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Mostly Mapping

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With recent data compiled by the USGS, the WNS maps and Story Map have been updated. The update includes new reports from Texas, Washington, Minnesota, and several Canadian provinces.


Story Map


Interactive map


How the maps are made

The Story Map uses the Story Map Journal, and embeds two Story Map Series and the Time Aware configurable app.

The interactive map shown above uses the sharing preview of the map in the Minimalist configurable app. For more information on this "quick share" technique, see Quickly share your map using an app.

Today, June 6th, 2019, is National Caves and Karst Day. You'll find lots of commercial caves and National Park caves holding special events today.



I took a quick look for cave and karst related maps and apps on ArcGIS Online, here's the search links.








What are you doing with cave and karst GIS and digital mapping on this day? Share your stories!

Too many maps, apps, or Story Maps that are otherwise great, have suffered from poorly crafted or unconfigured pop-ups. Even the very best GIS and digital mapping pros often overlook the importance, and ease, by which great layer pop-ups can be made. Pop-ups are equally important as thinking about how you present your map data. We typically think about cartography, and smart mapping provides great tools and guidance to help us make better maps, but all too often those great maps are spoiled by poor pop-ups.


Pop-ups are an equally important part of the overall map experience, and deserving of no less attention than other aspects of your maps. They are a very important and integral part of the presentation of information in your maps, and can turn a dull and dopey dump of attributes into a far more meaningful presentation of information.


See the comparison below - which do you think is the better presentation of information?



Updated posts


With the above in mind, I've updated a series of blog posts that provide all the information you will (perhaps ever) need to craft amazing pop-ups. 


Pop-ups: the essentials covers all of the basics, and all of the ways you might think to present information.It includes a sample web map that covers all of the examples in the blog post.


Pop-ups: custom attribute display covers everything from single-attribute pop-ups, to using HTML. It includes source HTML which you can use and modify to make your own, plus a sample web map.


Pop-ups: adding charts covers the basics of adding charts, including some examples that show you how.


In addition to the above, you'll find:



And more...


And you'll find more by searching Help documentation, and also searching for additional posts on the ArcGIS Blog about pop-ups.


Let's make pop-ups an essential part of authoring great web maps.

This is an example of an online cave map with links to photos. The cave is real, it was mapped and (re-) discovered during a project for Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. The cave name is hidden, as is its location. Click the camera symbol to see the photos, you'll see it's a very unique and special cave.
The map was scanned and then published using ArcGIS Online to scale, It's geolinked, not geo-referenced, since that made the most sense for a cave of this size.
Click the camera icon to view the pop-up with a photo thumbnail. Click the thumbnail to view a larger photo.
What I like about this example is that it uses the best tools for the best results. The cave map was drawn using Illustrator, and most cave maps are drawn using Illustrator or similar graphic programs. Yes, you could do this in ArcGIS Pro but it would be tedious. It's much easier to create this type of map in Illustrator, or Xara, or a similar graphics program. The map is actually geolinked (not georeferenced) to an ArcGIS Online feature layer in an online database. However it was published from ArcGIS Pro and used a technique to publish it at it's correct scale, so web map tools like Measure can be used.

Here's a couple of examples that I put together that show different ways to manage a variety of documents associated with a feature in a hosted feature layer. The original question and subsequent example was catalyzed by someone that wanted to explore how different kinds of documents - photos, PDF files, scanned images, maps, etc. - could be associated to a specific location, in this case a cave location, or a survey station in a cave survey.


This example uses a hosted feature layer with links to various document storage options - Flickr, Google Drive, an ArcGIS Online group, and two group-based configurable apps - Minimal Gallery, and Category Gallery.



In my opinion the best implementation is actually the Category Gallery. Click the filter to browse the categories describing the content found in the group. This, however, was the most curative intensive approach. Perhaps the easiest were Flickr (if you are focused on photos) or Google Drive if you just need to manage a variety of documents.


This next example shows all of those document types stored as attachments to the feature. All of the attachments were enabled and added using ArcGIS Online. ArcGIS Pro was not used, everything was done on the ArcGIS Online hosted feature layer using layer settings, and editing capabilities in the Map Viewer.



Attachments are a very powerful way to store many different kinds of document types with any feature. 


Which method is best? Well as usual it depends on what you need to do, your intended audience, and the workflows involved in adding documents to features and who will be managing and viewing them.

I just stumbled across this nice Story Map Tour of the Rudické plateau in the central part of the Moravian Karst titled KRAS RUDICKÉ PLOŠINY. Details about the app can be found on the website.



On the maps and documents to download page you'll also find an interesting PDF document - the Map Guide to Moravian Karst (MAPOVÝ PRŮVODCE MORAVSKÝM KRASEM) - containing links to maps of the area as well as well as descriptions for features found on each. It's published in several languages, so you might be able to read one of them.

This post covers the basics of symbol rotation in ArcGIS Online web maps. Symbol rotation is easy, and is perfect for "direction focused" point features. These include cameras, travel direction, wind direction, and much more.



But there are some very interesting things you can do using a combination of stacked symbols and rotation, covered in this post:



Stacking symbols allows you to create gauges, that rotate with your data whether it be static or live.


This post covers everything above, with a sprinkle of Arcade thrown in. Arcade is used to calculate the offsets needed to rotate the needle on top of non-circular, or non-half-circular gauges.



Using these techniques, you can come up with all sort of creative applications of stacked symbols and rotation.

With an anticipated Friday landfall, Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the mid-Atlantic United States with potential to cause "massive damage" in both coastal and inland areas. North Carolina Governor Ray Cooper said the storm is a "monster" and will be "like nothing you've ever seen." Over a million people are subject to mandatory evacuation orders.


This Hurricanes and Tropical Cyclones Overview Story Map is published by the Esri Disaster Response Team. The underlying map is authored using ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World content that includes the World Imagery Basemap, Sea Surface Temperature, NOAA Hurricanes, NOAA Short Term Warnings, as well as Accuweather weather radar.


The Story Map Series (tabbed layout) embeds a variety of other apps, including those built using Web AppBuilder such as the Hurricane and Cyclone App.




Other maps include the Hurricane Florence Error Cone: Projected Impact authored using the Impact Summary configurable app template:




And the Hurricane Florence Tracker built using the Minimalist configurable app template:



For more hurricane maps, apps, and layers visit:


For more infomration and to request assistance, visit the Esri Disaster Response Program website.

This year has been among the worst in U.S. wildfire history. This application, by John Von Holle and Jeff Dulin of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), shows the current status of wildfires using continuously updated data.



The app is built using Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS, and leverages basemaps, active fire locations and perimeters, MODIS hotspots, and drought data from the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World, along with other data sources.


See the tweet:

This app was brought to my attention the other day by warren roberts. It's an app by Redding GIS about the Carr Fire, which has devastated the area and destroyed over a thousand homes, tragically claiming at least 7 victims (check the web for the latest).



Open the app, built using Web AppBuilder, and click on one of the pushpins:



Click the link to view the Aerial 360 View, provided by Esri business partner Hangar 360. The 360s are as fascinating as they are sobering, documenting the devastation of the fire.



For more information see the Inciweb and Cal Fire websites for the Carr Fire. For disaster response assistance see the Esri Disaster Response Program website.

To verify and test a few things, I came up with a 3D visualization of Hidden River Cave, located in the town of Horse Cave, Kentucky. Click the Slides to view the cave from various perspectives, or use your mouse to explore the cave interactively.



How it was authored


The cave survey data is courtesy of the Cave Research Foundation, with thanks to Dave West, CRF Eastern Operations manager. The cave survey data was entered, managed, and exported as a multipatch shapefile using Compass, one of the more ubiquitous cave survey editing, management, and visualization programs, used widely in the U.S. and also in other parts of the world. Authored by Larry Fish, the software is downloadable from the Compass Cave Survey Software website.


The multipatch uses the LRUDs - the Left, Right, Up, Down measurements recorded by cave surveyors at each survey station to create a generalized 3D model of the cave. Compass uses these values to construct a 3D model of the cave, which can be exported to a 3D multipatch shapefile.


Once exported, the multipatch was added to a scene document in ArcGIS Pro. Using Pro, a scene layer was published to ArcGIS Online, and used to author a web scene using the Scene Viewer.  Slides (captured specific views of the cave) were saved using the Scene Viewer. The scene was then shared in the application linked above - the Scene Styler, a configurable app used to present web scenes to a broader audience.

For the last few days I've had a first-hand view of the smoke from the Ferguson Fire blowing over the Sierra Nevada, from the west side on the outskirts of Yosemite Valley (currently closed due to the fire) to the town of Mammoth Lakes on the east side where I currently am. Even the crows were complaining about the smoke. I could only imagine what firefighters had to endure on the front lines of the fire, we should never forget what they do and their sacrifices.


There are many maps that have been created for this fire, and the numerous other fires that now dominate California. But for this Map of the Day installment I chose this one:



It's a Story Map, specifically a Story Map Series using the Side Accordion layout, that serves as a "binder" for other apps and information. Using this Story Map you can discover which apps are useful and frequently used for wildfire response, and which Living Atlas layers can be leveraged to provide authoritative content. It's a great library of useful apps and content created by the Esri Disaster Response Team. See their ArcGIS  portal for more information and additional maps and apps.

On June 23, 2018, 12 members of a junior soccer team and their coach became trapped inside a flooded cave in Thailand's Chiang Rai province. They'd ventured in after practice, in part to celebrate one team member's birthday. Sudden and heavy rainfall forced the group deeper into the flooding cave to seek high ground, which they found at a location known as Pattaya Beach. After going missing, the team's bicycles and other belongings were found at the entrance, and the ensuing rescue brought in some of the world's best divers and rescue personnel to the cave.


On July 2, the team was discovered alive at Pattaya Beach, however the logistics of evacuating the team seemed overwhelming. Tragically, one highly experienced diver lost his life returning from a support dive delivering oxygen tanks to staging areas for the rescue.


According to Wikipedia:

The  rescue efforts included a total of over 10,000 people – including more than 100 divers, many rescue workers, representatives from about 100 government agencies, 900 police officers, and 2,000 soldiers – 10 police helicopters, seven police ambulances, more than 700 air canisters (of which more than 500 were in the cave at any one time and another 200 were in the queue to be refilled), and the removal of more than 1 billion liters of water (the equivalent of 400 Olympic-size swimming pools).


On July 8, four of the boys were rescued using scores of support divers and rescue personnel, and all twelve were out by July 12. See the Wikipedia article for all the details.



Cave maps


According to Wikipedia

A team of French cavers made the first survey of Tham Luang's main cave in 1986 and 1987. Further surveys were done in 2014 and 2015 by the British cavers Vern Unsworth, Martin Ellis, Phil Collett, and Rob Harper.


Maps from these surveys helped guide the dive and rescue efforts. Shown below is one of the annotated maps prepared by Esri Thailand from the archived cave survey data and published maps that was used for logistics planning.



GIS Maps 


Esri Thailand supported the efforts using GIS to create maps and perform analysis. Some of their work included:


  • Creating a 3D representation of the cave (generated using archived survey data from British cavers).
  • Developing 3D models to measure the depth to the cave from the surface terrain, identify low-slope areas for possible equipment deployment, and to examine the potential for surface drilling to enter the cave.
  • Generating operational maps for rescue logistics.
  • Generating reliable and accurate topographic data, such as DEMs, contours, and orthophotos.
  • Using ArcGIS Hydro tools to determine candidate locations for surface water diversion away from the cave.


A Web AppBuilder 3D app used to display a scene showing the generalized cave outline draped on the surface. The entrance is to the lower left in this image.


A generalized 3D model of the cave was created, shown here in the Scene Viewer beneath a partially transparent surface, to evaluate potential drilling sites and visualize the cave in relation to surface topography.


Another scene showing cross sections across the mountain range with elevations, and the cave (in black) beneath the surface.


Above is a map showing the cave with elevations, catchment areas, and rain intensity during one of the storm episodes.


Maps were used to show the results of resistivity surveys which were performed in various areas to pinpoint where cave passages were located underground. The survey was completed by the Royal Irrigation Department ground team, and interpreted by Department of Mineral Resources experts. The diagram above shows the survey results in combination with the cave lineplot and topographic maps. The resistivity model shows water-filled passages in dark blue, coinciding with modeled cave passages at 460-480 meters elevation.


All data courtesy Esri Thailand.

As I make my way around the user group conference circuit, I still find that many GIS managers and practitioners seem a little confused about Web GIS and it's advantages. Earlier this evening I stumbled once again onto this amazing resource which explains the concepts and advantages of Web GIS exceptionally well, IMHO.


I am thinking this should be required reading for GIS managers and practitioners alike. The ArcGIS Book.


ArcGIS Online

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have, for the most part, passed. However the total damage is still being realized,  economic impacts are still being assessed, and recovery operations are just beginning. It will be a process that takes months and years.


During the continuing course of the response, many maps and apps have been created that were, and remain. key in providing updates on status, helping those in need, delivering insights to what happened, and perhaps most importantly, delivering information on what was going on. Here's my pick of a few apps that caught my eye, and the configurable apps and builders used to create them.


Note that this is not a comprehensive list, and many fine apps went by unnoticed by me, and many were private and subsequently not highlighted here. Feel free to comment and add others.


Story Map "Catalog"

An idea came about that a story map could be used as a  live catalog of useful resources that could be viewed, and then opened in full screen mode and bookmarked, or otherwise saved for further use. Two of these were developed, and continue to evolve today. Both are based on the Story Map Series using the Side Accordion Layout.


One of the catalogs was targeted at operations staff - those who do not author maps or apps but need to know about and use useful applications. The other was targeted at GIS staff who were looking for key layers and web maps from which to create their own. Shown below is the Story Map Catalog of ready-to-use apps. The content has changed over time, starting with apps focused on preparedness, then response, and increasingly recovery.



Story Map Series "Binder"

Story Map Series, especially the tabbed layout, is often used as a binder to pull together related maps and applications. Shown below is one from the NOAA/NWS/NHC Storm Surge Unit showing storm surge flooding along the U.S East and Gulf Coasts and Puerto Rico during Category 1 though 5 storms.



Impact Summary

One of the more widely used configurable apps was Impact Summary. This app highlights an area and shows a summary of quantitative data related to its location, with the option to use Living Atlas demographic information to enrich the data to be summarized. Shown below is an Impact Summary app presenting the National Weather Service 72 hour forecast that has been enriched to show the potential impact to people and businesses.



Local Perspective

Local Perspective is a configurable app template that provides information based on a user defined location. A buffered distance around the user specified locationeither by typing in an address, or clicking the mapis used to return features from features layers in the map.


Shown below is a Local Perspective app authored by Miami Dade County to show shelter locations - enter an address, or click on the map to display the list, and view status. Note that the screen shot below was taken after the initial response efforts, and only displays one active shelter as a result.



Story Map Journal

FEMA published several Story Map Journals that contained other maps and apps detailing specifics for both Harvey and Irma. Shown below is the FEMA Story Map Incident Journal for Irma, embedding many other apps.



Here's another example from the Texas Department of Public Safety used during Hurricane Harvey.



And a third example of a Situation Report created using a Story Map Journal from Harris County.



Story Map Crowdsource

Story Map Crowdsource was used to compile photographs from both Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to provide an idea and location of where damage had occurred, also providing a window onto what was happening on the ground. Shown below is the Crowdsource app for Hurricane Harvey from NAPSG.



Shown below is the Crowdsource app for Hurricane Irma, also from NAPSG.



Story Map Swipe

Story Map Swipe is designed to enable you to compare multiple maps or layers, and is especially effective when viewing pre- and post- event imagery. Below is a Story Map Swipe from the NICB Geospatial Intelligence Center comparing before and after imagery for Hurricane Harvey. View application.



The Story Map Swipe below displays Hurricane Irma post-event imagery and includes bookmarks to specific locations, providing a before and after look using imagery from NOAA. View application.



Operations Dashboard

Several Operations Dashboards were authored to provide an operational picture for keeping track of hurricane impacts and status. Dashboards use charts and statistics in addition to maps. This one showed current traffic (from the Living Atlas), Waze traffic alerts, and Houston TransStar live traffic cams.



The one shown below for Hurricane Irma includes Florida DOT live traffic cams, Living Atlas current traffic conditions, Waze alerts, and a heat map of Waze alerts. View dashboard.



Web AppBuilder

Web AppBuilder offers a versatile way to build apps by assembling configurable widgets, some of which are ideal for use for situational awareness. Shown below is a an app built using Web AppBuilder that offered a perspective on current weather and its impacts during the Harvey response.



Below is a Web AppBuilder app from the Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency, delivering impact summary data and incorporating a variety of real-time layers.



A dashboard created using new widgets now available in Web AppBuilder showing flood status.



This one shows the power outages across Florida by county.



Open Data

Open Data is configured within your ArcGIS Organization, and can be used to share your authoritative open data in a variety of different formats so others can build upon and extend your work. Open datasets are connected to the source and are automatically updated.


Several Open Data sites were leveraged during the response, shown below is one from the Florida Division of Emergency Management.



And more...

View more apps in the Hurricane Harvey apps group and the Hurricane Irma apps group compiled by the Esri Disaster Response Program team.


Story Maps, ArcGIS Configurable Apps, Disaster Response Program