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Creating and using Custom ArcGIS Pro Symbology – Part 1: Stuff I use to help me.

Creating and using Custom ArcGIS Pro Symbology – Part 1: Stuff I use to help me.

You’ll have seen on social media I’ve been ‘playing’ with techniques to create custom mapping styles.   This is a direct result of me attending EsriUK’s Perth conference and getting all inspired by John Nelson.

Firstly if you haven’t read or seen John Nelson’s blog, go look at it now (I’ll wait): adventuresinmapping.com There’s more obviously around but I’ve been using ArcGISPro for all our 3D GIS and Esri CityEngine content.  However I’ve wanted to do something more artistic, more in-depth and one that pushes my comfort zone a little.   John Nelson’s cartography using ArcGIS Pro are a master class in the art of what’s possible.

So this is the first blog post in a few and maybe even a video (yes I do that occasionally) on the lessons I’ve learnt from using ArcGIS Pro to make some unique maps that look hand drawn (and sort of are).   Can you do this in a product like QGIS?  Yes I think you probably can, can you apply some of what I write here to QGIS, I hope so!

Equipment and preparation

I’m aiming to make this repeatable and consistent, therefore I’ve done some preparation which I will share with you here.  You don’t have to purchase anything of course! I just wanted to record what I had done here.

The glorious Staedtler triplus® fineliner 334

Pens. While we will be using ArcGIS Pro we will also need to do our own drawing, and no I don’t believe you have to be very good at drawing just consistent and willing to try new things.  I’ve settled on the Staedtler triplus fineLiner 334-9 a nice pen with a good line quality. Unsure?  Go to a good pen shop and try some out, for me we’re doing symbology of lines and symbols so it needs to be crisp and good for scanning.

Winsor & Newton Cotman Sketcher’s Pocket Box set of 12… is nice to have and small!

Paints.  Well I like watercolours and I also wanted to replicate some what John Nelson has done, so I’ve chosen a simple set we got my eldest child from Winsor & Newton.

Paper. Honestly 80gsm everyday paper for simple pen work it has a nice crisp white perfect for scanning.  If I was to improve it so you didn’t see anything on the back or to stop it curling, 90gsm is better.  For watercolour work obviously you need watercolour paper (190gsm to 300gsm) just ensure any scanner can handle it, if you intend to use a scanner!

The grid. I wanted to inject some consistency in to the process and left to my own devices just sketching on a piece of paper will get messy pretty quickly so I created a series of A4 grids for the different symbols.  I’ve made this a PDF which you can download below (see resources heading below).

Scanner or Camera. I’m using an iPhone 7 camera and the dropbox app to quickly upload to my PC (you could equally use a cable or other app).  For the most part I would recommend to use a scanner this allows for clear distortion free scans/images of your drawing.   If you use a camera I find without amazing light quality when taking it you will end up doing additional processes to clean and brighten your image.  The scanner i’m using at home is an Epson Stylus Office BX610FW, I can scan directly to a memory card or via wifi straight to my PC using their Windows program.

Sedbergh-on-sea created with hand drawn elements placed using ArcGIS Pro

Software. Well I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop Elements, but you can also use GIMP (which is fantastic!).  Oh yes and ArcGIS Pro….  

I like it.

Books and inspiration. Well John Nelson and his blog I’ve already talked about but I’ve been looking at a wide variety of books and maps to see what works.  I don’t 100% want to copy (especially if newer material!) but also you don’t have to re-invent the wheel..  From my perspective I really like “Great City Maps”, but then I’m a sucker for urban mapping, I recommend finding a style your’re passionate about and trying to replicate elements of it.

Other publications are available (this is not an endorsement)

Conclusion. So that’s what I’ve been using, I haven’t finished everything yet but Part 2 of this series will look at a workflow for the various elements of a map in ArcGIS Pro you may want to replicate.  I haven’t decided whether to do one giant post about all types of symbology creation or do individual posts for points, lines, polygons etc…

RESOURCES:

CityEngine Rule of the Week

CityEngine Rule of the Week

It’s been a while since I’ve posted I know! Anyway this year the CityEngine team at Esri have been publishing ‘Rules of the Week’ videos not only that they’ve been publishing the actual rule files as well.

A great way to learn CityEngine is to look at the code other people have written, and who better to (ahem) copy form than the CityEngine team itself.

It’s a bit of a shame that the audio quality is so good in places but if you like CityEngine it’s well worth a view!

Quick Tip: Blurry Fonts and Windows 10 (Picasa, ArcGIS)

Quick Tip: Blurry Fonts and Windows 10 (Picasa, ArcGIS)

win10fuzzy_00
Windows 10 fuzzy text, yuck!

Another of those quick blog posts where I write something down so I don’t forget! 

I’ve recently ‘upgraded’ to Windows 10 and I’ve found I had an issue with some ‘older’ programs having fuzzy fonts.  

win10fuzzy_01

There are two fixes to this:

  1. Right-click the desktop
  2. Click ‘desktop settings’
  3. Click the word ‘display’ on the left and you should see something titled ‘Customise your display’
  4. Use the slider to ‘Change the size of text, apps and other items’, mine was at 125% you might try scaling it back to 100%.

However the above method changes everything, what if you’re generally happy with the resolution and screen sizes but only see those fuzzy fonts on some programs?

The followings programs (so far) I have encountered fuzzy text which I was bothered about :

  • Picasa 3 (yes I know I’m a dinosaur)
  • ArcGIS (10.2+)

So instead of use the first method to change all the text I have done it per-program.

win10fuzzy_02

Use explorer to navigate to the ‘offending’ programs executable.  You can easily do this by right-clicking on the program on the start menu and selecting ‘open file location’.

win10fuzzy_03

Once there select the ‘Compatibility’ tab and checking the ‘Disable display scaling on high DPI settings’,  click ‘apply then ‘ok’.

You should be good to go!

 

CityEngine 2014.1 Patch released fixes 3 issues

CityEngine 2014.1 Patch released fixes 3 issues

ce_2014_1_1703 140831R Splash Screen

Okay for all you CityEngine users, you will need this patch…

Esri CityEngine 2014.1 FileGDB and CGA Compiler Patch

This patch addresses three issues in Esri CityEngine 2014.1. First, the FileGDB Importer now handles short integer fields correctly, instead of converting to a Boolean field. Second, the CGA Compiler is updated to version 1.4 which creates correct .cgb and .rpk files for rule files with styles. Third, a crash is fixed for handling polygons with holes. It is strongly recommended for all users to install this patch.

To get the patch go directly to the download page by clicking here.

Floor splits

Floor splits

Whether you do floor splits in CityEngine or another program, the results can look quite nice.   I thought I’d share some in progress screenshots (not a real project just a proof of concept).

The floor splits a recoloured using a color ramp function but you can feed in floor area or height as an attribute to change the colour.  As with everything CityEngine, this is only the begining..

Webscene by Garsdale Design Limited

Garsdale Design Logo GDL_200pxl


3D Building Data from CyberCity3D

CyberCity Black

Esri UC 2014 San Diego : My presentations

Esri UC 2014 San Diego : My presentations

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Procedural Sheep? Ewe better believe it!

“Another conference?!” I hear you all say, well to be fair this one is a lot of fun, especially if you’re in the Esri world.  Although there is a lot here for you opensource types too (okay not about the software but the use of GIS at least).   Last year I did one presentation at the 3D Mapping forum before the main conference.  This year I’m doing two presentations one at the 3D & Lidar Mapping forum (with it’s own venue this year!) and one at the main UC.  Oh and I am meeting my business friends such as CyberCity3D

Working with CityEngine (and how to enjoy it)

So what will I talk about?  Well my presentation for the 3D Mapping forum is provisionally entitled “Working with CityEngine (and how to enjoy it)”.   This looks like a cop-out presentation title doesn’t it?  Well it’s not.

You see the people I talk to who have started to use CityEngine are often stuck in a GIS world or a 3D world or a planning world or an architecture world… you get the picture they’re in their own little professional bubble.   The idea of this presentation is to show how truly versatile CityEngine is and that thinking outside the box can help.   Come along and see if you don’t believe me!

Oh and the procedural sheep make a triumphant return!

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This won’t get too surreal…

Modelling Arabic Urban Cores using CityEngine

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My main UC presentation is really more technical for those interested in getting some ideas and help in how to model real world areas in CityEngine.    I’ll explore workflows and strategies which hopefully won’t give all my secrets away!

I’ll look at how I choose what’s an important in a scene and how to think about the limitations of 3D.

Days and times for my presentations:

3D Mapping Forum

  • Smart 3D Cities Track
  • Sunday, 13 Jul 2014, 1:45pm – 3:45pm
  • Location: Omni Ballroom A/B

2:30-3:00pm Working with CityEngine (and how to enjoy it) 

EsriUC 2014

  • 3D GIS Workflows and Design for Mass 3D Modeling
  • Wednesday, 16 Jul 2014, 1:30-2:45pm
  • Location: Room 23C

 1:30-2:45pm (not sure on exact time I’m only one listed) Modelling Arabic Urban Cores using CityEngine

If you’re attending the EsriUC this year get in contact with me to chat about CityEngine and my company’s (Garsdale Design) services!

 

The Goldilocks Project (CityEngine rule: parking and floor space standards)

The Goldilocks Project (CityEngine rule: parking and floor space standards)

This is not the post you were looking for....
This is not the post you were looking for….

So you came here wondering what side project I’ve got going on that I have to refer to a fairy tale?   Sorry to disappoint I’m still talking CityEngine.  Specifically it’s ability to take planning standards and work with them…

In this rule file I’ve fed a parking standard (1 space per 23 square metres of floor space) into a lot divided into a building and parking area.  When the buildings (parking garage and building) achieve the required standards (within a tolerance of course!) then they change colour from transparent red to white.

I’m going to be using this type of rule file a lot I think in the next year or so.  It’s adaptable and one that goes beyond a pretty model…

FEMA Flood Zone map in a 3D webscene (Miami)

FEMA Flood Zone map in a 3D webscene (Miami)

ce_2013_miami_13_fema

Following on from the last post I’ve now added FEMA’s Flood Zone mapping, I’ve got to work out some better colours but here is a first draft…

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3D Building Data from CyberCity3D

CyberCity Black