Calculating Distance and Direction using ArcPy

While working with geospatial information, it is often advantageous to find out how close one particular piece of data is to other pieces of data. This leads to a greater understanding of the area of study. The knowledge of how things relate to one another spatially is articulated in Waldo Tobler’s First Law of Geography. It states that “everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things.” This became especially important in one of our current contracts, as we needed to discover which feature…

Automating “Quicklook” Map Products for Emergent Events

Over the past decade, GIS professionals who can manipulate the software both manually and automatically are becoming increasingly more marketable within the industry. Automating mundane/repetitive tasks frees up time to focus on more advanced analyses and other GIS processes. On one of our current contracts, we are required to create map products in response to “breaking news” events. These maps provide situational awareness to our client regarding the status of assets within their area of jurisdiction. Time is of the essence during these events, and the faster a map product…

Esri CityEngine, Unity 4.0 and the Oculus Rift

Esri CityEngine lets you create, as the name implies, cities, quite easily. As a bonus, it lets you export these creations in various formats including FBX files which can be imported into 3D game engines including Unity. You can very easily add VR support for the Oculus Rift to Unity 4 Pro. To follow along with this tutorial we will need a few things: Esri CityEngine 2013: 30 day trial license may be available Unity 4 Pro: for Oculus Rift Support, 30 day trial license is available. You should be…

Using AWK to Ease your CSV Manipulation

We often hear that we should use the right tool for the right job. The problem for developers is becoming aware of those different tools. So I want to save you some time and introduce you to an old tool that is good for simple processing of CSV files. The language is so simple that an experienced programmer can pick it up in an afternoon. Awk is a text processing utility that happens to be a programming language. It was created back in the 70s by Aho, Weinberger, and Kerningham,…

Generating Physical Schemas From a PIM

A while back, my colleague Barry Schimpf touched upon some of the tools that we use in conjunction with the Platform Independent Model (PIM). Today, I will delve into one of the tools we use to generate physical schemas from the PIM. Before, I jump in, let’s review what a PIM is and what it does. The PIM is an approach we have developed to enable proper configuration management of geospatial data models. We have used it successfully for federal customers to track multiple versions of complex data models, validate…

Exporting ESRI Silverlight Graphic Layer to Google Earth, Part 2

A while ago Sky wrote a blog post about exporting an ESRI Silverlight graphic layer to Google Earth. The post explained how to export point data to KML but recently someone inquired on how to also do line and polygon layers. In this post I will explain how to do so. We will expand on the same code from the earlier post and will be concentrating on the KMLGraphicsConverter class. First, we will get the geometry for lines and polygons by adding the following two methods. private static geGeometry ToKMLPolyline(Polyline…

An Overview of Clojure

Clojure is one of the most interesting languages that has emerged recently. It is a Lisp whose main goal is to be practical language for day-to-day programming. And although young, it already has a dedicated community of practitioners. Clojure has a number of features that makes it easy to learn, easy to be productive, and it already has a proven-track record in real-life applications. It also has a community that bridges the gap between industry and academia. I recently was lucky enough to go to Clojure Con, a Clojure conference,…

A Simple Debugging Strategy

Debugging is one of the most important and most ignored aspects of programming. The literature on it is sparse; there is barely any training offered on the subject. This is one skill that most programmers have to learn themselves through trial and error. This is surprising. Debugging is the most intractable task that programmers routinely do. It is one of the biggest contributors to missing deadlines. It can potentially take a big amount of time. We would think that there would be more attention paid on how to effectively debug.…

Embedding Maps in SQL Server Reporting Services Using ArcGIS Server

The combination of Microsoft and Esri products is common across Federal information infrastructures and, as a result, we find ourselves integrating these tools often. SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is still a widely-used solution for generating dynamic reports in many government settings. Invariably, some users want to use their Esri tools to embed maps into their reports. This post discusses a simple approach to using ArcGIS for Server to dynamically provide maps in SSRS reports based on report parameters. Many of our customers use SQL Server to manage their geodatabases,…

How to Be a Good Job Candidate

Maryland’s unemployment rate in 2008 was a mere 4.3%. At the end of 2012, it had increased to 6.8%! With the rising unemployment rates, ensuring your job application stands out from the other candidates is all the more important. As the owner of Zekiah Technologies for the last fifteen years, I have seen many resumes and completed many interviews. Some candidates certainly stand out from the rest. Many times they are not the most qualified; but they are the candidate most likely to get the job. Small things make the…