Bring LARIAC5 Early Access Imagery into ArcGIS Desktop

If your organization participates in LARIAC, then you probably know that right now you have Early Access to the 2017 imagery (both orthos and obliques) in Pictometry’s online CONNECTExplorer application.  Keep in mind the Early Access imagery still has work to be done on it, but at least you can take a look at the new stuff while they are working on it.

One thing you can do is bring some of the ortho imagery into your ArcGIS Desktop environment.  Here are the simple steps to do so:

  1. Login to ConnectExplorer and zoom to the area you are interested in.  Make sure to set the imagery date to “Early Access”.
  2. Next, set your Export Image preferences to output a GeoTIFF and turn off scale image, north pointer, and image date if you want.  You do not need a world file for a GeoTIFF.


  3. Next, bring up the ortho view of the area you want.  Make sure to zoom in quite a bit to get the higher resolution.


  4. In the lower-right corner, click on the export icon and select Export Entire Image.


  5. Now bring the GeoTIFF into ArcGIS Desktop.  Here I have the new 2017 ortho displayed on top of the 2014 ortho.


  6. Your image might look a little choppy.  To fix that, open the layer properties, select the Display tab, and change the “Resample during display” setting to “Bilinear Interpolation”.  The “Nearest Neighbor” setting will make your image too choppy looking.  Bilinear does a great job smoothing it out.

The GeoTIFF images are actually using geographic coordinates (WGS84), but they reproject very well into State Plane.

This is a very quick way to bring in the new 2017 Early Access imagery into your maps if you need to.  As the imagery is cleaned up and worked on to create preliminary images, there will be map services setup for you to consume in your applications.  But for now, you can use these steps.  Enjoy!  -mike

More Field Calculator Fun

Back in December 2013 I posted about using the field calculator in ArcMap to calc a field to the third word from another field.  Since then, the comments section has been pretty active with questions and answers.  I thought it would be a great time to expand on that with other nifty field calculator tricks that I have used over the years.

Split Up Data

This one I use a lot.  I have a field that contains parcel number data.  In LA County, parcel numbers are 10 digit numbers that represent the assessor book (first 4 numbers), page (next 3 numbers), and lot number (last 3 numbers).  I want to split them out into their own fields.  Here is how I do it.

Continue reading

Match Symbols to a Style in ArcMap

Here is an interesting article about using a drawing option in ArcMap called Match To Symbols.  By naming a feature attribute with the same symbol name that is in a style, you can quickly symbolize them for feature categories.  Click below to read.


This is just like when us old school GIS types used a field to store a symbol number to symbolize our points, lines, and polygons!

Spider Diagrams

Recently I had a need to generate a spider diagram for my map.  Spider diagrams, also called desire lines for business scenarios, are a series of rays drawn from a central point to related points.  The result shows you the actual area of influence for each central point.


Some good examples would be store locations and customers that visit them, library locations and patrons’ home locations, or in my case fire station locations and incidents they responded to.  Continue reading

Parcel Center XY: Using ArcGIS Server REST API

We currently have a business need to get at parcel center points using parcel numbers.  If some of our business systems can communicate using HTTP, I thought using the ArcGIS Server REST API with our map service would be ideal.  But first I needed to figure out how to do it.  What better way to test the concept by building a Python script! Continue reading

15 Minutes With ArcGIS Earth 1.0

ArcGIS Earth 1.0 is ESRI’s newest app that has been marketed as a replacement for users of the soon to be retired Google Earth Enterprise.  ArcGIS Earth is a desktop based interactive globe which allows you to visualize and explore 3D and 2D spatial data.  ArcGIS Earth software is free.

My goal for this post was not to have a comprehensive review of ArcGIS Earth, but to see how fast I could get it up and running with my data without reading any install or user guide.  The less fuss the better.

You first need to download the compressed setup executable from ESRI’s ArcGIS Earth site.


After that, you run the setup executable which wants to “unzip” the needed install files, so pick a directory to place them in.  Next, it will start the install which will ask you where to install the software.  You can take the default location or place it somewhere else that you like.  Once installed, let it start up and you are greeted with a nice globe that spins as it zooms in with a starry background, similar to Google Earth.


I do like the black framed window with minimal, muted controls that you can hide away.

So I just want to add a shapefile to this puppy.  In the upper left on the tool strip I see a “+” icon which I guess is to add data, so I click on it.  I was right.  Doing so I am presented with public data from ArcGIS Online.


I don’t want that but I see an “Add Files” option as well as an “Enter a URL” option.  Cool!  I click on “Add Files” and a “Select files” button appears, which I click on and then a file browser window opens for me to select either a .KML, .KMZ, or .SHP file.  I select my elevation contours shapefile and the globe zooms to the data.


The first thing I notice is that it is a little slow drawing the data.  Maybe too many contour lines?  The other thing I notice is that the vector data is being rasterized for the display on the globe.  Maybe that is what takes some time?  I don’t know, but as you zoom in and out, you see the re-rasterization of the data.


To navigate around, I use my scroll wheel on the mouse to zoom in/out and to pan you left click on the globe and drag it.  To tilt the globe, right click and drag as well.


I also find if you double-left click it also zooms in.  A double-right click seems to center that location in the window.

I did try my 3D SpaceMouse with ArcGIS Earth, but it only would zoom in and out, no pan or tilt was working.  My 3D mouse worked right out of the box with Google Earth and also ArcGlobe, so I think ESRI will need to add the ability to work with other input devices.

I then notice a little blue dot on the list icon in the upper left.


I bet that is telling me I have a layer being drawn on the earth.  Clicking on the icon reveals a list of my data.


I can turn the layer on or off by clicking on the check box.  If I double click on the layer name, the globe zooms to the layer.  If I right click on the layer name, I am presented with “Remove” or “Properties”.  Selecting “Properties” presents me with a Properties window that allows me to change the symbol type, color, weight, and opacity of the contour lines.


If I click on “Summary” in the Properties menu, it lists the name, feature type, file source, any layer description, and coordinate system.  That’s handy!

Now I want to add a KMZ file.  I click on the “+” icon and add my fire hazard zones for LA County.


Again the globe zooms to the data and again I notice slowness.  Why would this be slow with data on my local drive?  Zooming in and out is slow too.  Maybe the background basemap is taking a while to stream to ArcGIS Earth?

One thing I did not mention is that you can click on any of your features to bring up their attributes.  That comes up fast at least.


The last thing I want to do is add one of our ArcGIS Server map services to the globe.  Again I click on the “+” icon and this time select “Enter a URL”.  Here you can enter the full path to your map service, like ” http://server_name/arcgis/rest/services/layer_name/MapServer “.  I added our 2014 orthophotography.


The speed of panning and zooming seem about the same.


Other tools that are available to you are draw tools that allow you to draw points, lines, and polygons; Measure tools for point, line, path, circle, and polygon; Save image to create an image file of your view; Email an image of your view; Print your view; Settings; and Basemap changes.

I do want to mention that under Settings, you can change the startup view to continue where you left off when you open ArcGIS Earth again, and also you can change the default spatial reference from Web Mercator to WGS 84.  Other settings include an atmospheric effect, mouse navigation speed (which did not fix my slowness), and an advanced setting for using a proxy server.

One last thing, in the upper right of the window, you can enter an address to zoom to.  Also you can reorient your globe to north up by clicking on the north arrow icon and click on the home icon to zoom out to the globe.

Overall ArcGIS Earth is a handy tool to display your KML, shapefile, and map service data on an interactive 3D globe.  I would have liked to see it work with data in a geodatabase, but maybe that is for a later release?  I did notice that at the top of the interface there was an option to “Sign in” to your ArcGIS Online or Portal accounts.  Clicking on it presents a sign in window.


This would then give you access to more data that you have in your ArcGIS Online and/or Portal accounts.  Which brings up this observation … I do like the fact that I can use ArcGIS Earth without forcing me to login.  I think that was wise on ESRI’s part.  Not everyone wants an online account, especially if they only deal with local data.  I think this will help the software be more accepted.  We will see.

Should you need ArcGIS Earth help, you can find it here.

I do not know why ArcGIS Earth was slow for me.  I have a pretty powerful workstation.  I found myself becoming very impatient waiting for the globe to keep up with my movements.  If it does not get resolved, I don’t see myself using ArcGIS Earth that much.  ArcGlobe and the 3D in ArcGIS Pro work a lot faster.  Your mileage may vary.

Try ArcGIS Earth out for yourself and see if the tool works out for you. -mike