Tag Archives: ESRI

Building Avkat Web App in Microsoft Visual Studio 2012

I have chosen Visual Studio as the environment in which we will create the new Avkat Web App. This app will collaborate with the work Daniel has done on ArcGIS online.  I have embedded the map within my website, which was a fairly straightforward process.  I have created a interface that allows for querying our tabular data on the database Avkat_mySql.  Users will be able to chose content types of features, survey units, and ceramics.  Users can specify a date range or Era which corresponds to each content type. When Users click the button “Execute Query” a table will be generated that includes all the needed attributes of their chosen content. The first two cells of each row contain an info and photo button. The info button will bring the user to a new tab that has a detailed listing of all attributes. The photo button will bring the user to a new tab that will display all photos of the chosen content.

We are currently creating the functionality behind the photo and info button. I am collaborating with Daniel to make this happen.  The design of the current website is also under construction. We are focusing on the functionality of the web app first and foremost.  Here is a quick look at what we have so far, with some queried results.

Screenshot

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Troubleshooting Arcgis Map Services

the last week I have spent numerous hours troubleshooting arcgis map services. I had created multiple map services to host in an arcgisonline map. These services each act as a single layer in my map. The layers are observation points, features, survey units, modern roads, modern towns, quickbird imagery, and a digital elevation model. 

Two of the layers experienced problems with loading them into a web format. This was traced back to an ArcSDE problem. The features and survey units layers both required multiple related tables to be used. They also required a new related table, the photolog. This new table would allow us to choose a given feature F0002, and get back a list of the photo IDs that were taken at that specific feature. 

I spent numerous hours on the phone with ESRI technical support and we discovered that the problem stemmed from our database having a capital A in its name, Avkat.SDE. Therefore I had to create a new database that I could host the problem data in. This was no easy task. As errors were appearing that the ESRI analyst said, “This error only happens in ArcGIS 9.1”. Needless to say I was in ArcGIS 9.3. After much effort, I finally got the features and survey units layers to work and they are up and running. However during a second technical support session, I learned that Arcgisonline does not support related table views in their popups. This is a problem, as we wanted to be able to click on an individual feature and see in the popup all the information from the feature table, but also pictures. We now need a new way to show the pictures for individual features. This will have to be handled by the query method. 

We are now proceeding to add functionality to the query portion of the website. We are adding in a method to view a basic layout of the information queried as well as options for extra information and a button to view the photos. 

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Arcgisonline updates

Recently I have setup a map in Arcgisonline for eventual use embedded in the avkat website.

  • The layers of this map are taken from the Mapserver definition file currently running on earth.cofc.edu:10080/avkat.html.
  • I took the MapServer file that is being hosted on earth and split it into seven seperate MapServer files that are each running independently on earth.
  • Then I imported them into a new map in Arcgisonline  with their own observation pop-ups.

With the help of Norm, I imported the photolog to our Avkat geodatabase as an SDE geodatabase table. To begin working on bringing the photos into the map as part of each feature’s popup along with its other information.

  • I then imported this table to the Survey Units MapServer file
  • and the Features MapServer File.
  • This photolog has a field FUSUID that shows either the FUID or the SUID where each picture was taken of the over 15,000 pictures.
  • I then related the features layer to photolog on FUID and FUSUID.
  • I then related the survey units layer to photolog on SUID and FUSUID.
  • these relates will allow us to know exactly which photos go with every single fuid and suid.

The next step is to setup the photos on our server so that they can be accessed by our map.

  • Originally we thought that we could create a Raster Catalog that would point to the directory where the photos are and that we would not need to actually move the photos. 
  • After we began the geoprocess we realized that creating a raster catalog and loading the photos would actually copy and paste the 40 gigabytes of photos. This was no good.
  • We then realized that all we had to do was to create a simple website with a list of hyperlinks to each photo using our Inetpub/wwwroot directory.
  • This gave me a lot more trouble that expected. I discovered that the standard way to create a html page has all links within the same directory as the html page in the wwwroot folder. I had something different, my pictures were on a network drive on an entirely seperate machine.
  • I attempted to create a virtual directory using IIS 6.0 so that the hyperlink would assume that on my website, https://earth.cofc.edu/avkat_photos.default.htm there would be a way to go to https://earth.cofc.edu/avkat_photos/images/imagename to view a specific photo called imagename. This “subdirectory” images would not be located physically within the avkat_photos directory.
  • I am still researching how to correctly execute this virtual directory to allow my hyperlinks to work correctly.

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Merging Spatial and Tabular Databases

I am copying the spatial SQL database, named Avkat, and the tabular SQL database, named avkat_mysql, from the geodata server where they are live, to the beta server, gis.cofc.edu. Once they are both copied to gis, we will attempt to run our live beta version of the web viewer through these two beta databases. I will begin to merge the spatial and tabular databases into a single database for our beta production, in order to simplify the querying done by our system.

I discovered how to copy the tabular database from geodata to gisdata. That was easily done within sql server management studio. The spatial data requires extra steps. I attempted a plain copy using sql server but this will not work. The spatial database is a geodatabase that has certain schema properties set from arcgis server. I am not able to do this at the moment because our arcgis server version 10.1 is not running at the moment. I have found that all I have to do is use the Enable Enterprise Geodatabase tool in arccatalog to change the schema of a basic sql server database into an arc sde. This requires something called an authorization file.

      “Provide the path and file name of the keycodes file that was created when you authorized ArcGIS for Server Enterprise. This file is in the \\Program Files\ESRI\License<release#>\sysgen folder on Windows and /arcgis/server/framework/runtime/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/ESRI/License<release#>/sysgen directory on Linux. If you have not already done so, authorize ArcGIS for Server to create this file.”

This authorization file is not there on our machine because we have been having trouble updating the version of arcgis server from 10.0 to 10.1. Once we can finish the install on our arcgis server, we will be able to create a new SDE geodatabase.

As an aside, Dr. Newhard asked me to post the following so we would not forget. We also discovered a change in how connecting to SDE databases works in arcgis 10.1. When connecting to Avkat as an SDE in ArcGIS, after creating the connection shortcut, you must right click on the database connection, then go to geodatabase connection properties and change the transactional version from DEFAULT to Published. This will allow it to show all of the changes made to it by us.

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User Interface: Alpha II

We are continuing work on the Alpha phase of our user interface. As you can see, there have been a variety of changes between the work presented here and our last blog post. This user interface is closer to what we envisioned when creating the mock-up, but includes some substantial comments along with changes. The two main changes have been the adding of an accordion styled panes allowing for organization of various comments/notes and the addition of two exporting title panes (one for querying tabular data on the left and another for a user-defined geospatial query on the right).

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User Interface: Alpha

We have recently finished upgrading our servers from ArcServer 9.3 to ArcServer 10 SP 3. After upgrading we were able to begin building our user interface. Below is an image of the user interface from its alpha phase. Our primary goal during this phase is accessing our data via a REST service using ESRI’s REST API.

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Tools of the Trade

We will be using a variety of software for this summer which will build upon previous work for the Avkat Archaeological Project. Prior work has been dominated by the creation of an SQL database coded in MySQL. A front-end was created for this database using PHP for query optimization. This database has stored all tabular and image data for the project, however spatial information has been lacking.

ArcSDE is used to store spatial information. Recently the MySQL database was translated to PostgreSQL which employs pgAdminIII. This allows for better communication between the SQL database and the ArcSDE geodatabase.

Currently, we are working on building data queries which result in tables and views which can then be queried by end users. It is important to note here the difference between the two – tables and views. Tables result in a more static image of the data within the SQL database. This means that as the data is changed within SQL database, the table either stays the same or breaks due to information loss. Views, on the other hand, update their information thereby allowing end-user queries on the most recent version of the data. While it seems that views are more ideal than tables, there are situations where a table could be useful. Such a situation could include when a researcher does not need the most up-to-date dataset.

Future work will include uploading this information to ArcServer and at least one web-mapping application (WMA) will be created. Information is uploaded to ArcServer in order to serve out geospatial data which, in this case, has been joined to tabular data. REST services will then be created via ArcServer REST API. These REST services will then be consumed by the WMA.

Our WMA will employ ArcGIS API for JavaScript. As such, the end-user interface is highly customizable. This level of customization is not only useful, but necessary when dealing with researchers that have different foci for their research. We can create one over-arching WMA which allows many researchers to access the same data or we can create many highly specialized WMAs. There are various benefits and drawbacks to both of these approaches. Additionally, this API allows for coding in HTML5 thereby increasing the capabilities of the WMA.

An Example

It might be useful to provide an example for how this applies more directly to archaeological research. Field research for the Avkat Archaeological Project tied artifact information to an observation point, which can correspond with zero to infinity artifacts. These artifacts have been recorded on paper forms which have been entered into a SQL database which stores data in a tabular format.

Geospatial data will then be tied to the tabular data by using ArcSDE. ArcSDE functions as middleware between the tabular and geospatial data. This means that the spatial observation points can then be tied (i.e. joined) to the tabular data. This is where differing versions can be created. For example, here we can join the observation points to a broad overview of all artifacts found at that point or to specific assemblages such as lithics or pottery. The beauty of this is that when the geospatial data is queried, i.e. through selection, the query retrieves all relevant/joined tabular data. Similarly, when tabular data is queried through the WMA the spatial information can also be referenced (i.e. highlighted). This provides a valuable tool to the analyst wishing not only understand the assemblage quantitatively, but also spatially.

A researcher conducting pottery analysis can observe an anomaly of interest at a given point and select nearby points to see if this anomaly continues into other areas. We additionally seek to provide the ability to download relevant data in both tabular and geospatial formats.

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