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The ArcGIS 9.3.1 Service Pack 2 Desktop Layer Packaging Patch is now available for download from the ArcGIS Resource Center. The download URL is

This patch addresses an issue that prevented users from being able to unpack/open ArcGIS 10 Service Pack 1 (SP1) layer packages (*.lpk files) in ArcGIS 9.3.1. This patch is required for ArcGIS 9.3.1 users who want to consume layer packages created in ArcGIS Desktop 10 SP1. Without this patch, if you try to open a layer package that was created with ArcGIS 10.0 SP1, the following message is returned:

“The version of this package is not supported. You must install a newer ArcGIS Filehandler to read this package.”

For more details about the issues addressed with this patch, see the following link: Issues Addressed with this Patch.

Esri apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused you. If you have any issues installing the patch, please contact Esri Support Services.

- Chris F., User Advocacy Group - Esri Support Services


Where did my Skyline go?

Posted by geonetadmin Nov 24, 2010

The Skyline tool is a new tool for 3D Analysis in ArcGIS 10. Many of you may have seen this tool demo’d at the User Conference in July; don’t worry if you missed it though, the demo is still available. Watch the “ArcGIS is 3D Capable” (section 14) video available at the following link: (The portion of the video that is specific to the Skyline tool and model begins at the 6:13 mark.)

The Skyline tool will create a feature that displays a line or multipatch feature class containing the results from a skyline silhouette analysis. The output can be combined with the Skyline Barrier Tool to perform shadow analysis, flight path analysis or can be used to evaluate how the skyline view changes with prospective building construction.

I want to take a moment to point out that there is a line in the Web help documentation that many miss that needs to be emphasized. The line appears in the first paragraph and states, “the analysis is conducted from observer points above a functional or virtual surface.” For the tool to work effectively, the observer points must be above the surface used in the optional inputs or not contained by the multipatch features in the ‘input features’ dialog box. When the point is below or contained, the output is not created successfully, therefore resulting in an empty feature, and no one likes an empty skyline feature.

So, as a workaround, if you are trying to create points that will model a specific point, you need to adjust the elevation of the observer points to be above the surface, especially if you are interpolating the location of the observer. Once you have determined the elevation of the observer point, be sure that it is not the same elevation as the surface.

If you are unfamiliar with how to increase the elevation of the 3D points you have created and do not have the elevation in the attribute table, consider the following workflow.

  1. Use the Add XY Coordinates tool to generate the X, Y and Z coordinates for each point. (Yes, I know the name of the tool says XY, but if the point is 3D it also includes the Z coordinate.)
  2. Add a field (double or float to preserve the decimal).
  3. Right-click the field, and use the Field Calculator to add to the elevation value (ultimately, it does not matter what value you provide, it just has to be above the surface).
  4. Now use the Copy Features tool and under Environments > Z Values set ‘Output has Z Values’ to ‘disabled’ prior to running the tool to make the feature 2D.
  5. Use the Feature to 3D by Attribute tool and select the new field for the elevation to convert it back to 3D at the new elevation.

Now the new observer point should be able to create your skyline normally. So to recap, be sure your observer point is above your surface or not contained by your multipatch, or else your Skyline analysis will be empty and you will still be asking, “Where did my Skyline go?”

Please leave any comments in the comment section below this blog post. NOTE: You must be logged in to your Esri Global Account to leave comments.

Jeff Swain, Esri Support Analyst - Raster group, Esri Support Services

Esri logo

Starting at ArcGIS 10, ArcMap has Bing Maps built right in and the configuration of Bing Maps for ArcGIS Server is more straightforward.

For ArcGIS Desktop 10

Bing Maps are now built-in at ArcGIS Desktop 10. To access the Bing Map feature:

  1. Click on Add Data from the File menu bar and select Add Basemap.
  2. Add Basemap image

  3. Click on one of the BingMap features that you want to add and click the Add button.
  4. Add Basemap dialog box

    Below is an image of the result in ArcGIS Desktop:

    image of result in ArcGIS Desktop

For ArcGIS Server 10

ArcGIS Server version 10.0 comes with a Bing Maps Application Key. You can access the key using the following steps in Manager:

  1. Log in to Manager.
  2. On the left pane, click Services > Settings.
  3. Find the Bing Maps</B> Key section of the panel and click View Bing Maps Key.
  4. Enter the user name and password of an account that is an administrator on the Web server where Manager is installed and belongs to the agsadmin operating system group on the server object manager (SOM) machine.
  5. Copy the Bing Maps key into a program, such as Notepad, so that you can later use it when adding Bing Maps to your applications.
  6. Alternatively you can create a key using the Bing Maps Portal:

    1. In a Web browser, navigate to
    2. Create or use a Windows Live ID to log in.
    3. On the ‘Create and view Bing Maps keys’ page enter an application name and URL to create a key. Currently, the name and URL are not validated.
    4. Copy the key, which is available on the same page, and use it to set the ‘Token’ property or apply the token in the proxy class constructor and a Bing component in the ArcGIS Silverlight/WPF API. See the topic on Using Bing Imagery, Geocode, and Route services for more information.
    5. Run your application. It will function without requiring you to generate new tokens and update the Token property on a regular basis. As a result, you can remove any client or server logic to generate and apply Bing Maps tokens.

    Please leave any comments in the comment section below this blog post. NOTE: You must be logged in to your Esri Global Account to leave comments.

    - Phillip W., Implementation Support Analyst, Esri Support Services

 An interview with ArcGIS Desktop Support Analyst John G.

 Hello, this is Cassandra bringing you the first blog post in a new series called “Getting to Know Esri Support”, where each month, we’ll post a new interview of a different member of Esri Support Services. We hope you enjoy!

For our inaugural interview, we will spend some time with Esri Support Services ArcGIS Desktop Support Analyst John G., who has just completed his first year with us.

 Support Services Blog: Hi John, thanks for joining us.John G.: No problem, happy to be here.

 SSB: Awesome! So, to better understand the fundamentals of John G., what is your educational background and experience with GIS?John G.: I graduated from California Polytechnic University - Pomona with a Bachelor of Science in Geography - emphasis in GIS. Prior to starting at Esri, I was the sole GIS staff member for a Geotechnical and Environmental Consulting Firm in Sacramento, CA. Besides making maps, I managed the inventory of spatial data and supervised the company's GPS data collection.

 SSB: Sounds cool. What brought to Esri and Support Services?John G.: When I got out of school, I was looking for an opportunity to develop well-rounded skills. Working alone certainly gave me the opportunity to learn various tasks (geocoding, printing, symbology, basic analysis, data management, annotation, etc.), but I sometimes felt like I was attempting to re-invent the wheel.
Being at Esri is a blessing, because I can launch into a question regarding the use of a particular environment setting in the dissolve tool entirely unprovoked, and the person will know exactly what I'm talking about right away. Even better, they won't just be humoring me with a response. The people in technical support love geography, they understand the software, and they have exceptional communication skills. This means that the only thing limiting my learning is that my brain gets full.

 SSB: That happen a lot?John G.: (laughs) There’s a lot to learn.

 SSB: So, what are your favorite things to do to relax?John G.: I love to ride my bike, whether it’s a trip to the grocery store, an overnight tour, a local criterium or going off-road. When I’m at home, I hang with my cats Ray and RayRay and enjoy reading the blog Bike Snob NYC. Some co-workers and I also recently started a Do-It-Yourself bike repair tent called “Bike BBQ” at the Thursday night Redlands Farmers Market.

 SSB: I’m guessing then that if you were stranded on a desert island and could bring three things, would one be a bike repair kit?John G.: Oh trick question. No, I think if I had to keep it to three things, I’d go for a Swiss army knife, some matches and Netflix.

 SSB: But no TV upon which to watch the Netflix?John G.: You gotta draw the line somewhere.

 SSB: Gotcha. Okay, scenario: the best chef in the world is going to cook you your ultimate meal, what will you have?John G.: Definitely some locally grown, vegan tasties. And a bottle of wine.

 SSB: No bacon?John G.: No bacon.

 SSB: Just checking. If you could travel back in time to any point in history, where would you go and why?John G.: Minneapolis, Minnesota, summer of 1981 - purely so I could see Prince and The Time.

 SSB: Sweet…80’s pop music lover I see. What’s one thing that really bugs you, besides your lack of desire for bacon?John G.: Bad honeydew.

 SSB: Yikes! I’ll keep that in mind. Bringing it back to GIS, tell us about the areas of the software you enjoying supporting and/or working with here at Esri.John G.: I've always been a lot more interested in workflow management and the automation of repetitive tasks than in the creation of maps. I enjoy supporting ArcPad Studio, because I really empathize with GIS users who find themselves moonlighting as GPS data collection project authors and developers. I also get really excited about the increasing role of Python in extending the functionality of our software.

 SSB: Very cool. Got any final shout outs before we sign off?John G.: Yes, thanks. I just want to give a shout out to all my friends, family and fans. Peace!


Here in Support Services, we love it when our customers send in a screen shot of the error message or other dialog box being returned or any other unusual behavior that appears. Unfortunately, all too often, what we get, we simply cannot read.

To take a screen shot of only the dialog box and/or window:

  1. Make sure that the item you want to capture is the active window. For instance, if you want to take a screen shot of only the dialog box with the error message, be sure to click on the dialog box to make it active before completing Step 2.
  2. Press ‘Alt + PrtScn’ – this just captures the window that is active at the time, not the entire desktop.
  3. Paste the screen shot into a Word document or some other text editor and attach the doc to the email being sent. This way you are ensured that the image will not be truncated or lost due to sending it directly in the email message.

The following screen shot was taken using the method described above. The second screen shot is of the same error message, where the user has dual monitors, taken the way a lot of us are used to doing it.

With a screen shot that is taken using ‘Ctrl + PrtScn’, it is almost impossible for the Support Analyst to read the error, as it captures the entire desktop.

Of course, there are other tools and/or software that can be used to capture particular parts of your screen, and I am sure there are other ways to take quality screen shots, but today, I just wanted to share this quick and easy screen shot tip, that anyone can use, with you. Thank you for helping us to better help you.

Please leave any comments in the 'Comment' section below this post. NOTE: You must be logged in to your Esri Global Account to leave comments on blog posts. 

- Don G., Esri Support Analyst - Implementation group, Esri Support Services

Hello Support Services blog readers. My name is Jeff, and I am a member of the Geodata Raster team at the East Coast Esri Support Services office located in Charlotte, NC. You may have read one of my previous blogs on mosaic dataset overviews or where to find data on the Web to use in your analysis. Today, I want to discuss the raster types in mosaic datasets in ArcGIS 10.

You will encounter the raster type option when adding rasters to the mosaic dataset via the Add Rasters to Mosaic Dataset tool. There are a plethora of raster type options available to be added. So many, in fact, that some may not be that obvious.

Many of the options refer to particular sensors that require specific settings to interpret and handle the format. There are a few that refer to the different data types available to be added, particularly Image Service Definition, Image Service Reference, Table, and Web Services. Hidden among the sensors is the least obvious raster type titled ‘Table’. This raster type is the setting that can be used to add raster catalogs. The Web Help documentation on this raster type says to use this type when adding the following to your mosaic dataset:

  • Raster catalog
  • Mosaic dataset
  • Table with paths
  • .dbf file (for example, from a footprint shapefile)

Each of the items in the raster catalog will become an item in the mosaic dataset. This is different than a referenced mosaic dataset, because you will be able to create overviews. Overviews cannot be created for a referenced mosaic dataset. Once the raster catalog has been added, the normal mosaic dataset process can be utilized.

This workflow should allow you to convert raster catalogs to the mosaic dataset and allow you to gain all the functionality of mosaic datasets. I hope you find these tips helpful when working with raster types in mosaic datasets. Please leave any comments you may have in the 'Comment' section below this blog post. NOTE: You must be logged in to your Esri Global Account to leave comments.

- Jeff S., Support Analyst, Geodata Raster team, ESRI Support Services

Hello Support Services blog readers; this is Phillip from the Implementation group in our satellite Support center in Charlotte, NC. I want to highlight some helpful hints as you may be migrating to the new ArcGIS 10 software, especially if you have chosen to upgrade your hardware and operating system at the same time.

Some of you might experience a common issue while trying to install applications on your new Windows 7 or Windows 2008 server. That is, while logged in as administrator you may receive a message that you cannot install the application you have selected, because the account you've logged in with lacks the necessary authority.

As far as solutions go, there are a couple options:

  1. Right-click on the setup file and select Run as Administrator (You may also use the same step to run the installed programs).
  2. Disable User Account Control. See the following Microsoft Windows Help documentation for more information: Turn User Account Control on or off.

What is User Account Control?

User Account Control (UAC) is a new security component in Windows. UAC enables users to perform common tasks as non-administrators, called standard users in Windows Vista, and as administrators without having to switch users, log off, or use ‘Run As’. A standard user account is synonymous with a user account in Windows XP. User accounts that are members of the local Administrators group will run most applications as a standard user. By separating user and administrator functions while enabling productivity, UAC is an important enhancement for Windows Vista, Windows 2008 and Windows 7.

What triggers User Account Control:

  • Running an Application as an Administrator
  • Changes to system-wide settings or to files in %SystemRoot% or %ProgramFiles%
  • Installing and uninstalling applications
  • Installing device drivers
  • Installing ActiveX controls
  • Changing settings for Windows Firewall
  • Changing UAC settings
  • Configuring Windows Update
  • Adding or removing user accounts

With the advent of new software and operating systems comes lots of new learning opportunities, so make sure that you have all the rights you need to install, configure, and utilize your new systems. Our hope within Esri Support Services is to make these transitions go a little smoother.

Please leave any comments in the comment section below this blog post. NOTE: You must be logged in to your Esri Global Account to leave comments.

- Phillip W., Support Analyst - Implementation group, Esri Support Services

Happy Halloween

halloween picture - jack o' lanterns

It was a dark and stormy night in Redlands, and the Esri Support Services Analyst, Cassandra, was working late, getting caught up on all things new in ArcGIS Desktop version 10.

Suddenly, an apparition appeared - the ghost of locators past! Shaking his chains of Excel files and lookup tables and murmuring something about data standardization, he told Cassandra to share his secrets of how to use version 9.3 locator styles in version 10.

Okay, enough ghost stories. Hello, this is Cassandra again, brewing up new geocoding locators. While there are lots of improvements and enhancements for geocoding in ArcGIS 10, did you know that you can download and use version 9.3.1 locator styles in version 10?

To download the version 9.3.1 locator styles, go to the following Web page, download the zip file, and copy the .LOT files into C:Program FilesArcGISDesktop10.0Locators* folder: 9.3.1 Locator Styles.

*or wherever ArcGIS Desktop 10 is installed.</FONT>

Once you’ve added in the version 9.3.1 locator styles, you should see all of the version 9.3.1 locator styles and the new version 10 locator styles in the ‘Select Address Locator Style’ dialog box when selecting an Address Locator Style on the ‘Create Address Locator’ tool:

Select Address Locator Style dialog box

Using the version 9.3.1 locator styles can also help you work around a known issue with the version 10 locator. For more information on this issue, please see the following Esri Knowledge Base article: Bug: Geocoding does not match anything when a locator is built with no city, state, or zip fields mapped.

Once you have the version 9.3.1 locator styles installed, you can create a new geocoding locator in version 10:

Create Address Locator dialog box

Back to my ghosts! With my new locator created, I can geocode all the haunted locations in Redlands and map them out…boo!

Redlands Haunts.mxd

For more information on what’s new for geocoding in ArcGIS 10, please see the following: What's new for geocoding in ArcGIS 10.

- Cassandra L., Desktop Support Analyst, Esri Support Services

frozen tundra

We have all been there…you kick off a large process, and while waiting for it to complete, you start to wonder, “Is this process still running?”

Many geoprocessing tools are memory intensive, and depending on the size of the input datasets and the type of computation, it can take hours to run.

If you find yourself staring at the computer screen after your 10th cup of coffee and still wondering, “Is this thing still working!?”, there is a quick and easy way to tell.

Open the Task Manager by pressing the CTRL+ALT+DELETE keys and clicking the ‘Task Manager’ button. Task manager allows you to review whether a process is running and how much memory is being consumed. Don’t worry if you see that ArcMap is ‘Not Responding’ in the ‘Application’ tab; this can happen when processing large data and does not necessarily mean that your application has hung. Instead, go to the ‘Process’ tab and sort the active processes by the memory usage (see the image below):

Task Manager window

As long as your memory usage is fluctuating, the process is still running, and you can enjoy a few more cups of coffee worry-free.

If you see that the memory usage does not change but is fixed at one figure, then the process is probably hung. You can end the process by clicking on the process to highlight it and clicking the 'End Process' button. After you have ended the process, try running the tool or function again.

If you see the process hang consistently, please contact Esri Support Services and log a new incident. A Support Analyst will be able to help you understand why the process is hanging.

-Allison R., Technical Account Lead, Esri Support Services

Customers in the United States can visit the Customer Care Portal for more information about how to get ArcGIS 10 in English, French, German, Neutral Spanish, Japanese or Simplified Chinese. Customers outside the United States should contact their local Esri office for details.

So, you’ve made the investment in ArcGIS Server technology and are taking advantage of all of the benefits that it offers over ArcIMS. However, if you are like many customers, you may still have one or more websites that are using the old workhorse ArcIMS for your interactive mapping. It performs flawlessly for months, cranking out map after map. Then one day it stops working! Below are some tips for troubleshooting this issue before calling Esri Support Services and how to prepare for calling Support.

  1. Try rebooting if possible. Seems obvious, but this can sometimes get a failing site jumpstarted again. In some instances, rebooting is not feasible. For instance, production applications and databases might be running on the same server as ArcIMS. However, rebooting does restart the web server, servlet connector, and ArcIMS Services (Tasker, Monitor and Application) as well as the image and feature services in ArcIMS.

  2. Run the ArcIMS Diagnostic tools. This tests your web server and servlet connector. If you receive an error rather than a “Test Successful” message, follow the instructions with the error, then try the diagnostics again.

  3. Check your ArcIMS services in Windows. Navigate to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services. Are the ‘Application Server’, ‘Monitor’ and ‘Tasker’ services running? If not, check the license for ArcIMS. Is it expired? Also, check the ‘Log on as’ user in the service properties. Has the username or password been changed?

  4. Try logging in to ArcIMS Administrator. If you are unable to log in and get the message “URL is invalid or ArcIMS is not running”, please refer to knowledge base article 23444.

  5. If the above suggestions don’t get the site working again, browse through the list of knowledge base articles for troubleshooting listed on the following web help page: Troubleshooting.

  6. Call Esri Support Services for assistance. Before calling, please compile some ArcIMS logs using the instructions in knowledge base article 20844. This will help jumpstart the incident with your Support Analyst and give them a lot of information, so they can begin troubleshooting immediately.

I hope these troubleshooting tips and tricks help you keep ArcIMS up and running successfully. If you do run into any issues, please contact Esri Support Services (as mentioned in Step 6 above).

- David C., Group Lead - Server Products and SDK Support - Charlotte, NC

Version 2.30 of the Trimble® GPS Analyst™ extension for Esri ArcGIS Desktop software is now available. This update provides:

  • Support for Esri ArcGIS 10 Desktop software
  • Support for standard carrier measurement post-processing
  • Support for new Trimble TerraSync software version 5.00 SSF/DDF format records

Version 3.14 of the Trimble GPScorrect™ extension for Esri ArcPad software is now available. This update provides:

  • Support for Esri ArcPad 10 software
  • Support for the Trimble GPS Pathfinder ProXRT Model-II receiver

For More Information


Further details on the GPS Analyst extension version 2.30 and GPScorrect extension version 3.14 support for Esri ArcGIS Desktop 10 and ArcPad 10 can be found at the following associated links:


Trimble GPS Analyst Extension v2.30 for ESRI ArcGIS 10 Desktop Software


Trimble GPScorrect Extension v3.14 for ESRI ArcPad 10 Software


- Denise K., User Advocacy Group Tech Lead – Esri Support Services

With the introduction of Web APIs and their rising popularity among the users, a number of template-based applications have been brought into our Code Gallery, namely the Sample Flex Viewer (for ArcGIS API for Flex), the Sample JavaScript Viewer, and the Silverlight Showcase application. These templates make it easy for users to extend the application and add new features in the form of plug-and-play tools. For the Sample Flex Viewer, we have widgets, and then there are dijits for Sample JavaScript Viewer. Similarly, we can bring tools into a Silverlight Showcase application as custom user controls. The Silverlight Showcase application is also available as a template in Visual Studio. Please see the following ArcGIS Web help topic for more information: Getting Started with Templates.

A new sample has been uploaded to the ArcGIS Web site that brings in the Driving Directions sample from our Resource Center into the Esri Showcase Map application. The following link describes how to integrate the Driving Directions sample into the Esri Showcase Map application: Adding Driving Directions samples to the Esri Showcase Map Application.

By using a similar workflow, you can integrate other samples into a Silverlight Showcase application that are also available with the ArcGIS Resource Center - ArcGIS API for Microsoft Silverlight/WPF.

I hope that the information and links provided above help you gain a better understanding of adding a user control in a Silverlight Showcase application and that you can seamlessly plug in other samples from the Resource Center into the template application.

- Kripa J., Esri Support Analyst - SDK group, Esri Support Services

The ArcGIS 10 Desktop File Menu Performance Patch is now available for download on The download URL is

This patch addresses delays encountered when opening the ArcMap 'File' menu when connected to the Internet using some proxy servers. For more details about the issues addressed with this patch, see the following link: Issues Addressed with this Patch.

Esri apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused you. If you have any issues installing the patch, please contact Esri Support Services.

At times, it is necessary to send your data to Esri Support Services for further testing. For files that are larger than 2MB, there is the option to use a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) site. An FTP allows files to be transferred using a network.

Your Support Analyst can provide you with the FTP site address along with login credentials. Once you have this information, follow the steps below to upload your data.

Directions to upload to the Esri FTP site using Windows Explorer:

  1. Zip the data to be uploaded.
  2. Go to the FTP site using Windows Explorer by typing the FTP address into the address bar.
  3. Go to File > Login As...
  4. Enter the login credentials provide by your Support Analyst.
  5. Browse to the pub/incoming/(incident#) folder. If the incident folder has not yet been created, you can optionally create one here in the pub/incoming directory. (It is not necessary to include the pound sign (#) in the folder name. Just enter the 6-digit incident number.)
  6. Upload the file(s) here.
  7. When the upload has completed or if you encounter any issues with the upload, send an e-mail to the Support Analyst with whom you are working.

You can optionally create a readme text file with a description of the files/folders uploaded and include that in the folder.

It is important to note that the data is deleted from the FTP two days after it is uploaded. Keep this in mind when notifying the Support Analyst.

Other clients for accessing the Esri FTP
Also, Windows Explorer is one of the most common ways to upload data to the Esri FTP site, but Internet Explorer (IE6, IE7, and IE8) or FireFox 3.x are also valid options. There are size limitations imposed when using a Web browser to upload to an FTP site - IE6 has 2GB file limit and IE7 has a 4GB limit ( Size limits have been removed with IE8. In some circumstances, where the data is large or there is unstable network connection, transferring data from within a Web browser or Windows Explorer may fail. In these circumstances, you can use a free FTP upload client, such as Filezilla, which has built-in reconnection options.

If you cannot upload your data or choose not to place it on Esri’s secure FTP server, there are other options available for sending data – Support will accept physical media such as a DVD, USB thumb, or an external hard drive.

Understanding the process of using the Esri FTP site will enable us to get your data more quickly for testing and will allow us to work towards a resolution in an efficient manner.

- Timothy H., Support Analyst - Desktop Group, Esri Support Services - Charlotte, NC

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