ArcGIS GUI Issues

I’ve been loading a ton of data into SDSFIE and I’ve noticed an issue with the Load Data GUI. Unlike every other “multiple import/load” dialog, the “load data” dialog is totally different.

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You have to use a standard windows dialog to add features, not drag and drop from any ArcGIS application (ArcCatalog or ArcMap). Compared to the Import Feature Class (multiple) it is such a pain in the ass. Why can’t that dialog be the same as all the others?

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I can just drag and drop any data layer on to that guy and go on my way. But with the first one, you have to browse and click OK, then you have to click again to add it to the collection. Then I have to repeat all those steps for every data layer I want to add. What a hassle! I just want the ability to drag and drop, is that asking too much?

It’s the community, stupid

ArcGIS ExplorerI get people asking me all the time how ArcGIS Explorer will do against Google Earth or NASA World Wind. For now one can’t speak because it is still in closed beta, but I will address one part that people have been asking me about. The ArcGIS Explorer Community. Right now the only community online is the ArcGIS Explorer website, which really isn’t a community at all (though I guess you could count the Beta Web forums as community). The AGX team told me at the UC that they plan to have a community site up and running and that this current website is really just a plug until AGX is released to the public. As Jeff Atwood says, “It’s clear that community support can make or break a product.” I hope that ESRI will let the AGX team run with their community, rather than force it into existing community platforms that really don’t lend themselves to community at all (though astute readers will point out that the big GE community is just a forum).

I do think in the end the community is just about as important as the product itself (if not more so). A mediocure product can be made much better with great community support and putting a middle man between users and developers can cause as many problems as it can resolve.

The effect of Google Earth on ArcGlobe

One of the most disappointing aspects of ArcGlobe (aside from performance) is the default view.

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ArcGlobe

This was probably fine back in the late 90’s when GIS professionals just didn’t know any better, but now with Google Earth becoming the standard of digital globes, implementing ArcGlobe becomes difficult given that you don’t get much good data out of the box (we expect all this satellite imagery as free don’t you know). A client of ours asked how they could get ArcGlobe to look and work like Google Earth, specifically the 3D airspace we created for them. Since the airspace was a 3D shapefile, it didn’t take more than a second to load it in to ArcGlobe for them to see. The response was less than enthusiastic given what they were expecting. Google Earth by default has all the imagery they want…

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Google Earth

Of course I was able to quickly export the shapefile to Google Earth using Arc2Earth, but we were running it on the clients personal laptop because they can’t run Google Earth at their place of work. I fired up ArcGIS Explorer to show him what was coming on line from ESRI, but he then asked if that data will be available in ArcGlobe. I didn’t think that was the plan, but wouldn’t ArcGlobe be so more useful if it had access to the same datasets as ArcGIS Explorer below?

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ArcGIS Explorer 9.2 Build 306

updated grammer

David Maguire on 52°North and ESRI

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David Maguire blogs on why ESRI is part of 52°North.

Although there is a lot of hype associated with the open source software model and many overblown claims, it is clear to me that it can work (e.g. Apache and MySQL) and that there is significant interest in community development in the GIS industry. This is the backdrop to our positive decision to join the 52?North Initiative as a founding member of the oversight company.

What might become of this? Well 52°North website says they will focus on Spatial Data Infrastructures, specifically Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) and Security and Digital Rights Management (YUCK). I guess you have to start somewhere, but neither of these areas will garner much press. Then again, David says:

Frankly, we are unsure about where this adventure will take us, but we are committed to trying it out and seeing where it leads.

So maybe there might be more down the road than first appears.

Preparing for ArcGIS 9.2

training-wheels.jpgWith all the new changes in ArcGIS 9.2 I’ve been telling folks to head over to the ESRI training site for some free ArcGIS 9.2 training seminars. I happened to head over there today and was surprised to not see much ArcGIS 9.2 stuff up on the front page. I know there are sessions happening all over the place, but the first place people look is probably the ESRI Training and Education site. Maybe when we get closer we’ll see some more organized ArcGIS 9.2 training.