idfg-twilliams's blog

GIS - MORE, Better, Faster

We have implemented a system of distributed, synchronized GIS databases across the state.  This should substantially increase the speed with which you can access and navigate GIS data in ArcMap.

There is now a copy of our GIS layers stored on the U:\ drive in each regional office as well as for Nampa Research and Eagle Lab.  The database, U:\GIS_IDFG.gdb will be synchronized nightly with the main database at HQ.

We have also added a directory of Layerfiles to the U:\ drive.  The directory is located at U:\IDFG_Layers.   The Layerfiles reference the data in U:\GIS_IDFG.gdb and provide predefined colors, symbols, and labeling.  You may add them to your map document through ArcCatalog, the AddData button, or the LayerFetcher.

Some of the Layerfiles, such as the aerial imagery and topo base maps, point to data that is delivered via the internet.  The speed at which these layers draw will depend on the speed of the internet connection at your regional office.  You can navigate around your map more quickly if you keep these layers turned off until you need them. The internet base map layers are located in the WebBaseMaps subdirectory of IDFG_Layers.

Other subdirectories include Hunt, Fish, Conservation, and Reference.  Go in to ArcCatalog and take a look around in U:\IDFG_Layers and U:\GIS_IDFG.gdb to see what’s available.

This should be a significant improvement for IDFG GIS users but there will be some pain.  Many of the data connections in your existing Map Documents may be broken.  This is actually a good thing.  It will encourage you to connect to the newer, better, faster data.

If you find a broken connection in your map:

Right-click the layer in your map project.

Select Data --> Repair Data Source --> Navigate to U:\ GIS_IDFG.gdb and select the equivalent layer - OR - use the LayerFetcher to add the new layer and remove the old one.

See this post on repairing broken data sources for a visual step-by-step and more options for fixing broken connections.

Thank you for your patience during this transition.

ArcGIS Server, ArcGIS Online - Questions, Answers, and Resources

ArcGIS Server Services

  • Should we use fewer Services with more layers or more services with fewer layers?
    • From an application performance perspective.
    • From a server demand perspective.
      Is server demand currently an issue?
  • Should we use dedicated services with everything an application needs or general services that can be used by many applications or both?
  • How many services are too many and is that likely to be an actual problem for us in the foreseeable future?
  • Is there any advantage to separating the services that run our applications from services we are sharing?
  • What data are we, and should we be, sharing through services?
  • What can we do to increase the efficiency of our services?
  • What kind monitoring can we set up?
  • What testing can we do?
  • Should we move some of our data and services to the State server or ArcGIS Online?



ArcGIS Server Caching

  • How are our current caches set up?
  • What is being cached?
  • How will they be used?
  • What else do we want to cache?
  • For what layers do we want to build caches and for what do we cache dynamically?
  • Can we do a combination of predefined caching?
    i.e.  Build a cache to a certain scale then cache dynamically beyond that.  Or, cache the most likely layer combinations and dynamically cash the less likely combinations.
  • Does it make sense to cache small simple layers like IDFG Regions beyond the most general zoom levels?
  • How many and how large cached services can we support?


ArcGIS Online

  • What do we have on there now?
  • Where do the data, services, application code actually reside?
  • What are we likely to use it for in the future?
  • Who will be the “Named Users”?
  • How many named users do we want to license?
  • Should we move some of our data and services to the State server or ArcGIS Online?
  • Do we want to upload data, create services, build caches, now while it’s free? Will they delete everything and make us start over.

Adding Excel .xlsx files to an ArcMap 10 document.

Don’t ask  me why but…  if you have office 2010 on your computer, you have to install the office 2007 system driver in order to see .xlsx files in ArcMap 10.

It’s a quick install.  You can find it here.

Preventing Schema Locks in ArcSDE from ArcGIS Server 10.1.

By default, ArcGIS Server creates a schema lock on all layers and tables in a Map Service while the service is running.  This will prevent adding or deleting fields or records. 

At 10.1 this and a lot of other admin tasks can be done directly on the rest endpoint as described below.

By default, ArcGIS Server map services use schema locking to prevent other users from altering the geodatabase schema while the service is running. If the schema locks are impeding your workflow, you can disable them by using the ArcGIS Server Administrator Directory.

To disable schema locking for a service, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to http://<server name>:6080/arcgis/admin.
  2. Click services.
  3. Click the service for which you want to disable schema locking.
  4. Click edit.
  5. Add the "schemaLockingEnabled" = "false" property within the service JSON, as in the following example:


    "maxImageHeight": "2048",

    "schemaLockingEnabled": "false",

    "maxRecordCount": “1000",


  6. Click Save Edits.

This has been reblogged from


NHD_LLID Tools for Creating Whole Stream LLID Routes Based on NHD

The NHD LLID Tools are an ArcMap 10 Add-in programmed in ArcObjects  The purpose is to transfer the LLID whole stream route identifiers from our existing 1:100,000 whole stream route system to a whole stream route system based on the 1:24,000 NHD Hydrography, and to identify and resolve stream name conflicts between the two systems.  

The tool has three main components, organized into tabs on the ArcMap Add-in dockable window.  The first tab contains a tool to initiate an algorithm which assigns LLIDs to NHD ComID segments based on matching stream names.  The second tab provides a set of tools for assigning LLIDs to ComID segments for individual streams.  This tab also provides a tool for creating new LLID routes. The third tab provides a tool for identifying the location of stream name conflicts, as well as the nature of the conflict, how the stream was routed, why the stream was routed in this way, and what further action is required.  This portion of the application can be used without the LLID assignment functionality.

Click the following link to download the application, instructions,sample data, and sample map documents.

Unzip the LLID_RoutingTools file to C:\ .  This will create the directory C:\ NHD_LLID_Routing which includes the geodatabase NHD_LLID_Routing.mdb.  This file must be in this location for the program to function.  If you need to put the directory in another location contact

The contains the following:

- NHD LLID Routing Tools Instructions.doc. This document outlines how to use the tools to assign LLIDs to lines in the NHDFlowline layer and how to create a measured route system from these lines.

- The NHD LLID Routing Tools ArcMap 10 Add-in.

- A sample map document with no LLIDs assigned and the NHDFlowline layer unsymbolized. Start with this mxd if you would like to try out all the features of the NHD_LLID Tools. (NHDSampleUnrouted.mxd)

- A sample map document with LLIDs assigned. The State LLID route layer and the NHDFlowline layer are symbolized by LLID. The document also contains example IssuePoints highlighting discrepancies between the layers.  A completed NHD_LLID Route layer is also present. (NHDSampleRouted.mxd)

- A sample map document with the State LLID route layer and the NHDFlowline layer symbolized by Name and GNIS_Name. The document also contains example IssuePoints highlighting discrepancies between the layers.  (NHDSampleByName.mxd)

- The NHD_LLID_Routing.mdb geodatabase that supports the application.

- A sample NHD geodatabase where no LLIDs have been assigned (NHD17010304Unrouted).

- A sample NHD geodatabase where LLIDs have been assigned and a route system has been created (NHD17010304Routed).

ArcMap 10 Add-ins - Accessing the new LayerFetcher Tools

Add-ins are the new way to deploy and access ArcMap 10 custom applications and tools. There is a new and improved version of the LayerFetcher tools developed as an ArcMap 10 Add-in.   All you have to do to access the new LayerFetcher application is reference the network folder where it is located and turn on the toolbar.  To add the LayerFetcher , do the following:

1) Click Customize on the top menu bar in ArcMap 10 then click Add-In Manager.
2) Click click the Options tab then click the Add Folder button.
3) Navigate to Q:\IFWIS\AddIns and click OK. Then close Add-In Manager.
4) Click Customize then Tool Bars and check on the IDFG LayerFetcher Tools.

That’s it! No installation programs, no copying files.  And you only have to do the first three steps once.  Any other tools we place in this folder will automatically be available to you.  Just check on the tool bar. Any updates we do to existing Add-ins will be available without you doing anything.

If you find other Add-Ins that you would like to use, you can create your own AddIns folder in you folder on the Q:\ drive.  Just save the Add-in to that folder, and then follow the same steps listed above to reference it in the Add-ins Manager.

You can dock the LayerFetcher toolbar and LayerFetcher window anywhere on the main ArcMap window.