ArcGIS Blog » Mapping ArcGIS Blog Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:26:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Support for OGC GeoPackage specification in ArcGIS. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 22:51:46 +0000 ssankaran Continue reading ]]> Have you heard about the OGC GeoPackage specification (  It is a newly minted OGC spec that defines GeoPackages for exchange and GeoPackage SQLite Extensions for direct use of vector geospatial features and/or tile matrix sets. Esri has actively participated in the spec activity from the very beginning. To this end, we were one of the very early adopters of the specification ( early support even before the spec was approved by OGC membership).

If you are curious about GeoPackages, here’s what you can do. At 10.2.1 or with 10.2.2 ArcGIS desktop, you can create an empty GeoPackage and populate the GeoPackage by copying feature data into it. At 10.2.1, we supported the draft version of the specification and at 10.2.2, the final version of the spec is supported. Currently we support only vector features, but with 10.3 we expect to extend support for raster tiles. One of the primary uses cases driving GeoPackage use is mobile support. Expect to see support for GeoPackage in runtime later this year.

So if you are a sqllite database aficionado and would like to test the waters with GeoPackage, here’s what you can do today with 10.2.1 or 10.2.2. You can use the included script to create a sample empty GeoPackage and then populate it with vector features. Use this GeoPackage as you would any other dataset. We have noticed that in some cases when navigating to a directory that contains GeoPackage (.gpkg) data, ArcCatalog/ArcMap does not display the file. Please review this KB article if you run into this issue.

Lance Shipman on the database team has been actively involved with this effort from the very beginning. Lance and I would welcome your feedback, as we at Esri continue to improve and extend GeoPackage support in 10.3.

Sample python script to create a GeoPackage.

import arcpy

# Set local variables
sqlite_database_path = ‘C:\data\example.gpkg’

# Execute CreateSQLiteDatabase, “GEOPACKAGE”)

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Who’s Ready for a Makeover? Wed, 09 Apr 2014 15:30:39 +0000 Stacey Triche Continue reading ]]> The Social Media Template, a popular web application template on ArcGIS Online, has been redesigned, made responsive and given a new name. Introducing: the Public Information template (hold applause).



Big difference, huh? This is a fully configurable template that allows you to create your own unique web mapping applications.

Overall, we’ve made a simpler, more usable mapping application. We have moved the drop down menus into a side panel that can be collapsed to accommodate different screen sizes. You can add a short summary of your map and drive users to areas of interest through map notes and bookmarks.  Layers can be turned on or off and social media layers can be configured.

Mobile Sized

Esri’s Disaster Response Program uses this template to create applications highlighting wildfires, hurricanes, severe weather, flooding, and earthquakes. An example of a customized Public Information template is our Severe Weather map.

Social Media

Are you as excited as we are with the new look? We would like your feedback on the new template! Please send us your comments.

Happy Customizing!

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The 2014 Community Maps Tour Dates Being Scheduled! Mon, 24 Mar 2014 15:35:12 +0000 Shane Matthews Continue reading ]]> The Community Maps Team is taking a road trip across America. The 2014 Community Maps Tour is being scheduled. Members of our team will be making several stops this year to a town near you. We will be conducting Technical Presentations and Workshops at several conferences throughout the spring, summer and fall.

There is a lot of new and valuable information surrounding Community Maps. To stay up to date, plan on attending one of these Esri-sponsored or Regional User Group conferences.

These appearances are sure to include classic hits like the Living Atlas Suite, Data Migration Blues, GP Tools Reprise, Gimme Your Contribution, Map Layer Lullaby, Basemap Boogie, Update Shuffle and many more.

Reserve your seats soon, tickets are limited and will sell out fast!

Please keep in mind that all of these dates and venues are subject to change. Some of these are still in the early planning stages and there may even be additional dates announced.

The tour date links below will provide the details. Remember to visit these links routinely for announcements, registration details, date and venue changes, and general updates.

Esri Southeast User Conference Charlotte, NC May 5 – 7

Utah Geographic Information Council (UGIC) Richfield, UT May 12 – 16

Esri Education GIS Conference San Diego, CA July 12 – 15

Esri International User Conference San Diego, CA July 14 – 18

GIS in the Rockies/GECO Grand Junction, CO September 22 – 26

Northeast Arc User Conference (NEARC) Groton, CT October 5 – 8

International Map Industry Association (IMIA) Denver, CO November 2 – 5

Esri Mid-Atlantic User Conference Baltimore, MD (TBD)

ESRI Southwest User Conference Santa Fe, NM December 1 – 3

… See you on the road!

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ArcGIS Runtime SDK for .NET Beta is available! Mon, 10 Mar 2014 01:59:59 +0000 rexhansen Continue reading ]]> We are excited to announce the 10.2.2 beta release of the ArcGIS Runtime SDK for .NET!   This SDK enables developers to build rich, high performance GIS applications for Windows PCs, tablets, and phones.  It includes three APIs that support building .NET apps for Windows Desktop, Windows Store, and Windows Phone.  The APIs share a common design and structure, which encourages sharing implementation logic across Windows platforms.  Highlights of the SDK include:

  • Combine map, feature, and image services from ArcGIS Online and your own on-premises ArcGIS Server to create unique maps
  • Search and select features and graphics in a map using spatial or SQL criteria
  • Draw and edit points, lines and polygons on the map
  • Work offline with local basemaps and data
  • Edit features locally and sync with feature services
  • Geocode addresses with a locator on your device
  • Use a local network dataset to generate routes and driving directions
  • Perform advanced geometric operations (such as project, buffer and intersect) with a local geometry engine
  • Search and use items in ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS
  • MVVM friendly API design

Download the SDK from the Esri Beta Community.  To start, you’ll need an Esri Global account, registered with the Beta Community.  Once registered and in the ArcGIS Runtime SDK 10.2.2 for .NET beta program, click on the Software Downloads link under the Project Resources section, download the exe and install.  Feel free to use the forum to ask questions and provide feedback.  Other project resources on the beta site include release notes, samples, and a toolkit.

We invite you to browse the documentation for the ArcGIS Runtime SDK for .NET at:


ArcGIS Runtime SDK for .NET Team

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Visualizing Player Movement in Sport using 3D Web GIS Mon, 24 Feb 2014 15:15:36 +0000 ddemaj Continue reading ]]> In this blog I present a Diorama of Player Movement using ArcScene and Esri’s CityEngine Web Viewer. This unique 3D GIS visualization helps better understand the interaction of the spatial and temporal components of optical player tracking data and offers an unrivalled viewing experience of player movement data.

Building the Diorama

To create the Diorama I used 3D optical tracking data from an official Hawk-Eye tennis match played between Roger Federer and Paul-Henri Mathieu at the Swiss Indoors in Basel, 2012.

The scene was generated in ArcScene then exported to the CityEngine Web Viewer using the Export to 3D Web Scene geoprocessing tool found in the 3D Analyst/CityEngine toolbox (Figure 1). The export process is really simple, and is a great way to share your 3D scenes with your colleagues and peers. For tips on using the Export to 3D Web Scene geoprocessing tool check out this white paper.

Figure 1. Using the Export To 3D Web Scene geoprocessing tool to create the 3D Web Scene.

For the purpose of this example, I created a player velocity map using a static 2D representation. In order to create the player velocity map I classified the data into four categories (Figure 2). For more information about drawing layers using categories check out this handy reference on the ArcGIS Resources Center.

Figure 2. The player velocity classification used in Figure 2 – walking, jogging, running and sprinting.

Figure 3 (below) is a simple way of presenting relative speed using a green to red color scheme for each point in the dataset. However the representation makes it difficult to see how the path of the player and their velocity is changing over time. We also only see a portion of the data at any one time. In this case the most recent player movement ‘paths’ are drawn on top of the earlier ‘paths’, making it difficult to identify the distribution and frequency of player velocity.

 Figure 3. Creating a static 2D map of player velocity using ArcGIS Desktop 10.2. White = walking, green = jogging, orange = running, and red = sprinting.

In order to improve the representation we might consider animating the data (using the animation tool in ArcScene), or, create a series of small static maps which each present a time period from the match. We may also consider introducing an interactive element to the map like a time slider. Each of these methods has the potential to enable us to see how the data is changing over time, and therefore eliminate the issue of overlapping data. Whatever approach is taken the fundamental issue of viewing the data in a two-dimensional plane remains.  Animation, small multiples or time sliders all allow us ways to slice through the data and see different moments but none give us clarity when trying to look at the match as a whole.

Introducing a Diorama of Player Movement using 3D Web GIS

Perhaps a more suitable, but rarely seen method for visualizing spatio-temporal data in sport is to use a Space Time Cube. The Space Time Cube is a 3D visualization method introduced by Swedish geographer Torsten Hägerstrand in the 1970’s. Last year my colleague Ken Field built a Space Time Cube visualizing Napoleon’s March on Moscow. Be sure to check out Ken’s awesome 3D web scene here.

By building a Space Time Cube I was able to disaggregate the overlapping player movement lines by using the z axis of the cube to represent time. The min z value represents the start of the match and the max z value the end of the match. Along the base of the cube represents the x, y movement of the players – the planar court (Figure 4).

Figure 4. The Diorama of Player Movement. A Space Time Cube visualization.

In order to map the player movement points to the z axis of the cube I used a simple expression in ArcScene based on the time field in the data (Figure 5). This allowed me to spread the data vertically up the z-axis.

Figure 5. Setting the base height of the player movement points using an expression in ArcScene.

Some things to consider when working with Space Time Cubes

A drawback of the Space-Time cube has been the presentation of a single view as a static image (as in Figure 4). The inherent problems of trying to understand the data on a perspective view mean that in some respects it creates a mass of data points that are difficult to visually disentangle, much like a 2D static map. Therefore orientation, navigation and human interaction of the cube are central to its appeal and usability. The rapid advancement of web technology, in particular WebGL means these complex visualizations can be rendered in the browser using the CityEngine Web Viewer to create an interactive version (the app is rendering over 25,000 points in the browser). This gives analysts and sport scientists an opportunity to explore the scene by panning, zooming and titling from any viewpoint and overcomes the drawbacks of a static view. Using Web GIS as a platform means the visualizations can then be shared amongst players, and other stakeholders (Figure 6).

Figure 6 The interactive Diorama of Player Movement application is hosted on in an organisational account. 


The 360° view of the scene means we can also quickly compare patterns between both players at any angle. For example, from behind each player we can visualize over time the extent of their lateral movement throughout the match (Figure 7).

Figure 7. A side-by-side comparison of each player’s lateral movement. The 1m distance markers can be used as a reference for court position. The line surrounding the cube roughly half way up represents the end of set 1, start of set 2.

We are also able to analyze who is attacking and playing up on the baseline. In order to better represent the baseline in 3D we extruded the baseline in ArcScene which gave us a plane in space to compare from. The extruded baseline allows us to very quickly see the frequency of forward and backward movement over time by each player, whether in attack or defense (Figure 8).

Figure 8. The baseline walls allow us to visually explore the players position change over time in relation to the baseline. (Federer – right, Mathieu – left).

Click here to view the interactive application and explore these observations in more detail.

***The application is best viewed in Google Chrome, on a computer or laptop with high-speed internet.***

Conclusion – 3D Web GIS Rocks Sports Analytics!

The Diorama of Player Movement presents a unique way of visualizing player movement in a three-dimensional space using 3D Web GIS. The single, comprehensive view offered by a Space Time Cube enables us to see the spread and frequency of player movement more clearly.  Using ArcScene, we were able to make use of the third-dimension of the cube to disaggregate the data meaning we can be more confident about making judgments about movement patterns because of the full view of the dataset.

3D Web GIS is providing teams, coaches, and GIS analyst with a powerful platform to view, share and collaborate their projects. Browsers are fast becoming very capable of rendering large quantities of big data, meaning that representations of data being collected from Optical sensors and GPS, like player tracking can be viewed and interacted with on mass.

For more information about CityEngine visit their resource page where you’ll find links to videos, help files and a great gallery of 3D scenes to inspire you’re next 3D map making adventure! And be sure to check out other cool CityEngine web scenes here.

There is also a great blog post about the CityEngine Viewer here.

For a deeper analysis on the player tracking data featured above please check out the latest issue the Sports Performance and Tech magazine where I cover the analysis of the data in more detail.

Damien Saunder (formerly Demaj) is a Geospatial Designer at Esri where he designs and builds online interactive maps and applications. @damiensaunder


[1]       Per Ola Kristensson et el, “An Evaluation of Space Time Cube Representation of Spatio Temporal Patterns,” IEEE Trans. Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 696-702, July/Aug. 2009.

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CityEngine 2013 key new features Wed, 12 Feb 2014 12:01:15 +0000 Gert van Maren Continue reading ]]> The CityEngine 2013 release has some very exciting new features. Here is a quick overview:

Create and Share Rule Packages
Create a so-called rule package from a CityEngine rule and associated assets such as textures and generic 3D models. Share the rule package with other users as an item on ArcGIS Online. These users can be CityEngine users or ArcGIS users. New in ArcGIS 10.2 is the ability to create 3D content using CityEngine rule packages using the “Features from CityEngine Rules” GP tool in the CityEngine toolbox.

Rule Package

Rule files in the rule packages can be shared as text (.cga) or binary (.cgb) giving you the ability to protect the IP when sharing rules. Example rules and rule packages can be found on the ArcGIS resource center in the CityEngine gallery.

CityEngine SDK
CityEngine 2013 comes with a SDK allowing you to embed procedural geometry creation in other applications such as 3D modeling tools, games, simulation engines or custom ArcGIS Desktop tools and Server extension. Documentation and examples (e.g. Maya plugin) are available on GitHub.


Each SDK deployment requires a CityEngine license. This license can be CE advanced or CE basic. The license can be single node locked or coming from a license server. Middleware licensing will be on a case-by-case basis.

3D Plant library

CityEngine 2013 comes with “Esri Vegetation Library with LumenRT Plants”. Users can choose from 75 of the most common and practical genera plants/trees (realistic, compact and analytical) and add to their 3D cities and 3D landscapes.


The “Esri Vegetation Library with LumenRT Plants” will also be available on ArcGIS Online and can be used in ArcGIS 10.x Desktop.

Improved streets

Street creation has been greatly improved in CityEngine 2013. New junction types, bridges and flyovers are supported. Also robustness has been improved when creating complex intersections. Also the OpenStreetMap & FileGDB import has been improved to support automatic graph simplification, junction settings & bridge generation.


New Wizard City
In the City Wizard you will find a new International city with over 400 categorized façade images & plants. Use this example for quick city modeling and/or texturing. It can serve as template for custom geotypical façade sets.


Real-time Reports while Modeling
Reports are now interactively generated during the modeling processes giving instant analysis feedback while designing in 3D

Improvements and fixes

  • Evaluated values of rule attributes are now shown in Inspector window
  • Webscenes are more compact: support object instancing
  • Support for Retina MacBooks: MacBook Pro with Retina display is now detected and supported
  • Terrain supports now no-data values i.e. creates holes instead of wrong surface
  • Improved Geo-Tiff support for terrain now using GDAL
  • Map interpolation can now be switched off e.g. for accurate sampling
  • FileGDB import can read related tables
  • Improved material management in 3D exporters e.g. consistent when multiple files
  • Envelope operation now supports also non-planar, aslant parcels
  • In CGA, groups do not have to be listed for every attribute anymore
  • Simpler workflow to import/link CityEngine projects into Workspace
  • Intelligent visibility switches e.g. no disappearing objects when in isolate mode anymore
  • Inspector keeps previous state i.e. no jumping inspector panes anymore
  • Faster Example and Tutorial Download


The CityEngine team

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LAS Optimizer Updated to Perform Faster Decompression Thu, 06 Feb 2014 12:43:50 +0000 Gert van Maren Continue reading ]]> Esri’s LAS Optimizer has been updated to include support for parallel decompression. The initial version supported parallel processing when going from LAS to Optimized LAS, but the other direction, going back to LAS, was single threaded. It’s now parallel in both directions. This significantly decreases the time it takes to decompress the files and is worth the update.

Esri LAS Optimizer: LAS Optimizer
General Information: Esri Introduces Optimized LAS

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New section on Indexing added to Evaluating LAS Optimizer Fri, 31 Jan 2014 09:03:11 +0000 Gert van Maren A new section entitled ‘The benefit of indexing and rearrangement’ has been added to Evaluating LAS Optimizer. This provides more information about how you can benefit from using Esri’s new Optimized LAS format for your lidar data.

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Beyond basemaps – An introduction to the Living Atlas Thu, 23 Jan 2014 17:00:17 +0000 Shane Matthews Continue reading ]]> Esri’s content landscape has expanded tremendously. Through sharing content in hosted cloud services, access to a suite of basemaps and topics that describe earth, people, life and urban systems are available to everyone. Esri is building a global community; it is called the Living Atlas. 

The Living Atlas is a global user community. It is an opportunity to partner together to build a collection of high-quality online basemaps, map layers and services that is compiled by the best available data sources and is available to everyone. It is a platform comprised of ready to use content, that includes imagery, basemaps, demographic maps about people, earth, and life, and applications that describe and compare urban systems.

Imagery content provides high resolution and multiscale imagery for the world and includes multispectral, event and temporal imagery options. Our collection of diverse and ready to use basemaps detail topography, streets, oceans, and terrain. For thematic and reference use, the Light Gray Canvas and National Geographic basemaps are quite useful. The basemap suite also includes historical maps that illustrate the world as it existed decades and even centuries ago.


Community Maps is also an important part of the Living Atlas. Community Maps makes GIS data easily available by sharing content through Esri’s hosted cloud services and eliminates the need for organizations to maintain basemap services and costly supporting infrastructure. Community Map data contributions support multiple online maps, including our World Imagery, World Topographic, Oceans Basemap, and more. Rounding out the Living Atlas are a comprehensive set of demographic and lifestyle maps of the United States, Canada and dozens of countries around the world. They include information and content that describe places, urban systems, transportation, and the natural environment.


The Living Atlas was created because it makes authoritative geographic information accessible and allows users to share content in hosted cloud services, and because it solves problems, supports decisions, illustrates change and tells stories.

The ArcGIS Content Team encourages you to explore maps from Esri and thousands of organizations and enrich them with your own data to create new maps and map layers. You can contribute your geographic information and become part of this global effort by contributing your content to Community Maps. Participation is easy and free. Esri provides the tools to format the data. Contributors prepare and supply their data that will be included in harmonized maps of the world. Register your organization at  to begin contributing.

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Final report on the 2013 Community Maps survey Thu, 23 Jan 2014 01:44:32 +0000 Mark Stewart Continue reading ]]> We would like to extend a big thank you to the more that one hundred Community members who responded to the Community Maps membership survey run November-December 2013. Many respondents were especiallygenerous with “longhand” comments and suggestions that we’re still analyzing and reacting to. While some of the questions mainly serve as baselines to measure annual progress, we’re already implementing changes in communications and processing requirements in response to survey feedback.

Here’s a rundown on the main things you told us in the Community Maps Survey:

1)       “You’re doing okay”: Over 70% of the survey respondents indicated they were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with Community Maps.

2)       “But there’s room for improvement”:  Just over 10% of those surveyed said they were dissatisfied with the program.  Some of those let us know the specific reason we had not met their expectations, and we are going to be working very hard in 2014 to dramatically improve this number.

3)     “Talk to me”:  Many respondents said that we needed to improve communications with contributors, especially regarding progress toward deploying my map.  We understand this, and we’re implementing process changes to increase transparency and feedback during the contribution workflow.

4)      “We like the suggested changes to CM”:  Of all the suggestions, the lowest still got 60% interest.

5)      “We really like:

  • content in multiple basemaps (80.5%)  This is coming in a few months!
  • improved feedback (79.5%) A new feedback design, embedded in the Community Maps Contribution App, is  underway. There are lots of components to this, but it will be worth it!
  • high-quality printmaps (79.5%)  We’re hoping to deploy printing by the end of 2014, though there are dependencies on some other development.

6)   “Publishing my map within four weeks is acceptable”: 66% checked 4, 8 or 12 weeks as okay.

7)   “But a third of us want it quicker”:  As soon as the basemap server upgrade is in place we’ll be shooting for 4-week deployment. For quicker deployment new (vector) technology is required. This is in development; time horizon at least a year.

8)  “A majority of us (65%) have not adopted the Local Government Information Model”:  Several respondents reported that CM is an incentive to implement the LGIM.

9)  “We would like a simpler way to submit data”: We’re working on this!  At the first monthly webinar on December 19th Seth demonstrated an alternative, simpler approach; we’ll keep you posted as this develops.

10)  …and lots of interesting suggestions:

“help us with border alignment with our neighbors” We’ve discussed this; stay tuned.

“take the zoom level in one more step” We’re working on doing this with imagery soon. It may also work for basemaps.

“be able to turn off source attribution line for printing” We have agreements with contributors to display attribution; this is a tough one.  We have heard this request before.

“make the LGIM more flexible for other countries”  We have plans to do this; stay tuned.

“can we have a 3D community map?”  We may list 3d as a topic for the February webinar!

Thanks again to all those who completed the survey.  Your feedback is helping us make this program better.  Remember, if you have any questions or further suggestions, you can always contact us at

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