ESRI and ArcView

The stand alone ArcView boxThere are some comments of my previous post about ArcView and Geoprocessing that would seem that people aren’t very happy with the limitations of ArcView. I’m wondering why people feel this way. I’m not surprised in the least bit that ArcEditor is required for the new cartographic features given that the geodatabase is now a requirement to use them. As ESRI begins to include more and more into the geodatabase I’m sure we’ll start seeing ArcView be left further behind.

I was actually unhappy to see ArcView be included in the “new” ArcGISIS suite at 8. ArcView was never meant to be a primary GIS tool back on the old ArcView GIS days. People were able to make it work because of Avenue and many (including me) sold our services to companies wanting more power out of ArcView to accomplish tasks that used to require workstation ArcInfo. When ESRI announced that ArcView was going to be a licensing level of ArcGIS I knew that they would have a tough road to ahead of them as people would always be wondering why ArcView didn’t support this or ArcView didn’t support that. Any program that has the work “View” in it shouldn’t be counted on to be the primary tool for any ESRI shop. With 9.2 and SDE now being available on workstations rather than just on the server, you’ll need at least ArcEditor to manage these geodatabases. We’ve all seen the presentations where ESRI has said the two most important things for Desktop GIS are the geodatabase and geoprocessing.

ArcView does has its purpose (though I wish they used a different name than ArcView) and if you primarily use shapefiles for your work flows, it will do a good job. Frankly I’m happy to see more emphasis on Editor and Info with 9.1 and 9.2 as we can start getting back to the old days of workstation type analysis rather than these GUI wizards that ArcView has introduced to community. I think the future of ArcView is more tied to the server and ArcGIS Explorer rather than the classic ArcView stand alone application and I think ESRI is looking at it this way also. Give away the client (ArcGIS Explorer) and let the Server (ArcGIS Server/SDE) handle the workload. Probably cheaper anyway than putting all those ArcView licenses on the desks of people who don’t need it.

Geoprocessing with ArcView

The old ArcView habits die hardI just spent the last hour trying to help someone over instant messenger perform some GIS analysis using ArcView. Lets just say the hoops you have to jump through to get ArcView to accomplish tasks that are actually simple in ArcInfo is aggravating. I know many people have ArcView and try and use some 3rd party tools to do but lets get this out on the table; ArcView is a viewer, ArcEditor is for editing Geodatabases and ArcInfo is for GIS analysis. I don’t think ESRI has been as vocal enough with their users, telling them not to use ArcView as an analysis tool, as they should be. As the new Geoprocessing tools take off in 9.2, you are really shortchanging yourself by not upgrading to ArcInfo if at all possible. Actually lets be honest here, with the new Cartography tools at 9.2 you’ll want to have an ArcEditor license anyway to create these new cartographic features, otherwise you are just going to be on the outside looking in.

At a minimum any serious GIS Analyst using ESRI software needs a copy of ArcEditor to do their job. Yes you can hack your way though a job just using an ArcView, but if you work in an ESRI shop and stuck on ArcView, I’d be spending this summer working on figuring out how to upgrade my copy of ArcView to at least ArcEditor to be ready for when ArcGIS 9.2 arrives.

Images on Planet Geospatial

I was fooling around with the feedparser and I seem to have added the img tag as acceptable by mistake. I’ve fixed that and next time PlanetGS builds, there will be no more images to clutter up the aggregator.

I’ve been having tons of trouble with Blogger feeds and I was tweaking the python script in hopes of improving the non-standard atom feed that it uses. Doesn’t seem like I solved anything so I’ll put the old feedparser back in.

When yes does equal no

It has been a crazy week so far and I apologize for the lack of posts. I hope to be back on track tomorrow.

We are working on a regional master plan and I had to create a map using some GIS data that was given to us by various governmental agencies. In the pile of shapefiles was a dataset showing future transportation corridors, simple enough to add to a map or so I thought. I couldn’t get the map to look anything like that was on the website where we got the dataset from. After spinning my wheels for a little bit, I went ahead and called the organization to find out how to use this simple dataset. Most of the fields were blank so I couldn’t figure out how to query the dataset to get it to appear correctly. After talking with the GIS manager he remembered that particular layer and told me to calculate the field named “YES” = ‘no’.

Yes will never equal yes

Of course on closer look, you’ll notice that YES can also equal ‘ ‘ or ‘ye’ (the text field is only 2 characters so YES will never equal ‘yes’). I need to reach for some aspirin right. 😀

ESRI betaWeb

BETA WEB and everyone is invitedLooks like ESRI has totally revamped their beta website to make it more like a community and with forums that are much easier to navigate and search. If you haven’t logged into the beta site, you should probably do so and check it out. Heck they even have blogs on there and you can even subscribe to the forums via RSS so you won’t miss anything. Pretty slick.

JMARS – Java based Geographic Exploration System for Mars data sets

Hmm, yea I used Geographic Exploration System again in one of my posts. Once you start using the term you can’t stop (kinda like “consume web services”).

Well beyond all that I saw that Arizona State University has a Java program called JMARS (Java Mission-planning and Analysis for Remote Sensing) which “provides easy access to many different Mars data sets, including MOC, MOLA and THEMIS, and allows the user to combine these into a single image”. JMARS supports Java Web Start so you can launch right from your web browser. In typical Java frustration though it requires J2SE 1.4.2 and of course I had 1.5.x only. Once you get that figured out is a really impressive way to view raster information from Mars.

One really interesting feature is that new datasets are constantly being added to JMARS because the Mars Odyssey spacecraft is still taking THEMIS pictures of the surface. You can also load shapefiles, GML or even ASCII (assuming you have such files for Mars).

JMARS map window - Go Sun Devils!

Shape2Earth Beta 2

Google EarthI’ll be honest, I haven’t even taken a quick look at this shapefile to KML converter Shape2Earth by Tim Beermann, but some might want to check it out. Unlike many of the GIS to KML products I’m familiar with, this one doesn’t seem to need ArcGIS to get its data into Google Earth making it a pretty good choice for those not running ESRI’s ArcGIS. One good new feature in this beta I can see is that Shape2Earth will project on the fly so you don’t need to worry about making sure all your data is in WGS84.

I’ve been playing around with the NASA World Wind shapefile “import” tool and its not exactly as easy to use as I would have hoped. I can’t see how in its current form that my clients would be able to use it, but hopefully as the project continues the tool will become more robust and easier to use.

ArcGIS Explorer beta 1 snapshot 1 available to beta testers

E2 IconIn contrast to my post yesterday about the ArcGIS Explorer public beta (this snapshot release is a closed beta), a new “snapshot 1” beta is available for download from the ESRI beta site to those in the 9.2 beta program. I don’t see any release notes, but it appears to be similar to the version demoed at the Developer Summit last month. I guess keep an eye out on the ESRI beta forums for what is new and what to test as this is a closed beta so you can’t get any info from this blog.

Update – Actually the “What’s New” has been posted to the ESRI beta forums in the ArcGIS Explorer section. Take a look.