Top Tip: Creating a folder contents list in a simple text file

I have to use the keyboard?!

Updated 28/02/2012 to amend the syntax and remove instructions on making an xls file (Excel opens plain text files anyway)

Coming to the end of a project I realised I needed to create a table listing all of the files and folders within for that project.

This was a GIS (using ArcGIS) with many MXDs and associated data files, so the prospect of manually creating a list was a non-starter for me.

As with most discoveries laziness has been the driving factor in today’s “top tip”!

So I did a little research and with the helpful post located at found the perfect solution that has been around forever.   To be honest I don’t know why I haven’t known about this as it seems quite a simple request…

These instructions have been tried on Windows Vista only but I’m pretty sure Windows XP and 7 (works on Windows 7) will work just as well.   If not let me know in the comments section below!   The usual disclaimers about don’t try this if you’re not sure apply.

Okay so here is how to do it (step 1 for a list with all the heading and summary info and step 2 to just have a list):

Step 1 Create a simple text or Excel file listing files and folder in a particular folder:

  • Click start and in the start search text box type “cmd” and hit ‘enter’.
  • Next type in the Command Prompt box to change your location to the desire folder you wanted to make a list from e.g.


cd d:\test\list

  • Now to create a text file (which you can open in Excel) with the contents of the folder you have navigated to type this in:

dir > filelist.txt

Now you can use file explorer to open your file and folder list, with either Excel or Notepad!

Step 2 Create a simple text listing all sub-files and folders and without the header information or summary:
Following the first 2 steps above type this instead:

dir  /s/b > filelist.txt

Not rocket science I know but I have found it very useful.

GeoPlanIT goes Mobile! (or how to get your blogger site mobile enabled)

My new phone
(image from HRC)

Update: Uh oh @mapsgirl has kindly pointed out that if you use Disqus for your comments on blogger then you won’t be able to get comments to your posts via disqus on the mobile site (the default blogger comments system seems unaffected)

Just a quick news item that if you are visiting this site with a mobile/cell phone you will see a specially formatted site!

How did I do this miracle of modern wizardry you ask?

Use a barcode scanner

Simple I switched my blogger dashboard (goto to draft and then under settings — Email & Mobile checked the following:

Yes, show the mobile version of my template on mobile devices.

Quite easy really…

ArcGIS : Using Query Builder to display certain features (multiple)

The Power of SQL & Query Builder

I know this post covers something probably very obvious to many technical users of ArcGIS.   However some of us ArcGIS users are not necessarily aware of Query Builder and it’s uses.  So this advice is for people like us/them.

You may have noticed the “Definition Query” tab in your “Layer Properties” dialog box (right click on your layer and select ‘properties’). As ESRI says in the ArcGIS helpfile:

Query expressions are used in ArcGIS to select a subset of features and table records.

Clear as mud to those not familiar with standard SQL expressions!   Anyway why would you use? Or more importantly why would I use it?

Here was my problem, for a particular project I have imported into a Geodatabase an AutoCAD file that has many layers and a lot of features.  So I am displaying each former AutoCAD layer with different symbology but using the same feature class in the geodatabase each time (clear enough?).

How did I select you? You’re not there!

Using the Symbology tab in the Layer properties I can display only those features that I am interested in.   Now I can make some nice paper maps and the like!   The trouble is when I want to now edit that layer I keep on selecting for some reason the features that I haven’t assigned symbology to.   Very annoying and very frustrating.

So what the Query Builder allows me to do is select only the features that are in this case by layer name field (it’s from AutoCAD) to be used.   Now when I go to edit this layer only those features I have given symbology to are selectable.    Okay I apologise if this doesn’t make sense to you but then perhaps you haven’t had the same issue I have.

Anyway say you have three features types (formerly layers in AutoCAD) that you want display these are:

  • Primary Road
  • Secondary Road
  • Track
All you need to do is type (or construct) the following code into the Query Builder:

“Layer” IN(‘Primary Road’ , ‘Secondary Road’, ‘Local’ )

I’m not here to explain how it works as to be honest I’m not sure and its probable that you can do this another way.   However this works for me, if you have any suggestions as to a better code, I’m all ears so please add a comment after this post and I’ll amend the advice!

I looked for help on the ArcGIS forums beforing writing this post and used the following discussion thread:
Mulitple NOT expressions in query builder? 

Suggested Reads (I guess): Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop: The Basics of ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo Updated for ArcGIS 9 (Getting to Know series) and SQL For Dummies

Top Tip: Stop Google Chrome opening PDFs

This is a quick top tip for a problem which has been bugging me for some time.

EDIT: This is my 100th post!  Where’s the cake?

Someone on twitter called @longcreative said “Love Chrome. Really hate how it handles PDFs.” which stirred me into action. I too like using the Chrome web browser, but I have really hated how it opened PDFs automatically with it’s own viewer.

 Okay you may not like Adobe’s offering either but I really don’t remember being given any the choice as to how PDFs are handled. To be honest until recently I thought I was using Adobe Reader in Chrome and they had done a special version just for Chrome.

Damn you Chrome PDF Viewer

So how does one go about disabling Chrome’s (mis)handling of PDFs?  Simple type this in the address bar:


Then scroll down to the obviously labelled “Chrome PDF Viewer” and click on “disable“.  You could also from here re-enable Adobe’s offering but may I suggest you choose to leave both alone and download the pdf, scan it for viruses and only then open it in your favourite PDF reader?


Mapbiquity a home for your shapefiles?

“because maps should be everywhere”
No truer word was written…

Mapping is a wonderful business, those into GIS really love mucking about with all that data.   But there is one thing I know that is universally hated, yes it’s printing or making it at the very least available to others (you know online…..).

Look it’s Cumbria!

Well Mapbiquity is a new kid on the block that aims to get all those shapefiles you have, hosted and displayed online.  It takes you through a 3 step process upload, style and maps to create a map and then provides you with some code that you paste into your site to display your map.   It uses Google maps as its background which I can imagine in the UK concerning some users when it comes to Terms and Conditions (ah don’t you just love licensing and terms?!).

The process works pretty well I had some trouble placing it on blogger (my blogging platform here), however support was very forth coming and some code was rustled up for me.

I really like the idea of an online mapping solution that fills the gap between free and expensive to host GIS files.   However I have some concerns that those who know about  shapefiles might want more functionality (or something other than a Google background, for example OpenStreetMap).

I would highly recommend anyone with a few shapefiles hanging around and an urge to put some maps online trying this new service out (the starter package gives you 10MB for free)!  It promises to allow you to create some good looking maps.

I wish the Mapbiquity team all the best and look forward to new features and functionality!