Time-out for GIS Technicians

Everyone needs a break from technology, especially GIS technicians burdened with repetitive editing tasks and common map production requests. ArcGIS 10 is full of time-saving techniques to create more time and free your mind for creative analytical work.

Here are four enhancements I’ve found the most useful…

1. Search window

The new search window lets you filter searches using tools, data, layers, and symbols. This means no more navigating through endless network drives looking for a specific map document or feature class. It also means speeding up the whole search by indexing just the folders you know the GIS data is stored.

2. Editing

At 10, editing is streamlined to reduce the number of mouse clicks needed to edit a feature. Feature templates make it easy to choose the right tool and layer for editing.

The most commonly used editing tools have been moved to a new toolbar. And this toolbar follows you around when you’re editing to make sure you have the tools you need when you need them—kind of like your own personal editing butler. There is also a new “Martini Please!” tool you can add through the customize mode command. For more info on What’s New in Editing, watch this video or visit this site.

3. Map Scripting Capabilities

Have you ever opened a map and been faced with a bunch of angry exclamation marks? Or needed to find some data about CO2? Now you can load Python scripts to automatically repair broken data links, and add searchable tags to your map documents. This video is a great demo.

Many of these scripts are already available for you to use. Some good resources include:
Video: Python Scripting for Map Automation in ArcGIS 10

ArcGIS Resource Centre: Map automation with Python and arcpy.mapping

ArcGIS Resource Centre: What is ArcPy?

For those of you who have never programmed before – never fear, here are some “Getting Started” tutorials.

4. Data-Driven Pages

You can design a map series out of the box with just a few clicks using Data Driven Pages. By combining the new python scripting functionality with Data Driven Pages, you can deploy your script as an ArcGIS Server geoprocessing service, allowing users to produce maps over the web. See this video for a quick demo.

Anandamayi Ma

This lady used her free time to completely remove GIS from her mind. She is relaxing and taking time out from her hectic GIS responsibilities. Soon she will return to editing and geoprocessing tasks with a quiet, alert mind.

– Keera P.

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