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Good day, folks! My name is Khalid, and I am a member of the Geodata Raster Unit at ESRI Support Services. This post is the first of a series that examines basic concepts revolving around raster data. Gaining familiarity with the terminology associated with a new subject matter is arguably the most challenging hurdle in mastering any new content: a notion that is not lost on GIS professionals inaugurating themselves into the world of imagery, scanned documents, and other manifestations of raster data. The hodgepodge of formats and properties intrinsic to rasters may cause confusion with understanding the processes needed for preparing the data so that it may be properly utilized in a GIS application. With this in mind, we will explore some of the more common topics associated with raster data by taking a look at georeferencing: what it is and when it is needed.


Before we get into georeferencing, it is important to develop an understanding of raster data, so please take the time to review the linked article. In short, if you have a scanned paper map, it is a raster. If you have an aerial photograph, it is a raster. If you took a picture from your digital camera, it is a raster. A raster can come in many formats; this list summarizes the formats supported by ArcGIS Desktop. The proper geographical placement of the raster, as with any other spatial data, is critically important for use in a GIS application. The idea of georeferencing a raster is done to ensure that the data essentially falls in the right place on the map. When it comes to rasters, satisfying this requirement involves evaluating a series of questions noted in this article on gathering raster data information:

    • Where did the raster come from?

    • Was there any special processing used to create the raster?

  • What has been done to it?


Understanding where the raster came from and what has been done to it plays a large part in determining whether the raster needs to be georeferenced. For example, a paper map that you might have scanned a few moments ago will certainly need to be georeferenced, whereas a DEM downloaded from the USGS Web site will not. If you are unsure about the details of the raster and whether it may or may not need georeferencing, examine its extent values and determine whether they appear to reflect real world coordinates in a projected or geographic coordinate system. If the data's extent appears to use real-world coordinates, review this article on identifying an unknown coordinate system. Hint: Projected coordinates typically have a minimum of 4 units for each extent, whereas geographic coordinates have 2 units for the top/bottom and up to 3 units for left/right. Also, be sure to check out the "Georeferencing a raster dataset" Web help article; it provides detailed information on this topic and has a neat video demonstrating the process.

- Khalid D., Support Analyst, Geodata Raster Unit, ESRI Support Services


As the Software Turns

Posted by geonetadmin Oct 23, 2009
sun dial embossed with time flies


As I’m sure you’re aware, there have been many versions of ArcGIS software released through the years, and again, as you’re probably already aware, support for each version depreciates with each release and over time. The entire process is outlined in a PDF document entitled Product Life Cycle Support Policy.

So, besides the point on how long phone/email-based support will be offered, other interesting points that you may not be aware of are brought to light within this document:

    • Products that are in general availability, such as version 9.3.1 products, offer technical support, patches, and new operating system certification. For example, Mike H. announced Windows 7 support for specific 9.3.1 software.

    • Products in extended support will not be certified on new operating systems. For example, version 9.2 will not be certified on the upcoming release of Windows 7.

    • Products in mature support will not have service packs or patches created for them. For example, version 9.1 won’t see another service pack release.

  • Products that enter the retired phase will not have technical support available. Because of this, it is strongly recommended that you start considering and contact ESRI Support Services for help or assistance with a migration plan to a later release (need permitting).


You can find the gateway for each individual product here: Product Life Cycles Overview.


Speaking of the product life cycle, we’re coming up on the 10th anniversary of ArcGIS Desktop 8.0.1 release! Where were you in December of 1999? Or better yet, how many of you used version 8.0.1??

 Kevin H-Kevin H., ArcGIS Server Group Lead, ESRI Support Services


The Tortoise and the Hare

Posted by geonetadmin Oct 16, 2009


We’ve all been there. It’s Monday morning and squinting through the haze of the past weekend, you boot up your computer and double-click the ArcMap icon, so you can finish up Joe Somebody’s latest über urgent request: something involving lots of acronyms and possibly underground electrical lines. As the familiar blue and white splash-screen pops up, you head out to get the first of several cups of what you were told was coffee. Trudging back to your desk, you see the same splash-screen that was there when you left. So you sit…and wait…and wait…eyes glazing over. You’re jolted from your semi-comatose state by the sound of your neighbor already starting his work. As the tears of frustration start to well, you mumble to yourself, “15 seconds…It took him only 15 seconds to start ArcMap. We have the same computer...”.


Hey everyone, I’m Todd, one of the Desktop Analysts here in the Eastern Support Unit. We here in Support Services see this kind of thing all too often: ArcMap running side-by-side on two computers that, to the best of the owner’s knowledge, appear to have the same configurations. One computer opens MXDs and performs various geoprocessing tasks like clockwork, but the other, using the same data, spits out errors, hangs, and/or eventually crashes. There are some obvious red flags to check for first, such as corrupt normal templates, user profiles, and registry keys, but what happens when the issue is not so apparent? A powerful, easy to use tool to help us debug these types of situations is PC audit and reporting software. There are numerous free PC audit and reporting products available, such as PC Discovery Audit, Look in my PC, etc. ESRI does not endorse any of these products, but one of the more popular tools that analysts have reported success with is Belarc Advisor. PC audit and reporting software creates a very detailed configuration profile of the problem computer and includes such information as installed software and hardware, CIS (Center for Internet Security) benchmarks, anti-virus status, and missing Microsoft hotfixes. This profile is saved as a local HTML file on the user’s computer, which can be emailed to ESRI for further analysis.

By comparing the profile of the problem computer against a second profile generated for a working computer, underlying issues due to slight differences in configurations, network connections, memory allocations, and software installations can be pinpointed much more efficiently, thereby getting the problem solved quicker.

-Todd S., Senior Support Analyst - Desktop Group, ESRI Support Services, Charlotte, NC



Hi there! This is Randall with the Server Usage and Implementation groups at ESRI’s Eastern Support Services.


We often hear concerns from customers regarding difficulties working with the ArcGIS Desktop licensing requirements. Specifically, a lot of customers still use the parallel or USB style hardware lock, which prior to ArcGIS Desktop 9.3 was required when using the license manager. There are a number of use cases where reliance on a physical hardware key is not just annoying, but is also not practical.


Not only does the hardware dongle take up a USB port, but it’s also cumbersome, as it sticks out of the machine in unwieldy positions. Occasionally, customers would break their hardware keys because of an unfortunate blow to the back or side of a laptop, lose the hardware key, or even damage the USB port that the key was plugged into. Sometimes, customers have even reported that the hardware key stopped functioning all together, which causes production stoppages as customers wait for new licensing materials to be delivered.


In other cases, an organization’s IT staff may undertake measures to reduce the cost of ownership of enterprise servers and take steps to virtualize as many machines as possible. In that case, customers previously needed to rely on third party solutions to ‘map’ a physical hardware key to the license manager service on a physical machine, which is not an ideal or stable solution at all.


To alleviate these types of issues, starting at ArcGIS Desktop 9.3, ESRI has released a ‘keyless’ license manager that binds to the network adapter’s MAC address, instead of a hardware lock. The keyless license manager, which is available for download and is also shipped with ArcGIS Desktop version 9.3.1, helps to overcome limitations stemming from the previous physical hardware key requirement of concurrent use and ArcInfo-level software licensing.


Moving to the new keyless license manager is simple. Visit the ESRI Customer Support Site and follow the instructions to request a new keyless license file. Once you receive your new license file via email, download and install the keyless license manager. As always, if you run into trouble along the way, ESRI Support Services is always available to assist you.

-Randall W., Server Usage and Implementation groups, ESRI Eastern Support Services


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