Esri Field Mobility

Maintaining field assets such as roads or fire hydrants, requires engineers and managers to know what condition these assets are in. After all, prevention is better than cure and fixing problems is much more time consuming and expensive than just keeping all assets serviced and in good working condition.

Many organizations rely on a field workforce to support these daily operations. Having the capability to get information into and out of the field in a timely manner can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. Information collected in the field using easy-to-use solutions can share information with solutions including the executive operational dashboard in near real-time allowing decision-makers within an organization to make more informed and timely decisions. These mobile solutions can also improve the workflows of field personnel by providing them with on-demand access to actionable and task-relevant information creating a more efficient and effective workforce.

In a scenario where the data already resides in a geodatabase, how can office staff or dispatchers send out staff to the field to inspect and evaluate the condition of an asset easily and quickly and ideally without a paper trail?

Simply put, the workflow can be streamlined with the use of Workforce for ArcGIS in conjunction with Collector for ArcGIS.

1
Workforce for ArcGIS: Creating an Assignment

With Workforce for ArcGIS, office staff can manage the deployment of all field crews by assigning jobs to each individually and monitoring their progress and position in real time.

Creating an assignment on the Workforce for ArcGIS web app allows for the dispatcher to:

  • Choose the assignment Type
  • Set the location of assignment (Address or   coordinate)
  • Choose the staff member
  • Set Priority of assignment
  • Set the due date/time for completion
  • Description of assignment/task
  • Attach files for use by the field staff such as images or technical drawings.

Assignments are sent to the field worker via an internet connection to their mobile phones or tablets, running on Android, iOS or Windows 10.

2

Once the assignment has been created, the user in the field can choose to accept or decline the assignment, all of which will notify the dispatcher in the office.

When an assignment has been accepted and “Start” is chosen, the field user will access the details of the job as well as be able to access the applications used to both navigate to the location  or capture the data.

 

3-4
Navigating between Workforce for ArcGIS and Collector for ArcGIS on a mobile device

The user will choose the Collect option at the top-right in order for the hydrants to show on a map. Using Collector for ArcGIS allows for the user to access the existing feature where it’s properties can be altered.

5
Collector for ArcGIS: Feature attributes
6
Collector for ArcGIS: Editing feature attributes

Once a hydrant is selected, all it’s relevant data is displayed and ready to be edited, if required.

And when the inspection is complete, the tick at the top-left is selected, which will sync the data from the mobile device with the data source, keeping in mind that an internet connection is required.

Lastly, the applications will switch back to the Workforce for ArcGIS, where the field worker will select the “Finish” option, notifying the dispatcher of the assignments completion.

7

Collector and Survey123 for ArcGIS are also capable of capturing new features with the same workflow and do not require internet access though the location (GPS) has to be switched ON, on the mobile device.

Capturing data in the field has never been easier!

How to save over 70GB of hard drive space in one click!

Drives

Recently I found myself wondering where exactly all the space on my hard drive was going. One day it was there, and the next it was gone.

I did my usual Windows clean-up but still wasn’t happy with the outcome so I did a bit more exploring into the Esri side of things to see what could be done. And the answer, quite simply is, A LOT, with absolute minimal effort!

Today I am going to introduce you to a lesser known tool from the Data Management Toolbox (and definitely finding its way into my Top 10) called Compact.

The tool does what the name implies, specifically for file (and personal) geodatabases which we all characteristically have scattered across our hard drives.

The underlying architecture of these types of geodatabases relies on binary files – as you add, remove and edit data within the geodatabase these files become fragmented which ultimately decreases the performance of your database and takes up wasted space.

What compact does is rearrange how these files are stored on your disk, reducing the overall size and improving overall performance. WIN-WIN!

To explore just how much a difference this could possibly make, I wrote a script that could iterate through all of the directories on my computer, searching for these geodatabases to perform a compact operation on them. If you’re working with a specific feature class or a database is locked for whatever reason, the script will gracefully skip over it and continue on its hunt for free space in your directories. Your overall savings may vary based on the type of work you’re doing with your databases on a day-to-day basis, I personally saw a total of 70 GIGABYTES of data released back into the system. That’s a lot of 0s and 1s.

Geodatabase Compactor

I’ve made the script into a geoprocessing tool which you can download here. If you’re the more inquisitive type, you can right click on the tool in a Catalog window and click Edit to see the nuts and bolts – it’s a very good example of Python’s os.walk function to step through files and directories.

You can choose the nuclear option like I did, and scan an entire drive, or choose a specific directory for it to iterate through.

If you have background geoprocessing enabled, progress messages will be logged to the Results Window.

Depending on the number of geodatabases you have on your PC, the first run of the tool may take some time. Subsequent runs will be faster as your databases will already be optimised.

Happy space saving!

Make your own 3D web app

jsapiWe all know that ArcGIS comes with a very large number of out of the box apps that seemingly do just about everything! Surprisingly though, we often come across the problem of finding an app that “fits just right” with what you need to achieve. The solution to this is to build your own app using an API or Runtime. The beauty of the ArcGIS APIs and Runtimes is that they extend the platform – meaning you can leverage all the power of ArcGIS such as Server, map services, web maps, popups, geoprocessing, etc all in a front-end that suits your workflow, user needs and styling choices. This may seem daunting, but don’t be fooled, anyone can do it!

This post will take you through some basic steps to create your own custom web application using a 3D scene. We will use the ArcGIS JavaScript API 4.0 to make the app.

1. Getting started – setting up your environment

Like I said, this is really simple. There are only two things you need. Firstly, you will need an ArcGIS Online subscription to make a web scene that we will load into our custom app

Secondly, you will need is a JavaScript IDE (editor) such as Notepad++ or WebStorm (link).

And that’s it, we are ready to go!

2. Creating the web scene

Log in to your ArcGIS Online account and click the menu option entitled “Scene”. This is a familiar interface very similar to the “Map” tool that lets you other webmaps. Use this tool to create a web scene with your own data layers, popups and symbology. In my example, I have added the provinces of South Africa as a layer and extruded them to show some 3D.

blog1
Creating a web scene in ArcGIS Online

Make sure to save the scene when you are done and take note (copy into notepad) of the item id for the web scene. You can grab this from the address bar in your browser. My id is “0390e2ec01fa488a847d4e413f015cd0”.

blog2
Getting the web scene’s ID

Note that to make things easier, you can share your web scene publically. This will avoid your app needing to authenticate you when opening it (i.e. logging in). In future, you can add security to your app as required.

More info on how to create a web scene, go to this link.

3. Creating your web page structure

Open up a new, empty html file in your IDE of choice. We will first put in the basic structure of the HTML page to get us going (TIP: I have created myself a template that I can re-use as a starting point each time I want to create a new app – saving me the time of creating the structure). An HTML page consists of some mandatory sections:

  • HTML doctype declaration – so that a web browser knows that the page is an HTML file (and what version – we are using 5)
  • Head – this includes all necessary ‘meatadata’ for the web page including the styling and logic (javascript)
    • Title – be sure to set a readbale title that you will see on your browser tab
    • CSS – this is the styling file and its easiest to pull in the CDN hosted Esri stylesheet
    • Javascript libraries – this is the ‘core’ JS library that will enable all kinds of web mapping goodness, we will pull in the CDN hosted JSAPI from Esri (link)
    • Javascript – this is the logic of your won app, here will enter our code to load a scene view and any other logic we want from the page
  • Body – this is the HTML which provides the structure of the page using HTML tags (link)

Here is my basic skeleton template including the links to the CDN CSS and JavaScript libraries that make up the ArcGIS JavaScript API (v4.0):

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>

<title>My First 3D Web App</title>

<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://js.arcgis.com/4.0/esri/css/main.css">
<script src="https://js.arcgis.com/4.0/"></script>

<script>
/* section for my custom code */

</script>

<body>
<!-- page layout will go here --> 

</body>
</html>

More info on creating HTML pages, go to this link.

4. Building the HTML page structure

Before we can add a map (or other elements) to the UI, we need to create the structure of the page itself. Now, there are many ways to skin this cat which I wont go into in this post, but I am going to use a couple of layers (“DIV”s in HTML parlance) to layout my page. This is where you can really start to have fun – since you are in full control of everything, you can choose layout, colours, fonts, graphics, etc to make you page look great!

Here is the HTML layout code that is inserted into the “body” section:

<div id="wrapper" style="position: absolute; top: 0; bottom: 0; left: 0; right: 0; background-color: rgb(200,200,200)">

  <div id="mapPanel" style="position: relative; float: left; width: 60%; height: 100%">
  </div>

  <div id="mapDescription" style="position: relative; float: left; width: 40%; height: 100%; background-color: rgb(220,220,220)">
    <p style="margin: 10px; font: normal 10pt verdana;">Welcome to my very first 3D web app! You can click around and navigate the scene.</p>
  </div>

</div>

5. Adding the JavaScript “Scene View”

Since v4.0 of the ArcGIS JavaScript API, Esri now uses a new pattern for adding maps to the view. This is done by first creating the map (which is a container) and then adding a view to that map.

Here is the code for loading my map which is inserted directly into the <script> section:

require([
  "esri/views/SceneView",
  "esri/WebScene",
  "dojo/domReady!"
], function(SceneView, WebScene) {

  var scene = new WebScene({
    portalItem: {
      id: "0390e2ec01fa488a847d4e413f015cd0" // replace with your web scene's ID
    }
  });

  var view = new SceneView({
    container: "mapPanel",
    map: scene
  });

});

Note that I have entered the Item ID from the web scene I created earlier as the reference. This means that the logic will now create a scene container, find the scene item by its id and load that into the scene as a view. Too easy!

More info on the ArcGIS JavaScript API, go to this link.

6. Revel in your mastery

And that’s it! You have created your first 3D web app. To view it, simply open the HTML page in your favourite browser (JSAPI v4.0 is supported in Chrome, Firefox, and IE 11).

Here is a screenshot of my first app:

blog3
My First 3D Web App!

Happy coding!

– Richard

Moving and shaking the mining industry

Esri MUGAnyone who believes that Mining, as an industry and technology consumer, is standing by and doing nothing while it struggles through a major downturn, surely did not attend the Esri Mining User Group (MUG) meeting, recently held at the University of Pretoria’s Virtual Reality Centre for Mine Design (link).

Although it is true that the impacts of new ideas and new technologies may not yet have resuscitated the status quo, there is certainly hope, perhaps due to the current economic climate, that these changes to our thinking and doing within operational mining will bring about true business disruption for the greater good.

The advent of true integrating technologies such as ArcGIS as well as other powerful process, analytical and visualisation tools is showing that things need not be what they have always been.

Providing an industry-wide glimpse of new capabilities, Esri partners spoke about some promising new developments including direct geospatial enablement of governance and risk systems (Isometrix), geotechnical integration and analysis with slope monitoring systems (Aciel Geomatics), the blurring of OT and IT systems (OSIsoft) and the new business outlook for Spatial Dimension (Trimble).

Certainly a highlight of the day was the use of the Virtual Reality Centre’s demo theatre; a 360-degree immersive VR cylinder that showcased some initial R&D underway with key partners, looking at how VR can enhance mine planning, production analysis, above-to-underground visualisation and other high value 3D questions in a truly immersive environment. Breaking down barriers of understanding to achieve better decisions and outcomes is the ultimate goal… Watch this space!

But the day was ultimately focussed on our users.

Esri MUG 2

Miranda Muller from AngloGold Ashanti gave some inspiring insights into how to pilot new technologies in an industry that is typically averse to trying cutting-edge tech including drones, IoT and VR.

Theodor Paetzold spoke about how Rio Tinto is trying to resurrect its global user groups that assist in creating a global GIS community for better support and collaboration.

Pieter Mostert at Anglo American gave some create insight into how GIS technology has been used to improve the business of mineral exploration and the entire mining value chain –by creating a single integrated source of the truth for people to access anywhere around the globe.

Finally, Professor Fred Cawood of the University of Witwatersrand rounded things off seriously by addressing some of the pressing questions and ideas needed for moving the mining industry forward in a decline against the backdrop of our socio-political climate.

Carl Bester, from Esri South Africa, gave a ‘mid-term’ update of ArcGIS for Mining and how it has been received by our current users since it has evolved over the past few years. He also provided some insight for new and emerging users on the possibilities of creating an interconnected geospatial platform within a mining operation to deliver the right information, at the right time, in the right way to the people who need it.

It is an exciting space that is ever expanding, leveraging the new tools and capabilities of ArcGIS, and contributing to the changing face of information and data in the mining industry.

All these talks provided some thought provoking concepts that showed how, by embracing digital technology, we can revive and ultimately disrupt the mining industry. The focus is on us, the technologists, to be the agents of change within our organisations to push through new developments that have been proven to be beneficial to the industry.

The Esri MUG is a collaborative forum that aims to bring users with common challenges and experiences together to learn and share ideas. The meeting at Tuks was just one such initiative and we welcome further ideas on how to improve this teamwork approach. Esri South Africa will be hosting more MUG events in future, do join us next time.

Please drop us a line if you would like to know more about the discussions and presentations offered on the day.

– Richard

Improving underground mine safety

Pillar safety analysis on the map:

Thinking about Lily Mine as reported by Mail & Guardian on February 15,2016, that the central pillar of ore, called a crown pillar, collapsed subsequently leading to the lamp room which was at the entrance swallowed up by the sinkhole burying three mine employees. This made me to think of the underground solutions we have implemented using 1ArcGIS for Mining to visually analyse on the map the safety factor of pillars individually and accumulatively, and be able to overlay on that single map – mine progress, surface infrastructure and all other related mine assets.

Many mine incidents recorded in the past have always been linked with pillar failure. Geotechnical engineers in an effort to predict and minimise such incidents; use proven, yet complex mathematical calculations to determine the safety factor of pillars in the mine. Most of these calculations are time consuming to replicate and difficult to display to relate them with other possible surrounding risks as well as the cumulative effect with surrounding pillars.

Applying Geography using ArcGIS has proven that it can remove technology barriers between different mine technical systems and save time to get to the answer required to making a decision. Using the application in a coal mine to calculate and display the pillar safety factor in historical workings and active areas proved to be highly beneficial. A complex geotechnical method was incorporated into ArcGIS platform with variable parameters taken into consideration including pillar shape, distance between pillars, size, material and other surface irregularities of the hanging wall and foot-wall.  The pillar safety factors were easily displayed and shared to key stakeholders and accessible using any device such as iPad, enabling decision makers to make decisions wherever they were. It became much easier to replicate the model for other mines with flexibility to change parameters. The time to load new data entries and to verified them on accuracy drop from taking months into seconds.

Safety Factor

This did not only improve the method used and data quality. It also flagged risk areas that were never considered before in the underground workings and on surface by enabling visibility of other assets that were at risk of sinkholes should a pillar collapse.

1ArcGIS for Mining is a mining focused solution leveraging ArcGIS Platform technology

 

 

Monitor your assets in real time

As part of the ArcGIS Platform, the GeoEvent Extension for Server enables real time data processing and works seamlessly with your other ArcGIS software. Several of our clients have a need to monitor their business data in real time, and need to track their vehicles / assets to ensure all business processes run smoothly. ArcGIS GeoEvent Extension for Server enables an organisation to filter and process their event data in real-time and this allows them to connect and view virtually any type of streaming data from their device or office.

Setting up the GeoEvent Extension for ArcGIS Server can be tricky and in this blog we hope to cover all the necessary steps to make it work. We have implemented GeoEvent Extension for Server mostly at organisations that need to view the near real time location of their vehicles – consuming telematics data. In our example the data we are using has the following records:

  • vehicle id
  • event time
  • ignition on or off
  • speed of vehicle (km/hr)
  • g-force data

One of the requirements is to send out notifications to both the delivery service manager and to the delivery recipient. Three types of notifications are required for this scenario:

  • when vehicle enters a dangerous zone (e.g. a known hijacking zone)
  • when vehicle is driving above the speed limit
  • when driver is within 5 km of the location where the parcel is being delivered

The driver behaviour warnings are sent to the delivery service manager, while the delivery recipient is notified that the driver is close to delivery.

  1. Create an empty feature class in an enterprise database using the schema of the csv file.

You can download the xlsx file and convert it to csv.

Note: use the coordinates in the csv file to create the feature class and delete all the records using the truncate tool.

2. Create a zoning / geofences feature class in the enterprise geodatabase.

Note: create domains in the geodatabase for the type of zone e.g. Dangerous / Buffer; and style the data accordingly.

3. Publish a map service to ArcGIS Server.

Note: feature access must be enabled (both datasets must be from the same enterprise geodatabase).

2 feature access

4. Import the GeoEvent Definitions using the ArcGIS Server feature service.

Note: Make sure the ArcGIS Server or Portal is registered with GeoEvent Server. Use the tracking layer (step 1).

3 register server5. Import the GeoFences and create GeoFence Synchronization Rules using the ArcGIS server feature service.

Note: Use the zoning / geofences layer (step 2).

4 geofence

5 geofence sync

 

6. Add and configure the csv file as an input service.

Note: use the Receive Text from a TCP Socket for the Input Connector. The Server Port must match the port that will be used in the simulator.

6 tcp text in

7. Add and configure the tracking layer feature service as an output service.

Note: use the Add a Feature for the Output Connector.

7 car fs out

8. Various notifications can be created to inform the delivery service manager or the delivery recipient. In this example Send an Email was used as an Output Connector.

Note: Access to an SMTP server is required – contact your system administrator for help with this, or you can use gmail for testing purposes.

8 email buffer

9. Create and Publish a GeoEvent Service to connect your inputs (step 6) to the various outputs (step 7 & 8).

Note: txt-to-car is a processor; speed, buffer-zones and dangerous-zones are all filters.

9 geoevent service

txt-to-car:10 txt to car

speed:11 speed

buffer-zones:12 buffer zones

dangerous-zones:13 dangerous zones

10. Upload the csv file in GeoEvent Simulator.

14 load from file

11. Connect to the server and port (step 6). Set all the other settings and play the simulator.

15 simulator

The results can be viewed in a web map or application (Portal) or desktop. Notifications will be received as zones are reached or when the vehicle is speeding.

16 web map

Use the 11 steps above to set up your GeoEvent Extension for Server. The data can now be viewed in a web map from virtually any device.

 

CityEngine & ArcGIS Pro combine to show CCTV coverage in 3D

As part of our Modelling Reality in 3D series, this post looks at the Esri Africa User Conference demonstration of CCTV camera placement in 3D.

Modelling reality in 3D

A prominent United Nations study notes that the share of Africans living in urban areas is projected to grow from almost 40% in 2010 to over 60% by 2050. With the expected rate of population growth on the continent. This increase in urbanisation can lead to economic growth, transformation, and poverty reduction. However, without proper planning the possibility of increased inequality, urban poverty and associated crime exists.

One of the areas to address is crime and this needs to be done in a more systematic way. Applying geography will help us do that.

The aim of the demonstration was to show the location and coverage of CCTV cameras in downtown Johannesburg. The objective was to find the optimal coverage area in 3D by altering some of the camera attributes such as angle, direction and length. CityEngine was used to create the CCTV coverage rules, and ArcGIS Pro’s analysis abilities were utilised to determine the covered areas.

pic1

CityEngine:

Step 1 was to create a CityEngine rule that creates 3-dimensional shapes representing the visible area of each camera. The CGA rule is shown in the images below:

Attributes

pic2
Note that the Width and HorizontalRotation attributes derive their values by calling the getWidth and getRealDirection functions, respectively.
The getWidth function uses a Pythagorean algorithm to calculate the width (length of the opposite triangle side) by using the CameraAngle and ViewLength attributes.

The getRealDirection function converts the azimuth attribute (N= 0, E = 90, S = 180, W = 270) so that the coverage area has the correct real-world direction. See how altering these attributes effects the coverage areas in the video below.

 

Rules

The image below show the rules used to generate the viewing area:

  • Object: The Object rule uses the i-function to transform the CCTV point to an existing triangular Collada shape and then calls the Rotate rule.
  • Rotate: The rotate function uses the VerticalRotation and HorizontalRotation attributes to change the angle of the viewing area, before calling the Scale rule.
  • Scale: Finally the s function scales the viewing area according to the Width, VerticalHeight and ViewLength attributes. The rule then centres, colours and changes the transparency of the 3D viewing area.
pic3

ArcGIS Pro

The second part of the presentation showed how these CityEngine rules can be implemented in ArcGIS Pro for further analysis. Some of the analytical capabilities of ArcGIS Pro are listed below

  • Display the 3D view areas alongside existing 3D content (such as buildings) in ArcGIS Pro.

 

pro004
  • View feature information in a pop-up. This can include attributes, pictures, videos or HTML attributes such as an i-frame of the Google Street View.
pro001

 

  • Calculate the % of the area covered by the cameras. The image below shows the Before and After scenes after additional cameras (blue spheres) were added. We can analyse the coverage of the new additions and compare the calculated values to the previous scenario.
www.progif
By combining CityEngine with ArcGIS Pro we were not only able to realistically model reality, but also perform accurate 3D spatial analysis.

Determining Solar Potential for Rooftops of Multipatch Feature Types

Part of the Modelling Reality in 3D series

Often times there are problems that simply have to be solved in 3 dimensions in order to attain the appropriate results. This doesn’t have to be scary though! Through this series of blog posts – Modelling Reality in 3D, we’re going to uncover some simple and practical uses for 3D GIS.

In this demo we’ll be using tools that are nestled away in the Spatial Analyst extension and often overlooked in order to determine the production potential of rooftops of multipatch feature classes (Esri’s geometry type for 3D features) for generating electricity harnessing the power of the sun!

For this exercise we’ll be using a multipatch feature class from HERE’s 3D Landmark dataset of the Dome in Northgate, Randburg as its construction lends itself quite nicely to an exercise of this kind. This workflow should be perfectly acceptable to use on any other multipatches with a ‘roof’ area with minimal tweaking to the model as long as you keep in mind that this model assumes that skyward facing portions of the multipatch are rooftop areas.

dome1

The high level workflow and tools used for this exercise are as follows:

dome7

A toolbox can be downloaded HERE in which you can delve further into the parameters set for this demo. We will be discussing it on a conceptual level on the blog.

 Prepare Usable Roof Area

This model will be calculating the maximum potential that can be harnessed by a rooftop, therefore we need to define what this region is. The Area Solar Radiation tool, which we’ll discuss later on, requires a DEM as input and provides results based on a square metre, so we know that this rooftop needs to be represented as a DEM and to make calculations easier later on we will be using 1 metre squared pixels.

dome2

Using the Slope and Raster Calculator tools from the Spatial Analyst Extension we extract all of the areas with a slope of 36 degrees or less – this gives us a good approximation of the rooftop area that could hold a photovoltaic cell – we then use a number of other raster-based tools from this extension to clean up the roof area we will be working with.

dome3

Using the rooftop area we then extract from the DEM of the building only the portions of the DEM that relate to the roof area that we require for our analysis.

dome4

Calculate Global Solar Radiation

Using the Area Solar Radiation tool we determine the global radiation expected to hit the roof of this building in an entire year – this is a combination of both the direct and diffuse radiation and the pixel values have the unit of watt-hour per square metre. In this exercise I used all of the default values as they were well suited for the area in which this building lies, however you can change a number of parameters related to the amount of light that would eventually reach your rooftop.

dome5

Additional outputs include views of both the direct and diffuse radiation which make up the global radiation as seen above as well as a DirectDuration ‘map’ which indicates in hours the amount of time each pixel would receive direct solar radiation.

dome6

Prepare Basic Contextual Statistics

Now that we have a result, we need to make sense of it and often times the best way to about this is by providing context. The following statistics were calculated based on the global solar radiation values.

Statistic

Result

Assumption

Total Global Radiation

3 192 297 067 wH

Conditions modelled in the Area Solar Radiation Tool are correctly indicative of an average year for the site.

Total Area

21 189 m2

Solar Electricity Potential

3 192 297 kWh

Largest Possible System Cost

R35 455 711

Based on a solar panel with the following specifications:

Module Output: 310W

Cost: R3246.86 per unit

Size: 1.940352 m2

http://www.sustainable.co.za/jinko-jkm310p-310w-solar-panel-pallet-of-28.html

Largest Possible System Size

3 385 200 kW

Solar System Potential

4 077 473 kWh/year

Based on a running time of 5 hours of maximum output for the largest possible system every day for a year with loss factors accounting for temperature (6%), dust (7%), wiring (5%) and DC/AC conversion (20%)

Number of households that could be powered per month, either:

Low Consumption

680

500kWh per month

Medium Consumption

227

1500 kWh per month

High Consumption

113

3000 kWh per month

Conclusion

Obviously this approach is based on a number of assumptions which would be made clearer on a true project of this nature and scale. A number of factors have also been disregarded such as the weight of the system and how much load the roof structure could bare. What this model does do is quickly provide an indication of the potential of rooftop-based solar energy in South Africa and hopefully showcases both the power of tools within our software within a 3D context!

ArcGIS Earth is here!

ArcGIS Earth Logo

Version 1 of ArcGIS Earth was officially released mid-January 2016. The application offers functionality to share data in a similar way that Google Earth does.

For Esri customers ArcGIS Earth offers additional value as it makes data viewing in realistic 3D and data sharing possible across the platform – from the desktop, mobile, server or custom developments, the same authoritative data can now be viewed in ArcGIS Earth.

Some advantages of ArcGIS Earth are:

1. Basemaps

ArcGIS Earth offers a choice of 10 global Basemaps ranging from street maps, to terrain and imagery at the click of a button. Simply set the Basemaps to suit the data that is displayed. This means you always have access to high quality, global data that is being constantly updated for you.

ArcGIS Earth screen shot

Multiple datasets from various online or offline sources can be viewed in context of a Basemaps of your choice.

 

2. Collaboration & Content

If you are an existing Esri client with a Portal (or ArcGIS Online) identity you have full access to your organization’s authoritative content in the form of map and feature services, which means you can do your work quicker and easier than before. Sharing data requires no conversion, saving you time and money.

3. Ownership & Security

With ArcGIS Earth you have the ability to share GIS content that is 100% secure in an existing ArcGIS Online or Portal environment.

  • The level of data access is controlled by your Portal identity. Users can only access data they have been granted access to.
  • When information is added to ArcGIS Earth it remains the property of organisation/person who published it. This is different from other software providers may keep data even after you have removed it.
  • It is not possible to extract or download data from ArcGIS Earth. You can share a view of your data without giving it away. This is great because you can rest assured that your company’s data is safe and secure while using the latest technology to do your work.

4. Save your last session

There are several setting that can be customized. Among them is the possibility to have the Start-up view to continue where you left off. This setting remembers your location, Basemaps and all the other layers that were added during your last session. This can save you time when starting to work each day!

5. Limitations

ArcGIS Earth is great as a free tool for realistic 3D data visualization and sharing data in collaboration with your colleagues and customers. As with all software, there are currently a few limitations:

  • The file based data formats are limited to shp and kmz/kml. If you wish to use data from other Esri sources it must be published to a map or feature service first.
  • Where the symbology of file based features can be changed and the popups are visible, this is not the case for feature and map services. It is not possible to change the symbology or transparency of service layers to view data in context of layers below. It is also not possible to label or set popups for a service layer.

In conclusion

ArcGIS Earth version 1 has many useful features and boasts unrivaled global Basemap content. It is a great way to share your data securely with anyone, any place, anytime. So, have a go! You can download it for free.

 

Modelling Reality in 3D with ArcGIS – Blog Series

modelling reality - logo

Welcome to 2016! This is going to be a bumper year on the Esri South Africa blog so be sure to keep checking back for new content (or you can subscribe using by clicking the FOLLOW US button on the right).

Following our successful demonstration of CCTV camera placement at the Africa User Conference, we are pleased to introduce a new blogging series that will showcase some new and innovative ideas for leveraging the power of 3D modelling and analysis within the ArcGIS Platform. The entries will be created by our team of 3D experts here at Esri South Africa and will include step by step guides on how to do it yourself.

If you have any specific requests for 3D modelling or analysis scenarios, please drop us a line using the comments below.

The first entry in the series, entitled “Determining Solar Potential for Rooftops using Multipatch Feature Types”, will be available next week!

– Richard