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Archive for the 'ESRI' Category Page 2 of 4

Free Tools For ArcGIS

Several free tools for ArcGIS from Jenness Enterprises, including ESRI International User Conference prize winners. Don’t currently work on ArcGIS 10, but that may change.

Repeating Shapes Tool – “This tool generates an array of repeating shapes over a user-specified area. These shapes can be hexagons, squares, triangles, circles or points, and they can be generated with any directional orientation.”

Tools For Graphics and Shapes – “This extension includes a large suite of tools for calculating geometric attributes of vector features and for selecting and naming graphics. All tools are available at the ArcView license level. Among many other functions, this extension offers tools for calculating the true area and centroid of polygons as they lay on the sphere, thereby avoiding errors caused by projection distortions. This extension also offers tools to calculate true lengths of polylines as they lie on the spheroid, using Vincenty’s equations. This manual thoroughly explains all algorithms used to calculate geometric attributes on the sphere and spheroid.”

DEM Surface Tools – “This extension provides you with tools to generate a variety of surface characteristics of a landscape, using both projected and unprojected (i.e. latitude / longitude) digital elevation model (DEM) rasters. These tools include:

  1. Surface Area and Ratio of a landscape
  2. Slope, with 3 slope algorithm options
  3. Aspect, with 3 aspect algorithm options
  4. Hillshade, with optional hypsometric tinting
  5. Multi-directional Oblique-Weighted Hillshade, with optional hypsometric tinting
  6. Six types of Landscape Curvature”

Raster Extractor – “The Raster Extractor tool allows you to extract any number of rasters from an existing raster catalog and load them as individual rasters in your map, thereby allowing you to analyze them in ways that the Raster Catalog does not allow. The tool also gives you the option to mosaic all the rasters into a single raster dataset, modify the cell size and trim the final raster to the visible extent.”

Corridor Designer Toolbox – For designing corridors for the free flow of wildlife through urban landscapes. Includes a general designer, corridor evaluation tool, and land facet corridor design tool. Notes on website suggest that this is unlikely to be upgraded to ArcGIS 10 compatibility.

Inexpensive(?) Copies Of ESRI Products For Non-Profits

ESRI’s GIS And Science blog posts about a new ESRI program to provide GIS software for non-profits:

The program allows qualified nonprofit organizations to request up to 75 seats of ArcGIS Desktop and 2 seats of ArcGIS Server software per organization. Alternatively, organizations can choose from four levels of a special nonprofit organization enterprise license agreement (ELA) designed to meet the needs of larger operations. Both ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Server software include all extensions.

You have to sign up for membership to find out how much it costs; the page for ArcGIS Desktop mentions an administrative fee, but for full info you have to sign up for a membership (which I can’t). If anyone does find out cost info, please drop a note in the comments section.

Given that a full copy of ArcGIS Desktop with all the extensions can cost close to $10K, this is worth a look if you’re eligible and need the software. The Free Geo Tools site is all about free, and free is great for many uses, but having  cheap copies of industry-standard software for some applications doesn’t hurt.

Embeddable US Demographics Map

As a demo of the ArcGIS API for Flex, ESRI has a new page that lets you create an embeddable/shareable map of demographic data by US county. Only seven datasets available now:

  • Median Household Income
  • Population Change 2000-2009
  • Population Density (per sq. mile)
  • Median Home Value
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Average Household Size
  • Median Age

Map creation is trivially easy – select the demographic dataset from a dropdown, zoom the map to the desired extents, set a map size in pixels, and you’re done; links to a map with your parameters, and code for an embeddable map, are generated automatically. Here’s an embedded map, scrollable and zoomable; unemployment rate is the defaultdataset, but you can choose other sets with the dropdown menu at upper right:

More datasets would be nice, as would control over colors and ranges …

Via GIS And Science.

Free Sampling Design Tool Extension For ArcGIS

The Sampling Design Tool is another free ArcGIS extension from NOAA’s Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment, the source of the Habitat Digitizer Extension I posted about last week.  Key features (from the PDF manual):

  • Spatial sampling –sampling and incorporation of inherently spatial layers (e.g.
    benthic habitat maps, administrative boundaries), and evaluation of spatial
    issues (e.g. protected area effectiveness)
  • Scalable data requirements – data requirements for sample selection can be
    as simple as a polygon defining the area to be surveyed to using existing
    sample data and a stratified sample frame for optimally allocating samples
  • Random selection -eliminates sampling biases and corresponding criticisms
    encountered when samples are selected non-randomly
  • Multiple sampling designs – simple, stratified, and two-stage sampling
  • Sample unit-based sampling – points or polygons are selected from a sample
  • Area-based sampling – random points are generated within a polygon
  • Analysis – previously collected data can be used to compute sample size
    requirements or efficiently allocate samples among strata
  • Computations –mean, standard error, confidence intervals for sample data
    and inferences of population parameters with known certainty
  • Output – geographic positions in output simplifies migration to global
    positioning systems, and sample size estimates and sample statistics can be
    exported to text files for record keeping

Example of random sampling (from the manual):


Habitat Digitizer Extension For ArcGIS

Stumbled across this the other day, and while I don’t currently have the need for it (or a copy of ArcGIS to try it out on), it sounds useful enough to post about. NOAA’s Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment offers a free extension for ArcGIS called the Habitat Digitizer:

The Habitat Digitizer Extension is designed to use a hierarchical classification scheme to delineate habitats by visually interpreting georeferenced images such as aerial photographs, satellite images, and side scan sonar. The extension allows users to create custom classification schemes and rapidly delineate and attribute polygons, lines, and points using simple menus. The extension allows new hierarchical classification schemes to be easily created, modified, and saved for use on future mapping projects. There are several advantages to using classification schemes with a hierarchical structure including: the detail of habitat categories can be expanded or collapsed to suit user needs, the thematic accuracy of each category/hierarchical level can be determined, and additional categories can be easily added or deleted at any level of the scheme to suit user needs.


While written for habitat digitization, it could prove useful for any digitization projects with extensive classification requirements. Versions are available for ArcView 3.0, ArcGIS 9.0, and ArcGIS 9.2 from the product page; download files include a PDF manual.

ColorBrewer Updated To Version 2.0 – Add-On To ArcMap Available

ColorBrewer is an online Flash app designed to help select appropriate data coloring schemes for maps, including sequential (choropleths), diverging (data with break points), and qualitative (discrete categorical data). I’ve covered version 1.0 before, and now ColorBrewer 2.0 is out. Not a huge number of functional differences, but some useful additions (and one disappointing subtraction):

  • More parameters are selected by drop-down boxes instead of buttons; bit faster this way
  • All controls are on the left side, making them easier to find
  • You can now choose between a colored background and a terrain background
  • Color transparency can now be set between 0 and 100%
  • More choices for background, road, city and border colors
  • You can now screen color schemes by appropriateness for color blindness, photocopying and print. In version 1.0, you only had icons showing which uses were appropriate, and these are still available in the “Score Card” tab at lower right
  • More options for color scheme export directly from the program, including an Excel file of all available color schemes, export in Adobe Swatch Exchange format (ASE), and in-program text hex color codes for copying and pasting into graphics programs.
  • No more map zoom; I miss this option.

Here’s a screenshot of 2.0:


The National Cancer Institute has taken the ColorBrewer color ramps and incorporated them into ColorTool, a free plugin for ArcMap. From the website:

The program runs from a button in the toolbar and opens a form that guides the user in choosing a classification scheme…. ColorTool supports Quantile, Equal Interval, Natural Breaks (Jenks), and Unique Value classification types…. There are also legend options, area borders, and exclusion statements in the tool. ColorTool simplifies the display process by offering preset color schemes and eliminating incompatible options.

Free Tools For ArcGIS Server (And A Request For Ideas For More Free Tools)

David Enns of MapItOut writes:

Subsequent to the development of low-cost tools by Map It Out in previous versions of ArcGIS Server, the company will now release these tools free of cost, starting with ArcGIS Server 9.3. It will be seeking input from users to develop other no cost tools. Map It Out Inc. hopes to offer several other ease-of-use and multi-functional tools at no cost in the upcoming months based on the input/demand from the GIS community.

The first available tools are:

  • Area & Buffer Selection Tool
  • Bookmark Tool
  • Hyperlink Tool
  • Export Tool
  • Custom Query Tool

I don’t use ArcGIS Server, so can’t evaluate them; for anyone who does try them out, I’d welcome your opinions in the comments section.

Export ArcMap Layers To A Google Map Page

mapz: a gis librarian has updated his ArcMap2GMap script for exporting ArcMap layers to a standalone Google Map page; in addition to points and lines, it now includes support for choropleth polygon layers:

ArcMap layers exported to Google Maps

Runs on ArcGIS 9.1 and 9.2, not yet tested on 9.3.