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GeoNet is enriched by the collective knowledge and diverse experience of its members, and we’re interested in getting to know more about the people who make up the Esri Community.  


We’re starting a member profile series called Community Closeup, and our first story is with Dan Patterson, a GeoNet MVP and recently retired Geomatics professor from Ottawa, Canada. Dan has a following of more than 450 followers in the community, has generated more than 13,000 downloads in the ArcGIS Code Sharing site, and is most visible in the Python space. Learn more about his background and his thoughts on the GeoNet community. Read: Community Closeup with Dan Patterson.  


Highlight: Get a recap on GeoConX 2019, the largest gathering of Utility & Telecommunications GIS Professionals from Patrick Huls



ArcGIS Online Map Viewer Beta PlaceThe new ArcGIS Online Map Viewer Beta launched last week with a new place to gather your questions and feedback on the product experience and provides key information about the map viewer functionality for your reference. Check out the new place for reference information on the beta features and more. Go to: Map Viewer Beta.


3 Open Questions & Discussions

Aurelius Dokeianos is looking for additional information and guidance on a cost-path and viewshed project.

Debra Hodges wants to know how to use ArcGIS API for JavaScript to show facilities in an area specified by a zip code entered in a search box

Brian Forschner is looking for people who have used SagesGov with ArcGIS Online. Can you answer his question about data interfacing with each other?


Take a few minutes to help a GeoNet member solve a problem today. See if you can answer these unanswered questions in the community.


7 Product and Service Updates

ArcGIS Experience Builder Beta version 2 is now available.

My Esri 5.5 release has updates on licensing, support, and other items.

ArcGIS Online Map Viewer Beta has a helpful compatibility guide and other documents to understand the new functionality for the release.  See the release announcement.

AppStudio for ArcGIS released version 4.1 with features, bug fixes, and more.

Learn more about the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and when Esri plans to ensure alignment in Esri Software Security & Privacy

Portal for ArcGIS released Security 2019 Update 2 Patch.

ArcGIS Online has an updated planned for December 10. See what’s coming.


Community Tip: Write a bio in your GeoNet Profile

Help the community get to know you by writing a professional bio for your GeoNet Profile.  If you need some help with writing your biography, this document has an outline to help you write some brief details to get started. If you have one already constructed, you can also reference this document for steps to populate your profile biography.


Find the Top Trending content you are following, unanswered questions, and blogs by selecting My News located in the GeoNet navigation bar. Got an idea or suggestion for future weekly updates? Comment below or contact us at


Follow @EsriGeoNet on Twitter.

Community Closeup is a member profile series where we get to know members in GeoNet, The Esri Community.



About Dan

Dan PattersonIf you have ever asked a question in the GeoNet Community, you likely received a response from Dan Patterson, or maybe you've been one of the several thousand users that have referred to his free tools and helpful guides from Py…blog where his wealth of knowledge has amassed to 119 blog posts. Dan is a GeoNet MVP from Ottawa, Canada, who has been a part of the Esri Community since 1992. 


"I was known as ‘the computer guy.’ I took my first computer science course in high school around 1968. When I got to university, I discovered most people hadn't had that opportunity." - Dan Patterson


When Dan finished his undergrad and graduate studies at Carleton University, the university decided to start a GIS program. Instead of continuing his studies to pursue his dreams of a Ph.D., he became full-time faculty with the developing program to teach Statistics, Intro to GIS, Intermediate Raster/Vector Geospatial Analysis Course, and Advanced Applications of GIS.


"Retired" written on a test punch cardHis guidance for GIS students and professionals online and offline led to his earned nickname 'ObiDan,' modeled after the revered mentor and teacher Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars. It fits for someone with an extensive history as an educator in the GIS field for 31 years. Students that are actively working in the geospatial industry experienced his "fail, figure out why, and fix it" teaching style that encouraged exploratory learning of spatial science. 

Pictured: His retirement notice for the last days of class.




Fun Fact from Dan: I got my first research assistant job in the summer of 1st year because of my ‘ability to program in Fortran’, which I knew nothing about, but 5 days later, I could DO-loop with the best of them.”

   DO-loop is a command that executes repetitive statements in Fortran, a programming language developed by IBM.


Q&A Interview 


Esri Canada HatWhat brought you to GeoNet?

I preceded GeoNet by many years, having participated in the ArcView 2.x/3.x forum, long before ArcMap was on the scene. I was looking for interesting questions that I could use as examples of real-world situations where GIS analysis was applied. In those early years, archeologists were dabbling, engineers of various flavours were trying to add new tools to their arsenal, and biologists were interested in things relating to fragmentation of landscapes and mapping in general. I was hooked when I ranked as an MVP with about 32 points in one quarter, and I got an Esri hat (pictured).


What unique value does the GeoNet Community have from your perspective? 

There is much talent out there amongst the users. If people spent more time sifting through the posts in a particular place, they might find answers to their questions or interesting things to pursue. It has been great in the last few years that some of the Esri staff have become active in taking over the moderation of spaces and providing answers. 


Dan enjoys spatial analysis and the reward of overcoming the math challenges that come with it. While he feels intimidated by math like most people, he faces it as a learning opportunity to create tools, write blogs, and answer questions to help the novice and the experienced professional get over the wall of labor-intensive effort or the lack of know-how.


What types of questions in the community are the most interesting to you? 

Questions relating to geometry, geometric constructs, computational geometry, and multidimensional raster stuff. I suck at math, and I just love reinventing the wheel for various algorithms.


How do you decide what to contribute?

I contribute answers when I need a break from what I am working on.  It provides a distraction. A quick pop-over to GeoNet, see what’s up, answer a question or two, then back to work. 


Now that I am retired from teaching, I want to blog about some of those ‘math’ things that most people hate or have avoided, just to provide a free record of things you can do. The “Free Tools”!!! blog came about because I was surprised people hadn’t discovered several things that require an Advanced License could be done without one by using the tools that Esri provided. Split By Attributes was my first venture into tools. I originally published it around 2005, but It wasn’t until 2016 that it became available at the basic level in ArcGIS.


What are your favorite applications or projects that use ArcGIS Pro and Python?

Julia SetI worked in the areas of the geometric properties of roads, permafrost modeling, some biomedical stuff like rabbit bladder dynamics (a cross-over between CT scans and raster analysis over time). The Center of the Ottawa project was fun.


Beyond the usual, I like working with NumPy and the ArcGIS Spatial Analyst extension.  I like ‘art’ and the purity of being able to represent things numeric in a visual form. Mandelbrot and Julia Sets are two examples (pictured). There are also areas that I have only dabbled in, like terrain simulation algorithms.


  NumPy is a programming language for scientific computing and processing of multidimensional array objects.


How has GeoNet played a role in your career or made an impact with members? 

Students always could get a hold of me at any time. I constantly get reminded by students that they were looking up solutions on GeoNet and came across my name and it reminded them of class. Many students going back decades still keep in touch professionally and personally.  I do love it when I get a big thanks from a person on GeoNet in my e-mail.  It usually comes with a more elaborate explanation of their problem and how the seemingly innocuous question I answered fit into a bigger picture.


How do you think other GeoNet members should contribute to the community?

Contribute your expertise on the fundamentals: Math, cartography, programming/scripting. If you can’t do it yourself, then line up the resources in terms of people or tools that will get the job done for you. Remember when you were a newbie? Now you might be the expert. People are strapped for time, but so what? Everyone is. If you see a question you can answer, spend 5 minutes on it. Also, don’t map boring stuff.



While Dan settles into his retirement plans of gardening and spending time with family, he has ideas to venture into Esri CityEngine but mainly will concentrate on writing more blogs. Writing blogs is a slight change from his original plan to write books. "I gave up on the notion of books. Even though I have a few on the go, I know I will never finish them. Besides, what interests me in education and educating is what I don't know."


For more from Dan, follow him on GeoNet to learn about his latest explorations with GIS. 



Dan Patterson

Extreme Closeup: Dan’s “5 Favs”

 Map Icon

What’s your favorite map, and why?

Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and all those inspired from them. I was impressed that Tolkien saw the maps as an integral part of his work. There is some good work done here by Robert Rose.


What’s your favorite place in the world?

I actually don't have one. I am not really a 'where' person, but a 'what' person. My 'travels' have been through the stories told by my students, who have come from, or traveled to all the continents.


What's your favorite thing to listen to while you’re working?

Sometimes radio news, but when I'm on the road, it’s tunes by Little Feat or Ry Cooder.

Desk Lamp

Favorite item on your desk?

Family pictures. They ground me and remind me that I really shouldn't be at my desk working .


What’s your favorite office snack?

Costco mini dark chocolates.  You could buy them by the bag. I had them in my office for students for years. They were there for the grazing, and I, of course, did quality control testing to ensure that they were still fresh.  Occasionally I got pressured to buy the milk chocolate kind, but the dark chocolates are healthier (I think).


New to GeoNet? Learn more and join the Community today!



City of Philadelphia ArcGIS Pro Map and 3D Rendering with Magnifying GlassRachel Weeden shared how Amory Hillengas, a GIS Analyst for the City of Philadelphia, used ArcGIS Pro, Network Analyst, ArcGIS StoryMaps, and Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS to analyze local food access. One of the standout features of this use case is the application of 3D rendering of the neighborhood food retail landscape in the city. Learn more about the work behind this project and the decision-making to build this analysis with GIS. Read:  Philadelphia Department of Public Health Analyzes Food Access with ArcGIS.




Highlight: Have you seen the See What Others Can’t Campaign? Let us know your thoughts.


Defense and Intelligence PlaceIf you are a part of the Defense and Intelligence industry, ask questions, or provide your latest insights on working with Esri products through blogs, discussions, or by answering questions to share your expertise of ArcGIS. In this place, you can reach professionals in Cyber Defensive Operations, National Security, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), and other related focuses.


3 Open Questions & Discussions

Bartłomiej Dolecki is asking how to fix inverted walls on the 3D models that were imported from a GBD file in CityEngine.

Li DongYang is trying to use ArcGIS Pro to model a scene. Can you help with this?

Garrick Garcia wants to know if he can use a geoprocessing tool in ArcMap to show color-coded traffic volume.


Take a few minutes to help a GeoNet member solve a problem today. See if you can answer these unanswered questions in the community.


3 Product and Service Updates:

For Educators, learn how to manage your updated Institution Agreement.

See how ArcGIS Hub is working to make downloads more resilient and reliable.

ArcGIS Pro and Python: Review this mini-guide for installing Spyder IDE.


Community Tip: Optimizing Content with Keyword Placement

Keep in mind the opportunity to be helpful to other users and GeoNet members who might have the same interests and questions you have. One way to do this is by utilizing keywords in your titles and content to help with discoverability.

Esri products, product features, programming languages, error codes, and universal terms to your industry or the geospatial industry are all examples of keywords that can be leveraged in your title and body of text to help people find your question or content.


Learn more about Optimizing Content with Keyword Placement.


Find the Top Trending content you are following, unanswered questions, and blogs by selecting My News located in the GeoNet navigation bar. Got an idea or suggestion for future weekly updates? Comment below or contact us at


Follow @EsriGeoNet on Twitter.



ArcGIS Monitor Excel Report for System Design

Noah Mayer shares a guide on using ArcGIS Monitor’s Excel Report feature to support System Design for your enterprise implementation of ArcGIS. ArcGIS Monitor is a tool that lets you view and manage your ArcGIS system status and usage.  


With the Excel Report in ArcGIS Monitoryou can configure a custom report to optimize your system design or use insights to help with migration from on-premises systems to a cloud platformRead: Using ArcGIS Monitor Excel Report in System Design.




Call for Esri User Conference 2020 Presentations extended to November 18, 2019: Learn more.


GIS Day PlaceNovember 13, 2019 is GIS DayIf you have an activity planned, check out the GIS Day place for a video introduction from Jack as he explains what GIS Day is for event planners that need a brief explainer at their event. The page also has a link to download posters and an active crowdsource story map of GIS Day activities happening around the world. 


3 Open Questions & Discussions

Carl Nettleton is asking how to set a default value in a binary field in Survey123.

Stacy Shutts wants to know if it’s necessary to have both ArcGIS Online and ArcMap to reduce costs.

Joe Borgione is looking for GPS logger apps for iPhone. Do you have any recommendations?

Take a few minutes to help a 
GeoNet member solve a problem today.
 See if you can answer these unanswered questions in the community. 


6 Product and Service Updates

ArcGIS API for Python v1.7.0 is now available.

Esri Training announced a free training: "Get Started with ArcGIS QuickCapture" on November 14 witDanielle Hopkins and Ismael Chivite.

Survey123 for ArcGIS announced the Paper Airplane Day release.

My Esri has updates for licensing and customer service features.

ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Qt now has Augmented Reality Support.

Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS has an announcement for the Developer Edition 2.14.


Community Tip: Creating A Discussion

Let’s say you have a question that could have multiple answers and perspectives, and you want to get a sense of the Esri Community’s thoughts on your topic.  This may be a great opportunity to start a discussion. Learn more about the format and the best way to use the discussion tool in Creating Discussions 


Find the Top Trending content you are following, unanswered questions, and blogs by selecting My Newslocated in the GeoNet navigation bar. Got an idea or suggestion for future weekly updates? Comment below or contact us at


Follow @EsriGeoNet on Twitter. 


ArcGIS Urban
Lisa Staehli answered some frequently asked questions about ArcGIS Urban  that have been asked over time, along with some insights on future updates in the 1.1 release.  See the answers to questions such as ”How do ArcGIS Pro and Urban work together?” and ”What type of data does Urban generate?” Read: ArcGIS Urban FAQs. 







Highlight: See What Others Can’t Campaign Launch: Learn about the campaign to bring awareness to your work in location technology and download free images for social media and more.  


AppStudio for ArcGIS

AppStudio for ArcGIS is buzzing with questions and content for users that are making apps like the Allegheny County Park Trails App and other custom location-based experiences. Check out blogs from the team for product announcements such as the Nearby Sample App blog that allows you to build an app using the discovery of nearby places. What are you building with AppStudio? Share your story in the AppStudio for ArcGIS to showcase your work. 


3 Open Questions & Discussions

Roberta Donaldson needs help with creating an SQL expression to append new data with Model Builder.   

Alyssa Soucy is looking for a way to perform batch interpolation in ArcGIS from an Excel file.  

Garrett Seay shared his workflow for selecting all assets associated with a project in Utility Network and is curious about how you do it.


Take a few minutes to help a GeoNet member solve a problem today. See if you can answer these unanswered questions in the community. 


2 Product and Service Updates:

ArcGIS API for Python Version 1.7.0 release announcement has notes on what’s new and what’s fixed. 

For Mac Users: CityEngine 2019.1 is not supported on OS Catalina. Learn more.  


Community Tip: Selecting Mark Correct vs. Helpful on Responses to Questions

It’s a win when you get an answer from the community to your questionHelp others find your question and answer by returning to mark a response correct or by identifying if a response was helpful. Here’s how to decide which one to choose:   

 Mark Correct

Choose a response to Mark Correct after you have tested the response that answered your question.  

 Mark Helpful

If a response didn’t quite answer your question, but it was helpful to your issue, you can mark a response to your question as “Helpful.”   



Find the Top Trending content you are following, unanswered questions, and blogs by selecting My News located in the GeoNet navigation bar. Got an idea or suggestion for future weekly updates? Comment below or contact us at 


Follow @EsriGeoNet on Twitter.