ArcGIS Open Data Site of the Week: Alberta Geological Survey

Alberta Geological Survey Open Data CatalogueI worked with the great people at the Alberta Geological Survey to put together this blog post about their ArcGIS Open Data implementation.

What’s really cool is how they’re integrating their Open Data site with their web maps. For example, when you click on a feature on their Alberta Interactive Minerals Map (AIMM), which is a joint project with Alberta Energy, a pop up opens up with a link to that feature’s entry in their Open Data site.

Read about it here:

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Top 10 Reasons to Share Your Data with ArcGIS Open Data Blog Post

My new blog post, Top 10 Reasons to Share Your Data with ArcGIS Open Data, was published this morning. Go read it on the Esri Insider blog.

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Esri Insider Blog Posts

I’ve had a couple blog posts published on the Esri Insider blog.

I plan to start updating this blog again. Just need to sit down and figure out what to do with it.

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Batkid Saves Gotham City Story Map

Batkid Saves Gotham City! is a story map about Batkid (Miles Scott) that I put together with Jennifer Jacob by using one of Esri’s story map templates. Miles story is amazing and inspiring and we couldn’t help but tell his story. The story map includes a link to The Batkid Fund, which Miles’ parents set up to help the local charities that had done so much to help Miles.

Batkid Story Map Screenshot

Re-experience Batkid’s journey as he saves Gotham City (San Francisco).

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iOS 6 Apple Maps Sucks and No Google Maps App!? So What? Try These.

That Apple’s new Maps app included with iOS 6 is subpar isn’t news. In fact, it’s been done to death. You can read/watch some of the complaints here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, etc. Just as bad are the complaints that the Google Maps app is not available for iOS 6 and the only way to get driving directions on the iPhone 5 is to use Google Maps on the phone’s web browser.

These complaints are so widespread that Saturday Night Live even did a sketch about it on last night’s show, which you can watch the hilarious video here.

I just don’t get the uproar. Sure, it is annoying that the default iOS 6 mapping app is half-baked and that a Google Maps app isn’t available right now. But you know what? Apple’s going to get the kinks worked out,  Google would be insane to not be developing Google Maps for iOS 6, and there are plenty of other navigation apps available for the iPhone. To all you iPhone 5 owners out there, look at this as an opportunity to try out one of the other navigation apps.

After doing a quick search of the Apple App Store, I’ve put together a list of free alternative navigation apps for the iPhone (all these links go to the app’s page on

A complete list of navigation apps for the iPhone (free and otherwise) is available from here.

Note: I use an Android phone, so I haven’t used any of these apps on an iPhone. That being said, I use the Android version of the Waze app, which just blows the Google Maps app out of the water.

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How to Set Up Esri Geoportal Server 1.2.2 on Windows

This whitepaper is an update to my How to Set Up an Esri Geoportal Server
 article from the Summer, 2011 issue of ArcUser. It gives step-by-step instructions for installing the Esri Geoportal Server on an internal Windows server.

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Creating the Esri Geoportal Server LiveDVD Demo: Part 2

This a continuation of Creating the Esri Geoportal Server LiveDVD Demo: Part 1. I didn’t mean to make it a month between posts, but development of this DVD was a complicated processes and I wasn’t sure how to write about it.

As I wrote in Part 1, there were 5 parts to creating the LiveDVD:

  1. Getting the Geoportal up and running.
  2. Customizing the Geoportal
  3. Customizing the Linux operating system interface.
  4. The informational website, which pops open when the LiveDVD is started and provides information about the Geoportal as well as how to get started using the demo.
  5. Converting the virtual machine to a LiveDVD.

The part will cover Part 2: Customizing the Geoportal.

You see, the Geoportal comes with a default interface that’s great for people to use when setting up their own geoportal.

But wouldn’t quite work for the demo.

First, the color was wrong. If you go to the Geoportal’s webpage on, you’ll see that the product’s official color is a dark green. Second, the existing text is just placeholder text that’s supposed to be replaced with custom content. I wanted it to be useful for people who are loading up the Geoportal for the first time and have no idea what to do next.

So, making the Geoportal green.

Fortunately, the Geoportal also comes with a blue skin.

While that wouldn’t work either, I thought it would be easier to customize that than the red skin.

And for the most part it was. The bottom banner and headings to the two central boxes were easy to changed; just some quick Paint Shop Pro work. The top banner proved to be much trickier. I wanted to use the same banner that appears on the Geoportal’s webpage. The problem is with where the text has to appear on top of the banner; the title in the bottom left corner and some text links in the top right. I just couldn’t get the banner placed so the text all appears over the dark green parts. I finally had to flip the banner over. It was the only solution that worked.

Finally, with the help of the Geoportal Dev Team, I updated the text. The final Geoportal home page looks like this:

Next Time: Customizing the Linux Operating System

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