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Esri Contributor

When configuring data symbolized using military symbology  for use in a web application, there are a few things to consider:

  • The client application will the data will be consumed in, and 
  • Whether that data will be dynamic or involved in editing workflows.

Data that is dynamic data or needs to be used for editing in any web application built using the JavaScript API 3.x for ArcGIS. Such web apps include, Web AppBuilder, ArcGIS Dashboards (Classic) and Map Viewer Classic. These apps require publishing both a map image service (so that the server can render the military symbols correctly) and a feature service to support dynamic data and editing. 

Getting Started 

Before preparing your data, it’s important to know that hosted feature layers are not supported for this workflow. Therefore, an enterprise geodatabase registered as a data store in ArcGIS Enterprise portal is required to store your data.

If you don’t have an enterprise geodatabase already, follow these steps to create one. Otherwise, connect to an existing enterprise geodatabase.

Preparing Your Data

You will need to create a schema in your Enterprise Geodatabase to store the data and then configure the data as layers in ArcGIS Pro using with the Dictionary Renderer. You can either do this by creating the schema from scratch (if the data will be imported or fed from another system such as GeoEvent Server) and adding layers to the map manually or by using the Military Overlay created with the Military Symbol Editor in ArcGIS Pro to create a Military Overlay (which will automatically create a schema and add layers to a map). 

Follow these steps if the data will be imported or fed from another system and will include a Symbol ID code:

  • Create a schema in the Enterprise Geodatabase that includes a field for the symbol ID code plus any additional fields needed to support text amplifiers or other symbol modifiers. Note that the symbol ID code should be a text field with 15 characters if using MIL-STD-2525B, MIL-STD-2525C or APP-6B, or text field with 20 characters If using MIL-STD-2525D or APP-6D.
  • Add the layers to a Map in ArcGIS Pro, and for each layer configure the Dictionary Renderer in the Symbology Pane:
    1. Choose the which symbol dictionary to use based on which the military specification you need.
    2. Map the symbol and text fields to the dictionary. If using a symbol ID code, in Symbology Fields you only need to map the SIDC field.
    3. Specify any Configuration Properties needed to fine-tune how symbols are rendered on the map.
    4. If you need to use a scale factor for the symbols, you can configure a scale factor one under the Advanced Symbology Options tab. You can either specify a constant value or an arcade expression.

Follow these steps to create a Military Overlay using the military symbology tools in ArcGIS Pro if you will be adding new features to the map using ArcGIS editing tools. This will create a series of layers in the enterprise geodatabase, including many feature templates for each layer (starter symbols to support editing workflows), and will add the layers to a map and configure them layers with the dictionary renderer.

  1. First, enable the Military Symbol Editor in ArcGIS Pro. 
  2. When prompted to choose the Military Overlay Database, select the enterprise geodatabase you created earlier.
  3. Select any the Military Symbology Standard you need to work with.
  4. The tool will add many Feature Templates to layers in the map. These are useful for creating features using the ArcGIS Pro editing tools, but might be too many for the web editing tools. Optionally you can use the Manage Features tool to remove any Feature Templates that won’t be needed by your app users for web editing.

    Note that at this time, the Military Overlay schema does not include a field for Symbol ID Code, but one can be added manually to the layers.


  • Be sure to add Global IDs to your dataset in the Enterprise Geodatabase so it can be used for editing.
  • Ungroup any existing group layers in the map, as they are not supported in the Web Feature Layer.

Publish your data

Share the layers in your map as a web layer to your Enterprise Portal with the following configuration:

  • Choose Map Image and check Feature to enable feature access.
  • Under Configuration > Feature:
    • For Operations: Choose Enable Editing on the feature layer – Add, update, delete
    • For Properties: Check all boxes as appropriate for curves, z and m values
  • Analyze, fix any errors if needed, and then publish!

Configure your Web Map

The previous step publishes a map image service and a feature service that both must be added to a web map in Map Viewer Classic. Be sure to add the map service to the web map first followed by the feature service, so that the two services will appear as one layer in the map.

From there, you will be able to use the edit tools in the Map Viewer Classic and Web AppBuilder to add, modify, and delete features. Or, if data is being fed from GeoEvent Server, you should see the data update automatically and the correct military symbols in ArcGIS Dashboards Classic. Because the symbology of your layers is attribute-driven and configured with a dictionary renderer, as new features are added or updated, the symbols will update to reflect the attribute values for the fields that were mapped to the dictionary renderer during the Preparation step in ArcGIS Pro.

Keep an eye out for a follow-up article that walks through this workflow using sample data!

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Esri Contributor

The Esri Federal GIS (FedGIS) Conference is the largest annual meeting of federal government GIS community members. This year's virtual event will offer excellent opportunities to learn, share, and network.


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Esri Contributor

Esri geographic information system (GIS) technology supports the planning phase of the intelligence cycle with tools that help you understand data collection requirements for current and planned disposition of assets. ArcGIS provides a multi-intelligence environment for integrated collection across all five intelligence disciplines. GIS should be the hub of your intelligence cycle, no matter which "INT" you are interested in. To illustrate just some of the power of ArcGIS, we are going to look at Phase 1: Planning and Direction, as it specifically pertains to foundational geospatial intelligence (GEOINT).

Planning and direction are accomplished through these main responsibilities:
• Identifying intelligence requirements
• Prioritizing intelligence requirements
• Validating the requirements
• Translating requirements into measurables or collectibles
• Preparing collection plans
• Issuing requests for information (RFIs)
• Deciding on a dissemination medium

ArcGIS creates the ultimate advantage by giving you the power to answer the most difficult questions:
• How do I know where to start?
• How do I make sure that what I am collecting is timely and relevant?
• How can I help my team work collaboratively so efforts are not duplicated?
• How can I effectively disseminate the intelligence the team has gathered?

GIS as a System of Record

The use of GIS as a complete system of record allows you to answer these questions more efficiently:
• What datasets do I have?
• Where are they?
• How current are they?
Many agencies see GIS as an analysis or map production tool, and rightfully so. But I want you to start thinking of GIS as a system of record—a fully electronic and searchable system that allows you to quickly answer the questions above. The image below represents the data holdings at many agencies. There is a lot of data—scattered among disparate datasets—and it's hard, if not impossible, to get any real value from it.

The Strait of Hormuz with dots representing ships scattered around.

To illustrate this point further, I'd like to share an anecdote. My role as a data manager was to collect, organize, and deduplicate a client's data holdings. The client was a tech-savvy agency, so when I was told "it's all in shoeboxes," I assumed that meant, at worst, on a hard drive. I walked in the next morning to a big cardboard box brimming with shoeboxes of CDs, DVDs, and some hard drives! It turns out the saying was to be taken literally. This box was the agency's system of record.
Our solution was to use ArcGIS as the system of record and organize the data holdings spatially. As each dataset was cataloged, it was stamped out according to the boundaries and fed into a database. The boundaries were also updated with attribution; so at the click of a button, we knew what we had, where it was, when it was collected, and how much we had. The illustration below uses hexbins as an abstraction of the concept of spatial cataloging. No matter what boundaries you choose to use, the result is quantifiable, searchable, and actionable information.

The Strait of Hormuz with hexbins representing counts of data holdings

It is much easier now to give direction to the planning stage, as our recommendations are backed by quantified data. Now that we have our system of record set up, let's see how that same system can be used as a planning tool.

GIS as a Collection Planning Tool
Leveraging your GIS gives you powerful capabilities:
• Query your data holdings
• Visualize your data
• Add metadata to clearly denote the currency and authoritative level of the data holdings
• Clearly define your area of interest (AOI)
How do these capabilities help us in this scenario? The planning cycle begins with understanding what you have. By using the querying abilities in your GIS, you can easily find where you have data and then place that data on the map so you know exactly how much coverage you have. The metadata associated with the data holdings is also searchable, so you can determine which areas have holdings that need a refresh. You can also integrate data from other sources, such as conflict data, to narrow and clearly define your area of interest. Your AOI is not just a hunch; it is backed by data and research. This can go a long way in securing funding for your operation and providing justification to your decision-makers.

In this post, we see how ArcGIS as a platform gives you the power to complete many of the phase 1 requirements—all within a single system. You can identify and prioritize your intelligence requirements by aggregating your disparate datasets and query the data to understand which is in the most need of updating. Validating these requirements through visualization techniques to see the holes in your datasets gives you a new perspective on the data holdings, and further justification on where to set collection efforts. You then translate these requirements into specific areas for collection and generation of collection plans based on real-world geographic boundaries. In a future post, we will see how this same system can be used to generate and respond to RFIs and become the dissemination system of choice.

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Esri Contributor

The National Government Team hosts webinars across various industries including Defense,

Intelligence, Mapping, Statistics, Sciences, Civilian Government and Tribal, and Nonprofit and

Global Organizations. The webinar series highlights subjects relevant to your organization's

missions, workflows, and operations.
See all webinars in the series

Explore Ready-to-Use Content in ArcGIS Living Atlas

November 5, 2020 | 10:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m. (PST)
Esri provides access to a diverse and growing set of content to enrich the ArcGIS user

experience. ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World contains impactful and reliable web maps on many

topics and reflects the collective work of the ArcGIS community. In this webinar, we'll give an

overview of ArcGIS Living Atlas content, how it can be accessed, and how you and your

organization can contribute to it.

Register Here

An Introduction to Infographics in ArcGIS

November 19, 2020 | 8:00 a.m.- 9:00 a.m. (PST)

Infographics are a visually engaging and interactive way to illuminate maps by combining your

data, Esri data, and easy-to-understand graphics. In this webinar, learn how to create beautiful

infographics across the ArcGIS platform. Explore how to build and customize infographics in

ArcGIS Pro or by using multiple web applications such as ArcGIS Business Analyst. Finally, learn

how to share results as interactive exports or by embedding findings in other applications.

Register Here 

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Esri Contributor

Modernizing National Government with GeoAI and ArcGIS

National government agencies are actively modernizing and automating their workflows to be more efficient and effective. GeoAI leverages artificial intelligence (AI) methods, natural language processing, process automation, staff augmentation, and data mining to extract key information from spatial big data. The use of GeoAI, together with geographic location information and analysis from ArcGIS to mine big data helps government agencies develop effective use of GeoAI and AIM strategies to get required knowledge quickly and with fewer resources.

Key Takeaways

See how to automate workflows using machine learning and computer vision in ArcGIS to quickly solve real-world problems. 

Attendees will learn how to

• Create deep learning training datasets with ArcGIS Pro. 
• Realize the power of the ArcGIS Pro Deep Learning toolset.
• Harness the object detection geoprocessing capabilities in ArcGIS Pro.
• Publish GeoAI geoprocessing services.

What: Modernizing National Government with GeoAI and ArcGIS
Date: Wednesday October 14, 2020
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. (PDT)
Where: Webinar Online Registration

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Esri Contributor

Deliver Analysis-Ready Data 

Government agencies are the authoritative source for creating and collecting data for public consumption.  By making data ready-to-use and more accessible improves how businesses plan their operations, regional governments support their constituents, and how developers build applications for consumers. Enable data consumers to access and incorporate authoritative data, thus giving more meaning to your work. ArcGIS has the capabilities to make data analysis-ready, accessible, and applicable to a variety of applications.  

Key Takeaways

Discover how you can produce and share analysis-ready data using ArcGIS resources like imagery products, ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World, Jupyter Notebook, ArcGIS Hub, and so much more.  Attendees will learn how to

• Incorporate location into their time-series analysis.
• Reduce cycle from data to apps.
• Support evidence-based decision-making.
• Improve your impact by delivering content to 7+ million professionals.

What: Deliver Analysis-Ready Data
Date: Thursday, August 27, 2020
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. (PDT)
Where: Webinar Online Registration

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Esri Contributor

Driving Operational Knowledge Through Drones

Drones are affordable and powerful data collection tools for governments worldwide.  There is now broad usage in surveying, disaster relief, search and rescue, surveillance, planning, scientific research, and so much more.  Now data collection and analysis from drones is faster than ever. Learn how Esri provides a cloud-based solution that maximizes the value of the data and minimizes the time from drone flight to decision making. 

Key Takeaways

Plan flights with GIS to gain the following:

  • Plan flights with GIS 

  •  Add image processing in your workflows 

  • Conduct analysis with ArcGIS deep learning tools with your drone data 

  • Improve understanding with enhanced data visualization and sharing capabilities 

What: Driving Operational Knowledge Through Drone
Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. (PDT)
Where: Webinar Online Registration

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Esri Contributor

Field Operations and Data Collection

ArcGIS is at the core of a smarter way to perform fieldwork. By leveraging location, users can perform their common tasks in a smarter way. Plan where you need to go, navigate to your assignment, understand your surroundings, and capture information, all while providing insight to allow real-time decision-making.

Key Takeaways

Learn how you can perform common field operations and data collection tasks in a more efficient and modern way.

This modern approach
• Works in a variety of technology systems.
• Allows you to pick the right tools for your workflow.
• Can be deployed immediately.

What: Field Operations and Data Collection
Date: Thursday, June 4, 2020
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. (PDT)
Where: Webinar Online Registration

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Esri Contributor

Beyond Technology: Strategies for Enterprise GIS in National Government
The reality is that making technology successful in your organization requires more than technology. Government Agencies are transforming digitally, with location intelligence at the center. Successful digital organizations move beyond technology to address strategy, processes, organization, and people along with an overall governance process. 

Key Takeaways

This webinar will cover principles and strategies that you can bring back to your organization to help realize successful enterprise location intelligence.  

  • Bringing Location Intelligence alive for an Enterprise 
  • Learning from other Successful Organizations through Case Studies 
  • Applying a Framework to your own Organization
  • Effective Governance in a Modern IT Enterprise 

What: Beyond Technology: Strategies for Enterprise GIS in National Government

Date: Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. (PDT)

Where:  Webinar Online Registration 

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Esri Contributor

Esri User Conference 2019 is just around the corner.  If you are a Federal Government Organization user and have questions about Esri Technical Support, we have you covered.  I will be providing a presentation with Malcolm Smith in our Expo Defense Area Theater focused on the the evolution of Technical Support for our Federal customers.  We will discuss Esri support programs and processes that provide improved technical support while maintaining customer data protections.  Speakers will be available to answer questions following the presentation. I hope we see you there.

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