June 29, 2009

ArcGIS Server Maps in Microstation: Easy as Pie

I frequently borrow this device from a neighbor of mine (pictured here), which peels, slices and cores apples. It reinforces my idea that in the design of anything there must be more simple and effective solution just waiting to be discovered. As an amature sailboat designer I am haunted by this contraption as an example of what “could be”, because to me it does exactly what I want to do to an apple for making pie or cobbler. This device exceeds my expectations and even delights me when I use it. This device is not new; it is just new to me.
Something that is not new, but is relatively new to me is the use of ArcGIS Server maps served via WMS in Microstation. Microstation has had the ability to display WMS maps served by ArcGIS Server and other WMS sources for a while now, however with Microstation 8i this functionality includes a user interface in core Microstation that makes it easy to incorporate ArcGIS Server maps into my Microstation drawings.
WMS capabilities are just a checkbox option when publishing maps to ArcGIS Server. After creating maps in ArcGIS desktop, now I personally have a reason to check the WMS service checkbox when publishing my maps to ArcGIS Server. The same maps that I can use in ArcGIS for AutoCAD in the form of a Map Service are also available to me in Microstation as a WMS Service using the same ArcGIS Server.

The apple cobbler my daughter and I made last night tasted good and was fun to make.

June 10, 2009

Coordinate Systems in ArcGIS for AutoCAD; Is it morning already?

Traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast has its challenges for business. On my last trip I shared a hotel room with an associate at a large conference; My colleague, tired after a long day, was looking to get to sleep at 10:00 pm, which was 7:00pm my time. My 5 year old back home, wasn’t going to bed for another hour. My colleague then announces he would be getting up at 5:00 am (booyah!) and was asking if he would have a conflict with me getting ready in the morning. Quick calculation in my head… that’s 2:00am!

The Earth is round, so even though we may have an accurate measurement that same measurement has a geographic relevance for a particular place. The watches on both of our wrists were accurately measuring the time in our zone. Trouble was I was out of my zone.

For many CAD related efforts I may be entering coordinates accurately in my zone, be it state plane or UTM or the alike. However, without some means to identify which zone I am in, or more basically what coordinate system my coordinates are depicting, when I am outside that zone things don’t line up.

In ArcGIS for AutoCAD you can identify which coordinate system you are in so that map services from other coordinates systems will automatically line up in the right locations. Likewise when the drawing is added to ArcGIS software it will also line up. By default ArcGIS for AutoCAD will assume that if you are adding a map service within an AutoCAD file without a coordinate system defined you will want your drawing to have same coordinate system as the map service. This may not be true; therefore you will want to select your coordinate system from a list of some 4000 coordinates systems that ship with ArcGIS for AutoCAD first. If your AutoCAD file has a coordinate system definition in an external .PRJ file, ArcGIS for AutoCAD can import that .PRJ file and store it inside the CAD file according to the Mapping Specification for Drawings.

For Microstation files and AutoCAD files not used in ArcGIS for AutoCAD you would copy a .PRJ file of the appropriate coordinates system in the same directory old-school.
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