Pee Dee GIS Users Group

SC GIS Professionals in the Pee Dee Area


Tips and Tricks

Simple Street Index

The simple street index creator, creates a street index and exports to a pdf. The tool selects only roads that intersect the chosen grid layer. It must be run from ArcMap. ESRI has a solution here for creating a map book with index pages but their solution requires a third party python module ReportLab. I wanted a solution that anyone could use. If anyone knows how to code xml and knows the parameters for the Arcmap report writer you could greatly expand the functionality of this tool.
What you get:
• Toolbox
• Script tool configured to the python code
• A blank map document for the tool to do some work in
• 1 preconfigured 8 ½ X 11 landscaped report
• 1 preconfigured 11 X 17 landscaped report

How it works.
• Save the contents of the file to one location.
• Open a session of Arcmap.
• Load your streets and grid files into the map(you don’t have to it just makes things easier)
• Open your catalog window and navigate to where you saved the files
• Open the SimpleStreetIndexCreator.tbx
• Open the Simple Street Index script tool
• Parameter 1 is the streets layer or feature class
• Parameter 2 is the grid layer or feature class
• Parameter 3 is the street field you want to create the index with(Street Name or Full Street Name)
• Parameter 4 is the grid field you want to create the index with(Grid_ID)
• Parameter 5 is the folder you want to save the index
• Parameter 6 is the name of the index you don’t have to put .pdf on the end the program will do it for you, but you can if you want you may also select any other format that the Arcmap report writer will support
• Parameter 7 is the index layout there are two preconfigured reports in the download for you to use. Pick 8 ½ X 11 Landscape or 11 X 17 Landscape
• Click OK and let the tool run
• When the tool has finished navigate to the work space you selected in parameter 6 and look for the name you selected in parameter 7

There is a known issue that I have not figured out yet see this post Simple Street Index Creator ,but go ahead and give it a try


Wes Miller Python Code

At todays meeting, Wes demonstrated some pretty fancy code wrangling in ARC. For those people interested in seeing the code work on your machines, We’ve included the snippets here with Wes’ permission.

I have a Flex app. What should I do now?

Many organizations have invested in Flex/Flash based web applications. Announcements from Adobe that they are dropping future development of Flex or Flash on top of Apple’s decision not to support Flex, has left many organizations that have invested in Flex GIS web applications scratching their heads. What should you do now? Should you move to HTML 5? What about JavaScript? Maybe ArcGIS Online is the answer?

What to do now?

If you have a Flex based GIS Application right now, there is no need to panic. These will continue to be supported in the current generation of desktop web browsers. I imagine new desktop browser versions such as Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox will continue to support Flex for a while to come. Too many organizations have invested development in Flex based web apps and we are not just talking about GIS. You can find Flex based websites in many industries such as economic development, realty, and financial services. This will help drive a continuing need to support Flex so you do have some time to plan a replacement strategy.

Replacement Strategy

As support for Flex drops over time, you will need to develop a replacement strategy for your Flex application. Do not put it off too long. Support for Flex will start to decline as new technologies such as HTML 5 come online. Have a plan and start working it while you have time and are not in panic mode trying to figure out what you are going to do because the commissioner can no longer get to the data and maps he or she has come to rely on. That is a sure fire way to not have a job in the morning.

First steps will include determining what platforms youwant to support. In this day and age, people expect to be able to access data from multiple devices. They might use a desktop or laptop in the office but then rely on an iPAD when in meetings and an Android Phone while travelling. Do you need or want to support all of these or some of these? That should be one of your first decisions.

The second step will be determining the level of support needed for these various devices. This will partially be driven by what functionality is deemed critical. You might find several out of the box solutions such as Esri’s ArcGIS Online or one of their template applications based on an industry standard data model, such as the Local Government Data Model, will fit your needs. This would remove the need for a lot of custom development which will save you time and money. It can also make future upgrades or transitions easier.

What is the HTML5 I keep hearing about?

HTML 5 is a new markup language use for developing, structuring and presenting website content. It will replace the current HTML 4.01 standard used by most websites. The new HTML 5 specification is still under development. It is supposedly going to be finalized by sometime in 2015. However, several modules are already supported by various browsers

SHtml5o what is the big deal about HTML 5? Why is it so much better than HTML 4? HTML 5 provides a whole new level of support for graphics, video, audio, user inputs, geolocation and more. Basically it is the next iteration of what has been dubbed Web 2.0. When the final specification for HTML 5 is released, developers will be able to mimic many of the “cool features” that we see in current Flex and Silverlight applications but without the need for an additional plug-in to be installed. This will allow HTML 5 applications to be supported on a wide range of devices and browsers. To find out more about HTML 5 you can go to –

As I mentioned the HTML 5 spec is still under development but many models have been approved and adopted. If you were to start developing an HTML 5 based application and wanted to determine which browsers support what level of functionality you can go to – Here are some current comparisons:

  • Chrome 23 on Windows 7 Pro – 448 out of 500 points
  • IE 9 on Windows 7 Pro – 138 out of 500 Points
  • Firefox 7 on Window 7 Pro – 314 out 500 Points
  • Safari 5.1.7 on Mac OS X 10.6.8 – 318 out of 500 Points
  • Android Browser on Droid X & Galaxy Tab – 200 out of 500 Points
  • Opera Mobile 12.10 on Droid X – 406 out of 500 points

As you can see support for HTML 5 is all over the place depending on which Browser you use. If you are stuck in an organization that has standardized on Internet Explorer you will not be able to use much of the new capabilities HTML 5 brings to the table. Even IE 10 is only reported to get a score of 320 points.

Will this happen again?

Of course it will.  This is true of any technology based solution. The only constant you can bet on is change. So how do you deal with it? I would recommend that you have a plan to replace/upgrade existing web and mobile applications on a regular cycle just as you do with you hardware. This can be made easier when you use out of the box solutions such as ArcGIS Online as you can pass off much of the pain of new development along to them. But you still need a plan so everyone in your organization knows what is to come and no one is surprised.

If you are currently using a Flex application, all is not lost. You still have some time to put together a plan to replace it. But don’t wait too long! As HTML 5 is finalized and adopted, support for Flex will drop. You don’t want to be the one everyone is pointing to when it hits the fan because your beautiful flex app no longer works and the boss can’t get what he or she needs at that critical moment.

Tripp Corbin, CFM, GISP
CEO & Lead Instructor
eGIS Associates, Inc.


Bing Imagery & ArcGIS 10.1

If you are like me, you often use Esri’s online Base Maps as a starting point for many maps and projects.  For those that use the Aerials and streets from Bing there is something you need to know if you try to export to PDF using ArcGIS 10.1. Due to a licensing change between Bing and Esri, you may have some issues with the exported PDF.

Beginning with ArcGIS 10.1, the Bing Maps logo is required to appear on all maps that consume Bing map services. The Bing logo draws on top of all layer to ensure it will be visible no matter what layers are in the map. This may adversely affect the map when it is exported or even printed because all layers are automatically rasterized on export. Possible issues can include:

PDF with Bing Imagery created in ArcGIS 10.1

  1. Data hidden by Bing Logo
  2. Blurry data or map
  3. If “Include Layers” option is selected during PDF export, everything is placed on single raster layer

This is a known issue but there is not much Esri can do because to the new license agreement with Bing. Recommended fix or work around is to use your own base maps or one of the other Esri online base maps.

Tripp Corbin, CFM, GISP
eGIS Associates, Inc.

Geocoding – Place Name Alias Tables and Spelling Sensitivity

Recently, I saw a question come across one of the many GIS email lists I am on asking about whether or not the spelling sensitivity setting in an Address Locator also worked with addresses located using names and a Place Name Alias table in ArcGIS. This question intrigued me because though I have done my share of geocoding over the years, I have not used place name aliases much. I was unsure how this would work so I decided to do some testing.  Click here to find out more

Tripp Corbin, CFM, MCP, GISP
eGIS Associates, Inc.

Excel Spreadsheets and ArcGIS

Microsoft Excel is an amazing tool that allows users to store information, perform calculations, link data, and a more. This tool is used by multiple professions and practices in support of day to day tasks to store critical and useful information. As a result GIS users often need to make use of data stored in Excel Spreadsheets to perform their daily duties.

While an Excel spreadsheet can act similar to a traditional database, it is not. A spreadsheet allows users to perform functions within, such as assign equations to individual cells or records, which are not allowed in a database. This additional functionality often causes problems when a GIS User tries to integrate spreadsheets into their workflows and analysis within Esri’s ArcGIS platform. To be successful, they must be aware of the limitations.

Click here to read more

Service Pack 4 for ArcGIS 10 to be released in March

Esri is planning another service pack for ArcGIS 10. This will be the 4th service pack for 10. It will address several issues. Here are a few that might be of some interest:

  • Changes to layer names inside a group layer file are not saved/persisted when ArcCatalog is closed.
  • ArcMap crashes intermittently when editing while GPS connection is open
  • GPS Toolbar does not recognize COM ports over 9.
  • Projecting annotation from a file geodatabase feature dataset causes the text to draw a huge distance away from the proper location in the output.  This is also reproducible in a personal geodatabase and data in SDE.
  • ArcMap crashes with runtime error when reconciling certain child versions with default
  • Layer with marker fill symbol loses its background color when adding to basemap layer with symbol level turned on.
  • ArcPy local function tools do not accept a Mosaic dataset layer in the TOC as input
  • When composite locator is created in the ArcSDE database, long property names cause it to fail
  • Synchronizing a one-way replica is crashing ArcCatalog and ArcMap
  • Synchronization fails while checking in the edits from a file geodatabase
  • When running the Spatial Analyst > Hydrology > Fill tool and specifying a Z limit, ArcGIS Version 10 SP2 fills less sinks than ArcGIS Version 9.3.1 SP2.
  • Applying a Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) grid 1:500,000 reference system to a data frame with non-WGS84 datum crashes the software
  • When reconciling certain versions that are involved in a Parcel Fabric, the error returned is, “Version could not be reconciled,” with no extended description.
  • Export metadata to FGDC CSDGM format: when an item’s spatial reference uses parameter names that are all lower case, the projection parameters are not exported
  • Reconciling a version with its parent version corrupts the geometric network connectivity
  • When map tips are enabled, the Hyperlink tool’s cursor no longer turns black when hovering over a hyperlinked feature

Those are just a few issues the service pack will address that I found interesting. There are 7 pages of issues addressed with SP 4. For a complete list of the issues SP 4 is to address go to:

Tripp Corbin, MCP, CFM, GISP | Chief Executive Officer
eGIS Associates, Inc. |
678-710-9710 ext 21 | 866-304-3864 Fax
Esri Certified Trainer | Esri Certified Desktop Associate

Esri Technical Certifications – Questions Answered

This week I attended Esri’s SERUG conference in Jacksonville Florida. I think SERUG went really well this year. Attendance was up from last year I believe. Presentations were great. It is always amazing to see what folks are doing with GIS and Esri Technology.

One of the hot button topics at this year’s SERUG conference was Esri’s new technical certifications. Renee Schreibman, Esri’s Southeast Training Consultant, had the job of trying to explain the new certifications and what it takes to earn one of the certifications. Renee did a great job explaining the program and answering questions. Here are a couple of highlights:

  1. If I earn a certification will I have to recertify with each new release of Esri? Looks like Esri is following the Microsoft model here. According to Renee, once you are certified you will not need to recertify with each new release. Only with major releases will you possibly need to recertify. In this case there will most likely be an abbreviated “Update your certification” type exam that would focus on the changes found in the new major release. Also you would still be certified on the past versions. This keeps with IT industry standard practices such as the Microsoft and Cisco certification Models.
  2. Do I have to take the associate exam before I take the professional exam? If you are looking to get certified on ArcGIS Desktop, you can skip straight to the professional exam if you feel you are at that level. Other exams currently under development for Developer and Enterprise may have a requirement for you to get associate first and then professional later.
  3. How many times can I take the exam and do I have to pay the $255 each time?  The last part is easy to answer. Yes you have to pay each time you take the exam. I should point out Esri does not make any money from those taking the exams. Most if not all of that fee goes to the Pearson testing folks. So now to the first part of the question, how many times can I take an exam. Basically you can take the exam 3 times. After the third time you have to talk with Esri and get permission to take it a fourth time.
  4. How hard are the exams? Based on my experience and what Renee said, these exams are not easy. They are designed to make sure you have a thorough knowledge of ArcGIS at the level you are being tested for. Esri wants these exams and certifications to mean something. When you earn one you have accomplished something to be proud of.
  5. What is the pass rate on the exams? Still too early to tell. These exams have only been out for a few months and Esri is still gathering data, however see question 4.  I have heard some number passed around on the beta exams but nothing concrete enough to say for certain. I will say it was not a super high pass rate on the beta exams if the numbers I have heard via the rumor mill are even close to correct. As stated with question 4, Esri wants these certifications to have meaning so they are not giving them away. You do have to earn them.
  6. Do I get told which questions I got wrong? No you only get told if you passed or failed
  7. Where can I take an exam? At pretty much any Pearson Vue authorized testing center. These are located all over the place. Go to to locate a testing center near you and to register to take an exam
  8. Do I have to complete all the recommended training classes before I take a Certification Exam? No, you don’t. The list of recommended classes contain topics which might be included on the exams.
  9. If I have not upgraded to ArcGIS 10 yet can I still take the exams?  Yes you can but you will have a hard time passing. The exams are all built around ArcGIS 10. If you are not familiar with the new functionality such as Feature Templates, Dynamic Test and Data Driven Pages you will be at a severe disadvantage taking the exam.
  10. Does this compete with the GISP especially since they are considering an exam? No, the two are complementary. The Esri Technical Certifications only test on knowledge about using Esri products. A GISP exam, if implemented, would test on a more rounded and theoretical knowledge most likely based on the Dept. of Labor Geospatial Core Competency Model (GTCM).

So there you go, my brief summary of Renee’s presentation and some of the questions that were asked/answered during the presentation. Renee’s presentation will be posted to the SERUG website at some point soon. In the meantime you might want to go to if you have any questions or are looking for more information. Of course I am always happy to answer questions or help to find answers.

Tripp Corbin, CFM, GISP
Vice President, GIS
Keck & Wood, Inc.
Esri Certified Trainer | Esri Certified ArcGIS Desktop Associate

Extract day of the week from a date field in ArcGIS

So your are ArcGIS 10 (ArcView licence only) and have a large dataset with a Date field. You want to select all those dates that fall on a specific day or days of the week. How would use do this only using the tools in ArcGIS? Try this:

1. Add an integer field to the table

2. Use the field calculator and vbscript syntax YourDOWField = DatePart (“w”, [YourDateField]).

3. The field will then contain values 1-7 which translates to Sunday – Saturday. You can then select on this.

Tripp Corbin, CFM, GISP
Vice President, GIS/IT
Esri Authorized Instructor
Esri Certified ArcGIS Desktop 10 Associate
Keck & Wood, Inc.

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