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All People > aitor.caleroesri-es-esridist > Thoughts about GIS by Aitor Calero

If you want to take advantage of the new ArcGIS Enterprise Builder to rapidly install the software in a single machine, a pre-requisite is to have two licenses files or authorization files with the *.ECP extension. You need one for Portal and one for ArcGIS Server. However, the process of creating these files is very complex, specially if it's your first time using Esri's software. This how-to guide will explain you how to do so.


This process assumes that you already have and ECP code, that is someone in your organization has provided (via email for instance) a code like ECPNNNNNNNNN both for Portal and for Server (it should have nine numbers).


However, If you want to use the Enterprise Builder you have to provide the following information:

Screenshot of the ECP files dialog in Enterprise Builder

Unfortunately what you have is just an ECP code. How do I build or get the ECP file?


Firstly, you have to copy and paste in to different TXT files the ECP code. Just that, but It's also important to save the files with the txt extension and to save the in two separate files since you have to create two distinct ECP files.


Secondly, with these two files generated you have to go to your MyEsri account and click in the following link, Operations in a Secure Site, on the bottom right corner of your Licenses tab. You can see my screenshot below but is in Spanish sorry


MyEsri Screenshot

Once there you just only need to click the "Select File" button and MyEsri will create the Authorization.ecp file for you.


Hopefully, you will finally end up having the two files needed to continue with the ArcGIS Enterprise installation process.

It is possible to add the OpenStreetMap (OSM) layer to viewer as a basemap layer. However, if you want to add it just as a new layer, so that you can play with transparency for instance, it's a little bit more tricky. The OSM layer, is not included by default in the linving Atlas gallery. But it's not that difficult, let's see how can this be done.


The trick is to add it through Add/Add Layer from Web, from there you have to select "A Tile Layer". You can refer to the documentation for more details. But if you want to add OSM you have to know the structure of its tiling scheme. Now you have all the information you need, you just only need to change the [abc], zoom, x and y for the correspondant parameters needed by ArcGIS Online, {subDomain}, {level}, {col}, {row}. That's all!


Obviously, you can repeat this process with the rest of OSM layers as well. True & useful interoperability is just this!


With this little trick you can now use transparency in the OSM layer on top of an Imagery Layer, such as this:


Live Map Link

Have you ever wonder how to create cartograms in ArcGIS? In case that you do not know what a cartogram is, just have a look below:



Cartograma del Volumen de exportaciones de 2007 por países



The map represents the total USD in export per country. The three juggernauts of exports clearly stand out.

The "science" behind them is pretty well described in the wikipedia, the hardcore math is which the tool is based is in this paper: Diffusion-based method for producing density-equalizing maps.


Well, the point is that is still possible to create this fancy maps in the last versions of ArcGIS for Desktop. You just only need to dowload the Cartogram Geoprocessing Tool version 2. Although it says that works for 9.3 and is dated back in 2009, I can confirm that the tool works fine in ArcGIS for Desktop 10.3.1. In fact, the map above has been created with it.


I think that these kind of map representations offer a fancy and attractive way of showing information using maps. It can be used, not only for countries, but also for cities, counties, districts, etc... in situations where the relation between the size of a polygon and any other variable, could make sense.


More examples of cartograms can be found here. This is also the home site in witch the algorithm for this tool has been based.

"How can I publish a mosaic dataset? Do I really need ArcGIS for Server Image Extension to publish it?" "Mmm yes, but... what are you doing?" I replied. It is very very important to always, and I'd like to emphasize it, always, ask for "the need behind the need".

It turned out that this particular customer wanted to publish a bunch of singleband rasters, showing depth information. It was able to publish a subset of them, but performance problems appeared and the solution was not good for several more rasters.


I investigated the problem and with the help of my colleagues we found a nice solution. The first step was to combine all these rasters into a single one using the Image Analysis Window in ArcGIS for Desktop. Once done that, you can export the raster from Desktop to a geodatabase and from there, right click and "Share it as ImageService".

ScreenClip [2].png


Ok, first problem solved! Now we have a single service with all the rasters in in. But information is nothing without a valid way to consume or visualize it. Next step, an ArcGIS Online WebApp Builder app to show the results. The great thing about using a webmap is that it automatically recognizes the type of service. In this case, since it is an ImageService, you can activate the InfoWindow to show you the pixel value. And that was exactly what the customer wanted. You can see the screenshot here:


But, the problem when publishing ImageServices like that is that the color scheme is just a ramp of grey colors. Ok, what then? Well, in this case my workmate Isaac Medel, came to the rescue. "Have you tried to style the layer with a color ramp, and publish just the *.lyr file?" Of course I haven't and it worked really well but for a small issue. You cannot get the original pixel value, you get instead the RGB value for each pixel.


No problem. Good old tricks are always handy. In this case I just only added the nice looking lyr layer with the popup window disabled, and the ImageService the proper pixel value underneath. Et voilá! Saved the webmap, and you have what the user really wanted: the depth of the point and a proper color scheme to interpret it!

I've just read an excelent piece in the last ArcUser issue titled, "Creating a Sustainable GIS". If you have not read it yet, please do so! The main topic in the article is that, prior to the big economic crunch of 2007, almost everything was possible for any organization. If you have enough resources, meaning in-house developers, or you can contract external ones, you can build whatever fancy, customized, highly tailored application for your specific needs.




No matter what complex an specific workflow might seem, you can always translate it into source code using, ArcGIS APIs, or any other API. The resources were there, and there were there to do this kind of stuff, right?. I've sometimes asked my customers: "Do you know how much this development cost?". Usual answer, "no idea".


Well, that is not longer the case. During the crisis, brute (no offense) coding man power became scarce, and the question was, "how can I migrate/update this highly customized app to X version". I would like to use this new feature edit capability but I can't since this "legacy" app has too much lines of code. The usual criticism to any software provider is "you are always changing your products". So the world is, I would say. Software companies have to adapt to these changes, as much or faster from a competitive point of view, as the rest of the IT crowd does.


Granted, some years ago, the ArcGIS Platform was not as evolved as it is today. But there is no excuse right now. Pretty much every single workflow can be resolved using either one tool or a combination of some of them. It is here were the new 80/20 Pareto's rule comes into play.


Can you adapt the 20 percent of your workflows to meet the 80 of capabilities that comes from the ArcGIS Apps platform ecosystem? Yes, you have to "think different" but I'm pretty much sure that Collector for ArcGIS, for instance, can be used to monitor, review, make inventaries, etc.. of any type of assets.


So remember 20% could be just a matter of breaking old habits. And, by the way, to reduce de TCO of the solution.

How many times have you added a tool in a toolbar, just because the tool is there and you can do it? I guess that many more times than is really necessary.


The tendency to overcomplicate an app is directly proportional to the number of options out there . Everything is possible, in theory, when we are talking about designing apps. Why not? This is the common answer to the question "What do you think if we add....?"


But it is time to change. It is time to think the other way arround. Why not ask "What do you think will happen if we remove this tool?" I bet that many customers or users will scracth their heads, to find an answer. "mmm, weeeellll, probably Mr. Smith, will miss it. And you know, Mr. Smith is the guy who manage the GIS, we cannot remove this tool!" Well, actually we SHOULD remove this tool, for this very reason. A person like Mr. Smith, will be a GIS power user and, as such, he will have a full-featured desktop tool, with this tool alredy incorporated.


The questions then should be, "Who is going to use the app? Will this person really miss this tool?" If you have to think more than 5 seconds to find an answer, just do not add it!


Otherwise, your app may end up looking as this :


I've recently read a very important blog post from esri, "Sharing Web GIS Services? Always enable TLS". The key point is that you should ALLWAYS enable HTTPS using TLS or, if you are just using HTTP to publish web services, activate both, HTTP and HTTPS. This way, not only are you making your services more secure, but you are also, making possible to combine with other services, outside your organization, in a secure way.


By the way, the article states that SSL V3 is dead because of the "Poodle Vulnerability". And POODLE stands for "Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption". If you want to learn more about these two protocols (SSL and TLS) here is a short 7 minutes video:



When talking with customers about security, and how important it is for them to secure their geographical assets, you have to know what are you talking about.

I've seen this amazing video of the DevSummit conference about Vector Tiles. Please, do watch it!


What is more impressive, appart from the performance is, in my opinion, how easy is to create these vector tiles packages. You can see as well how ArcGIS Pro is going to be used by GIS professionals to create these sets of good looking professional vector tiles to create awesome maps.


The other relevant feature that I would point out, is that, apparently, every vector map loaded in PRO can be easily transformed in a vector tile in just a few clicks. For instance, if you are able to load S-56 nautical charts, these charts can be easily shared using your ArcGIS Online (I guess that tiles will be soon incorporated there too) and/or ArcGIS for Server. No need to use third party software or extensions to serve this content out anymore!


These are really good and promising news!