The ArcGIS Enterprise Map Tool can already interpret custom coordinate frames and zoom to data on the micrometer scale. However, data at scales smaller than the centimeter level cannot be fully analyzed because the smallest unit that the Map Tool’s scale bar and measure tool display is meters and only down to 1e-2 meters. Zooming to a level or measuring anything at a smaller scale result in NaN and values of 0. By either extending the number of decimal places to 1e-6 meters or including units smaller than meters down to micrometers, the Map Tool can be used to analyze data it is already capable of displaying and becomes accessible to microscopic datasets.
While GIS has been designed and traditionally used for mapping Earth and other planetary bodies, there is a and growing niche where traditional GIS tools are being adapted and used to spatially register and map microscopic data from thin-sections and other sub-sampling techniques. These samples come from Earth-based and extra-terrestrial samples. OSIRIS-REx is a NASA mission that will bring home one such extra-terrestrial sample from an asteroid called Bennu and is the first asteroid return mission to be funded by NASA. OSIRIS-REx launched in September 2016 and arrived at Bennu in 2018. After spending over a year orbiting and mapping Bennu, the team selected a location to extract a sample and successfully collected the sample in October 2020. The spacecraft and sample are currently en route back to Earth and on track to arrive in September of 2023. Lead by the University of Arizona, a portion of the sample will undergo a series of microscopic techniques to fully map and characterize the sample with the goal to gain insight into the origins of our solar system. The OSIRIS-REx mission is unprecedented and therefor calls for unprecedented and cutting-edge use of tools. In preparation for sample arrival, a development team based at the University of Arizona is building a micro-geographic information system that will house and visualize data resulting from sample analysis. This includes a custom pipeline that automates the transformation of thin section microscopy data from individual instrument coordinate systems into a single, base coordinate system defined by the OSIRIS-REx Sample Analysis Team and converts the data products into ESRI-standard data types. The co-registered, geospatial microscopy data can then be easily and intuitively viewed across research labs on a thin-section basemap using GIS visualization tools.
Given the large and distributed nature of the sample analysis team, ArcGIS Enterprise offers perfect accessibility to data visualization and exploration across the team with little or no GIS training. The team has already spatially registered and successfully ingested and visualized test sample data with custom coordinate systems in the Map Tool, however with the current scale reporting limitations the Map Tool is not sufficient for our needs. With increasing interest in sample return missions, I see this improvement as an opportunity for ESRI to expand their customer base.
The image above shows example microscopic data being displayed in the ArcGIS Enterprise Map Tool. This layer was published as a dynamic map service layer with a custom coordinate system that was defined in ArcMap. The scale bar in the lower-right corner is built into the dataset and should measure 5mm across. The Map Tool displays this measurement as 0m. In the lower-left corner you can see the Map Tool’s scale bar is collapsed and displaying “NaN”. The images below, highlight that while the Map Tool is capable of zooming in on the micrometer scale, the scale bar is not functional on the micrometer scale.
I totally agree! We need this. We have a cemetery map that we can fully zoom in more to the 1:1 scale level. If Field Maps mobile app can, the web map should be able to as well.
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