Improve the Download Page on Huntplanner to be IFWIS-wide


I need to reengineer the download page to serve as a central GIS Data Repository.  All layers should be available as shp, kml and gpx.  Some layers may need to allow record-specific downloading (e.g. only Unit 4A).  The entire site should operate under a standard metadata framework that synchs with Inside Idaho.

Resource to check your maps and webpages for the color-blind

Are you a red means "Stop" and green mean "Go" kind of person?  You might want to rethink this approach for cartography.

Here's an example of just how poorly your maps may translate for the color-blind.

So before pressing print, save an image and run it through some software to see how it translates to those with Deuteronopia, Protanopia and Tritanopia:

  • Vischeck lets you upload images to their server to view with various kinds of colorblindness.
  • Color Oracle installs on Windows, Mac and Linux for local processing on large files.

Don't forget the real world too... ask around and find coworkers who can evaluate your maps before publishing.


About geographic transformations and how to choose the right one

I just stumbled on this most helpful post About geographic transformations and how to choose the right one by Aileen Buckley of ESRI's Mapping Center.  I even learned a few things from the comments...

I'd highly recommend the read, but if you only have a moment, read this:

So how do you choose the geographic transformation that should be used? Here are two Esri Knowledge Base articles that can help you:

HowTo: Select the correct geographic (datum) transformation when projecting between datums. This article contains links to downloadable zip files (for different versions of the software) that contain a list of all available datum transformations and their appropriate geographic areas of use.

HowTo: Determine which NAD_1983_To_WGS_1984 transformation to use.  The gist of this article is summarized below:

  1. NAD_1983_To_WGS_1984_1 - for the entire North American continent.
  2. NAD_1983_To_WGS_1984_2 - for the Aleutian islands.
  3. NAD_1983_To_WGS_1984_3 - for Hawai'i.
  4. NAD_1983_To_WGS_1984_4 - superseded by _5; this transformation method should no longer be used!
  5. NAD_1983_To_WGS_1984_5 - for the 48 contiguous United States.
  6. NAD_1983_To_WGS_1984_6 - for the Canadian province of Quebec.
  7. NAD_1983_To_WGS_1984_7 - for the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.
  8. NAD_1983_To_WGS_1984_8 - for the Canadian province of Alberta.

Note that geographic transformations work in either direction. For example, the transformation listed as NAD_1983_To_WGS_1984_5 transforms from NAD 1983 to WGS 1984, as well as from WGS 1984 to NAD 1983. When using the Project Tool, the geographic transformation is recorded in the metadata.

Using the Roadkill API to add a Google Map to your webpage

UPDATE: This demonstration is for Google Maps Javascript API Version 2. Directions are now available for using Google Maps Javascript API Version 3 with the Roadkills Controller in the IFWIS Core API.

Are you concerned about roadkill?  Would you like to display current roadkill information on your website or blog?  Now you can using the Roadkills Controller in the Core API.  Here's how in three easy steps.


STEP 1. Configure the URL to request

Visit and design your query using the editor.  For example, you may just be interested in one Highway section such as the first 22 miles of Highway 21.

Stripped of the empty parameters your url should now resemble:

Now, we can add some special parameters to grab the most recent observations.  Add to your url the following &start=-730&end=now to limit your results to the last two years of observations.  The -730 is the number of days before the current date and time to include.  You may tailor this to your needs.  You can of course also use full dates, but this allows your query to be dynamic and useful in the future.

Possible parameters for date fields Observed Date (start, end) and Reported or iNsert Date (nstart, nend) include:

  • Valid dates in the format 1/10/2008
  • Now - current system datetime in Mountain Standard Time
  • Today - current day in Mountain Standard Time
  • Yesterday - previous day in Mountain Standard Time
  • Integer - positive or negative offset in days

Finally, add the kml extension, by copying the path from the kml icon or copying the following:


STEP 2: Add the Code

<script type="text/javascript" src="{YOUR GOOGLE MAPS API KEY}">
   <script src="" type="text/javascript"></script>
   <script type="text/javascript">

       google.load("jquery", "1.4.2");
       google.load("maps", "2", {
           other_params: "sensor=false"

       google.setOnLoadCallback(function () {

       var map;
       var geoXml;

       function initializemaps() {
           if (GBrowserIsCompatible()) {
               geoXml = new GGeoXml("" + parseInt(Math.random() * 99999999, 10));
               map = new GMap2(document.getElementById("map_canvas"));
               map.setCenter(new GLatLng(43.58, -116.06), 12);

    <div id="map_canvas" style="width: 550px; height: 600px; float:left; border: 1px solid black;">Loading...</div>

Couple small configuration notes:

  • If you are putting this online you'll need to replace {YOUR GOOGLE MAPS API KEY} with your own where indicated above.  If you don't already have one, visit (don't worry they're free!).
  • The URL you built in Step 1 may be different, edit the following with your url.  Keep the final cachebuster part as it'll keep your data current.
    geoXml = new GGeoXml("" + parseInt(Math.random() * 99999999, 10));
  • Change the zoom center and zoom level by modifying this line appropriately:
    map.setCenter(new GLatLng(43.58, -116.06), 12);
  • You may not have full access to HTML behind your pages (for example in a blog).  Simply add the <div> section and then past the <script> sections afterwards.  If you already have jquery or google maps loaded you may skip these sections.


Result:  View a Live Demo
Below is a static image because GMaps Ver. 2 does not support HTTPS. Click here to see and download a live demo. An HTTPS GMaps Ver. 3 demo is also available.

Example Output

STEP 3: Enjoy

That's it!  This page you have created will update itself as new observations are added to the Roadkill page.

GIS Q&A for Professionals

The best programming question and answer site on the web now has a dedicated GIS section.

This is a great resource to try next time you have a question that you know others have faced.  You can limit your results to just performing a google search by adding the parameters "" to your query.

Here's a demonstration


Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Query

Looking for a town, city or place outside of Idaho? You can use this website to query geographic features for all of the United States and its territories at Of course you can use the IDFG GeoTools LayerFetcher to zoom to locations in Idaho in ArcGIS.

ESRI Mapping Center has some Style

Take a minute to check out the ESRI Mapping Centers' ArcGIS Styles page and you will see that we have included graphics of the contents of the styles you can download. The center is easy to browse and you can download any style or symbolset to use in ArcGIS.  Ofcourse, some of the symbols will be a little hard to see in their full glory in these screen captures (for example, marker symbols that are bigger than the space allotted in the ArcMap Style Manager large thumbnail view.) However, you can still get a good idea of the contents.

Here's a couple examples to whet your appetite:

Gradients for Different BiomesElevation color ramps for different biomes. download ShadeMax

SubtleSet of light shades of a variety of hues. download Subtle Artist Light Colors

Color Deficient Set of colors for maps for the color deficient. download Color Deficient

View all the styles, plus models, scripts, expressions and more at the ESRI Mapping Center ArcGIS Resources Gateway

Also, just adverNPS Symbolstised, and to be added soon to the MapCenter Resource Page are National Park Service (NPS) symbol sets.

You can download these today from the NPS Harpers Ferry Center.

It is available there for download in a multitude of formats:

Map Symbols

Map<br /><br />
Recreation pictographs, north arrows, bar scales, road shields, etc.

Other Symbols

Other<br /><br />
Pictographs for accessibility, winter recreation, water recreation, etc.

NPS symbols are free and in the public domain. They derive from Ultimate Symbol Collection, a commercial product that offers hundreds of additional symbols.

TrueType Font Symbols

Map<br /><br />
symbolsOther<br /><br />
Fonts include both the Map Symbols and Other Symbols shown above.

ArcGIS Symbols

Map<br /><br />
symbolsOther<br /><br />
Includes both the Map Symbols and Other Symbols shown above.

Map Patterns

Map<br /><br />
Lava/reef, sand, swamp, and tree patterns (accessed as a swatch library in Adobe Illustrator CS or later).

There's lots of great options out there!  Try a new style today!

Repairing Broken Data Sources

What do you do when you open your map and you have a layer that looks like this? What does it mean?

The red exclamation point is a visual indicator that something is incorrect in the layer's data source.  To fix it you'll need to know where the data lives and tell the layer in the map this information.  You're giving direction to poor lost layer so it can find itself, you're a metaphysical geographer!

 Repairing a data source:

  1. Right-click on the layer, from the contextual menu choose Properties
  2. In the Properties dialog box choose the Source tab
  3. Click Set Data Source
  4. Browse to the location of the data layer, select and click Add
  5. OK out of the Properties dialog

If all went well your data is now displayed.

But what if it isn't one layer?  What if you have an entire map of mis-pathed layers?

Here's where ArcCatalog comes to the rescue:

  1. Locate the map in ArcCatalog
  2. Right-click and select Set Data Source(s)
  3. Highlight one of the Data Layers that is in error and click Replace...
  4. The find box should load with the erroneous path of the layer you select, if not enter it
  5. In the replace box enter the correct path and click Ok
  6. Repeat as necessary

But what if they are SDE Layers?  This whole batch thing is no help at all.
Yes, this is where it gets nasty. Basically, you're left out in the cold.  You can either fix them one at time, or you're going to need a little script my coworker developed and that isn't so simple.

An Inquiry Into IN Query

I had to select a ton of records today for a project in ArcGIS. You know the normal method, hellish SQL repetition: ID = 1 OR ID = 5 OR ID = 6 OR ID = 12 OR ID = 14 OR ID = 27 OR ID = 41 OR ID = 43

The past few months I've been working a lot in SQL Server and this experience made this repetition seem like too much work. So I got lazy and I made an inquiry into IN query: ID IN (1,5,6,12,14,27,41,43)

And it just worked. There's no documentation in the main help file that even mentions it. If you do open the ArcGIS Help and search on "SQL Reference" nearly half way down you find a section on Subqueries. Here they explain that IN queries are supported in geodatabases and EXISTS is supported as well! Who knew? How was I supposed to know this if I hadn't gotten lazy?

Here's what you'll find in the ArcGIS Help File:

NOTE: Coverages, shapefiles, and other non-geodatabase file-based data sources do not support subqueries. Subqueries done on a versioned ArcSDE feature class which has been registered without the option to move edits to base will not return features stored in the delta tables. File geodatabases provide the limited support for subqueries explained in this section, while personal and ArcSDE geodatabases provide full support. For information on the full set of subquery capabilities of personal and ArcSDE geodatabases, refer to your DBMS documentation.

A subquery is a query nested within another query. It can be used to apply predicate or aggregate functions or to compare data with values stored in another table. This can be done with the IN or ANY keywords. For example, this query would select only the countries that are not also listed in the table indep_countries:


This query would return the features with a GDP2006 greater than the GDP2005 of any of the features contained in countries:

"GDP2006" > (SELECT MAX("GDP2005") FROM countries)

For each record in the table, a subquery may need to parse all the data in its target table. It may be extremely slow to execute on a large dataset.

Subquery support in file geodatabases is limited to the following:

IN predicate. For example:


Scalar subqueries with comparison operators. A scalar subquery returns a single value. For example:

"GDP2006" > (SELECT MAX("GDP2005") FROM countries)

For file geodatabases, the set functions AVG, COUNT, MIN, MAX, and SUM can only be used within scalar subqueries.

EXISTS predicate. For example:

EXISTS (SELECT * FROM indep_countries WHERE "COUNTRY_NAME" = 'Mexico')

[NOT] EXISTSReturns TRUE if the subquery returns at least one record; otherwise, it returns FALSE. For example, this expression returns TRUE if the OBJECTID field contains a value of 50:


EXISTS is supported in file, personal, and ArcSDE geodatabases only.
[NOT] INSelects a record if it has one of several strings or values in a field. When preceded by NOT, it selects a record if it doesn't have one of several strings or values in a field. For example, this expression searches for four different state names:

"STATE_NAME" IN ('Alabama', 'Alaska', 'California', 'Florida')

For file, personal, and ArcSDE geodatabases, this operator can also be applied to a subquery:


Remix IN with some external SQL that EXISTS here in ArcGIS One-to-Many Labeling and you might confuse ArcSDE for an RDMS. Just don't try look for anything meaningful in a RELATE.

Convert GPS Coordinates and Display Online

This website allows you to convert UTMs or other XY coordinates to different formats and then display the result on a Google Map or Topo map.