Being in Australia one of our most popular image formats is ECW. In other countries ECW is not as prevalent. This is geographic anomaly as the ECW format came from ER Mapper, developed out of Perth. ER Mapper was a cost effect Image processing product which provided very good image processing capabilities at a good price point. This led to wide market penetration in Australia but not other parts of the world. One of the by products of this legacy is the ECW image format. Based on the wavelet compression technology it provides for very good image compression and provides good speed to display. Hence it’s wide use here in Australia..
In other parts of the world the same compression is achieved using either the MrSID format or JPEG 2000. Both are wavelet compression technologies and both also provide good speed to display. The fundamental difference between all three formats is that MrSID and ECW are licensed formats while JPEG 2000 is an open format.
What does this mean to ArcGIS users?
From time to time, even the experienced GIS users (my 17 years in GIS allow me to call myself one) come across hidden tools and workflows that have existed in ArcGIS for Desktop for ages, but have never been used.
Recently, a couple of my clients asked me how to solve the following problem. Imagine you had a polygon feature class representing cadastral boundaries (i.e. properties) and another one representing zones (i.e. zoning). One property can fall within several adjacent zoning polygons, which effectively defines the cardinality (or the type of the relationships between features in both datasets) as One to Many (Properties to Zones).
In the world of remote sensing everything is big. The datasets provided by your preferred image supplier are shipped to you on one or many big disks. To view these image datasets you need a powerful workstation with large amounts of CPU, large amounts of RAM and always a very good graphics card. Then when you come to process the imagery, unless you are doing a small area analysis, it takes a long time as each pixel has to be analysed.
Now in the past our satellite images have had moderate resolution. Landsat presented us with 30 m pixels, SPOT 6m pixels and World View 2 2m pixels. With the release of World View 3 the resolution has again increased. We can acquire multi-spectral satellite imagery at 1m resolution. Initially this has been seen as great advancement in remote sensing technology. But with the great gains there is a down side. The size of the disk required to supply the same size image as World View 2 has increased exponentially and the time to process these new images has also increased.
This methodology of bringing the image to the application to process is becoming less viable. It is becoming more expensive in terms of the hardware required and time consuming for the image processing. The thought practice now is instead of bringing the image to the processor why not take the processor to the image. Enter the world of the cloud.
As a Mapinfo Professional trained user starting ArcMap for the first time I was comforted by the presence of some familiar looking buttons for map navigation and standard functions like saving and printing.
However as soon as I tried to open a layer for the first time this is where things started to feel a little less familiar. Being used to opening a Tab file from the File menu and expecting to do the same with a Shape file I found this was not the case. The solution is to use the Catalog window typically docked on the right hand side. Having gotten used to the Catalog which is basically an explorer window where one can drag and drop files into the ‘Map Window, sorry ‘Data Frame’. Continue reading
ArcGIS Pro has some exciting new things in the world of analysis, and we showcased some of those capabilities for the Directions LIVE 2015 series.
There are a few themes that have come through with the evolution of Desktop analysis in ArcGIS. Firstly, the goal is to make analysis easy; with the emphasis being on building workflows rather than working on individual components. Secondly, the software has grown to really exploit more sophisticated hardware capabilities as well as parallel processing to make analysis faster. There are also numerous improvements to make performance and drawing more efficient. Finally, it’s all about having more accurate analysis, for example, using geodesic measurements rather than straight line for global scale data.
During our DirectionsLIVE 2015 roadshow, Web AppBuilder has been getting a lot of interest from both GIS users and developers looking to extend it. Was great to see that a lot of you are already using it within your portal (be it ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS, it’s embedded into both) and allowing your users the ability to build powerful interactive apps.
Here is a recording of the presentation for those that were unable to attend DirectionsLIVE 2015.
When I was a child, my favourite stories were about magic portals to another world – stepping through a wardrobe or looking-glass into a land of wonder and adventure.
In our working lives, we can have portals too – a place to share information, work together and discover unique insights about our business information. Traditionally working with geographic information has remained the domain of trained professionals using high-end Geographic Information System software to analyse spatial patterns in data and create useful information products for a business.