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Month: May 2010

Cumbria GIS – Where are those datasets and mapping sites?

Cumbria GIS – Where are those datasets and mapping sites?

Okay this is a basic list to start with that I started on our company website Garsdale Design- Useful Mapping, I’m looking to expand it, so hopefully you readers can help here, if you know of any other Cumbria mapping sites or Cumbrian related datasets, could you perhaps share them via the comments section, or tweet me?

I’ve also started a group at called “Cumbria, UK ArcGIS Group“, please join it if you are interested!

Here’s what I have so far (you’ll notice most are local authorities) and I will be adding more to it:

These sites although not Cumbria centric do hold data on Cumbria:

Photomodeler and creating a 3D model of a Historic building

Photomodeler and creating a 3D model of a Historic building

I’m not just a planner or a GIS man!   As part of my work at Garsdale Design Limited, I help in the assessment and survey of historic buildings (in conjunction with our Heritage Specialist).   One such building I am working on at the moment requires a nice measured and detailed drawing, as part of a planning application.

We’re using a piece of software called Photomodeler to build up an accurate 3D (and 2D if you really want) model of this lovely old farmhouse in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  The process invloves calibration of your chosen camera (preferably a good quality one), then the taking of a large amount of photos from at least two opposing angles of all parts of your building.  

Once imported into Photomodeler you need to mark the same point one each photo, and if you’ve done it correctly you will get yourself a pretty accurate model.   We also do a good amount of measuring to ensure that the model does indeed remain accurate…

We’ve used this method before and I have to say the software is excellent and relatively easy to use.   Creating a 3D model is also great fun and once finished is incredibly satisfying.    Photomodeler allows you to do accurate drawings without spending as much time on site (which can be a cost saving!).

We then export our model to a DXF format (3D or 2D), but you can export to kml and a variety of other formats (see screen capture to the left).    Photomodeler also allows for the photos to be projected onto your surfaces.

Anyway I really recommend that if you are interested you give it a go, Photomodeler isn’t just for buildings as their marketing will state! 

You can also view your new model in stereo view if you have those nifty 3D red/blue glasses…ooooo

Photomodeler Website is here
We bought our software and subsequent training from Photarc

Follow up: ESRI UK AC 2010 -Customising ArcGIS Desktop

Follow up: ESRI UK AC 2010 -Customising ArcGIS Desktop

I had a great time at the ESRI UK annual conference this year plenty of people to talk with and useful presentations.  Being part of a small family run firm can be a bit awkward at these type of events because you can be on your own!

ESRI UK staff were brilliant, open to conversation and genuinely interested in where their products were being used as well as giving good demonstrations and helping out with queries.   I think one sign of a good professional who enjoys their job is the giving of information or help over and above what was asked for.  Which leads me to a nice follow up email I received from someone working in software developmet at ESRI UK.

I have been for some time interested in customizing and learning scripting/programming for use in ArcGIS, but had no clue where to start.  This gentleman suggested a few things at the conference and pointed me in a direction.   Whether it’s part of the ESRI training/culture or that he was a nice person willing to help (probably all three) is immaterial I much appreciated the help!

So here is the email extract (I’ve kept the ESRI employee annoymous for now, but you know who you are!):

Just thought I would email some links to online resources to help you if you’re thinking of embarking on customising ArcGIS… (I’ve given links to both ArcGIS 9.3 / 9.3.1 and 10.0 below so you can look ahead and see what’s coming up – ArcGIS 10.0 will be out in the summer sometime).

If you’re customising ArcGIS Desktop you have two routes to look into…
1.       The first is Geoprocessing with ModelBuilder (a drag and drop user interface) or for more control you can use Geoprocessing with Python scripting (and at ArcGIS 10 the new ArcPy which apparently offers much greater control map automation).
2.       The Second is ArcObjects which are the software components/objects that ArcGIS Desktop itself is built from. There’s a lot in ArcObjects so it can be pretty scary initially but there are a lot of samples and examples available online. At 9.3 / 9.3.1 you write custom tools and toolbars for ArcGIS Desktop with ArcObjects (using templates in visual studio) but in ArcGIS 10.0 this changes slightly to “Add-Ins” – your code will still be the same but they’re easier to deploy/register with ArcGIS.
Training: (obviously ESRI (UK) runs training courses too – but here’s a free seminar, look out online for more free seminars)
          Free ArcGIS 10.0 seminars:
          ArcGIS 10.0:
Hope these links help guide you to the right option – unfortunately I can’t provide much ongoing support but I’m always happy to answer the odd question. Assuming your ArcGIS products are under maintenance then you can contact the support desk with any actual technical issues and you can always contact your ESRI (UK) Account Manager who will put you in contact with someone in our technical presales team who can help out.

Cheers and good luck

Update1: Oh, forgot to point you towards the ESRI (UK) DeveloperHub website: – there is a “top 10” links section on there.

Update2: Just been pointed to another help link which is supposed to provide some guidance on the VBA / VB.NET / Python matter:

Top Tip: Retweet this button on blogger

Top Tip: Retweet this button on blogger

Okay I quite like Twitter, it’s allowed me to find websites articles and professionals that I wouldn’t otherwise be aware of.  Anyway I saw that one of my more the blogs I visit more often on the web (digital urban) had placed these nice retweet buttons on each of its articles.  So I asked “how do I do that?” on my favourite search engine.
For those of you interested I found this site to be most useful (it’s just case of copy and paste) for those of you using blogger:

Updated: Link changed to official tweetmeme site (01/09/2010)
ArcGIS : A simple one: Georeferencing Toolbar options greyed out….

ArcGIS : A simple one: Georeferencing Toolbar options greyed out….

Argh…. this is a very simple one to fix but it had me scratching my head for a while, I use mapbook so some of my maps are being rotated to follow a river feature.  When I switch to data view my problems begin as I’m trying to fit some PNGs over the top…. and I need georeferencing to work!

The solution is to right-click and properties the data frame and change the rotation to 0, that’s it and you can go back to using the georeferencing tools….. I feel so stupid, thank you help forums for making me feel not so alone!


Esri User forum :Georeferencing Toolbar, options greyed out 

ArcGIS : One or more layers failed to draw.

ArcGIS : One or more layers failed to draw.

One or more layers failed to draw.

Labelling is very important in map making which is and I occasionally see this error message, now I won’t pretend to know exactly what is going on.   This error message (without any detail) happens to me when I have used a layer and have opted to label each feature differently (through an SQL query).   I think it happens when you relocate a database or MXD file and somehow the SQL query breaks. – I’d appreciate any insight into this if you have any…

The solution is simple:

  1. Right-click and select properties on your labelled layer (this isn’t an Annotation issue)
  2. Now click on the Labels tab.
  3. Click on the “Get Symbol Classes” and say Yes to overwriting the previous classes.
  4. Now click on the SQL Query button.
  5. In the SQL query dialog box delete the old query and redo the query again.
  6. Your features should now be labelled properly, Click Apply and then OK

Related: ArcGIS Support fourm 22547

    Installing Adobe CS2 on Windows 7 64bit

    Installing Adobe CS2 on Windows 7 64bit

    Well we’ve had a bit of trouble at the office when one of PCs decided to pack up a leave this earthly plain.   Naturally we had to buy a new PC which came with Windows 7 64bit.    Now I like Windows 7 it’s a lot less chatty than Vista and seems to ‘just work’, basically it seems people don’t notice that they’re using a new operating system which is very good for me as I also provide IT support for our small office!

    Anyway the task to reinstall everything we had on the old machine falls to me, which has gone quite smoothly really, except for the installation of Adobe CS2 which is not supported for Windows 7.  Apparently we should keep on the upgrade treadmill, but it’s difficult and expensive so we hold out for ‘must have’ features in new releases rather than upgrading for the sake of it… How many in our line of work for instance are still runnnig AutoCAD R14?!

    Anyway back to Adobe CS2, when you install it with the default settings inWindows 7 64bit the software won’t accept for some reason your Serial number.   I did some searching and found this thread that gave us the solution we were looking for:

    Please read the forum as well for additional information (not everyone’s problems are the same), and I shall also quote directly from the forum user Cinti, the only thing I would say about this solution is that for us the “/” should have been “\”: (this post was dated 13th February 2010)

    Are you using Windows 7 64 (probably will have the same problem in any Windows 64 OS)?

    If so, you must uninstall CS2 completely (not just PhotoShop) and specify that the preferences are to be removed as well. When you re-install, the installer will give the default install location as something like “C:/Program File (x86)/Adobe” but, when you click “OK” install will respond that the location is not valid.  DO NOT RESPECIFY AS  “C:/Program File/Adobe”, that’s the location for 64-bit apps and CS2 is 32-bit and needs to be in the (x86) folder to work properly.  Replace “C:/Program File (x86)/Adobe” with “C:/Program~2/Adobe”.  The installer may not “light” the OK button.  If so, click the browse button then the cancel button and “OK” should activate.  That’s it, CS2 will install.  If, after the install completes, you get the message that the app may not have installed properly, you probably did something wrong (i.e., when it’s in the 32-bit program folder you won’t get this message).

    Remember, this fix ONLY APPLIES TO Windows 64-BIT OSs. There are other causes for the message “Your adobe photoshop user name, organization, or serial number is missing or invalid.  The application cannot continue and must now exit.”. 

    I spent an hour and fifteen minutes waiting on hold for a Adobe technician for help only to be advised that CS2 is no longer supported by Adobe.  Don’t waste your time trying to get help from Adobe or getting upset with them for not being helpful (what’s the point, they’re holding all the cards and want you to drop another bundle for their latest release).

    So what’s the lesson from this?  Always check the internet for solutions to your software problems!