Compression Files Used for Sending Out Data



To inform you of the use of the 7-Zip file archiver program – providing need and explanation.  This is not an endorsement – only an informative discussion.


In responding to data requests for Idaho’s Special Conservation Status Species, IFWIS staff compile selections of shapefiles, PDFs, and supporting documents.  These requests often result in a large collection of files and subsequently large file sizes for emailing the results to partners and customers.  The easiest and most traditional method to aide in sending large files has been to ZIP the folders/files.  However, sometimes this still does not result in a small enough file size for emailing or receipt.  Other compression types have also been used, such as BZIP, GZIP and TAR, among others.  Recently, when ZIP is not enough, I have been using a newer file compression format called 7‑Zip (7z) that has significantly outperformed all previous freeware compression types.  For example, a recent collection of uncompressed files totaling 168MB resulted in compressed file sizes of 95MB ZIP and 6MB 7z.  The 7‑Zip software for Windows is available in both 32 and 64‑bit installs at  Note that this is an .org web site and that each downloadable installer is 1MB for the current 9.20 version.  Caution – I have had two customers who have encountered issues while installing.  When I send customers 7z files, I also provide instructions to download and install the free 7‑Zip open source software.  One customer responded that they ended up with WinZip while the other downloaded MegaZipper.  In the multiple times that I have visited this site, I have never encountered these links – not to say that they’re not there, so please be aware.

If you have better information or another useful tool, please add a new comment to improve this Blog.

Example E-Mail Message

“Attached you will find your requested data.  Please note that the attached data file has a '7z' extension.  This is a 7-Zip compressed file.  7-Zip is freely available, open source software for file compression ( and currently seems to be the best compression software, significantly outperforming win-zip.  The attached compressed files are 6 MB, while these same files were 95 MB in .zip format (168 MB uncompressed).  If you have a problem or concern with downloading or using this software, please let me know.  I’ll be happy to provide the data differently.”

7-Zip Description

7-Zip is open source software and is a file archiver with a high compression ratio. The program supports:

  • Packing / unpacking: 7z, XZ, BZIP2, GZIP, TAR, ZIP and WIM
  • Unpacking only: ARJ, CAB, CHM, CPIO, CramFS, DEB, DMG, FAT, HFS, ISO, LZH, LZMA, MBR, MSI, NSIS, NTFS, RAR, RPM, SquashFS, UDF, VHD, WIM, XAR and Z.

Quick clicks for faster roadkill and salvage reporting

In response to some of your suggestions, we're pleased to introduce a new feature for simpler reporting for roadkill or salvaging roadkill. Now, when you browse to, you'll find images of some of the most commonly reported animals killed on Idaho's roads.

roadkill improvements

Simply click on the image of the appropriate animal to save some typing for these commonly entered animals. If you do not see the animal you're reporting, please continue to type in the animal in the textbox at Option 2. You'll find all of Idaho's most common animals available in that drop down will be filtered as you type. Simply use the arrow keys to select the option, or click with your mouse.

drop-down image

We hope that this change helps with the overall usability of the form. If you have further suggestions or comments, please let us know!


How to Load a Boundary (Track) File into a GPS Unit


Let’s say you would like to upload Game Management Unit 1 to your GPS. 

1) Download the Game Management Units KML from the IFWIS Open Data page,

2) Open the KML in Google Earth. Right-click “1” in the gmu features list. Select “Save Place As…”

3) Save the feature as a KML (not a KMZ).

4) Convert the KML to a GPX file.  There are many open-source software options.  I like KML2GPX.exe (download from!msg/kml-support-getting-started/5K7vcIGUz6s/_EvtN-YqXuwJ) and GPSBabel (download from

5) Upload the GPX file as a track to your GPS.  NOTE: for those GPS units with smaller data storage space or without a data storage card the track may be too large to upload without simplifying.  Using GPSBabel, you can apply a “Filter” to the Routes & Tracks to simplify the boundary.  For units such as the etrex Vista Cx, I know that the track point upload limit is 500 (otherwise it will give you a message that says “track truncated”. The Minnesota DNRGPS Application also works well for uploading data but I have not found a way to simplify the track using this software ( 

There are many different tactics for completing this process but these are the steps that have given me the least amounts of difficulties for a number of different Garmin GPS units.  These steps have not been tested on Magellan, Lowrance, TomTom, etc.

Do you have another method that works better for you?  Please share in the comment below!

An update for Roadkill data


Some of you might wonder what that spike is all about on the "roadkill dashboard."

It's what happens when we execute a batch import of roadkill data from the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD). The ITD has implemented a system where they log the carcass pickups that their crews perform. I'd like to take a moment to thank them, and our Idaho Fish and Game employees who also do this deed, as by no means is roadkill cleanup an easy job!

Graph of recent data spike

Back to that data spike. In addition to the continual stream of motivated roadkill entry-folks into our Roadkill or Salvage online reporting system, several times a year we request  data from ITD's carcass inventory system. They provide us an Excel table with the appropriate fields, and we automagically upload it using a batch-import-process.

These partnerships give IDFG the capacity to house all the recorded road-kill data from each vested sector: ITD, IDFG, and various public groups. We at IFWIS also have other data partnerships using the same Observations Core database as Roadkill. While the other information is not nearly as public as a bloated deer on the side-of-the-road, the data are very meaningful for use in conservation and management of Idaho's wildlife diversity.

This data-import mechanism is extremely important because it's the first step we have for importing large datasets from critical special-status species into our Observations Core database. This database houses the Roadkill data as well as other species of special interest. 

Thanks to technology advances, but more importantly, a strong will to work together, our IFWIS team is working with our partners to bridge data gaps. Projects like the Multi-Species Baseline Initiative (MBI) highlight the importance and power behind bringing source observational data to a centralized location.

Back to roadkill. This last spike of roadkill records included some 3,300 records. Not all of those were from this year. Some records were entered from a backlog, as most carcass removals are jotted down on paper before being put into the computer.

You also may notice that not all of the roadkill data have a species defined, either. Sometimes, it's because the smear on the road is undefinable. Other times, it's because an animal isn't available on the "pick list" on their entry form. Items like the latter are being corrected as we find them through a joint effort of ITD and IDFG.

This last update brought the total record count of Idaho roadkill data to 20,392 records. In my opinion, the magnificent thing to mention about this spike, is that it represents a point where data is coming in faster than ever before. Since January 1, 2012, we've imported 5,929 records. Granted, only 1,714 were killed on the highways since that date. Having this information available, at a statewide level, will allow IDFG and ITD staff to make informed decisions about highway safety, for you, and the animals.

You can help us with our quest by signing up and reporting the roadkill (or any animal) you see, as well. Just take a few moments to fill-out the short form for Roadkill or general Wildlife Observations

Your contributions do help!

Bug Patch for ArcGIS FLEXnet Licensing error: -15,570



    The user is intermittently unable to open ArcGIS (local installation) and connect to license server. The following error is presented: 


The License server manager (lmgrd) has not been started yet, the wrong port@host or license file is being used, or the port or hostname in the license file has been changed.

Feature: Viewer


FLEXnet Licensing error: -15,570



       The cause seems to be that the default timeout setting for the FLEXLM license manager is 2-seconds. Which is more than ample on a LAN, but less than ideal on slower VPN’s, or DSL connections.



       Solution can be found from this source to on several occasions). However, I would HIGHLY recommend that if this is indeed the patch, that we create a script for our clients to run rather than follow these steps.

  • Right click My Computer and choose properties.
  • On system property dialogue box choose advanced tab.
  • Click on the environment Variables
  • On environment variable dialogue box choose system variables field and hit the new button
  • A new system variable dialogue box with two fields appears; put “FLEXLM_TIMEOUT” in variable name and put 1000000 in variable value field
  • Click OK on all three dialogue boxes to close them


Tips and Tricks when using a map created from ArcGIS Viewer for Flex

Here's a couple general tips and tricks when using a webmap created using  ArcGIS Viewer for Flex

  • The more you utilize the map data viewer, the refresh and drawing time will decrease. Your computer’s web browser will cache some of the data so next time you draw that area it should perform quicker.
  • Zoom into an area of interest before you check the data layers for display.
  • Only choose 4 or 5 data layers to display at any one time.  Displaying all the layers at once will tend to slow down the refresh time.
  • Pressing F5 will zoom to the original extent as when initially opened and refresh all the layers.

Clear a cache from Internet Explorer 9

Here's how to clear a cache for Internet Explorer - 9


On the toolbar, click TOOLS - F12 Developer Tools. 

 A separate menubar will appear.  Click on CACHE-CLEAR


 The cache will be cleared, now Reboot/Restart your computer


NOTE: If the 'F12 Developer Tools is not activated you will need to activate it by adding a registry file to your device.  Click here to install the registry file.  This should take less than a minute.



FREE College-Level GIS Educational Resources from Penn State

Penn State is now offering Open Education Resources for a number of their departments including Geography that hosts coursework for a number of GIS and remote sensing related classes offered at the university. The bonus is, you are allowed to use and re-use materials you find on this website. 

From the website: 


GIS & Remote Sensing coursework currently up on their website:

Take a look:

Ranking Elements of Biodiversity in Idaho

Historically, IDFG Biologists used a data management system, called Biotics, to track Element information and aide in the development of conservation ranks.  Biotics managed the information in the background and ranking often involved a fair amount of qualitative assessment and judgment by an expert or group.  This process had issues with consistency and repeatability.  In 2004, NatureServe formed the Element Ranking Working Group to address these issues and to develop a ranking protocol.  The major product of this group was a ranking calculator, which IDFG biologists now rely on for assisting in the assignment of status ranks.  This ranking system is intended to be free of bias, transparent to users, and allow for consistency of application within and between groups.  It also provides documentation for tracking of the decision process.

What’s necessary to accurately rank species in Idaho? 

The short answer is the knowledge of rarity, trends and threats for a species.  NatureServe has developed a rank calculator to enable the calculation of conservation status ranks for a “unit of biological diversity”, also known as an “Element.”  This Element may be a species or natural community.

Don’t you need an EO?

No, Element Occurrence (EO) records are not necessary for ranking a species or community.  A collection of criteria, which can include EO’s, are used in assessing and determining an Element’s conservation status rank.

Rank Calculator:

NatureServe provides a Microsoft Excel workbook that allows for automatic calculation of an element conservation status rank from data that is entered into the forms and tables included within the workbook.  The “NatureServe Conservation Status Assessments: Rank Calculator Version 2.0”, along with supporting material can be downloaded at  Supporting materials include: Factors for Assessing Extinction Rate and Methodology for Assigning Ranks.  Use of this tool allows for more consistent, accurate, repeatable and transparent ranking of species.

The rank calculator uses three categories (rarity, trends and threats), with a cumulative ten conservation status factors, of which eight are “core” factors, for assessing conservation status.  These factors, by category, used to assess conservation status are:

• Rarity: Population Size, Range Extent, Area of Occupancy, Number of Occurrences, Number of Occurrences or Percent Area with Good Viability/Ecological Integrity, and Environmental Specificity (used only when the Number of Occurrences and Area of Occupancy are unknown);
• Trends: Long-term and Short-term Trend in population size or area;
• Threats: Threat Impact (generated by considering the scope and severity of the major threats), and Intrinsic Vulnerability (used only if Threat Impact is unknown).
(NatureServe 2009).

A rank can be assigned with as few as two of the eight core factors, including either: 2 rarity categories (one of which must be either Range Extent or Area of Occupancy), or 1 rarity and 1 trend or 1 threat category.




The Conservation Registry - Connect & Share Natural Resource Conservation Data & Maps

At the Northwest Scientific Association meeting last week, I attended an afternoon session that introduced me to a great online conservation project database, The Conservation Registry: This website allows you to share and search for data, maps, and documentation related to conservation projects across the country.

From there website: