Desktop Not Dead

In 2011, I gave a talk at the NCGIS conference about the continued dominance of the desktop in the world of GIS. In that talk, my main point was that, regardless of the ultimate destination of GIS data or maps (cloud, server, paper, PDF, etc.), most GIS data passes through a desktop GIS at some point. I don’t have hard data to back up that claim but I think anyone who has worked in the industry for any length of time will agree that it feels right. If we loosely define “desktop GIS” to include not only GUI analytical tools like ArcMap or QGIS, but also command-line tools such as GDAL/OGR and cartographic tools such as TileMill, I think the statement is even more comfortable.

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SpatiaLite and ArcGIS 10.2

With the release of ArcGIS 10.2, Esri quietly added support for SQLite as a geodatabase container. This is big news as the community has been looking for such support for some time. An open-source RDBMS originally designed for embedded systems, SQLite has a very small footprint and is arguably the most widely deployed RDBMS in the world. (Thanks, in part, to the fact that it is embedded into Adobe Reader and other commonly used software.) Over the years numerous strategies for storing spatial data in SQLite have been developed, ranging from simply storing WKT or WKB geometries in a column up to full extensions like SpatiaLite, which adds OGC-compliant data types and methods. SQLite is also the engine that drives the popular MBTiles implementation used by TileMill and MapBox.

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GeoJSON From ArcGIS Server

A while back, I posted about my desire to see GeoJSON supported as an output format from ArcGIS Server. I found myself needing that capability so I recently completed, and posted to GitHub, a first cut at a server object extension (SOE) for ArcGIS Server 10.1 that enables output of GeoJSON via an HTTP GET.

Using the SOE is fairly straightforward. If you download the code and build it (ensuring you have installed the ArcObjects SDK for .Net), you can simply move the project outputs to your target machine and use the ArcGIS Server manager to install the SOE. Once you log into the manager application, click “Site” at the top of the page and then “Extensions” on the left. Click “Add Extension” and browse to the .soe file. You should end up seeing something like this:

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Checking Out the GDAL/OGR Plugin for ArcGIS

A while back, I blogged the availability of a GDAL/OGR plug-in for ArcGIS desktop by Ragi Burhum at AmigoCloud. At the time, I was hoping to dig into it fairly quickly but that didn’t happen and I’m finally getting to it. Anyone who has followed this blog for a while knows that I have had more than a passing interest in integrating new data sources with ArcGIS over the years. This comes from the fact that, as a technology geek, I am fascinated by all forms of technology and enjoy the process of integration and, as a consultant providing services to the Federal Government, most of my customers have standardized on Esri tools. Integrations such as GeoRSS, PostGIS, GeoCommons and GeoJSON have directly benefitted my customers for real-world applications so I continue look for ways to remove the barriers between them and the data they seek.

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Still Jonesing for zigGIS? Try this OGR Plug-In for ArcGIS.

So I’ve actually noticed a surprising uptick in traffic related to zigGIS lately? We also had someone asking about ST-Links on the zigGIS mailing list last week. Clearly, there’s still a level of interest out there for the problem that zigGIS was designed for.

ArcGIS and SpatiaLite

ArcGIS reading SpatiaLite natively, thanks to OGR and Ragi Burhum

Along those lines, Ragi Burhum posted an OGR Workspace plug-in for ArcGIS up on GitHub. Using OGR is really the magic ticket and the project is available under a BSD license (which Ragi explains very well). The only word to the wise is that pre-built binaries and installers aren’t available yet so you Windows/ArcGIS users will need to get your hands dirty.

I haven’t used it yet but I plan to within the next week or so. Stay tuned for a follow up post.

Prince George’s County, Maryland Posts 3-D Planning Model Videos

A few days ago, Michael Shean of the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) announced the availability of videos of 3-D terrain models created to support Planning Board activities in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The videos have been made available via Google+ here:

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ArcGIS 10.0 and 10.1 Deprecation Plan Released

Mike Hogan tweeted that the Esri deprecation plan for ArcGIS 10.0 and 10.1 is now available. It can be found here. Much of what it contains is not new as Esri has been pretty good about getting information related to 10.x out. Some of the more interesting things (to me) include (comments in parens are mine):

ArcGIS Server 10.0 is the last release with support for 32-bit operating systems. The next release of ArcGIS Server (10.1) will run natively as a 64-bit application, requiring 64-bit operating systems. (I heard about the native 64-bit move at the Esri UC but I didn’t know that included dropping 32-bit. It’s not a big deal for me but I can imagine it’ll be an impact for many.)

ArcGIS Server 10.0 is the last release supporting publishing non-optimized map documents (MXD files). The next major release will only support publishing optimized maps (MSDs) as that is the best practice for map publishing. (There you have it, no more serving from MXDs after 10.0.)

ArcGIS Server 10.1 will be the last planned release for the ArcGIS Server Web ADFs (Application Developer Framework) for both Microsoft .NET and Java. (We had a small “wake” in San Diego for the ADFs. I won’t shed a tear when it’s “official.”)

ArcGIS Server 10.1 will no longer support local connections (DCOM connections) from Web ADF applications. ArcGIS Server 10.1 will be a web services (REST and SOAP) server only. (This is actually pretty major and the document details the impacts. If you have any ADF code doing editing and such, read this!)

There’s a lot of good information in the document, especially pertaining to ArcGIS Server so it’s definitely worth a read.