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All Places > Esri Technical Support > Blog > 2014 > March
DCarroll-geotrigger-300x296.pngWe are pleased to announce support for Esri’s new Geotrigger Service and have a great team ready to help developers push out useful information to people based on their locations. With more ease than ever, messages can be pushed out to mobile devices without ever clicking a button. If you are a mobile developer, do consider getting behind Esri's Geotrigger Service release, which includes the Geotrigger SDK for Android and Geotrigger SDK for iOS.

In readying our staff, we tested a new interactive training method. We blended the new dojo-style lessons coming out of Esri Training with a series of mini internal hackathons. The conditions were: make something, think together, work as a team, and basically code 'til your fingers hurt. The goal was simple - ready ourselves to help developers incorporate Geotrigger events in their apps.

Learning Day 1

Five support team members gathered around comfortable chairs brainstorming an application idea. The application we decided upon through consensus was a self-guided tour application of the Esri campus. Since time was of the essence (18 hours to deliver something), we eliminated doing Disney and other major theme parks to keep things simple. The rest of the day involved provisioning our development environments (getting the required iOS and Android pieces in place) and reading the Esri Geotrigger Service Guide.

Learning Day 2

Andrew W. scanned social media from our Geotrigger Service developer team. He read through the PDX blog, Twitter feeds from @EsriPDX, and anything he could find on GitHub to give the team a boost. Andrew focused on Android and trained using Eclipse and Android Studio.Noah S. also skimmed the feeds while reading Apple's help documentation on how to provision a profile to use push notifications. For Noah and I, the goal of the iOS app was to keep things simple. Initialize Geotrigger events in the main class implementing Application Delegate. Open a splash screen which implemented UIViewController and then segue into a UIWebView containing a Web Map of our campus. Essentially, while looking at the campus map, we wanted app users to receive informative messages about where they were on campus.Jason H. was our Esri’s Learning Center coach on Day 2. Jason has been instrumental in getting dojo training techniques off the ground. His central role (alongside doing his share of the coding) was to make sure everyone collaborated. Essentially, with five SDK developers training together, only two machines were used to build the self-guided tour app. Paired together, working together, working in teams - we talked out loud, scribbled across the white board, unraveled challenges, spoke code, pecked on the same keyboard and provided an endless stream of encouragement - even when times got tough.

Learning Day 3

Learning Day 3 led to many breakthroughs involving the core fundamentals. Major concepts like Tags, Triggers and Devices had set in. Conditions like ‘leave’ and ‘enter’ and tracking profiles like ‘fine’, ‘adaptive’ and ‘rough’ became a part of our vocabulary. We also had time to experiment with non-geographic messaging (possible via ArcGIS Online) and sent this message by Benjamin Franklin which inspired our training event.
"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn."

We also spent a significant amount of time annotating the steps we took on Day 3. The list of challenges we encountered became the official training topics used in follow-up Geotrigger Service trainings. Best of all, we completed what we set out to do and finished our self-guided tour of Esri's campus.

In summary, everyone in Support and Development are excited about this release. We have a great team ready to support any questions people may have regarding the Geotrigger Service and their supporting SDKs, and we want to make every ArcGIS developer successful. In addition, our project-based learning approach is something we are going to continue to refine in Support Services. If anyone has similar training methodologies in their workplace or is ever interested in attending an Esri-sponsored hackathon or Meetup, let us know!
Doug C. - Advocacy Lead
I have some great news: you don't have to be a programmer to write code! Thanks to languages like Python, coding is now available to the masses, and the GIS world is one of its newest audiences. The ArcPy site package provides access to the geoprocessing tools found in ArcGIS for Desktop. Using it can be a challenge if you are unfamiliar with Python, but with some basic knowledge, you can start using it to make your ArcGIS work flows faster and easier.

This post is broken up into sections based on different learning styles. You can choose to read, watch, or code your way into the world of Python, and each section will empower you with the knowledge for getting started with ArcPy. Here are some recommended resources I’ve used for teaching myself Python and ArcPy.

Learn by Reading

1. Learn Python the Hard Way (LPTHW)

Don't be scared by the title – Learn Python the Hard Way (LPTHW) is probably the most popular online tutorial for learning Python. In fact, many “Pythonistas” at Esri started learning Python with this website! This exercise-oriented guide reinforces its teachings through repetition and practical usage of basic Python functionality, even if you have no prior experience. I recommend completing the first 32 exercises to equip yourself with the knowledge you need.

2. Think Python: How to Think Like a Computer Scientist

I recommend this site for those users who are used to a more “textbook” approach to learning. The book is produced by O’Reilly and is now free to the public. The approach is different than LPTHW, and some people may find it to be less fun to learn from, but it’s packed with useful information. The chapters up to, and including, “Files”, will be the most useful for ArcPy users, but reading subsequent chapters will help you understand a little bit about what’s going on “under the hood” in a Python module such as ArcPy.

Learn by Watching

3. The New Boston

The videos in this series are perfect for their format. They are concise (each video runs about five minutes), thorough, and show practical coding examples that you can follow along with or practice on your own. In the first 31 videos, this series covers just about all of the concepts you will need for getting started.

4. Khan Academy

Khan Academy has made free education available to everyone for a variety of topics, and their Python course was one of the first “classes” offered. The curriculum is similar to what you can expect from a Computer Science class, so it may seem a little challenging at first. However, if you stick with it, you'll be thinking like a programmer.

Learn by Doing

5. Code Academy

This is an interactive Python course that teaches the basic concepts of Python by having you complete coding exercises. All the work is done online –you don't even need Python installed on your computer to complete it! The site prompts you to complete small lessons and challenges, and is great for those users who don't always have a consistent amount of time to contribute to studying. I would recommend completing the first 15 lessons if you want to understand more about Python.

Learn ArcPy

6. Esri Python Training

Esri's training site is the best way to see Python in action, apply it to ArcPy and GIS workflows, and hear some great questions from users like you and I. The courses are designed for users with any level of experience with Python and ArcPy, so you'll come back to this site time and again to learn new tricks or brush up on your skillset.

7. Python Scripting for ArcGIS

This is one of the only educational textbooks out there for learning the basics of ArcPy, and it helped me a lot when I started using ArcPy for the first time. The first four chapters are devoted to learning the ins-and-outs of basic Python functionality, and the rest of the book focuses on specific scripts. You'll get a cohesive and complete introduction to ArcPy as you work your way through this book.

In addition, this Support Services Blog post talks about learning ArcPy, and very nicely outlines all the resources that are out there. Once you've finished reading my blog entry, you can concentrate on the one above!Andrew O. – Desktop Support Analyst
esrilogo-resize1.jpgIf you are a customer with an Oracle geodatabase and are planning to upgrade your enterprise geodatabase to ArcGIS 10.2.1, please read the following technical article before you upgrade, as some issues exist that directly impact the upgrading process. If you have any further questions or problems not cited in the technical article, please contact Esri Technical Support.
John B. - Product Management

Registering data folders and databases with ArcGIS for Server is a new functionality in version 10.1. The purpose of registering data is to ensure your data is accessible to ArcGIS for Server or if it must be copied to the Server. When registering an enterprise database, we have the option of registering it as ArcGIS Server's Managed Database.

If you want to copy the data over from its primary location, and your service type (a feature or web feature (WFS) service) needs an enterprise geodatabase, you will need to register an enterprise geodatabase as managed.Managed_Database_Scenario.jpgA managed geodatabase is suggested if...
  • Publishers do not have access to an enterprise geodatabase and need to host feature services or transaction-enabled WFS services from filed-based data
  • Users will only work with data through a feature or WFS service
  • Your ArcGIS Server site is running in a cloud environment
A managed geodatabase is not suggested if…
  • If you want to publish a service type other than a feature or WFS-T service
  • If your data already resides in an enterprise geodatabase
  • If you want to publish database tables accessed through an OLE DB connection file (.odc)
  • If you want to synchronize changes between the publisher's machine and ArcGIS Server's Managed Database
Additional Resources

The documentation link below provides an example of good scenarios for when to use the managed database option with ArcGIS for Server.
Carrie D. - Support Services Analyst
Using Model Builder? Looking for some quick troubleshooting tips? Try these in the order they're listed below. You can use these to document the steps you take, and if a tech support call becomes necessary, you'll have a better understanding of what may or may not be causing the problem.1. Isolate the Geoprocessing tool you believe to be causing the error.
  • Run the stand-alone tool outside the model. Does it work with the same inputs and outputs?model-300x165.png

2. Isolate a section of the model that is causing the error.
  • Create a new model and rebuild the troublesome section to determine if isolating a string of processes helps clarify the issue being faced.

3. Validate!
  • Make sure to validate your model before running to ensure the processes are in a ‘ready-to-run’ state.


4. Recreate your model.

  • It is possible for an element of your model to become corrupt over time. The best practice for testing a corrupt element is to delete it completely, and add it back in. Do not copy or paste elements between models, as this can carry over the corruption.

5. Alter the output location and type of your results.

  • You may be experiencing a data type or data storage location conflict. Make sure to test this by saving the output to your local machine if the outputs are failing over a network.

6. Check the data inputs of the model to make sure you are connecting to the data source on disk.
  • During the creation of your model in ArcMap, you can click the input drop-down to select an active map layer. These inputs only work if you run the model in an open map document with the associated layers added to the map. If you intend to run the model via ArcCatalog, you will need to update these data source paths to the location on disk where the data is saved.

7. Be aware of the input and output parameters.
  • When creating a model, be sure to label the model parameters. This will be reflected in the tool dialog and allow a clear understanding of what variables are required.

8. For larger, more complicated models, check your outputs using the Make Feature Layer tool.model6-300x170.png
  • You can check the progress of each successful output by adding the tool after each output.

9. Test with ‘Add results to display’.
  • If you right-click any output, you can check 'Add results to display'. This adds the table, feature, or results of your model to the Table of Contents of the open map document, allowing you to review the results.

10. Review the details of the Model window after running.
  • Use this tool to better understand where the model failed, and to learn more about a documented error in ArcMap (highlighted in blue).


Matt P. and Julia G. - Desktop Support Analysts 

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