idfg-pbond's blog

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: http://www.conservationregistry.org/about. This website allows you to share and search for data, maps, and documentation related to conservation projects across the country.

From there website:

 

 

 

 

FREE GIS tools for Wildlife Habitat Connectivity, Suitability, and Occurence Modeling

Did you know there is a plethera of FREE, that's right I said FREE, ArcGIS tools and toolboxes available for wildlife habitat and corridor modeling? Conveniently, many of these tools are listed on the CorridorDesign website:

http://www.corridordesign.org/designing_corridors/resources/gis_tools/

Happy Modeling!

 

Create GPX (gps files) from ArcGIS Shapefiles or GoogleEarth KML files

For some, DNR garmin (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mis/gis/tools/arcview/extensions/DNRGarmin/DNRGarmin.html) may be enough for converting shapefiles to gpx files but this program may not always work - especially for large files. I have found it easiest to convert ArcGIS shapefiles to KML and then to GPX files.

Shapefile to KML

Depending on the content of your shapefile, there are two different options for creating a KML.

1)      Open-source Shp2kml, available at: http://www.zonums.com/shp2kml.html .  This would be my first choice.  The GUI is very straightforward and gives you quite a few options for customizing your KML, such as: the color scheme, roll-over effect, and which attributes are displayed.  NOTE: The list of acceptable Datums is kind of short.  Found it easiest to just re-project shapefiles to WGS84.  Also, found that this tool would not always work for shapefiles with especially long text attributes and/or multi-part polygons. (This is discussed in more detail in a past blog called Shapefile to Google Earth kml - Customize Symbol Properties and Labeling (NO PROGRAMMING REQUIRED!).

2)      Create a layer file of your shapefile and use the ‘Layer to KML’ tool in ArcGIS.  You have less authority over the output with this method.  Limited customization of color scheme can be done in Google Earth (unless you would like to program some fancy customizations).  NOTE: Actually saves the file as a KMZ; resave the KMZ as a KML for conversion to GPX in GoogleEarth.  If you are using this options, delete all of the attribute fields that you do not want to show up in Google Earth – this information pops up when the feature is clicked.

KML to GPX

Lots of options. 

1)      Open-source KML2GPX, available at: http://groups.google.com/group/kml-support-getting-started/msg/ec5e2ae637ed4bfc

3)      Open-source GPSbabel, available at: http://www.gpsbabel.org/

4)      Built-in tool on gpsies.com, available at: http://www.gpsies.com/convert.do

I know that DNR garmin and the tool on gpsies.com are not good for very large datasets.

 

 

 

Shapefile to Google Earth kml - Customize Symbol Properties and Labeling (NO PROGRAMMING REQUIRED!)

Although there is a tool in ArcToolbox (Layer to KML) that allows you to convert your ArcGIS file to a Google Earth KML file, this tool gives you no options for customizing how the information is displayed.

Let me present to you the opensource (aka FREE) Shp2kml tool:

http://www.zonums.com/shp2kml.html

Note:  The Download link is actually half way down the webpage, the large Start Download button at the top of the page is part of an ad for a different product.

Step 1:  Choose your input file and coordinate system.

Step 2: Decide which attribute you want to use as the label and check 'Mouse Roll over Effect' if you want to highlight a feature when the mouse is moved over it.

Step 3: Decide what color and transparency (opacity) you features will be.

Step 4: Decide what attribute information you would like in the pop-up balloon when a feature is clicked or selected and customize the balloons symbology.

Step 5: Give the kml layer a name and any descriptive information you would like and your done!

BRILLIANT!

 

 

Don't like ArcGIS 10 Metadata Editor? Download the FGDC Metadata Editor add-in (just like in 9.x)

Download Page for the FGDC Metadata Editor add-in (Direct Download Link to Add-in). Thanks Michelle H. for the link update!

Option #1

  1. Download and save the attached file (fgdc.esriaddin) to your ArcGIS Desktop add-in folder (C:\Users\...\Documents\ArcGIS\AddIns\Desktop10.0)
  2. Open ArcCatalog (if open, close and re-open)
  3. In ArcCatalog go to the Customize menu and select Customize Mode
  4. On the Commands tab scroll down to the Metadata category
  5. From the Metadata Commands, drag the Show Metadata Editor command to the Metadata toolbar or someplace on the users interface to access the FGDC Editor.
Option #2 (works for if you don't have the C:\Users\...\Documents\ArcGIS\AddIns\Desktop10.0 setup)
  1. Download and save the attached file to wherever you want (I like to save this kind of stuff in the Downloads folder).
  2. Open ArcCatalog.
  3. In ArcCatalog go to the Customize menu and select Customize Mode.
  4. On the Commands tab scroll down to the Metadata category and select it.
  5. click the Add from file... button at the bottom of the window and navigate to and open the fgdc.esriaddin file you downloaded.
  6. From the Metadata Commands, drag the Show Metadata Editor command to the Metadata toolbar or someplace on the users interface to access the FGDC Editor.
Note: If the add-in does not automatically show up in the Metadata Commands list close the Customize window then reopen it and drag to the Metadata toolbar.

If you created metadata using the FGDC metadata editor in ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1 or the FGDC metadata editor add-in, this content is visible under the FGDC Metadata heading in the Description tab. You can export and validate this content using the USGS MP Metadata Translator tool.

 

Multi-line & Multi-colored Labels in ArcMap

Right-click the layer you would like to create multicolor/multi-line, choose Properties… and go to the Labels tab, and click the “Expression…” button.

For example, to have the New ID on top and the Old ID on the bottom:

[New_ID]&vbnewline&[Old_ID]

To have each a different color:

“<CLR Red=’255′>” & [New_ID] & “</CLR>” &vbnewline&”<CLR blue=’255′>”&[Old_ID]&”</CLR>”

The tricky part was figuring out that you had to put double quotes around the formatted text, and drop the normal double quote down to a single quote around the 255.

 

Create a Circular ArcMap Data Frame

Ever wished you could create a circular data frame to highlight an area on your map?  Just follow these steps:

  1. In the data frame properties (Size and Position Tab) make the height and width the same.                           

  2. In the data frame properties (Frame Tab) ►Border Section change the Rounding to 100% ► Background Section change the Rounding to 100%.

Violá!                      

         

Map Packages: Easily Share ArcMap 10 Map Documents & Associated Data

A new feature at ArcGIS 10 is the ability to create a map package (file extension of MPK) using all the data that is in a map document (MXD). It will act just like the layer package that was introduced at ArcGIS 9.3.1. The package includes the map document (version 10 mxd) and the data (even if the data is from diverse places).

The map package will self-extract using the ArcGIS File Handler utility (ArcGISFilehandler.exe utility in your Program Files\Common Files\ArcGIS\bin folder, it also automatically installed with ArcGIS Explorer 900), it will by default place the files in your My Documents (XP) / Documents (Vista & Win7) > ArcGIS > Packages.

This is a great way to share a whole map with someone at a different location, however they will need to have ArcGIS 10, it won't work in ArcGIS 9.x. You will also be able to upload map packages to ArcGIS Online.

Revert Back to the ArcMap 9.3 Editing Environment in ArcMap 10

By default, the ArcMap editing environment uses feature templates and the Create Features window when adding new features. Feature templates define all the information required to create a new feature: the layer where a feature will be stored, attributes new features will be created with, and the default tool used to create that feature. In addition, the tools on the Editor and Topology toolbars contain easy-to-use tools to create and edit features.

Due to the usability benefits that feature templates provide, it is recommended that you learn to use them when editing. However, for organizations that are unable to adopt the template-based workflow, there is an option available to revert to the ArcGIS 9 editing environment. This allows organizations that rely on extensive editing customizations to transition at their own pace to the feature template workflow. You can return to using feature templates once you are ready to migrate to that workflow. You can revert by running ArcGIS\Desktop10.0\Utilities \AdvancedArcMapSettings.exe, clicking the Editor tab, and unchecking Create features using templates and restarting ArcMap.

Differences between the 9.3 and 10 editing environments

The following are some of the differences you will find when you revert to the ArcGIS 9 editing environment:

  • The Editor toolbar contains the Sketch tool and palette. The contents of the toolbar are returned to how they appeared in ArcGIS 9.
  • Any user interface element used with feature templates, such as the Create Features window, is removed from ArcMap.
  • Edit tasks are used to specify whether features are being created or edited. The Cut Polygons, Reshape Feature, Edit Vertices, Reshape Edge, and Modify Edge tools are removed from the Editor and Topology toolbars, and the Editor toolbar Task list is used to access that functionality.
  • The active layer in the Target drop-down list is the layer in which new features will be created. The exception is when using Copy and Paste and certain feature-creation commands—Buffer, Copy Parallel, Union, and so on. In those cases, a dialog box will appear allowing you to choose the target layer rather than requiring you to set the Target layer on the Editor toolbar prior to accessing the command.
  • The Annotation toolbar and Dimension toolbar contain the tools used to create those feature types.

Data Frame Tools Toolbar

A handy little toolbar you may have never used:

Ever need to rotate a map?  It will even rotate the north arrow in Layout View.

The My Places dialog box lets you create and work with a list of your most frequently used or favorite addresses, locations, features, and spatial extents. You can use this dialog box to navigate around to view these places. You can also annotate your map to show their locations and add the places into the route finding dialog boxes as stops and barriers. Adding items to the My Places list makes it easy for you to store your frequently used addresses, gazetteer locations, features, and extents and use them to navigate around maps and globes.

Click the My Places button  Description: My Placeson the Data Frame Tools toolbar to open the My Places dialog box. You can also open the My Places dialog box by right-clicking a location that you find using the Find dialog box or the Geocoding toolbar and clicking Manage My Places.

Your list of places is available regardless of which map you are using. Places are stored in a separate file on your computer, not in the map document, as is the case with spatial bookmarks. So you work with the same list of places in any application that supports them.

You can add items to the My Places list using the buttons on the My Places dialog box or through the Find dialog box.

  • Right-click an item you find in the Find dialog box or Geocoding toolbar, or any stop or barrier you define in the Find Route dialog box, and click Add To My Places.
  • Select one or more features on the map or globe and click Add From > Selected Feature(s) on the My Places dialog box.
  • Select one or more graphics on the map or globe and click Add From > Selected Graphic(s) on the My Places dialog box.
  • To add a spatial extent to the list, first zoom or pan to the extent you want to add, then click Add From > Current Extent on the My Places dialog box. This option is unavailable if you are working with a globe.

Each place is shown with an icon indicating what type of place it is. Double-click a place to flash and pan to it. Right-click to get a menu of options that apply to the currently selected place or places in the list. You can also click a place's name to rename it and click the column headings to sort the list by type or name.

You can export places to a file on disk. This allows you to share places with other users, for example, you can send a list of point locations to another user via e-mail. Sending a places file saves you from having to send a shapefile or whole geodatabase if you want to quickly share a location (keep in mind, though, that places are just coordinates with a label, and they don't have other attributes or symbology). Saving and loading your places also makes it easy for you to copy the places onto a different machine or install a common set of places, such as study areas, on a number of machines in a workgroup so that all team members can access them. An ArcGIS Place File (.dat) can be loaded into either the My Places list or as spatial bookmarks.