that you provide, geocode it, buffer the result and overlay that on the types of crimes you select - and emails you a report each day so you can see how nice or rotten the neighborhood is.

I do have to say that, after reading a few of the blog postings, it looks like some El Cajon Police Officers are regulars on the blog and are returning posts and doing something about what the citizens are posting about - so that is fantastic! ]

Web site helps police,neighbors stay informed

August 9, 2008

EL CAJON: Neighborhood Watch is going digital in El Cajon, where police have launched an interactive Web page to encourage residents to blog and share community concerns with each other and police.

The Web page, elcajonneighbors.org, debuted in May and has already sparked conversation among residents and proved a resource for police officers, some of whom check the site regularly for tips.

“It's another tool for us to use to interact with the community,” said El Cajon police Officer Dan Hansen, a crime prevention specialist who came up with the idea for the site.

At El Cajon Neighbors, people can sign up for e-mail alerts, find out who their school resource officers are and learn about Neighborhood Watch and other crime-fighting programs. The centerpiece is the Neighborhood Blog, where people can post information about community nuisances and potential crimes, such as problems with homeless encampments, speeding on residential streets and barking dogs.

“There is a lot of information out there, a lot of information exchanged (on the Internet) and really, we should be capitalizing on that,” said El Cajon police Lt. Jeff Davis.

The department has even started its own internal blog where patrol officers can communicate with each other about issues on their beats. Officers who work the day shift, for example, rarely see the officers on the night shift.

“It's easier than leaving written notes,” Davis said, “and it's in real time.”

The Web site is part of a larger initiative to reach out to residents and business owners, some of whom might be reluctant to call police about problems that don't rise to the level of a dangerous crime.

“As long as they're not demeaning or insulting to anybody, they can blog about anything in the neighborhood,” Hansen said. “The thing that surprises me the most is how many people have taken to it.”

El Cajon Neighbors has logged more than 28,000 hits since its inception, said Hansen, who plans to add short crime prevention videos to the site. He is trying to spread the word about the site through residents who are working with police to re-energize Neighborhood Watch.

Web site helps police,neighbors stay informed | The San Diego Union-Tribune

Thursday, July 10, 2008

GIS-In-Action Submissions--ESRI User Conference

Show off what you do and win! How do you put "Geography in Action"?

GIS in Action Video Contest

click to enlarge
Prize winners will be announced by August 7, 2008.

Are you a current ESRI customer using a GIS in your daily work or personal life? If so, show us what you do with your GIS, how you do it, and enter to a win prize package of up to $125.

Geography in Action is the theme for this year’s conference. And since the ESRI UC is all about users, we’re sponsoring a video contest to see how you’re using GIS.

Entering is easy. Create an amateur video demonstrating GIS in action and upload it to your favorite video sharing site such as YouTube. Then submit your video entry to us by completing a submission form on or before July 25, 2008. All videos must be tagged with "GIS in Action Video Contest."

A panel of ESRI employees will review all submissions and select a first, second, and third place winner. The winners will be announced by
August 7, 2008.

Watch this Video on YouTube

Prize Packages

  • 1st Place ($125 value): Magnabrite magnifying glass page viewer,
    Designed Maps, 2Gb ESRI logo flash drive, ESRI baseball cap,
    ESRI mini optical mouse
  • 2nd Place ($85 value): Designed Maps, 2Gb ESRI logo flash drive,
    ESRI baseball cap, ESRI mini optical mouse
  • 3rd Place ($45 value): 2Gb ESRI logo flash drive, ESRI baseball cap,
    ESRI mini optical mouse

GIS-In-Action Submissions--ESRI User Conference

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

City of Dover, Delaware, Deploys Groundbreaking GIS Application for NASCAR Events

ArcWatch, May 2008

ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Mobile Help Officials Monitor Events and Respond Faster to Emergencies

City of Dover, Delaware, Deploys Groundbreaking GIS Application for NASCAR Events

By Jesse Theodore, ESRI Writer

click to enlarge
NASCAR fans gather for the races at the Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Photograph by Reinhold Matay.

The weekend of May 30–June 1, more than 140,000 fans will line "The Monster Mile" in Dover, Delaware, to whistle and cheer as they urge on their favorite drivers during three days of NASCAR races.

But while others focus on cars traveling at speeds up to 150 miles per hour around the track at Dover International Speedway, public safety officials will be busy watching for problems and ensuring a safe, secure event. And as medical emergencies, disturbances, and code violations are reported, officials will rely on geographic information system (GIS) technology to help them respond to, manage, and coordinate activities faster than ever before.

Managing a City of Race Fans

One of the toughest tasks for local government agencies is managing large-scale events. The City of Dover (population 35,000) has a particularly unusual public safety issue. Twice a year, the city hosts major NASCAR races. The city's population swells to more than 200,000 as fans from all over the United States descend on Dover.

This creates an enormous challenge as local government officials work to protect the many temporary residents visiting the area. Staff and resources come from the fire, health, emergency medical services, law enforcement, public works, and utilities departments and agencies.

click to enlarge
A map of the overall operational area with a 2007 aerial photograph.

To help coordinate every aspect of this vast operation, the City of Dover recently deployed an advanced enterprise GIS platform that gives venue managers the ability to access data and visualize what's happening where at Dover International Speedway. GIS also lets them capture, integrate, and analyze important public safety data, which helps them respond faster and more efficiently to emergencies or other problems. The enterprise solution was successfully used during the NASCAR races that the speedway hosted in June and September 2007.

GIS technology allows event managers, stationed in the Kent County, Delaware, mobile command center next door to the speedway, to view digital map displays of the entire race venue including the track. On the digital maps, the managers receive information concerning incidents and crowd activity.

Using ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Mobile software from ESRI, staff operating in the command center and in the field can visualize where disturbances, code violations, accidents, and other incidents occur.

Read the full article:  ESRI ArcWatch May 2008 - City of Dover, Delaware, Deploys Groundbreaking GIS Application for NASCAR Events

Mapping Center : Symbolizing a tree canopy

Symbolizing a tree canopy

Not too long ago we received a question on Ask a Cartographer about symbolizing polygons with a scalloped edge (like the old ArcInfo hardwire line symbol). Hoping to do better (scallop lines were a nice idea, but they didn't always turn out as good as I would have liked, so I rarely used them), I started experimenting with the options in representation symbology. I'm happy to report that there is a better solution.

I had some vegetation polygons from a project my team had worked on a few years ago so I copied those polygons into a new file geodatabase, added them to my map, and immediately converted their symbology to representations with out changing the  original randomly applied symbols.  By the way, I'm finding that I use those steps more often now that I'm becoming more familiar with the representation symbology user interface, rather than trying to symbolize my data using the old symbols, and then fine-tuning the resulting representation symbols.

Read the full article: Mapping Center : Symbolizing a tree canopy

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Vista? 64-bit? Remote Desktop? ESRI License Manager a pain? Help is on the way.

If you use ArcGIS Desktop Concurrent Use and you are a Vista user, or running a 64-bit environment, or have users trying to use Remote Desktop - you might really be looking forward to ArcGIS 9.3 when we upgrade the License Manager software.

The upgrade will be to Macrovision's FLEXnet Publisher v11.4.

OK, so that's good news.


What is even better news? You can get it today!

You can download this upgrade today and use it with your 9.2 environment. I have it running on my laptop.

Here's the direct link to the Support Center:

Monday, June 02, 2008

Google spotlights data center inner workings | Tech news blog - CNET News.com

Original post - May 30, 2008

Google spotlights data center inner workings

Posted by Stephen Shankland

SAN FRANCISCO--The inner workings of Google just became a little less secret.

The search colossus has shed only occasional light on its data center operations, but on Wednesday, Google fellow Jeff Dean turned a spotlight on some parts of the operation. Speaking to an overflowing crowd at the Google I/O conference here on Wednesday, Dean managed simultaneously to demystify Google a little while also showing just how exotic the company's infrastructure really is.

Google fellow Jeff Dean

Google fellow Jeff Dean
(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET News.com)

On the one hand, Google uses more-or-less ordinary servers. Processors, hard drives, memory--you know the drill.

On the other hand, Dean seemingly thinks clusters of 1,800 servers are pretty routine, if not exactly ho-hum. And the software company runs on top of that hardware, enabling a sub-half-second response to an ordinary Google search query that involves 700 to 1,000 servers, is another matter altogether.

Google doesn't reveal exactly how many servers it has, but I'd estimate it's easily in the hundreds of thousands. It puts 40 servers in each rack, Dean said, and by one reckoning, Google has 36 data centers across the globe. With 150 racks per data center, that would mean Google has more than 200,000 servers, and I'd guess it's far beyond that and growing every day.

Regardless of the true numbers, it's fascinating what Google has accomplished, in part by largely ignoring much of the conventional computing industry. Where even massive data centers such as the New York Stock Exchange or airline reservation systems use a lot of mainstream servers and software, Google largely builds its own technology.

I'm sure a number of server companies are sour about it, but Google clearly believes its technological destiny is best left in its own hands. Co-founder Larry Page encourages a "healthy disrespect for the impossible" at Google, according to Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience, in a speech Thursday.


Read more: Google spotlights data center inner workings | Tech news blog - CNET News.com

Friday, May 30, 2008

ArcGIS Explorer Blog : Timely information via GeoRSS - Sneak peek at Explorer 480


Timely information via GeoRSS - Sneak peek at Explorer 480

Cyclones in Myanmar. Fires in Florida. Earthquakes in China. Timely information is critical for learning about events as they happen, and subsequently how to respond and what to do in their aftermath. One of the ways that timely geographic information is published is via GeoRSS feeds.

In the upcoming Explorer 480 release GeoRSS feeds are one of the supported connections, joining ArcGIS Server, ArcIMS, and WMS.

Here we've connected to the USGS Shake Map feed, and we're showing the popup content for the 7.9 quake that hit China on Monday, May 12.

Read more: ArcGIS Explorer Blog : Timely information via GeoRSS - Sneak peek at Explorer 480


I've seen Geo RSS feeds in action and it looks like a nice way to share location information. I think we will be seeing more of this in use as we see more and more mashups popping up all over.

ArcGIS Explorer Blog : Explorer at Where 2.0


ArcGIS Explorer at Where 2.0

Earlier this morning here at Where 2.0 in San Francisco, John Hanke, Director of Google Earth and Maps, and Jack Dangermond, ESRI President, partnered in a presentation which showcased some of the capabilities of ArcGIS Server 9.3. ArcGIS Server was used to publish KML that was viewed in Google Earth. The KML showed the result of a fire model with predicted burn times from the current fire perimeter (red line at right).

While ArcGIS Explorer is tightly coupled with ArcGIS Server, and has been designed specifically to leverage ArcGIS Server capabilities, ESRI's open architecture also provides support for Google Earth, Google Maps, Virtual Earth, and other custom viewers.

In the ESRI booth at the Where 2.0 conference we're using the same KML and ArcGIS Server-based maps in Explorer. Here we've taken things a little further with the use of the topo map service available from the Explorer Resource Center and the swipe tool. We used the swipe behavior option to swipe just the selected layer. You can set this option by choosing Tools > Options, and then clicking Layer Appearance.

Read more: ArcGIS Explorer Blog : Explorer at Where 2.0

Thursday, March 27, 2008

New ESRI Press Book - Designed Maps

Designed Maps
A Sourcebook for GIS Users Click image for a larger image of Designed Maps cover

This sequel to the highly successful Designing Better Maps, offers a graphics-intensive presentation of published maps, providing cartographic examples that GIS users can then adapt for their own needs. Each chapter characterizes a common design decision and includes a demonstration map, which is annotated with specific information needed to reproduce the design, such as text fonts, sizes and styles; line weights, colors, and patterns; marker symbol fonts, sizes, and colors; and fill colors and patterns. Visual hierarchies and the purpose of each map are considered with the audience in mind, drawing a clear connection between intent and design. The book also includes a valuable task index that explains what ArcGIS 9 tools to use for desired cartographic effects. From experienced cartographers to those who make GIS maps only occasionally, all GIS users will find this book to be an indispensable resource.

About the author:

Cynthia A. Brewer is an associate professor in the Department of Geography at The Pennsylvania State University, where she teaches introductory cartography and map design courses and advises graduate students working in cartography. She has worked as a map and atlas design consultant for the U.S. Census Bureau, National Cancer Institute, National Center for Health Statistics, and National Park Service. She is the co-author of Mapping Census 2000: The Geography of U.S. Diversity, and author of Designing Better Maps: A Guide for GIS Users.

ISBN: 978-1-58948-160-2    2008   184 pages   $39.95

2008 ArcGIS Server Code Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2008 ArcGIS Server Code Challenge.

The developer community, ESRI Developer Network (EDN) subscribers, and registered attendees for the 2008 Developer Summit voted for the top three samples that best represented creativity, applicability, and originality.


First Place: $15,000

Display Geospatial Analysis results in Google Maps and Microsoft Virtual Earth with ArcGIS Server
John Waterman, Vice President of Geospatial Solutions
East Burke, Vermont, USA

Second Place: $7,500

ArcGIS Server Virtual Tile Server
Dave Bouwman, Senior Software Architect
Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Third Place: $2,500

SDE Web Catalog
Loganathan Vijay Sambandhan, GIS Developer
Buffalo, New York, USA

Honorable Mention

Google Maps Adapter to ArcGIS Server Map Cache
Nianwei Liu, Senior System Analyst Programmer
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA


More info here

ESRI Careers Blog Now Available

This was new to me, so thought I'd share with you.


ESRI Careers blog. Posts about lectures, new job postings, resume advice, and events like recruiting fairs.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Free Pre-Conference Seminar at CalGIS

Heading to Modesto for this year's CalGIS Conference? You might want to think about coming in a bit early to take advantage of a free pre-conference seminar from ESRI. This is modeled after the Desktop Tips & Tricks seminars that folks had to pay for last year.


Be sure to register for this event.


Please note that you must be registered for CalGIS to attend the pre-conference seminar.


From the CalGIS site:

ESRI is pleased to invite you to attend a pre-conference “ArcGIS Desktop Productivity Tips Workshop” presented by ESRI technical staff. This workshop is intended for intermediate skilled users of ArcGIS Desktop who are looking to learn productivity tips and techniques to improve efficiency with ArcGIS Desktop 9.2. The attendees will be provided handouts of the presentation materials in order to follow along with the workshop lecture and demonstrations. This workshop does NOT include hands-on computer workstations. Topics covered in the presentation and demonstrations will include:

  • Tips and tricks for working with Excel files in ArcMap
  • Working with CAD data
  • Managing map documents, layers, and other ArcMap “hidden” settings
  • Time-saving tips for cartography and working with symbols
  • Exporting and printing from ArcMap tips
  • Shortcuts and techniques for modifying feature data with the ArcMap Editor
  • Plenty of time for Questions & Answers!

Click here to register

This workshop will be in Salons I & II of the rooms in the Grand Ballroom, signage will be posted by each door.

April 22, 2008 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Q & A from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

GIS Education Community Blog : Using Callout Labels in ArcMap

I thought this posting on using callout labels was pretty helpful. Beginner tips really, but weren't we all beginners once!?!


Saturday, March 22, 2008 2:51 AM - tbaker

Using Callout Labels in ArcMap

The ArcMap application within ArcGIS allows you to create an amazing variety of fonts, colors, and types of labels that identify point, line, and area features. One of the most useful types of labels is the callout label. This label “calls out” from the label to an off-site location that is typically not on the feature itself, and sometimes helps make maps that are more clearly understood by students. Consider the following example for a lesson I created about the Philippines. Here, if the labels were placed on the islands, they would obscure the data I wanted the students to explore, which was the human development index by administrative area (province). Therefore, I used callout labels so that they would be offset in the ocean.



How did I create these labels? Under the Layer Properties, under Labels, I selected a “Banner” style label. Under Properties for the banner style, I selected Properties once again, and then bumped up the x offset to 45 and the y offset to 30. You will have to experiment with your own data set for the optimal offset, depending on your map units and the feature shapes that you wish to label. I set the colors for the background and for the text.


I did something else to create the above labels. Many provinces are split up into hundreds of islands. To prevent every single island from receiving a label, I accessed the Placement Properties tool under the Label tab in the Layer Properties.

More on the blog...


READ MORE: GIS Education Community Blog : Using Callout Labels in ArcMap

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Doing a GIS Day event?

November 19th is the date for GIS Day 2008.


This posting on Geography Matters announces that GIS Day focused web sites can be submitted to be included on this collection of GIS Day web sites for the public to access. If you would like some help in creating your GIS Day webs site, take a look at these templates to get you started (download .zip file here)! Get lots of information on GIS Day materials as well.


There is a lot of useful information about setting up and planning for a GIS Day event on the GIS Day web site at http://www.gisday.com.


Hope you have a fun and successful GIS Day event!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Creating a ArcGIS Server legend from Multiple Map Resources

I ran across this posting from Vish about some code he wrote and is sharing that will do some nice things. So if you are programming in .NET for ArcGIS Server and are pulling map resources from a number of places, you may want to check out this code.


From his posting:


The features of the code snippet are:

  • Generates images at the required DPI
  • Customizable legend title
  • Handles group layers
  • Handles symbol groups
  • Creates a legend image of the desired height and width. If the legend entries overflow the height specified, they will be omitted. If all legend entries are required in the images, it should only involve a small change in code to remove the check for overflow.

Here is an example of a legend generated by the snippet.

Sample Legend


READ FULL POST: http://viswaug.wordpress.com/2008/03/16/dynamic-legend-generation-through-the-adf/

Friday, March 14, 2008

Assemblymember Jose Solorio's Bill Threatens Public Access to Government Geodata - Articles

This is a big topic in California - has been for years. Should public agencies be allowed to sell digital data that are created and maintained by staff paid with public funds - or should those data have to be provided at no cost (or just the cost of reproduction) under the Public Records Act. It has been an ongoing debate for many years.

Assemblymember Jose Solorio's Bill Threatens Public Access to Government Geodata

By Bruce Joffe , GIS Consultants
March 04, 2008

On February 14, 2008, California State Assemblymember Jose Solorio introduced a bill, AB1978, to amend Government Code Section 6254.9 of the California Public Records Act (CPRA). As stated in the "Computer Mapping Systems Fact Sheet" issued by his office, the bill seeks to improve the current definition of what constitutes a “computer mapping system.” In fact, the bill distorts the definition of "computer mapping system" further from reality. Moreover, if enacted, this bill would severely weaken the CPRA and reduce the public's access to its governments' records.

The CPRA ensures the public's ability to hold our governmental agencies accountable by guaranteeing access to public records at no more than the direct cost of reproduction. "Public records" include government data and records stored in electronic format. Public records also include computerized maps and associated data, such as those stored in GISs. All government records and data are subject to the CPRA except those types specifically exempted in the CPRA (to protect individual privacy and public safety). Computer software developed by a state or local agency is exempted. "Software" means the programs that instruct computers to manipulate data. Data, the information manipulated by computer software, is not software and is not exempt from the CPRA.

Assemblymember Solorio proposed a new paragraph to add to the CPRA which would exempt "assembled model data, metadata, and listings of metadata" from public records access by the public. I am not sure what meaning he intended by these terms, but my 30 years of experience working as a geographic information consultant to many cities, counties, and state agencies offers the following definitions:


READ THE FULL ARTICLE: Assemblymember Jose Solorio's Bill Threatens Public Access to Government Geodata - Articles