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GeoRSS is a standard way of tagging an RSS feed so that applications can use embedded location information in each post. Using the GeoEvent Extension for ArcGIS Server, you can monitor a GeoRSS feed in real time and use it to update the applications and common operational pictures used by your colleagues. Should you encounter a secured GeoRSS feed that you would like to use, there is no standard connector that allows you to pass credentials. However, it is possible to configure a connector (without programming) that will allow you to access a GeoRSS service secured with basic HTTP authentication.

Secure feeds may be input from an Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system, tracking company assets, or any secure GeoRSS service provided by a third party that you wish to consume and track with the analytic and processing capabilities of the GeoEvent Extension for ArcGIS Server 10.3.

We are going to walk through the steps to configure a GeoRSS input connector that allows you to pass credentials to a secured GeoRSS feed. Let's start by making a copy of the existing RSS connector in the GeoEvent Manager.Please note that these connectors only work with GeoRSS feeds, not standard RSS feeds, and that some custom fields are not supported.

Once you are logged in to the GeoEvent Manager, click on Site > Connectors and search for “RSS”.ConnectorScreen-300x107.png

Let’s make a copy of the Receive RSS connector. Click the Copy button, and rename a few fields to ensure we don’t get mixed up later. I’ve highlighted the changes I’ve made (click the image to see the text), and if you’re following along, I recommend making these changes to simplify your use of the secure RSS connector we’re creating.CopyScreen-283x300.png

Next, we’ll configure the properties to match the original RSS feed’s properties, but since we are using basic authentication, we now have the option for a Username and Password. Let’s move the properties around a bit, hiding a few that we won’t use, and allowing for the option of configuring some more advanced ones in an organized way. Your properties should look like this when you’re done:FinishedProperties-300x156.png

Now we are going to overwrite a few of the default settings in these properties to include the defaults necessary to support an RSS feed. First we’ll deal with the Shown Properties section, because we only have to update one of these properties: the Frequency (in Seconds).

Click on Frequency (in seconds) and select the Edit button on the left-hand side of the Shown Properties box. Check the box for Overwrite Default Value, ensure the Default Value is set to 10, and click Save.Frequency-300x193.png

Now we’ll move on to the Advanced Properties section.

The Acceptable MIME Types, for both Server and Client Mode, will be modified the same way. Edit both properties with the Edit button closest to the Advanced Properties box, check the Overwrite Default Value box, and copy and paste the following text from the original RSS connector into the default value.


It should look like this:MIMEtypes-300x186.png

Got them both done? You’re sure? These are really important. Double-check them both.  Great. We’re almost done.

Edit the HTTP Method property. Overwrite the default value, and ensure that it is set to “Get”.HTTPMethod-300x179.png

Next, update the property definition for the Receive New Data Only property, check the overwrite box, and make sure that this is set to “True”.ReceiveNewDataOnly-300x187.png
Moving on (and on…) to the Mode property, let's overwrite its default value and ensure it is set to “Client”.Mode-300x204.pngOverwrite the default value for Use URL Proxy and set the default value to False.UseURLproxy-300x178.pngDo the same for HTTP Timeout (in seconds), and set the default value to 30.HTTPtimeout-300x195.png
We’re finally done configuring the Advanced Properties section, and lucky for us, none of the Hidden Properties need to be modified. Press the Save button in the upper right-hand corner.FinalPage-290x300.png

Now we can add a new Input using the Receive RSS (Basic Authentication) input connector we just created. Configure it with your login credentials and the GeoRSS feed URL.ConfigureInput-300x123.png
Once this is saved, you should see the count increase on the Monitor page by however many points are currently in your feed. This lets you know you have successfully logged in and started receiving input from the feed.InputMonitorPage-1024x160.png

This connector is now tested and ready to be used in your GeoEvents and projects. For more information about consuming GeoRSS feeds in the GeoEvent Extension, the GeoEvent team has written an excellent tutorial explaining what is and isn't supported in GeoRSS. The tutorial is available here.
Jerry C. - Server Support Analyst
Have you ever wanted to create an empty feature service to use in ArcGIS Online, and found yourself stuck with no easy way to get this done? If you’re asking why in the world anybody would want to do this, this blog may not be for you – but keep reading anyway, because you may find new ways to leverage your ArcGIS Online account!

There are cases where you are planning on going out and collecting data, maybe using the Collector app … the point is, you don’t have any existing features. However, you need to provide the structure and format that field staff, volunteers, or community members use to add data to the feature service.

Since you’re using ArcGIS Online, your natural instinct is to go to the documentation and search for “create empty feature service.” You find a section of documentation called Publish an empty hosted feature layer. Steps 1 and 2 go by quickly - no sweat. But then you get to Step 3 and you can't go forward. You find yourself saying things like, “I don’t have an existing feature layer that is right,” or “this template just doesn’t work at all for what I want to do. It’s going to take way too much time to get this to work. This should be easier. Sigh.”Pssst…  Here’s the secret. Every named user for an ArcGIS Online Organization account has access to Go to the website and sign in from the upper-right corner using your ArcGIS Online Organization username and password. Once signed in, you will see options to the left of your profile. Hover over the options until you see Hosted Data.

My Hosted Data section of

Once in Hosted Data, you will find the answer that you’ve been looking for: a super quick, super simple way to create an empty feature service. Clicking either 'Create a Feature Service' or 'New Feature Service' will launch the same wizard to guide you through the process.

Enter the service’s Title, Description, Geometry Type, and Tags. Also be sure to set the service’s Default Extent.

New Feature Service section of

In Step 2 of the wizard, add the Field Alias, Field Name, and Data Type for each field of the service. Fields can be marked as Required or left as optional.

Create Fields section of

Select the renderer for your new service. Renderers define the visual display of your data when you are using the ArcGIS SDKs as well as how the service will look when initially added to the map viewer. You can override your chosen renderer in the SDKs and map viewer at any time. View this service in the map viewer to configure a custom renderer.

Review and publish your service.

Review and Publish service section of

Your service has been published and is ready for data collection. Add it to ArcGIS Online and give it a spin!

Edit empty feature service from in ArcGIS Online

Kory K. - Desktop Analyst - Support Services
furtureNYC-300x248.jpgCityEngine is a great way to create entire cities of textured, 3D building models without designing every building. These models can be used in 3D scenes, animations, and game platforms. However, when exporting models made in CityEngine to third-party software, there are a number of considerations. This blog post reviews settings options in the Export wizard to help you render CityEngine models in third-party software.

When you select your models and open the Export wizard (File > Export Models), you must first choose a format. The formats available for exporting models from CityEngine 2015 to 3D modeling software are:
  • Keyhole Markup Language (KML)
  • CityEngine Web Scene (.3ws)
  • Collada DAE
  • Wavefront OBJ
  • Autodesk FBX
  • E-On Software Vue VOB
  • Pixar RenderMan RIB
  • Esri FileGDB

The format you select depends on what formats are supported by third-party software. Some software products partially support formats (e.g., the software supports geometry, but not textures), and others do not fully support texture (e.g., OBJ only allows for one texture layer).

Once you select a format, you must adjust several settings to ensure the models display correctly in third-party software. As these settings vary from format to format, I will cover the concepts involved, rather than specific settings for each format.
Export Geometry: There are two options for exporting the scene, as shapes (i.e., building footprint polygons) or as models (3D buildings). There is also an option to export the shape fallback, which exports the scene with 3D models but falls back to the polygon footprint if the model cannot be exported.Normals: Normals (vectors perpendicular to surfaces) are used in 3D modeling programs to determine surface appearance given a set light source. Normals can be calculated for either the faces or vertices of a model. Models with face normals appear more faceted, whereas models with vertex normals look smoother.UVs: UVs record where and how textures are applied to 3D objects. Without UVs, textures cannot be applied to 3D models. In CityEngine, UVs are created for each surface, and UV mapping for the entire model is not supported. This means there is a UV map and a texture for each surface in the model, rather than a single map and texture for the model. Additionally, multiple textures may be applied to a surface (e.g., a building may have both a brick texture and a dirt texture to seem weathered), so surfaces can also have multiple UV maps. OBJ files only support one UV per surface, so when exporting a CityEngine model to OBJ, only the first UV layer is included.Global Offset: Scenes in CityEngine have projections, so the coordinates of the models are usually very large. In contrast, most 3D modelling software is built around an origin at ‘0,0’ and does not have real-world coordinates. Clicking the center button calculates the center of the models and subtracts the center coordinates from the coordinates of the models, so when models are exported to other programs, the programs draw centered on ‘0,0’. However, if you bring models into an existing 3D scene, you may need to scale the models to the correct size and position.Textures and Materials: Textures are image files applied to a surface; materials are comprised of one or more textures and information about surface reflectivity. To maintain the applied textures from CityEngine in a different software, materials must be included in the model, and textures must be collected (i.e., copied to the same location as the model). Some model formats also allow you to embed textures, which copies the images to the actual model, rather than next to the model in the folder.

For more information about exporting models in CityEngine, check out the CityEngine documentationthis CityEngine Essential Skills video, the documentation of your third-party software, as well as the following Esri Knowledge based articles:FutureCityUnity.jpg
Rebecca R. - Desktop Support Analyst

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