The 3D Globe Matterhorn Test

Stefan likes to use the Matterhorn as a test for the terrain of 3D globes. He’s looked at the Matterhorn in Google Earth and Virtual Earth 3D. Here is the “standard” view in ArcGIS Explorer.


Anyone in Europe have a nice detailed globe service they’d like to share? Because of the back end technology behind AGX, it should be able to blow away both Google Earth and Virtual Earth with terrain models. The question is how to find them.

Viewing ArcIMS services in ArcGIS Explorer

One of the biggest “errors” one gets when trying to view ArcIMS services in AGX is the dreaded “Unknown spatial reference” when adding them. This occurs because the projection has not been set for the service and logically AGX cannot display them. The 9.2 ArcDoc should explain how to set the projection withe the AXL files, but way back in Feb 2006, Jeremy Bartley wrote a blog post about how many ArcIMS sites had their projection set inside the huge MapDex site.

One of the most disturbing things I have found out from building Mapdex is the lack of proper projection information set for mapservices. It turns out that about 56.5% of mapservices lack a projection or cannot be assumed to be geographic. Only 31.3% of mapservices have a valid projection while 12.2% can be assumed geographic.

Better get cracking all you ArcIMS administrators and update those AXL files. As Jeremy noted back then, there is a great ArcUser article about Georeferencing ArcIMS Services.

Why Raster Labels with AGX (and ArcGIS Online)

A couple people have noted that ESRI used raster labels with the globe services offered today. A post on the ArcGIS Online forums outlines the thinking as to why they decided to do this and a work around for ArcGIS Online users.

One of the the things you’ll notice when using the globes and maps published initially with the ArcGIS Online services is the use of “rasterized” labels. In designing the services, there was much discussion of the relative merits of raster vs. vector labels.

In general, raster labels offer the advantages of better font placement (e.g. stacked labels, angled text on physical features like mountain ranges, better label de-confliction) and better performance where text is dense. Vector labels offer the advantages of rotating and billboarded text when rotating or tilting the globe and sharper labels at some scales.

For the beta release, the approach taken has been to develop both raster and vector label services so both are available for different uses. The initial globes and maps released use the raster labels. For raster labels, there are two services (named ESRI_BoundariesPlaces_World, ESRI_BoundariesPlacesAlt_World) that are designed for use on dark or light base maps, respectively.

Users who prefer the vector labels, however, can update the globes to use the vector label service (named ESRI_PlaceLabels_World) that is also available on the ArcGIS Online server. Some new globes that are published by ESRI will use this service where appropriate.


Community Participation in MapGuide Open Source

I’ve been getting more and more .NET developers talking to me about my MapGuide Open Source move over the holiday. Seems like many ArcIMS developers are downloading and checking out MapGuide, trying to get away from the ArcGIS Server/Desktop conflict (they have to develop on 9.1, but their IT department wants to roll out 9.2). I’ve said this before, but every day I get more and more ESRI developers asking me for directions on how augment their toolbox with open source. Personally I’m beginning to see the power behind hit and the .NET integration is welcome. After my initial battle with PHP, I’m running very well and at least on this laptop MapGuide Open Source and AJAX Tile viewer. It seems to run faster than ArcIMS 9.2 and the Web ADF on my laptop, but I’ll be honest that isn’t a scientific observation.

Geoff Zeiss says that the MapGuide User Reception he attended was very interesting:

The most remarkable thing in my mind was that this meeting was unlike any other event of a similar type that I have attended at AU (Autodesk University) in the past, and I think the reason was that the focus was on open source, specifically MapGuide Open Source.

I think the move to open source MapGuide has been a great one, not only for Autodesk, but their users. The kicker here is how open source will direct the future of MapGuide and how that differs greatly from the traditional closed model that seems to be driven more by large clients (see PUG) and less by the small users like ourselves. This whole “Request for Comment” process is wonderful because you don’t need to know Jack Dangermond personally to get a say in the future development of products that directly affect your career. There are small companies doing great things with MapGuide Open Source so anyone can be successful at open source web mapping.

MapGuide Open Source just reinforces the idea that the future of web based applications will be based around the open source model that companies such as Autodesk have jumped on. Being at the front of this wave will benefit not only Autodesk, but the community that is built around MapGuide itself. Exciting times indeed Geoff!

More EDN 9.2 Pictures

Just as I was leaving one the the cameras showed up. Here are some pictures of the EDN packaging. (compare to EDN 9.1)

The EDN DVD Case (as I said, you can travel with this now compared to the huge binder of 9.1)**


The tabs still have intro information like EDN 9.1


EDN 9.2 has ArcGIS Desktop in addition to the Server and Embedded offerings**


EDN 9.2 includes the latest version of ArcView


EDN 9.2 contains DVDs instead of CD-ROMs


EDN 9.2 has tons of data included to get you started (including imagery and elevation data)


Ogle Earth Reviews 3DConnexion SpaceNavigator

Stefan was lucky enough to review the new 3DConnexion SpaceNavigator and likes what he sees:

But does it work? Oh yeah. After about 2 minutes my left hand disappeared and I began to mind-meld with Earth. Think Rotate and that’s what Earth does. Push in and you zoom in. It’s a completely new level of control, and it’s completely addictive. The sensitivity is proportionate to your altitude, so at sea level you can work with sub-meter precision. Zoom out and you can traverse the world in a second. Look up above the horizon if you like, or pan, zoom and rotate all at once. You can make yourself queasy without trying very hard.

3dspaceexplorer.jpgSigh, I’d love to have one of these to demo ESRI’s ArcGlobe, especially the SpaceExplorer version. I’m sure one could do wonderful things with that baby! I see the benefit of using such controllers with 3D globes after using the Xbox controller with Virtual Earth 3D.