October 22, 2010

Map Service Transparency Tool

Confessions of a non-texter. As a habit I don’t text, I just don’t. Nor do I tweet, twit or chirp. I lost my smart phone and my new phone doesn’t have a keyboard, which makes the thought of texting even less desirable (since it takes me forever to peck out a message T9 or otherwise). I was the guy 5 years ago that mocked texting as a teenager’s technology fascination akin to rediscovering Tetris, or more accurately the telegraph. Why would anyone pay extra for it? I did not anticipate that the secrecy factor was the primary benefit. Mobile phone conversations could be overheard by others. The secret text message is like passing notes and no one else can tell who it is from. It is also valuable as an emotionless voice mail. Ahh… instant email, now I get it.

My current solution, I scribble down a message, I take a picture of my notepad and send that as a photo message. My texting productivity has improved 500%! I have not discovered fire, as my carpool partner would be quick to point out, but I guarantee my wife and kids would much rather see my handwritten notes and drawings sent as a photo than the emotionless font in a text message.

Here is a sample AutoLISP routine that helps me quickly see a composite stack of map services I’ve added to a drawing at the same time by controlling the transparency of their AutoCAD layers. In AutoCAD 2011 I can change the transparency property of any layer including those that contain map services by using the standard layer controls of AutoCAD. This AutoLISP routine gives me a quick way to apply a transparency percentage directly to all the map service layers at one time without having to specify each one. It is also a useful example of how to automate workflows that involve map services using AutoLISP. Find this and other useful sample tools in the code gallery of the Esri CAD Integration resource center.

Is it easier to text, or scribble on a note pad and send pictures …while driving?!


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