I’ve been working over the last few months with Safe Software to build some data loading tools for the ESRI Community Maps program. We did our first Webinar on Tuesday of this week.
If you were at the ESRI Conference in San Diego or have heard any of the chatter from that event, you will have heard the emphasis that ESRI is placing on getting organizations to participate in ArcGIS Online. In the words of Clint Brown, “GIS on the web requires great basemaps; the Community Maps Program is a unified, harmonized series of basemaps authored and shared by the ArcGIS Community”.
Some reasons to participate:
1. You can extend the reach of your GIS – ESRI will market, host, and distribute your content.
2. You get access to best practices – for maps, data models, tools, and applications
3. For local government there is one information model – that supports multiple maps and applications.
4. OMG if you think your local GIS community argues too much about data, just wait until they start arguing about maps – ESRI is providing some great examples that will improve your quality of life!
The idea for our FME project was to load some City of Austin data into the latest ESRI ArcGIS for Local Government Data Model. There are some interesting twists and turns in the examples, one of the most interesting is the need to build a set of FacilitySite points and polygons. Don’t know what those are? If you work for a local government organization I bet you have one layer for parks, another for schools (maybe even 3 or 4), another layer for churches, another layer for police stations, … in most local government organizations there are about 300 “layers” with about a dozen features in each dataset. FacilitySites lump all of those datasets into one point feature class and one polygon feature class.
In Austin, like many other cities, they had points for most facilities, but not polygons. We tried to build some polygons from landuse using FME, but this effort needed more work to merge polygons, add names to the facilities, etc. than we could do without getting City Staff involved. This data gap and other gaps in the required datasets to make the ESRI topographic map work correctly were probably the biggest challenge.
For more info, do check out the recorded version of the Webinar, you can also download the materials from a link on the same page. For more info about the ESRI Programs please check out http://resources.arcgis.com/content/local-government