ArcGIS Blog » Mapping ArcGIS Blog Wed, 25 Nov 2015 18:43:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Accessing secure OGC services with ArcGIS Online Mon, 23 Nov 2015 21:13:18 +0000 ssankaran Continue reading ]]> OGC services provide a great mechanism for achieving Interoperability. While OGC services are generally targeted for open environments, it is also true that many organizations disseminate “high value” information products using secure OGC protocols; secured using basic, digest or Integrated Windows authentication. In the past, ArcGIS Online had no options for dealing with these secure OGC web  services. With the latest release of ArcGIS Online, it is now possible for organizations to list these secured servers (hosting the secure ogc services) as “trusted servers”; thereby allowing members of their ArcGIS Online to conveniently add secure wms and wmts services from these trusted servers.

For example: If you have a secure OGC WMS service say –

You would then add this host name ““ to your list of trusted servers. This will allow users of your organization to now easily access secure OGC services (such as the wms service) in your mapviewer. For users of the “on premise” Portal for ArcGIS, this feature will be available in the 10.4 version.

Fundamentally, the Trusted Servers is a list of host server names you wish your organization to send credentials to when making Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) requests to access services secured with web-tier authentication. While I explained its use in the secured OGC services context, it is also THE mechanism that allow the map viewer, Web AppBuilder, and the configurable apps to now fully support editing ArcGIS feature services secured with web-tier authentication.

Since this approach relies on CORS, it is important that you use browsers that support CORS. The latest versions of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer 10 and later are CORS enabled. CORS is not supported in IE prior to version 10. To test if your browser has CORS enabled, open

]]> 0
Customize Esri Vector Basemap Boundaries and Labels Mon, 23 Nov 2015 16:00:22 +0000 Deane Kensok Continue reading ]]> In an earlier post, we described how you can customize the Esri vector basemaps (now in beta release).  In that post, we provided an example of changing the colors for an existing map style to create a different look for the map, which will probably be the most common way in which the vector basemaps are customized.  We also shared the step-by-step instructions for how you can create a custom map.

In this post, we wanted to share examples for a couple other ways that you can customize the vector basemaps that were mentioned:

  • Change between language options available in selected areas
  • Change the representation of disputed boundaries displayed in selected areas

The current Esri basemaps, delivered as raster tiles, are designed to support a wide range of users, including both local users within a specific country and other users around the world.  For this reason, we try to include information in the map that will make them useful and acceptable to both sets of users.  This includes labeling the maps in both “local” language (e.g. Greek in Greece, Thai in Thailand) and “global” language (i.e. English, or transliterated text).  This also includes displaying disputed boundaries as they are commonly recognized by international organizations and standards.  In some cases, we present different versions of tiled basemaps depending on the location or region preference of the user.

Given the ability to re-style vector basemaps, there are new and simpler ways to customize the maps so they better support both local and international users.  Rather than include two sets of labels on the map (e.g. Greek and English for Greece) to support both sets of users, you can have two separate styles (e.g. one with Greek, the other with English) and then present the appropriate one to the user based on their location or region preference.  Similarly, you can have separate styles that represent disputed boundaries differently to conform with international or local standards.

Custom Map with Local Languages

Below is an example of a custom map that has been created from one of the available Esri vector basemap tile layers.

In this example, the World Street Map tile layer was updated simply by changing the “text-field” value for a few layers in the map to show the local language (e.g. Greek) instead of the global language (e.g. English) at large scales (zoom out to see global language labels):

  • text-field entry for all instances of ‘name_global’ changed to ‘name_local’ (i.e. “text-field”: “{_name_local}”, )
  • Cities, parks, landuse, and road labels are among several different feature classes capable of displaying local language in certain areas

Because these layers appear multiple times in the map style for different zoom levels, the changes were made with a batch find and replace to update all of the appropriate layers.  The same changes could be applied to all of the available map styles since they reference the same set of vector tiles.

The source Esri Community Map data used to build the vector tiles has local language values populated for a number of feature classes in many places around the world. Throughout the Beta period, we plan to expand areas where local languages are available. There is a known limitation currently where certain languages that display right-to-left scripts, such as Arabic, are not drawn properly.  View this web map, complete with bookmarks, showing some examples around the world that display with local languages at scales ~1:288k and larger.

Custom Map with Updated Boundaries

Below is an example of a custom map that has been created from another of the available Esri vector basemap tile layers.

In this example, the World Topographic Map tile layer was updated by changing the “filter” used for a couple types of administrative boundary layers to show the boundaries as they are recognized by the country of Suriname (though not by most other nations):

  • “Disputed admin0″ layers: changed the filter to be “filter” : ["!in", "DisputeID", 80, 23, 24, 25, 26, 0],
          • this filter excludes (i.e filter ‘not in’) the disputed boundaries of 23, 24, 25, 26 in this “Disputed admin0″ (country-level) layer
  • “Boundary line/Admin0″ layers: changed the filter to be “filter” : ["any", ["==", "_symbol", 0], ["in", "DisputeID", 24, 25]],
          • this filter includes (i.e. filer ‘in’) the Suriname recognized boundaries of 24, 25 in this “Boundary line/Admin0″ layer

In this case, because these layers appear two times in the Topographic map style for different zoom levels, the changes were made to two layers.  These layers were found by searching for the “id” of the layers shown above (i.e. “Disputed admin0″ and ”Boundary line/Admin0″).   The same changes could be applied to all of the available map styles that include boundary layers since they reference the same set of vector tiles.

The source Esri Community Map data used to build the vector tiles has disputed boundaries defined for many areas around the world. View this web map, complete with bookmarks for different regions, that show the set of disputed boundaries currently available in the Esri vector basemaps.  If you click on a specific boundary feature, you will see a popup with important information on the “DisputeID” (needed to update the “filter” as described above) along with hints on how the boundary might be displayed for a different country perspective.

Disputed Boundaries in Esri Vector Basemaps

This map shows disputed boundaries in Esri vector basemaps, with info on boundary IDs and suggested rendering.

In the Esri vector basemaps, internationally recognized national boundaries (e.g. United States / Canada border) are typically represented with different types of “solid” lines while disputed boundaries (e.g. parts of French Guiana / Suriname border) are typically represented with “dashed” lines.  In some cases, a country will want to not render (i.e. make invisible) a disputed boundary that it does not recognize.

Sample Tile Layers

These examples are available in a Sample Vector Tile Layers group if you would like to view and download the styles.  We will add other vector tile layers to this group over time, including some that are created by users and shared with everyone.  If you create a layer that you would like to see included, please follow the best practices for sharing and include a tag of ‘vector style’ in your layer item.

More Customization Options

Additional tools will be available to customize vector basemaps to meet your specific needs.  More information and examples for how to customize map styles will be published in separate blog posts.

]]> 0
Updates to the Imagery, Topographic, and Streets Basemaps Available! Fri, 20 Nov 2015 22:51:40 +0000 Shane Matthews Continue reading ]]> The latest ArcGIS Online release includes new and updated content from our user community. Thank you to our Contributors and Partners who help support the Living Atlas of the World by providing data and enriching these amazing resources. 

This release incorporates new and updated coverage to the World Imagery Map for cities in Canada, the United States and Finland. There is new and updated content in the World Topographic Map for many locations throughout the United States. Finally, there are updates to the World Street Map for select areas in the United States.

This map series visits selected areas in several communities where new, updated and expanded coverage are available.

Living Atlas Community

How do I Use? Combine content from the Living Atlas with your own data. Create powerful new maps and applications!

How do I contribute? Join the growing community of Living Atlas of the World contributors. There are two ways to contribute!

Learn more about the ready-to-use content that is available in the Living Atlas of the World, including how you can contribute your maps and data.

Living Atlas Newsletter: This newsletter will keep you and other members of the Living Atlas user community informed through success stories, examples of applied use, visibility of new content, announcements about events, and other useful resources and information. Subscribe to the Esri News for the Living Atlas Community. You can have the newsletter sent right to your inbox by subscribing here.

Share your story: How has contributing to the Living Atlas Community benefited your organization and community? Has your participation helped meet a particular challenge? Has your applied use of Living Atlas content solved a problem or help meet a goal? Email me at so we can promote your success.


If you have previously used the World Imagery MapWorld Topographic Map or the World Streets Map services, you may need to clear your cache in order to see the updates.

If you have feedback on content, try our Imagery Map Feedback web mapTopographic Map Feedback web map, or Street Map Feedback web map.

If you have other feedback or comments, please post them to the ArcGIS Online Discussion Group and the Living Atlas Discussion Group on GeoNet.

]]> 0
Geocoding Suggestions in StreetMap Premium North America HERE 2015 R2 Fri, 20 Nov 2015 19:30:27 +0000 ArcGIS Content Team Continue reading ]]> The next update of StreetMap Premium (North America HERE) is now available, and it includes support for geocoding suggestions!

What are geocoding suggestions?  It’s a searching capability.  Suggest is an auto-complete method that facilitates an interactive searching experience.  It makes it easier for you to find things.

For example: When typing “Disney” into a search tool, predictive suggestions of what you are trying to find are presented to you. That way, you don’t have to type in the entire address, and you can just select the specific search result record.

Suggestions for Disney search

Not only does this process make it easier and more user-friendly to find things, but it also reduces the likelihood of a searching error, since you get to choose the matching candidates immediately.

Suggestions have been supported through ArcGIS Online for a while, as a developer through the World Geocoding Service, and through the Search Tool.

Now we have another option for deploying this capability on-premises with StreetMap Premium.  This is available with the country composite locator, or if you are using individual locators, suggestions are enabled in the StreetAddress, Postal (PostalExt for Canada) locator, and AdminPlaces locator.

With ArcGIS Server, you can publish a StreetMap Premium geocoding service with suggestions.  To do this, you will need ArcGIS Server 10.3 and a patch or 10.3.1 and a patch.

You can then connect to your own geocoding service with suggestions:

Esri is working to implement suggestions across all products, including locally stored data in desktop.

The next StreetMap Premium region to support suggestions will be the Europe HERE 2015 R2.  This will have suggestions implemented within a portion of the countries.

]]> 0
How to Customize Esri Vector Basemaps Thu, 19 Nov 2015 19:00:55 +0000 Deane Kensok Continue reading ]]> As described in this earlier post, Esri has introduced a new set of vector basemaps (now in beta release).  These vector basemaps offer several benefits (e.g. fast to download, look great on high-res displays, smaller and easier to update, etc), but perhaps the greatest benefit is that users can customize the look and feel of the basemaps.

Users that want to customize the Esri Vector Basemaps can do so by editing the style for one of the existing tile layers (e.g. Light Gray Canvas) and then publishing the updated style as a new tile layer.  Some of the options for customizing the Esri vector basemaps include:

  • Turn layers on or off
  • Change the colors and symbols used for a layer
  • Change between language options available in selected areas
  • Change the representation of disputed boundaries displayed in selected areas

Custom Map Style Example

Below is an example of a custom map that has been created from one of the available Esri vector basemap tile layers.

In this example, the Light Gray Canvas tile layer was updated simply by changing the hex colors for a few layers in the map.

  • Background and water bodies: changed color from ‘#cfcfd4′ to ‘#a6deff’
  • Land and vegetation areas: changed color from ‘#ededed’ to ‘#dfffd9′
  • Urban area: changed color from ‘#e8e8e8′ to ‘#d5e3ca’

Because these layers appear multiple times in the map style for different zoom levels, the changes were made with a batch find and replace to update all of the appropriate layers.

Create a Custom Map

How was this map created?  The steps to create a custom map are pretty simple, though the time and effort involved could vary significantly depending the level of customization desired.  To create a custom vector basemap, you can follow the steps below:

Step 1: Create New Tile Layer Item that You Own

  1. Sign in to ArcGIS Online with your account and click Map.
  2. To add vector tile layer, click the Add button, select Search for Layers in ArcGIS Online, type in ‘esri vector basemap’, and click Go.
  3. Select one of the layers owned by ‘esri_vector’ (such as ‘Light Gray Canvas’) and click Add and then Done Adding Layers.
  4. In the table of contents, hover over the selected layer and click More Options (shown as ‘‘) and select Copy option.
  5. For the layer that you copied, click More Options and select Save Layer option. Update the info and click Create Item button.

Step 2: Update the Style for the New Tile Layer

  1. For the layer that you created, click More Options and select Show Item Details option.
  2. To download the style, click the Open button and select Download style option.  If you’d like to preview the style, select the View style option first.
  3. Open the ‘root.json’ style file that you downloaded in a JSON editor, make a few edits (such as described for example above), and then Save the JSON file (if you like, you can rename the file, such as ‘mymap.json’).
    • While editing a JSON style file may be unfamiliar to some of us, it is a common workflow for many web designers and developers. The Esri vector basemaps are built using the Mapbox vector tile specification (v8).  You can refer to the Mapbox GL Style Reference for info on how to style the data in the tiles.  Additional info on layers in the Esri vector basemaps will be provided separately.
  4. To update your layer with this style, go to the item details page for your tile layer and click the Update button. Choose the file that you saved and click the Update Item button. You have now updated your map style!
  5. To see the changes, click the Open button and select Add layer to new map option. You can continue to make changes to the style file and update the tile layer item until you are done.

Step 3: Create a Map with Your New Tile Layer

  1. Once you are done updating style for the tile layer, you can update the tile layer item details (e.g. create a new thumbnail, edit the item description and other info).
  2. To create a new map with your tile layer, click the Open button and select Add layer to new map option.  Navigate the map to an area of interest and click the Save button.  Enter the requested info and click the Save Map button.
    • If you would like to use your new tile layer as a basemap layer, you can do that also.  In the Map Viewer, click the Add button, select Search for Layers in My Content, find your new tile layer, click on the title of the layer, and select Use as basemap option.
  3. After you save the map, you can update the web map item details (e.g. create a new thumbnail, edit the item description and other info) and then share or use the map as desired.  You can embed in an app or website as usual.

More Customization Options

Additional tools and workflows will be available to customize vector basemaps to meet your specific needs.  More information and examples for how to customize map styles will be published soon in separate blog posts, such as below:

We encourage you to give it a try and show us your style!

]]> 13
Introducing Esri Vector Basemaps (Beta) Wed, 18 Nov 2015 21:15:49 +0000 Deane Kensok Continue reading ]]> Earlier this year, Esri announced plans for bringing vector tiles to the ArcGIS platform and shared a preview of vector basemaps being developed.  With the November update of ArcGIS Online, we are introducing initial support for vector tiles as a layer in the web map.  As part of this, Esri is providing access to an updated set of vector basemaps (now in beta release) that can be accessed within ArcGIS Online and used to build maps and apps.

For several years, Esri has made available a suite of basemaps that can be used through ArcGIS Online and other apps to create maps and apps. These multi-scale basemaps have been delivered as pre-rendered image tiles (JPG or PNG format) to optimize performance. These basemaps have proven to be very useful and popular, with several billion tiles served each month, but they have some limitations (e.g. users can not customize map, low-res image tiles not optimal for display on high-res devices, etc.).

To provide additional options for users, Esri is introducing a new set of vector basemaps built using the same Esri Community Maps data used to build the existing Esri basemaps. These basemaps are cached and delivered as vector tiles (PBF format) that are rendered client-side based on a style file that is delivered with the vector tiles.  Esri has generated these vector tiles with early versions of ArcGIS Pro 1.2.  With the release of ArcGIS Pro 1.2 in early 2016, users will be able to generate vector tiles from their own data and serve these out as vector tile layers using either ArcGIS 10.4 for Server or ArcGIS Online.  The vector basemaps can be displayed in most current, desktop web browsers and, in the near future, various desktop and mobile apps. Users are able to customize the look and feel of the vector basemaps by creating custom styles that are used to render the vector tiles.

Available Vector Basemaps

The initial set of Esri vector basemaps includes eight different map styles built using a single vector tile service.  This set of vector basemaps is available through the Esri Vector Basemaps (Beta) group in ArcGIS Online. The group includes vector basemaps in multiple styles, some that closely resemble existing Esri basemaps (e.g. Streets, Topographic, Light Gray Canvas), and others that are new (e.g. Streets at Night, Navigation, and Imagery Hybrid).  The vector basemaps are available as both web maps, which can be used as a basemap for adding other layers, and as tile layers, which can be added to existing maps either as a basemap or overlay layer.

Vector Basemap Styles

Multiple map styles are available for Esri Vector Basemaps. Click image to access group of Esri vector basemaps.

Customizing Vector Basemaps

Users that want to customize the Esri vector basemaps can do so by editing the style for one of the existing tile layers (e.g. Light Gray Canvas) and then publishing the updated style as a new tile layer. Details on the tools and procedures for doing this, including example maps, are available in this post on How to Customize Esri Vector Basemaps.  Additional information is also available on how to Customize Esri Vector Basemap Boundaries and Labels.

Important Note: The Esri vector basemaps are currently available in beta release and are subject to change during the beta period. Users will want to periodically update their maps with the latest vector tile layers that are published by Esri to keep up with the latest changes. Custom styles that are created during the beta period may need to be updated to take advantage of updates in the vector tiles, and may break if significant changes to the vector tiles are required.  As with the existing Esri basemaps, the new Esri vector basemaps will be freely available to all ArcGIS users.

]]> 0
What’s New in Smart Mapping (November 2015) Wed, 18 Nov 2015 18:41:30 +0000 Jim Herries Continue reading ]]> The best maps answers specific questions. How are you using ArcGIS Online to ask, and answer, the specific questions that are most relevant to your organization?

The November 2015 release of ArcGIS Online includes additional smart mapping options to help you ask and answer those key questions. Check out this short video to see the new options in action.

Smart mapping empowers data experts, project managers, business analysts and many others to explore their data by simply mapping one, or more, attributes in that data. Your knowledge of, or curiosity about, the data is all you need to start making a useful map that illuminates the subject.

To start, look for the Change Style option in your layer.

Change Style tool

Change Style tool

The map in ArcGIS Online responds immediately, offering different map styles in response to what part of the data you touch. You don’t have to learn HTML5 or CSS to make a good map – ArcGIS Online works with you to style the map and give you instant feedback as you try out different options.

Simply add your data to the map, explore your options under Change Style, and apply your knowledge (or curiosity) to the map’s settings.

In this release you will find three new mapping options allow you to explore relationships between different parts of your data. These new options are enabled when you choose two attributes to map and explore.

Choose first attribute

Choose first attribute

Add second attribute

Add second attribute

Explore options for maps based on two attributes

Explore options for maps based on two attributes

As soon as you choose that second attribute, suitable map styles are suggested:

Three new options

Three new options

Why choose more than one attribute to map? Fair question. It’s useful to explore the measures found in your data, see how they relate to one another, and look for patterns on the map that reflect that relationship. It’s useful to explore other dimensions of your data, such how a measure varies by membership in a group or class. Some examples follow.

The Color & Size style is a good style to use when you want to show count information and rate information on the map together. The map below shows where large numbers of single-parent households exist within high-poverty neighborhoods. In this example, the point symbols vary in size based on the number of single-parent households, and vary in color based on the poverty rate.

Where are single moms in high poverty neighborhoods?

Where are single moms in high poverty neighborhoods?

The Unique Symbols & Size style is a good style to use when you want to show count information on the map, in relation to a text or numeric field with unique values (e.g. NAME or TYPE or DISTRICT). The map below shows where large numbers of people with a bachelor’s degree reside in the New York boroughs. In this example, the number of people with a bachelor’s degree is indicated by the size of the symbol, while color is used to show which county they reside within.

People with Bachelors' Degrees in the Boroughs of New York

People with Bachelors’ Degrees in the Boroughs of New York

The Compare A to B style is a powerful style to use when you want to understand one number in relation to another: as a ratio, or as a percentage. The map below shows which cities around the globe are expected to grow in population, or shrink, in the coming decades. In this example, the 2025 population is divided by the 2015 population, and shown as a percentage.

Cities Projected to Grow, or Shrink, by 2025

Cities Projected to Grow, or Shrink, by 2025

Additional color ramps for each basemap are included in this release. As patterns in your map become visible, you can choose a color ramp to emphasize what you want people to see in the map first, and de-emphasize what is less important. As always, you can apply a data filter to completely eliminate unimportant data from the map.

See plenty of examples in this excellent story map about What’s New in Smart Mapping. Try out these new options in ArcGIS Online with your own data. Or, view some examples created with smart mapping techniques here.

]]> 0
What’s New in Navigator for ArcGIS (November 2015) Wed, 18 Nov 2015 00:15:42 +0000 Emily Gibson Continue reading ]]> Navigator for ArcGIS 1.2 is out!

Navigator for ArcGIS 1.2 is out!

Navigator for ArcGIS 1.2 was released today for iOS! This update includes a few

  • Localized into Italian and Turkish, so the speakers of these languages can get voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions.
  • Enhanced support for enterprise logins by adding Tivoli as an identify provider.
  • The ability to work with on-premises deployments. Navigator’s licensing and content delivery will be compatible with Portal for ArcGIS 10.4 once it is released.
  • Several minor bug fixes and improvements related to iOS 9.

For more information about Navigator, check out this page. Stay tuned for more enhancements coming soon to Navigator, including the abilities to get directions, search for places, and display routes on custom maps that you create.

]]> 0
Using Python and QML to build native apps Mon, 16 Nov 2015 18:08:48 +0000 Lucas Danzinger Continue reading ]]> Python is a highly efficient and intuitive language that is pervasive throughout the ArcGIS Platform, as well as the larger scientific community. I personally love writing Python code because you can build sophisticated scripts that accomplish a wide array of tasks with relatively little effort or lines of code. Many ArcGIS users have picked up the scripting language in recent years and have found it to be invaluable in maximizing their productivity. However, one thing that I think most Python coders would agree with me on is that it isn’t very easy to make great looking UIs with Python. There are options, such as TkInter, that allow you to build up UIs from Python, but I would argue that the power of Python is in scripting procedural workflows, not in building beautiful UIs. There are, however, other languages and frameworks for building great UIs that integrate well with Python, and one of those is Qt.

Qt is a cross platform SDK that is similar in functionality to .NET, and provides APIs in both C++ and QML. For those that are not already familiar, QML is a declarative JavaScript based language that looks similar to JSON with nested JavaScript functions within it. QML is a newcomer to the ArcGIS stack, and recently emerged as one of the languages used in the ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Qt, as well as AppStudio for ArcGIS. QML is great for building user interfaces, and through a plugin called PyOtherSide, integrates very well with Python. This plugin allows you to call Python scripts directly from QML. This is powerful for a few reasons:

  • Python programmers now have a simple and intuitive way to build great looking UIs to execute their Python scripts.
  • Qt/ArcGIS Runtime programmers can now leverage the power of Python and its many different packages (ArcPy, NumPy, matplotlib, Pandas, etc) in their native apps.
  • It allows Python and QML to do what each language is best at, and separates the UI from the business logic.
  • This could be a great bridge to Python developers wanting to learn ArcGIS Runtime technology, but not wanting to totally abandon their Python skills.

Building off of these different use cases, I put together a GitHub repo that shows some samples of how to integrate QML, Python, and ArcGIS through PyOtherSide. The examples include:

  • A simple hello world sample that shows how to call a Python function
  • An ArcPy integration sample, where a map is displayed with ArcGIS Runtime. On a mouse click, the latitude and longitude from the click event is passed into a Python function that uses ArcPy’s geometry operations.
  • An elevation profile sample, where the z values of a polyline in ArcGIS Runtime are plotted through Python’s matplotlib.
  • An Excel conversion sample, where an Excel spreadsheet is converted to CSV in Python, and is then published as a Feature Service in ArcGIS Online through the ArcGIS Runtime QML API.

Here is a snippet that shows how a Python function can be executed from QML. Note how a list of parameters can be passed in, and a callback JavaScript function is passed in. This will be executed on completion of the Python script.

Here is the Python script that is executed by the above QML code. It converts an Excel spreadsheet to CSV and returns the output path.

These samples only scratch the surface of possible applications for this technology. However, I think they serve as a good starting point to understand how QML works (if you don’t already know) and how to call Python functions from QML. Whether you are a Python dev looking to build UIs or an ArcGIS Runtime dev looking to utilize your Python skills in your native apps, PyOtherSide is a powerful and intuitive plugin that opens the doors for many ArcGIS users. Please note that specific issues relating to integrating ArcGIS and PyOtherSide is not supported by Esri technical support (but don’t let that stop you from seeing what you can create!).

]]> 1
Managing Imagery Data? Start Here! Tue, 03 Nov 2015 23:38:43 +0000 Renee Brandt Continue reading ]]> When people think about managing data, I can’t imagine anything as intimidating to an IT person as imagery data.  Why you may ask?  Because the file size is large, very large, the formats can be unfamiliar, and after you’ve acquired it, people want access to it immediately.  Imagery data can be so large in fact, that the first time I heard people regularly using the word ‘Terabyte’ was in conjunction with imagery data, and quickly it moved to ‘Petabytes’.  Remotely sensed data originates from many different types of sensors…multiple countries have their own satellites, aircraft equipped with cameras, drones, weather balloons, go pros…the list goes on and on.  In addition, you have all the different types of data i.e. Optical, Multispectral, Radar, Lidar. And to add to that, you end up with all the different formats from geoTIF, NITF, JP2, JPEG, MrSID… The possibilities are endless for the volume, variety and velocity of data that could be coming into a system.

For an IT person, figuring out the best method to store the data is only the first part of the problem, because as soon as you have it, people want it.  And they want more than one type of data, they want multiple pieces of imagery data from different formats captured with different sensors taken at different times.  There are many challenges.  Efficiently managing, processing and providing suitable access to the data is what the industry affectionately refers to as a ‘big data’ challenge.

Being able to solve that challenge however, can produce amazing results and understanding.  Check out this cool video from our 2015 Esri User Conference in which one of our Big Data specialists, Mansour Raad, discusses a problem best solved using imagery and our new Big Data analysis technology (due to be released in 2016) to perform over 300 billion spatial and temporal calculations.

But in order to take advantage of new advances in technology to analyze, visualize and understand big data sets, like imagery and remotely sensed data, you first need to effectively manage your data.

Many times we get asked by customers as to the best way to get started, and there are several answers, depending upon the time, people and money resources your organization wants to invest.  You can manage everything yourself, on-premise, or break it up, and manage the transactional data on-premise and the static, less changing data in the cloud.  You can hire a professional services company, like Esri’s rent-a-tech, who can provide a jump start package which does the dirty work of getting the foundation and structure started, and also on-site training for your people.  Or you can offload all of the effort to someone who can manage your imagery in the cloud, similar to our managed services offerings.  The choices are not cut and dried, and you can mix and match depending upon your needs and company requirements.  To help you get started on this journey, we’ve put together an Enterprise Image Management white paper, which covers a lot of the topics you need to think about in detail, and explains thoroughly how ArcGIS technology can simplify managing imagery.

]]> 1