ArcGIS 10.2 is Out

Looks like ArcGIS 10.2 is out.  If you look at the installation instructions for Desktop, there is good news if you are currently running 10.1 … no uninstall/reinstall !  The setup package detects your 10.1 install and upgrades it to 10.2.  If you use the License Manager for concurrent use licenses, make sure to upgrade that first.  Some more good news … your current 10.1 authorizations will be preserved and reconfigured for 10.2 use.  No need to generate new authorization files.

After installation, any customizations, add-ons, or third-party applications installed for 10.1 must be reapplied to 10.2.

10 Ways to Improve Your Public Safety with GIS

A free workshop will be hosted by the City of Murrieta Police Department.  The workshop is designed to give the Public Safety Administrator and GIS Coordinator 10 ways to maximize the investment in 911 and GIS to produce highly efficient and effective mapping tools that depend on accurate GIS data.  Attendees will be given the overall scope of how GIS data is used and developed for use in a 911 Public Safety mapping application such as Crime/Incident Mapping, Dispatch, Fires and EMS incident mapping, Address Management, Mobile and AVL, and Public Access tool.

The workshop will be held July 31, 2013 from 9am to 11:30am.  You can register here.

1857 Earthquake at Fort Tejon

I have this interesting collection of books I keep at our family vacation house. Here are just a few titles:

  • Train Wrecks – A Pictorial History of Accidents on the Main Line
  • Shipwrecks, Smugglers and Maritime Mysteries
  • Strange Deaths – More Than 375 Freakish Fatalities
  • California Disasters 1800-1900

Not that I am obsessed with disasters, it does make interesting reading for guests, especially the history of the events. I finally started reading California Disasters and came across a chapter on the 1857 Earthquake of Fort Tejon, one of the largest quakes in California history, a 7.9. Since it occurred close to home, I thought I would share this one with you all:

In early January, 1857, rancher John Barker and a neighbor were searching for some stray horses on the eastern shore of Tulare Lake, a large runoff basin for the many rivers and creeks of central California. Knowing their horses would not drink from this particular area of the lake, the two ranchers rode to a nearby waterhole to look for tracks. Years later, Barker recalled that memorable day:

I dismounted and led my horse by the bridle and walked to the edge of the water. Just as I reached it, the ground seemed to be violently swayed from east to west. The water splashed up to my knees; the trees whipped about, and limbs fell on and all around me. I was affected by a fearful nausea, my horse snorted and in terror struggled violently to get away from me, but I hung to him, having as great a fear as he had himself. The lake commenced to roar like the ocean in a storm, and, staggering and bewildered, I vaulted into the saddle and my terrified horse started, as eager as I was to get out of the vicinity. I found my friend, who had not dismounted, almost in a state of collapse. He eagerly inquired, while our horses were on the run and the lake was roaring behind us, “What is this?” I replied, “An earthquake! Put the steel on your horse and let us get out of this!” and we ran at the top of our speed for about five miles.

We returned the next day and found that the lake had run up on the land for about three miles. Fish were stranded in every direction and could have been gathered by the wagon-load. The air was alive with buzzards and vultures eager for the feast, but the earth had acquired its normal condition.

Barker’s recollection was validated by other intelligence, as reported in the January 13, 1857 San Francisco Herald:

In every portion of the state from which we have heard, up to the present, the earthquake of the 9th inst. was very seriously felt. It is by no means improbable that it extended to the extreme North. We clip the following additional particulars from our upcountry exchanges–

A gentleman from Mokelumne Hill informs the Sacramento American that it was severely felt in that region, and seemed to shake the hills for miles around. Reports were numerous of the caving in of several tunnels and burial of a number of men, but he could not obtain the particulars.

By all we could learn, says the Stockton Republican, the commotion was very visible, lasting some minute or two. We have heard two or three gentlemen describe the sensation as being so violent as to cause a kind of sea-sickness. In our establishment, the shock was quite apparent. The lamps, which are suspended from the ceiling, swung to and fro for the distance of more than a foot. One of them was thrown against the walls so violently that its jingling was heard in every part of the office.

Barker could hardly have exaggerated the extent of the tremor. Others reported the Kern River, to the south, flooding its banks as it actually reversed course and ran upstream. The quake, generally regarded as one of the most powerful in U.S. history, was felt throughout a large swath of California. Surface ruptures ran all along this tract. Artesian wells in the Santa Clara Valley suddenly went dry, while other wells appeared suddenly near San Fernando and Santa Barbara. Both the Los Angeles and the Mokelumne rivers, some 350 miles apart, flug water from their beds, leaving dry spots in some areas. The earthquake was felt as far north as San Jose, San Francisco, and Sacramento.

When an express rider from Fort Tejon arrived in Stockton on January 15, he brought additional news of the quake’s effects in the vicinity of his post. There was a light, barely perceptible shock about six o’clock that morning, with a heavier one following at 8:30. This second jolt lasted from three to five minutes, accompanied by a sound resembling the rumbling of a train of railroad cars. Nearly all the adobe buildings in the area were damaged to some extent as chimneys tumbled down, plaster cracked and walls fell. Several adobe buildings a the fort were under construction and were all but destroyed. Miraculously, no one at the post was injured, although there were some close calls. A man in the kitchen of on of the adobes rushed outside just as the walls caved in, and a Dr. Tenbrock was thrown to the ground violently.

At the government sawmill located some twenty miles distant, a mule team was thrown to the ground, oak trees were uprooted, and large branches fell to the ground. At Reed’s nearby ranch, a Mexican woman was killed by the caving-in of an adobe house. A Reverend Bateman, who rode through the surrounding country, reported that there were great fissures in the earth, indicating a very violent upheaval. He was informed by a vaquero that the mountain road to Los Angeles was nearly impassable due to rock slides. “From the accounts detailed by Mr. Cannady,” commented the Stockton Daily Argus, “we are confident that the shock was more severely felt at Fort Tejon, than at any other point in the state.”

Although it could not be measured in any way, most scientists of today agree that the quake was very large based on eyewitness accounts. It is generally agreed also that the quake was perhaps as large, or larger, than the San Francisco quake of 1906. It was only due to the sparse population, and lack of high population densities throughout California, that much greater damage and loss of life did not occur.

After reading this, it made me think of what would happen if this earthquake occurred today.  If the power goes out at my house for a few hours, it’s annoying, but I cannot imagine what devastation will result after an earthquake like this today … no power, no air conditioning/heating, no refrigerator, no house, no shelter … you get the picture.

Californians of today remain equally vulnerable to earthquakes as they were during its earliest days of habitation.  With the exception of 1906, no earthquakes equal to those felt in 1812, 1857, and 1872 have re-occurred.  California was fortunate in that the population was sparse in those early days and the construction less extensive.  If any of those earthquakes are re-created in the future, property losses will probably be in the billions, and the human toll will be unimaginable.

Some of us had a taste of this during the 1994 Northridge earthquake, a 6.7 with high ground acceleration.  I remember half of the water in the pool jumped out, anything on the walls in the house fell off, and many cracks appeared on the property.  Our house was lucky, others in the neighborhood had foundations that were severely compromised.  Others in the valley were completely destroyed or ready to fall.  I remember it was hard to find a gas station that was open.  To this day I don’t let the tank go below 1/2 so I can drive for a few days in case of an emergency.  I remember during re-construction of the 5/14 interchange bridges having to drive in heavy traffic on the two lane “old road” for over a year.  And during all of this I remember the constant aftershocks for months on end … kept many of us on edge!

Remember, be prepared for the next “big one”.  Have your emergency survival kits ready.  We even have one for our dog!  Solar chargers are good to have and led camping lanterns too.  And establish an out of state point of contact for all family members in emergencies.  As government GIS Analysts and Managers, we are involved with emergency preparedness and EOC operations and training at work.  Let’s not forget to be prepared at home too.  -mike

Online Seminar – Open Source in Commercial GIS Software


Sponsored by ASPRS, CaGIS and GLIS

Open Source in Commercial GIS Software

Date & Time: July 26, 2013 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST

Attendance is limited, so Register Now.

The American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) GIS Division in partnership with the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS) and the Geographic and Land Information Society (GLIS) would like to invite our members to attend our next seminar in the series for 2013.

Abstract: Unknown to many in the GIS industry, open source software plays a key role not only in academia and research but also in the proprietary/commercial realm as well.  Most well-known commercial GIS applications leverage open-source software.  This talk takes an insider’s view of this phenomenon and explores why this happens and why it makes sense for everyone.  Using the most recent release of LizardTech’s Express Server as a specific case study, we’ll look at how we decided to use open source software in our product and how it worked out.  No math.  No code.  Just interesting insights into software we all use every day.

About the Speaker: Michael Rosen is the Software Architect at LizardTech, the company that makes the MrSID image compression technology.  He’s participated with and contributed to open source GIS projects over the past 13 years.

On-line Registration:

NOTE: Registration is limited to the first 95 people who sign up and log in to the seminar.

Questions, Contact:

David Alvarez, PCM, GISP
GIS Division Director (ASPRS)

Supreme Court Clarifies Distinction Between GIS Data And Software Under The Public Records Act

Most of you have probably been following the case against Orange County and their GIS data.  If not, the California Supreme Court ruled last week that data in a geographic
information system (“GIS”) file format is a public record subject to disclosure
under the California Public Records Act.  A great explanation of this ruling can be found here.

2013 ESRI Conference – Some Surprises

As the 2013 ESRI Conference wraps up this week, I wanted to mention a few pleasant surprises this year that might mean some big things for government GIS.


This year ESRI’s focus was on web GIS. Their products are definitely maturing and integrated with the web. I remember hearing “ArcGIS is now a web GIS”.

One of the surprises was Portal for ArcGIS. If you have an advanced license of ArcGIS Server, Portal is now included for the 10.2 release as an extension. If you have a standard license, you will need to purchase the extension. If you don’t know what Portal is, just think of it as ArcGIS Online that you can install on your own server (Web GIS on Premises). For us government GIS types, this opens up some fantastic options for internal use on our own networks. One big thing that I liked was the ability to use single sign on with Portal. You can import your active directory logins into Portal so you don’t have to create a bunch of logins manually like in ArcGIS Online.  When users go to your Portal site, they will not have to login since they already logged into their computer.  Nice!

Another interesting surprise was the new ArcGIS Professional product. It has a clean ribbon interface with tabs (think Microsoft Office look and feel), is fast, and integrates 2D and 3D together. It was pretty slick. ESRI said if you can use ArcMap, you can use ArcGIS Professional.  Here are some other properties:

  • 64 bit
  • Fast 2D/3D graphics engine
  • Multiple maps and multiple layouts
  • Multi-threaded application
  • Integrated with ArcGIS Online/Portal
  • ArcMap/ArcCatalog/ArcGlobe fused together into one application
  • Project centric workflows
  • Simple search and query
  • Integrated with ESRI Solutions (Local Gov, Address Mgt, Water Util, etc)
  • Task Assistant to help you with editing (put tools together for a task and many tasks as a workflow)
  • Updates will not require uninstall/reinstall
  • Extensible with addins, python scripting, .NET API

My impression of ArcGIS Professional is that it was a replacement for ArcMap, though ESRI said it was not. Both will function together on the same computer. I attended the Desktop Road Ahead workshop, thinking that I would see where ArcMap and the Desktop product was going, but instead it turned out to be a big demo of ArcGIS Professional. Hmm.  During one of the demos, the presenter slipped up and called it ArcGIS 11 then quickly corrected and called it ArcGIS Professional! Hmm again … time will tell.

As for ArcGIS Professional licensing, ESRI said it was too early to announce, but they were considering a simplified subscription based model. ArcGIS Professional is slated for a Q4 2013 release, probably in November.

One last surprise was ESRI publishing videos of the Plenary session the next day. That was fast! You can view them here:  I wonder how fast the workshops will be published?

Oh, and walking back to my hotel I discovered a wall of Etch-a-Sketch’s that you could draw maps or whatever on! Pretty neat.


Looks like someone took one home!

That’s all for now.  Time for the Thursday night party!  Please reply to this post and share your conference observations too!  -mike

USGS now looking for limited crowd-sourced data in CA and NV

Hello everyone:

USGS is now collecting limited crowd-sourced information that can be provided as both GIS data and included in future topographic maps.  USGS began collecting VGI – volunteered geographic information – for structures for a number of states several months ago.  The agency recently expanded this pilot effort to cover another 16 states, including California and Nevada.

The USGS news release can be seen here:

USGS is interested in your input on locations for certain public buildings, as mentioned in the news release.  This would be a good exercise to look at from a county or local perspective.  There might also be situations in CA where organizing a multi-county effort (e.g. through a Council of Governments or a GIS collaborative) would be beneficial.

We would be very interested in hearing what you think about this and any plans you may have to contribute data.  We can help with any questions you may have and can set up a conference call or discussion anytime on the subject.

Carol Ostergren
Drew Decker