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Supporting Cast

Posted by NSager-esristaff Employee Jun 26, 2013
Before I came to Esri, my mental image of technical support was of a few brainy analysts hunkered down in front of bright monitors on top of cluttered desks, strewn with cables and soda cans, happily clicking away down dark corridors in dimly lit offices. I imagined this was a department of autonomous people who knew everything, and the only limiting reagent to helping clients was the amount of time required to explain, and then implement the solution. This is much the same way I view car mechanics; when I have a problem, just describing the funny noises my car makes should suffice for them to diagnose and get started on the repairs. Turns out, I’m wrong.


I started at Esri a few weeks ago. With the right technical baseline, they told me they can train anyone who has the curiosity and communication skills to make a good Support Analyst. I was assigned a mentor, a manager, a technical manager, and a few other people who would fill out the supporting cast. Their objectives were to get me used to the company culture and show me where to go for help. Collaboration is a huge part of Support culture, and no analyst is an island. I was not expected to know everything, but I was expected to be able to handle anything. Soon, I will begin as an active Support Analyst.

The cast of analysts I am joining in Support is one of the most diverse groups of people I have ever encountered in my professional life. They run the gamete in almost every possible category. Yet, even with so many differences, what unifies people here is an almost palpable sense of curiosity. You can feel it when you walk around the offices. The amount of knowledge people have here is staggering, but what people don’t know -- what people have to research and learn and test and then translate into digestible words and instructions to help a user along their way -- is truly astonishing. It would be impossible for any one analyst to know everything about every product and service that Esri supports, so what makes for a good Support analyst is the curiosity to want to learn, and the ability to help others understand.

My mentor, John, is a perfect example. He started working in Support on the Desktop team before moving over to SDK because he was fascinated by programming. With that strong desire to learn and to grow as an analyst, he quickly became a top-notch SDK Support Analyst and genuinely enjoys his work. Now he mentors new analysts in addition to his normal duties, his passion and curiosity make him a natural teacher. This is what motivates people like John, like the people found in Support. We do not offer pre-packaged answers to the infinite variety of potential issues our users face, but rather treat every user issue as a new opportunity to gain and to share knowledge. The Support Analyst has a fierce intellect combined with an insatiable appetite to learn and to help.

This is not meant as a commercial or advertisement, but I am a new analyst in training and interacting with dozens of people every day who are interested in the company and the products we support. Perhaps I come from a world where my professional interests were shared by a small minority of people, so I feel a little starry-eyed. Now, I find myself in Support, happily clicking away along breezy corridors in brightly lit offices, surrounded by a curious cast of characters, like me.Noah S. - SDK Support Analyst
Raster datasets have a large assortment of information beyond the basic pixel display. This information is stored in the properties and is helpful in understanding more about the data. Locating the properties of a raster dataset can be a tedious process if you are trying to compile information for a lot of datasets. This is because the workflow to find the properties of a raster dataset in the Catalog is to right click on each dataset and choose Properties > General tab.


For example, you are working on a project that requires an elevation image service to be created.  The image service foundation is a mosaic dataset that references source rasters for each county in the state.  You create the mosaic dataset, add the rasters, build the overviews, and add it to the map document.  The mosaic dataset looks great until you begin zooming into the source data.  In one spot you find that the elevation appears very dark instead of a consistent grayscale.ElevationDark.jpg

After investigating the source raster you find that the dataset is an 4-bit integer instead of the normal 32-bit float.  This makes you wonder if there are other datasets that were created incorrectly.  To find those datasets you can either zoom into small scale areas across the entire state, or you can open the properties for each individual raster.  Either way the process would be very time consuming as each raster would need to be reviewed individually.

Another option is to access the raster properties through a Python loop.  This process presents a more efficient and simplified solution.  The information can be queried through the python Raster object and the Get Raster Properties geoprocessing tool.

import arcpy
arcpy.env.workspace = r"C:\temp"

rasterList = arcpy.ListRasters()

for raster in rasterList:
    rasterObj = arcpy.Raster(raster)
    print raster

    bands = arcpy.GetRasterProperties_management(raster, "BandCount")
    print "Band count: %s" %bands

    noData = rasterObj.noDataValue
    print "NoData Value: %s \n" %noData

The returned values can be written to a table to easily identify which datasets are incorrect.RasterPropertiesTable-1024x279.jpg

Additional Resources

A Python script tool example of getting the raster properties can be download from Write Raster Properties to Table.Timothy H. – Senior Support Analyst
esrilogo-resize1.jpgEsri is committed to providing the best possible support for our products.

Thus, we find it necessary to periodically deprecate specific functionalities and platforms (operating systems, databases, development environments, hardware, etc.) to continue delivering optimal support to our users. These changes are made at each release of ArcGIS, based on customer needs and the trends in technology and market.

So, what has Esri planned for ArcGIS 10.2? Here are some of the major changes being made to the software:

  • ArcGIS 10.2 will be the last major release with support for Microsoft Windows 2003/2003 R2 in ArcGIS for Desktop, ArcGIS Engine, and ArcReader.
  • ArcGIS Runtime 10.2 will be the last major release with support for Windows XP and Windows Vista.
  • ArcGIS 10.2 for Server will be the last major release with support for Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows 2003/2003 R2 in ArcGIS for Server and ArcGIS Web Adaptor.
  • ArcGIS 10.2 will be the last major release to include the ArcSDE command line tools and the ArcSDE application server.
  • ArcGIS 10.2 will be the last planned release of the ArcGIS License Manager on the Solaris operating system.

For more information, do refer to the Deprecation Plan for ArcGIS 10.1 and ArcGIS 10.2, where the contents are categorized according to product type. The plan is also available for download from Esri Knowledge Base Article 41175.

Please review and familiarize yourself with this information, and if you have any questions, please contact us at Support Services. For those attending the Esri International User Conference , we also have technical workshops on using the new ArcGIS 10.2 features and "road ahead" sessions outlining new functionality coming in future releases.


Sharmila R. - Online Support Services

Esri Developer Network (EDN) licenses, Site License Agreements (SLAs), educational site licenses, and other license agreements require that the license files for ArcGIS for Server and ArcSDE enterprise geodatabases be updated upon or prior to expiration for continued use. In previous versions of ArcSDE, the Authorization section of the ArcSDE Post Installation Wizard performed the task of updating the license information for the geodatabase. Because there is no Post Installation Wizard for ArcSDE at version 10.1, this process has changed.

Below are the two methods for updating the ArcSDE enterprise geodatabase license for your organization – either before or after it has expired.

Update enterprise geodatabase license before it expires

To update the geodatabase license before it expires, you can apply a manual approach using the ArcSDE command line tools. The sdesetup –o update_key is a command line tool that can be used to update the license prior to expiration. You may be familiar with this tool if the license file was ever updated manually in previous versions. Keep in mind that many of the ArcSDE command line tools are being migrated into user interface tools and this process may change in future releases.
  • If ArcGIS for Server was previously authorized with the new license, simply reference the keycodes file using the sdesetup –o update_key command.
  • If you have not authorized ArcGIS for Server with the new ECP license number, please use the following steps:

1.    Obtain a valid ECP registration number from the Customer Care Portal.

2.   Use the Authorization portion of the ArcGIS Server Post Installation Wizard. This creates or updates the keycodes file with the new license information.

3.   Use the sdesetup –o update_key command, referencing the updated keycodes file. The keycodes files can be found in the directory similar to the following: C:\Program Files\ESRI\License\sysgen

Please see the ArcSDE Administration Commands reference that is included with the installation for specifics on this command. The sdesetup command line tools must be installed from the Customer Care Portal for your specific database type.

NOTE: These specific sdesetup commands are not included with the general ArcSDE command line tool install as they are specific to each RDBMS. See KB39857 - FAQ: Where are the ArcSDE administration commands at 10.1?

Below is an example of using the keycodes file with the sdesetup –o update_key command.sdesetup.png

Update enterprise geodatabase license after expiration

At version 10.1 a new prompt displays when an administrative user makes a database connection to a geodatabase that has an expired license. This prompt is the Update ArcGIS Server License dialog box. It accepts physical ECP files or the keycodes file from your ArcGIS Server installation.update_arcgis_license-300x130.pngIMPORTANT: Currently you will need to add a file extension onto the end of the keycodes file (.txt or .ecp).There is a bug logged for this:

NIM089984 - Update ArcGIS Server License tool for expired ArcSDE geodatabases does not accept keycodes file as valid input to update the geodatabase license.

Also, keep in mind if you are not the administrative user you will receive an error message to contact your geodatabase administrator to make the database connection and update the license for the geodatabase:not_admin-300x118.png


    • It is currently not possible to run the Update ArcGIS Server License tool if the license for the geodatabase is still valid.
    • At version 10.1 the sdesetup –o update_key option works to update the license for the enterprise geodatabase (–o install and –o upgrade options no longer work at this release).
    • At version 10.1 the command line tools still accept the full direct connect syntax for the –i parameter (e.g. sde:sqlserver:instance).
    • The Esri Customer Care Portal provides access to ECPXXXX registration numbers but not the physical authorization files (.ecp). It is recommended to use keycodes files when authorizing ArcSDE geodatabases.
    • Keycodes files can be found in the following directory: C:\Program Files\ESRI\License\sysgen
    • It is always recommended to use the keycodes file when possible. In the case of needing a physical .ecp file, use the Customer Care form: ArcSDE 10 Authorization Form(works for both versions 10.0 and 10.1).

Additional References:

How To: Update an Educational Site License or EDN license in an enterprise geodatabaseHow To: Update an Educational Site License or EDN license in a workgroup geodatabaseFAQ: Where are the ArcSDE administration commands at 10.1?How to get an authorization file or keycodes file for the new Create Enterprise Geodatabase tool at 10.1Melissa J. - Geodata Support Analyst

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