Creating a File Geodatabase in ArcMap 10.1

We wanted to add some video tutorials to show new ArcGIS users how to edit data in ArcMap. Step 1 is to create a File Geodatabase. In this video we cover creating a File Geodatabase in ArcMap 10.1 that we will use in our next video to add data to our project. To see all of our ArcGIS tutorials please visit our YouTube Channel.

Georeferencing Imagery in ArcGIS 10.1 Desktop Tutorial

We have had a lot of people lately ask us how to georeference imagery. So, as long as it is a hot topic, we just posted VerticalGeo’s new video tutorial on “Georeferencing Imagery in ArcGIS 10.1 Desktop” on our YouTube Channel. Here it is:

US Open Golf Course Mapping

Very nice Map from ESRI that depicts the individual holes at this weekend’s US Open Golf Championships.

US Open Golf Championship 2013

US Open Golf Championship 2013










Shows the usefulness of ArcGIS Online for reaching a large group of users


Attended the USTRANSCOM Defense and Intelligence GIS User Group today out at Scott AFB.  I saw some great demonstrations including the Excelis VIS demo of ENVI LiDAR.  It looked like some great software.  I think I will try out an evaluation copy.

Completed Aerial Photography Project for the City of O’Fallon, Illinois

We completed an aerial photography project for the city of O’Fallon, Illinios this week.  We flew the core of downtown O’Fallon and the Public Cemetery.  I created a web map on ArcGIS Online that includes both pieces of aerial photography overlaid on top of an ESRI Street Map basemap.  Here is the result: an interactive web map:,38.5838,-89.8908,38.6006&zoom=true
View Larger Map

Getting Started with the ArcGIS Editor for Open Street Map

ESRIs Jeff Baranyi recently posted on ESRI’s ArcGIS Resource Center a summary of the new ArcGIS Editor for Open Street Map.  It is a free tool that provides capability to update one of the most popular Open Source Maps of all time.  Jeff’s blog post can be found here:  Link.  I have replicated Jeff’s entire post below.  ESRI keeps ensuring us they want to work with Open Source programs and here is another example of ESRI following through.  Great job!

As we have written about previously in this blog after the earthquake in Haiti (here and here), OpenStreetMap is a great source of data for you to support disaster and/or humanitarian operations.  Esri has created a specific tool to empower the GIS Community to contribute and use OpenStreetMap data within ArcGIS.  The ArcGIS Editor for OpenStreetMap is a free tool you can download for ArcGIS Desktop from CodePlex. It allows people to do two key things from a disaster management / humanitarian relief perspective:

  1. Contribute data to OpenStreetMap using familiar tools
  2. Enable the conversion of OpenStreetMap (*.osm) files to a feature dataset for editing in ArcGIS

To get started with the ArcGIS Editor for OpenStreetMap you’ll need ArcGIS for Desktop 10 and the ArcGIS Editor for OpenStreetMap.  Note that the ArcGIS for Home Use Program or the Esri Nonprofit Organization Program are great ways to get Esri software if you don’t have it available to you already and do not intend to use it for commercial gain.  You should also be familiar with the basics of editing in ArcGIS for Desktop and with OpenStreetMap.  There is an excellent wiki here to help you understand OpenStreetMap.  If you want to contribute edits to OpenStreetMap you’ll need OpenStreetMap login credentials.

Making your first edits

Once you have you tools loaded and your environment prepared, you’re ready to make your first edits.  The first step is to find an area that you are familiar with that needs editing.  Perhaps this is a new neighborhood near where you live.

The next step is to find some base layer information to put your edits in context.  You can use one of the Basemaps available from the ‘Add Data > Add Basemap’ button. In the image below, we’ve added Imagery upon which we will add data collected from GPS tracks.

GPS tracking is a common way of collecting data for OpenStreetMap as you are collecting the raw geometry of your movement.  In the image below, we’ve added GPS tracks to the map.

Next, use the Download and Symbolize OSM Data tool to download data to a local geodatabase for editing.  Note that the larger the area the longer it will take to download the data.  Once you have the data downloaded you can go ahead and start editing data just like any other feature.  In the image below, the downloaded data from OSM has been added to the map. The GPS tracks have been turned off; however, we will turn them back on again so we can integrate the GPS track data into the downloaded OSM dataset.

When you are done editing you can upload your changes to OpenStreetMap.  It is important that any data contributed back to OpenStreetMap is free from licensing restrictions, as data contributed becomes subject to the Open Database License (see OSM users are responsible for ensuring their edits comply with this license. Using the Upload OSM Data tool you can point to the revision table within your geodatabase where you made your edits, enter your OpenStreetMap login information, and upload your edits to OpenStreetMap.

After a few moments (or up to an hour or so) your new edits will be visible!

Loading OpenStreetMap data

Another very useful tool with the ArcGIS Editor for OpenStreetMap is the Load OSM File tool.  Often times from a response perspective we’re working in environments that are either completely disconnected or have very little bandwidth.  During the response in Haiti it was helpful to have OSM data locally to support operations.  Having up-to-date basemap data is really important to support response and recovery activities.  OpenStreetMap data is available in Planet files or OSM XML format for the world, region, or country downloads.

Once you have an *.OSM file downloaded for a country or region of interest, you can load the data into a geodatabase using the Load OSM File tool.  Note that the larger the file the longer it will take to process.

After the data is loaded into the geodatabase you can symbolize the data using the Symbolize OSM Data tool.  Simply point the tool to the appropriate point, line, and polygon features.

After this tool completes, you’ll have a rich collection of basemap features that are available whether you’re connected to the internet or not.  This is perfect for forward deployed GIS operations where there may not be good internet connectivity.

Look for more updates on version 2.0 of the tool coming soon!  Beta 4 of the ArcGIS Editor for OpenStreetMap 2.0 is available now –   In the upcoming version 2.0 of ArcGIS Editor for OSM, you’ll also be able to generate and consume ArcGIS Server feature services based on OSM data for use in multiple clients, including mobile devices.

An Alternative to Overlaying Layer Tints on Hillshades

The below post is replicated from ESRI’s ArcGIS Ressource Center’s Blog.  This post was written by Rajinder Nagi, Cartographic Researcher and is located at:  Link.  It is a wonderful capability that I have tried to figure out many times.  This blog post will help me the next time I want to make terrain on my web maps look more realistic.  Here is the blog post:

A very common cartographic technique used by many map makers is to transparently overlay a colored raster, called a layer tint, over a grayscale raster, like a hillshade or a panchromatic aerial or satellite image (figures 1 and 2).

Overlaying rasters - hillshade

Figure 1. A grayscale hillshade

Overlaying rasters - Layer Tint

Figure 2. A layer tint of elevation

This results in a display that has a washed out version of the layer tint and a less detailed version of the grayscale raster (figure 2).

Overlaying rasters - Overlay with Transparency

Figure 3. The result when the layer tint is shown with 40% transparency over the hillshade

In a previous blog post, we described how you can use a special set of functions with mosaic datasets and a color map file to better display colored rasters over grayscale rasters. The result retains both the original colors and the grayscale detail in the input rasters (figure 4).

Overlaying rasters - Using Functions

Figure 4. The result when image functions are used to control the display

In this article, we describe how you can obtain the same results using a color ramp rather than a color map file and Image Analyst rather than a mosaic dataset. The objective is to demonstrate the versatility of this display method, regardless of how you are working with your rasters.

At the core of this display method is a combination of pan sharpening, contrast stretching, and gamma stretching functions. The pan sharpening function uses a panchromatic and a multispectral (3-band RGB) raster as input. In the example here, a hillshade created from a DEM is the panchromatic raster and a DEM with a color ramp that has been converted to a multispectral raster are the inputs. The output from the pan sharpening function is then used as input for the contrast and gamma stretching functions.

Since layer tinted DEMs are not usually managed as 3-band RGB rasters, a conversion is required. To do this, add the DEM to ArcMap, right-click the layer in the table of contents, and click Properties. On the Symbology tab, select the color ramp you want to use to display the data. Click OK to close the Layer Properties dialog box. Right-click the layer in the table of contents, click Data, and click Export Data. In the Export Raster Data dialog box, check Use Renderer and check Force RGB. Choose a location and input a name, then click Save. Choose to add the exported data to the map as a layer. The 3-band RGB image will be added to the table of contents.

At this point, you can either follow the steps described in the previous article to add the raster to a mosaic dataset and render it, or you can use the instructions below if you want to use the Image Analysis tools rather than a mosaic dataset.

Define the Functions for the raster datasets

    1. Add the grayscale hillshade and multispectral RGB layer tint rasters to ArcMap, if they have not already been added.
    2. Open the Image Analysis window by clicking Windows on the top bar menu, then clicking Image Analysis.
    3. In the top section of the Image Analysis window, select both the hillshade and RGB rasters using the Control key and clicking on each raster’s name to highlight it (figure 5).Overlaying rasters - Image Analysis WindowFigure 5. The Image Analysis window
    4. Click the Pan-Sharpening tool in the Processing section of the Image Analysis Window. This will create a new layer which will be listed as the top layer in the Image Analysis Window.
    5. In the Image Analysis Window, right-click the newly generated pan-sharpening layer and click Properties.
    6. On the Functions tab, right-click the Pansharpening Function and click Properties.
    7. On the General tab of the Raster Function Properties dialog box change the Output Pixel Type to 8 Bit Unsigned.
    8. On the Pan Sharpen tab, change the Method to Simple Mean.
    9. Keep the rest of the defaults and click OK.
    10. Right click Pansharpening Function, click Insert, and click Stretch Function.
    11. Change the Type to Minimum-Maximum.
    12. Check the Use Gamma option.
    13. In the Gamma section of the dialog box, change the Gamma value from 1.0 to 0.5 for each of the three bands.
    14. In the Statistics section of the dialog box, type 5 as the Min and 215 as Max values for each of the three bands. The final function chain will look like figure 6.

Overlaying rasters - Funtion Chain

Figure 6. The final function chain

  1. Click OK to check your results.

After checking the results, feel free to experiment with the Gamma, minimum, and maximum values in the Stretch Function.

NOTE: Creating your display using the Image Analysis Window instead of mosaic datasets results in a temporary raster. If you want to keep your results, remember to export the layer that you added the functions to from ArcMap.

If you want to try this out yourself, download this .zip file which contains a map package of the Washington elevation map used in this article.

Thanks to Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead, for her help with this blog entry!