May 08, 2013
The rabbit died. Well one of the rabbits died... (moment of silence). I guess that phrase used to have multiple meanings, now it only means one thing… an evening of tears from my daughter when we break the news to her that Mathew the bunny has moved on to a better place.
On a brighter note… ArcGIS with AutoCAD and Microstation interoperability are still alive and kicking. I interoperate between ArcGIS and Microstation in a number of different ways. I can simply edit Esri shapefiles within Microstation, which just works. I can also export to shapefiles from various Bentley ad-on products like Bentley Map that ArcGIS can obviously read with all of its attributes. For most cases adhering to my CAD standard in Microstation and making good use of element tags can get me most of what I want when I use my .DGN files inside ArcMap without any data conversion. With ArcGIS geoprocessing tools good work can be accomplished to filter push and pull the data into how I need to see it, or when I migrate data from the CAD file to the geodatabase with tools like MERGE, FEATURE CLASS TO FEATURECLASS, APPEND etc... I use the ArcGIS Data Interoperability extension to do heavy lifting and to automate the migration of lots of data from the .DGN format to ArcGIS where I want more "magic" to happen
Adding ArcGIS Server to the mix (maybe not even my ArcGIS Server, maybe someone else's ) can be pretty interesting. In Microstation I can use ArcGIS Server for imagery, utility maps, land use maps, road networks, or my campus floor plans. All these maps can be easily accessed when my ArcGIS Server administrator checks the box for OGC WMS (Web Map Service) as one of the serving capabilities for these maps I choose to serve out.
Since I have access to Bentley's Bentley Map ad-on to Microstation I can also get read/only access to WFS (Web Feature Service) services from the same map by checking that capabilities box when publishing my data with ArcGIS Server. With the OGC WMS feature service I get access to the attributed vector features as elements in my Microstation session that I can query and snap to. Here is a portion of a demo from the recent GIS-T conference where I do just that.
From the same server I can simultaneously serve out WMS, WFS, ArcGIS Feature Services, WMS Feature Services, ArcGIS Image Services, and KML from the same authored map. Which means if I make a change in Esri's ArcGIS for AutoCAD to the entities of an editable ArcGIS feature service, then the WebMap on my Android device, the field guy's IPAD, the Director's Executive dashboard app, the Microstation WMS view, the ArcMap editing station, and my brother looking at the data on Google earth, all see my changes when I make them.
April 15, 2013
ArcGIS for AutoCAD Supports AutoCAD 2013
As of today many more people have access the useful functionality of the popular ArcGIS for AutoCAD plug-in. Those people include: those who work with AutoCAD 2013, people who work behind an internet proxy, those of us who work with secure ArcGIS servers, people who need a user interface in one of 8 languages now supported. Come and get ArcGIS for AutoCAD 300 Sp1, tell your friends.
- Support of Proxy Server connecting to Internet for ArcGIS Services
- Support for Windows 64bit and 32bit AutoCAD 2013 versions
- Support for SQL Server Authentication in combination with Support for Windows Token Authentication and/or Proxy Server
- Additional Language Support
o Portuguese (Brazilian)
- Faster Loading: ArcGIS Online Server Connections established when used instead of on start of application
- Location candidates from a Location Service no longer stored as point features in the drawing
- Disabled EXTRACT for ArcGIS Online Map Service content found at per license agreement: http://services.arcgisonline.com/arcgis/rest/services
- Remedy issues with AutoCAD UNDO when map services are in the drawing
- Editing fields with null values using attribute edit tool from ribbon
- Honors the transparency of map service backgrounds, in addition to normal map transparency
- Problem with empty Image Service causing freeze
- Fixed issue with feature service layer EXTRACT to wrong AutoCAD layer
- Maps/Image Services respond to current viewport when there is more than one viewport
· Font error in progress dialog caused "unhandled exception" on some systems
March 01, 2013
Using Esri Data Models In CAD: BISDM
My sister-in-law was upset, and she went on to share that her trauma was caused from the slow deliberate disapproving head-wag from another driver because she had mistakenly entered an unfamiliar one-way driveway in the wrong direction. We could feel the weight of this heartless condemnation as we all practiced in unison the gesture while listening to her story. Then just last week I was dropping off my daughter for music lessons and drove into an unusual one-way portion of a parking lot that essentially formed an alleyway. I turned into the path and was met with the thin-faced scowl and accompanying head-wag of another driver already confidently committed head-on in the other direction. I was stripped bare of all person-hood as the driver slowly and contemptuously passed judgment with unyielding eye contact. Because of my recent awareness of this exact situation, I was nervously amused at the scene, I responded with my best I'm-really-sorry-try-to-have-a-nice-day-anyway smile I could muster. It wasn't till I picked up my daughter an hour later that I notice the bright white arrow that I had driven over… that completely vindicated me from any wrong doing! The same white arrow that pointed back at my accuser once she passed my car, after I had to back up to let her pass.
Sometimes there is not a bold white painted arrow to point the way. And even then sometimes I miss it. One thing that helps me create quality GIS data in CAD are the standard Esri Industry data-models.
Recently I needed to create some GIS-Ready data for managing building interior spaces.
Recently I needed to create some GIS-Ready data for managing building interior spaces.
I can generate AutoCAD drawings that contains any of my project's GIS data schema for use in ArcGIS for AutoCAD by employing the ArcGIS Desktop geoprocessing tool EXPORT TO CAD (not just Esri Industry Models). I can export a small sample data set or even a blank selection set of any GIS data I like, and the resulting AutoCAD file will contain a schema of data that can be used and populated by data using ArcGIS for AutoCAD.
I save this information in a template file which ensures that whenever I generate this kind of GIS data in AutoCAD I will be using the same schema used by the GIS folks in my project. I downloaded some sample data on Esri.com's data model pages and then exported it to an AutoCAD drawing using my copy of ArcMap. Now I have the BISDM data model I can use in AutoCAD to create floor plan data for managing interior spaces that I know will work great with the existing GIS data. I've done the same thing for the Esri water model.
Here is a short video of the process.
February 15, 2013
Feature Services To Go
There is construction underway here at work, and there is a door that leads outside directly into the construction area. On the door is posted a sign with an unfortunate misspelling. The caution sign warns passers by not to "EXIST!" The door has now become a philosophical shrine of potential meanings for the posted warning sign.
ArcGIS Server allows me to support a network of interconnected devices and software applications all working together in my enterprise mapping and design environment. But, what if my organization is not all always connected. And, what if we don't want to grant people access to our servers? Can these semi-trusted others still contribute to maintaining the data? Can I set up a digital submittal workflow that streamlines GIS data creation in AutoCAD, but where I still retain control of the updates to the server?
Certainly there are many different workflows that exist that facilitate a step-wise GIS/CAD data maintenance plan. I can pass AutoCAD drawings back and forth between people who can read them converting them back and forth and back. I can create multiple geodatabase layers with staging and production versions and create special outward facing internet connections for people outside my firewall. I can even pass AutoCAD .DWG files with feature classes in them back and forth.
Here is one simple solution worthy of consideration. When working with AutoCAD contributors who don't have access to my Server I can share one of my AutoCAD drawings that contains an active long transaction from a feature service. To do this I connect to my server and open a feature service inside my session of ArcGIS for AutoCAD from the necessary geodatabase layers, and then I can pass my .DWG file to someone else to finish adding data or to making changes. The person I give the drawing to, does NOT have to have their own connection to the server. I can give a drawing to a consultant and they can work on my file and make changes to my feature service features without ever making a connection to my geodatabase. All they need is their own free copy of ArcGIS for AutoCAD and all their edits will be tracked. When I get the drawing back I can synchronize with the server and together we finish the job.
January 23, 2013
AutoCAD Template Files: Optimized for ArcGIS Feature Extraction
I have several template files for each project with different types of objects in those template files depending on what tasks I am performing with ArcGIS for AutoCAD, whether I am editing, extracting or referencing ArcGIS data and maps.
I plan to blog about other template file examples used in other workflows such as: ( GIS Data Editing, Disconnected Data Creation, Uploading Data to ArcGIS Server, Maps/Images/Features for Reference)
When my task is EXTRACTing features from the County's feature service layers, my AutoCAD template file contains the following items:
Coordinate System Definition. I know where I am working in the world, so I store the coordinate file definition in my template file so any ArcGIS services that I connect to will be positioned correctly within my drawing. When working in California I have the appropriate California State Plane zone coordinate system definition already stored in my template drawing. Saving this information in the template ensures it will be there when I open any new drawing.
ArcGIS Map Service connection that is based on the same data I want to extract and other useful maps such as global imagery from ArcGIS Online. My dynamic maps are already in my template drawing and I don't need to make a connection to them when I open a new drawing. The map gives me geographic context so I can either pan and zoom to a location or enter an address in the location service. I set the transparency and display modes of the map services the way I like them.
AutoCAD Layer Definitions. I already know the feature service layer names and have anticipated what the AutoCAD layer names will be when I extract the data. Therefore I have those AutoCAD layer names already created in my AutoCAD drawing with the symbology I prefer for the color and line styles. Otherwise ArcGIS for AutoCAD randomly generates colors.
AutoCAD Block Definitions. I know that ArcGIS for AutoCAD will use an AutoCAD block instead of a simple point if my drawing contains a blocks named in the same manner as the feature service layer name. So if I am working with a feature service layer called METER_RIVERSIDEWATER, I will rename the AutoCAD block I used for meters to the "esri_Meter_RiversideWater" and store it in my seed file so that ArcGIS for AutoCAD uses that block when it draws the features in my drawing.
Blank ArcGIS Feature Service Layer Definitions. As an expert user of ArcGIS for AutoCAD and I want to save some steps and optimize my productivity. So my template file for extracting features from a feature service already has connections to my server for the appropriate layers. To save me the steps of connecting to my server and browsing to the appropriate layers I have blank feature service layers already connected within my template file. When I want to EXTRACT or EDIT features I zoom to the area of interest and select the SET SERVICE LIMIT FROM CURRENT VIEW button on the FEATURES section of the ribbon. Which populates my drawing with the features from the feature service layers. When I am EXTRACTING features I right-click in the FEATURE CLASS (Feature Services) item in the TOC and select the EXTRACT ALL FEATURE SERVICES option to perform my data extraction of the features in my target area.
Here is a brief video that outlines the use of an AutoCAD template file with ArcGIS for AutoCAD stuff in it:
December 04, 2012
1 Hour ArcGIS for AutoCAD Seminar
- My carpool to work with our lead CAD developer.
- Watching an NBA basketball game with a DVR …fast forwarding all the free throws and commercials, but pausing long enough to listen to Charles Barkley at halftime .
- A virtual trip the 2012 Esri User Conference in San Diego to watch myself give a presentation on ArcGIS for AutoCAD.
November 07, 2012
Feature Services? No Knead to Worry
I've been baking bread for about a year now with my version (I don't measure very closely) of the popular no-knead recipe pervasive on the web.
Water, Flour, Salt, yeast (or, sourdough starter: water, flour, and yeast that has come to a natural "agreement") ... stir, ignore for a while, then bake.
I do wonder how much better my bread could be if it was hard to make? Right now the bread I am making is really good, and really easy.
Feature Service editing in ArcGIS for AutoCAD is likewise a pretty easy thing to do (although maybe not as tasty warm out of the oven with butter and jam.) Because I have access to feature services for editing, I simply make the connection, zoom to an area I want to edit, then add the feature service. From then on I'm working in AutoCAD with AutoCAD entities and AutoCAD tools. As long as things get onto the right layer I'm free to edit my ArcGIS data with AutoCAD. ArcGIS for AutoCAD has a ribbon and tool palettes to assist me in getting things in the right place, but I can use all my AutoCAD skills to create things on the right layer any way I see fit.
Here is a brief YouTube video that outlines the experience in ArcGIS for AutoCAD 300.
...and here is the same 6 minute video in a compact format.