As part of a new urban renewal project we obtained the previous master plan as a PDF (naturally). Reading through it we felt that we needed to understand what was proposed and how the proposals would look in 3D.
It’s a largish urban area and previously we would never even dream of modelling it at such an early stage of the project. Too much work to model in SketchUp and certainly not to just understand part of a report. Things have changed and now we are aware of what CityEngine can do we’re starting to modify how we approach jobs.
You wonder why I’m interested in CityEngine? Well I can see how it is changing our work and what it will change for us in the future. Less than a month into a project and we’ve modelled an entire urban area in less than 1/2 a day, just to understand something better.
Pre-CityEngine we would never have done this.
I know you’re probably all fed up of this by now…. You can view my presentation at the GeoDesign summit here, or at the ESRI video site (you can download it for offline viewing too!) or eventually on ESRI’s Youtube site
This is a useful tip that has been pointed out to me by a colleague, so useful in fact I have to make sure I note it down somewhere. Until my idea is incorporated into ArcGIS this is a quick and dirty workaround for translating Arabic labels in ArcGIS.
We have received some GIS data from a client, it’s landuse in a geodatabase with Arabic labels. Trouble is our maps are needed in English! In the past we’ve tested the Microsoft translation tools (for office) against Google’s online translate tool and found that Google does a much better translation.
So how do we translate this large landuse table quickly and easily? Use Excel of course! Please note that this bullet point list assumes you know ArcGIS and Excel quite well, to instruct from a beginners point of view would be a bit to long winded for me.
- First create a field name for the English Translation in ArcGIS
- Open a new Excel document
- Copy (using this method) the table from ArcGIS into Excel.
- Create a PivotTable that lists the row labels (in this case Arabic Landuse)
- Copy and paste this list out (so the text is static, you probably don’t have to)
- Copy the Arabic text into the text box at translate.google.com
- Now Copy that English translation text list back adjacent to your Arabic landuse list into Excel
- Now you have to use some Excel magic, select the English and Arabic text and under the Formulas tab (in Excel 2007) define a name ( in this case I called it English Translate)
- Once you have done this go to the English Landuse field name column and type in code like this “=VLOOKUP(E7,EnglishTranslate,2)”. E7 is the Arabic landuse in your original table in Excel, EnglishTranslate is that Name you defined above and the number 2 is the column number of the EnglishTranslate you need to use if matched.
- Then click and drag copy this down your English translation field to check it works.
- Now copy back this data into ArcGIS or Join/Link it.
Well that’s it if you have any improvements/questions/suggestions please add them in the comments section below!
Well CityEngine Web Viewer from ESRI is wonderful, but if you have internet connection like our office (ADSL) download speeds are good but upload speeds not so much…. The prospect of uploading my CityEngine models of 100s of megabytes only to find I’ve done something wrong is not enticing and I grew up playing on the C64!
So have you thought about using a local webserver? If like us you have a network storage device like a ReadyNAS NV+ you can enable a directory for web (http) services and copy over these files to it.
- You can download the webviwer files from ESRI here : CityEngine WebViewer application package
- Follow the instructions above make sure you rename the ceviewer_offline.html to viewer.html
- Point your browser to an address like the follow (note string after ?) – “/webviewer/viewer.html?3dWebScene=../webscenes/test_blocks1.3ws”
If you don’t have a ReadyNAS you could install a small webserver onto you local PC try this page as a start point http://www.ehow.com/how_4863770_turn-pc-server.html
I’ve been toying with the idea of purchasing a Wacom Cintiq device. In our line of work hand drawing is important still and the amount of tracing (I mean digitizing) I do hasn’t decreased.
Prior to that I need to justify it to myself and my colleagues that a mouse and keyboard just isn’t going to cut it for much longer…
Here’s what you need:
- Wii remote (an old one will do without the sensor thingy)
- Smoothboard.net software + infrared pen, you can get a kit from here I would recommend a dual pen with button and pressure sensitive nib, that way you can use it on a hard and soft surface
- Wii battery cover with camera tripod fitting (you can make or buy one)
- Projector (we have an old one but I recommend something that’s bright short throw and high resolution)
- PC or laptop with Bluetooth!
Really the infrared pen is the difficult bit to get, you can make it yourself but I suggest you get it from people like this http://www.infraredpen.co.uk/index.php/ (not a product endorsement but that it is where I got my kit and it came pretty quick.
Basically it all worked for me. Follow the install instructions and it really is incredibly simple. One thing I would warn is that if you’re using the Wii remote at home you might find it wants to connect to the Wii rather than your laptop.
I’m using an old Wii remote, a Dell Vostro 3300 laptop (with windows 8 see here), getting the angle of the wii remote (it has an infrared camera in it) is crucial. Also it takes some getting used to drawing whilst keep your shadow out of the way.
Here is a picture of me, I’m not in a dark room, it’s the camera adjusting for the brightness of the projector.
Bottom line here: don’t discount cheap workarounds this setup works very well with ArcGIS, don’t make this stuff just buy it from someone who does. We’ll be taking this setup to a meeting with some people we’re working with in a couple of weeks. Instead of them drawing on a piece of paper and then digitizing it into the GIS we’re going to draw directly into the GIS.
Side note: this didn’t seem to work with CityEngine, It’ll try and figure it out and get back to you…
You might well have guessed from the numerous blog posts and tweets that I have got quite a bit out of the last week or so!
Professionally the GeoDesign summit was very successful I got into discussions with a lot of people. Some of those discussions will lead me into a new direction at work but that is another blog post.
I’d like to thank a few people at ESRI for the massive opportunity they have given me as well as support. The following is a run down of those I met and have had conversations with that I can remember easily for blogging, please don’t be offended if you are not here, there were so many I had to choose just a few to write about!
Rather than try and do a massive re-edit of my script for the presentation I gave at the GeoDesign Summit this year I thought I’d just cut and paste it straight in. Yes I didn’t say it all exactly like this and somethings were added as I spoke, but you’ll have to wait for the video from ESRI for that. Until then here is the raw un-edited script from my presentation.The slides look odd because in the presentation they were animated, here they are exported as jpegs at the end state… I had thought about exporting as video and reading over the top. We’ll see if I have time…WARNING! This took me 20-25 minutes to read so go make yourself a tea or coffee before reading…
<Note to self start>
This is a brief post and it is a message to my future self, should I ever find myself with a set of MXD files that just will not let me edit them without ArcMap repeatedly crashing.
The background is this: for a particular mapping project we have a nice map layout with logos and text and a legend (that’s another story). Recently I started to encounter a very serious problem, I’d start editing, you know the sort, zoom in click click click zoom out, pan zoom in, click click click… But at regular but random in their occurrence intervals ArcMap would stop, the windows display/desktop would corrupt and multiple icons of ArcMap would appear on the taskbar and the whole PC’s screen would have difficulty refreshing. I would have to, more often than not, end the ArcMap process and loose all my edits. I had lost hours of work and spent lots of time trawling the help forums for a solution
I tried everything, I used MXD doctor to create new MXDs which seemed to stop the crashing temporarily, I even went an created a new user profile which actually worked for a small time. Finally I had had enough, I went through every element of the MXD and recreated it all, one of the logos was a PNG, for consistency I recreated it as a JPG as all the other images on the page layout were JPGs. I now don’t have any crashes, no restarts and no need to recreate an MXD. For whatever reason ArcGIS must not support fully PNGs images in my particular setup.
So if you ever have ArcMap crashing when editing, panning and zooming, I suggest you check to see if there is a PNG image somewhere on your page or data layout.
</Note to self end>