Keyboard Shortcuts in ArcGIS 10

I’m always looking for ways to make my workflow more efficient, from creating scripts to automate a process or trying to simplify models so that they are both effective and efficient.

What about making the day-to-day use of ArcGIS faster?  Many of us create our own toolbars or custom buttons to make workflow faster, but what about using keyboard shortcuts?  If you do a lot of programming, or spend a lot time using any piece of software you want to know the available keyboard shortcuts.

We use keyboard shortcuts all the time from ctrl+c, ctrl+v, ctrl+s and many, many others.  What about keyboard shortcuts in our favorite program, ArcGIS?  Yes, they exist, and many of them are pretty helpful.  The basic ones for copy, paste, and save all exist, and there are many more including shortcuts for toggling all the layers in the table of contents, working in a table, or editing features.

Where can one learn all about these shortcuts?  Well, Esri has published a document on this exact topic that I find very useful.  There are a number of keyboard shortcuts and a number of other general tips that will benefit the novice or expert user.

Arc Shortcuts

What about tips and shortcuts for other tools that GIS users access all the time?  Well, there are number of tips for the field calculator, however, this tipsheet is a little old, but still relevant.

Know of any shortcut lists?  Post a link the comments section.  I’m sure someone will find it helpful.


2010 Massachusetts Census Results – Dual Maps Mash-Up

Taking a page from my friends at MAGIC and the Connecticut State Data Center, I’ve put together a simple dual-map Google Map mash-up of the recently released Massachusetts 2010 census data using the Google Map V3 API (see their example here).  The release of the 2010 Massachusetts census did have its problems, but now the correct data are available for download.  The census data are displayed using a dual-map approach. The top map displays the 2010 town-by-town population count while the bottom map displays the percent change between the 2000 and 2010 census.

Click here to visit the interactive maps.

Dual Census Map

Being a dual-map the zoom and pan controls are mimicked on each map.  For example, if the user zooms or pans on the top map, the bottom map reacts accordingly.  The user can also click on a polygon and a small info window will open that displays some basic census data.  Over the past ten years population in Massachusetts has grown slowly, with increases in the towns of central Massachusetts.  However, population has declined in many western Massachusetts towns.

The code for this page can be easily replicated and used for any number of other states, counties or towns. The user would have to create their own kmz or kml file and modify the javascript and html for their own needs.  Unfortunately, Massachusetts is a tough fit for a webpage due to its shape.  In this example much of the screen is dedicated to either ocean or other states.

*Update – I changed some of the code to position the maps and the legends so that they look better when the user shrinks the screen.  The KMLs may also load slowly, depending on your connection speed.

Happy mapping!


Ignite Spatial: Boston – March 24th – New Location!

Ignite Spatial: Boston 3 is this week!  The talks have been announced and can be found on ISpatial Boston’s website (just scroll down the page a little bit to get to them).

It was also announced that the venue has changed from the SCVNGR offices to the IBM Research offices at 1 Rogers Street in Cambridge.  Some tickets have opened up as well.  Check out the waiting list to see if there are any left!

There appears to be a good variety of talks from a number of different perspectives, which is always a good thing for these types of events.  I’m looking forward to Adena Schutzberg’s talk.  I’ve seen her talk a couple times now and she always has some really interesting to say.  I really like conferences/meetings like this, where you have people from a variety of backgrounds sharing their experiences with spatial analysis and GIS. By listening to their unique point of view, it may challenge your own, or give you an idea on how you can improve what you do.

It is an exciting time for the Boston geospatial community!

Sweet 2010 Census Mash-Up

My hard-working friends at the Connecticut State Data Center and the Map and Geographic Information Center (MAGIC) at the University of Connecticut Homer Babbidge Library have started to post data from the Wednesday March, 9th release of the 2010 census data for the state of Connecticut.  Talk about a quick turn around!

One of their most interesting 2010 Census Google Map Mash-Ups on their site displays dual-linked Google Maps, with one map displaying the 2010 Connecticut census results by town and the other the 2000 Connecticut census results by town.  The dual-linked maps are synchronized, meaning that movement one map happen on the other.  The user also has the ability to search for their town, or download the data for their own use.  The user can also click on a town and view a table of census data to see how population has changed across Connecticut.  I’m looking forward to what other mash-ups they roll out over the next few days.

Take a look at their site.  MAGIC has been around for a long time, and they have always been innovators in their field.

CTSDC Dual Linked Maps - 2010 Census
CTSDC Dual Linked Maps - 2010 Census

and…quick disclaimer, I helped write the code for the underlying mash-up.  That’s it, they did the rest and they did a great job.

Ignite Spatial: Boston – Tickets available Monday!

Listen up geo-nerds! ISpatial Boston‘s Ignite Spatial spring event is right around the corner. This spring’s event will be at the SVGNR offices in Cambridge on March 24th starting at 6:30pm.

What is Ignite Spatial? Ignite Spatial is a one day conference about anything and everything geospatial crammed into two hours! Presenters give lighting talks; 20 slides that automatically change every 15 seconds each, for a five minute presentation.  No long and boring talks here.

For last year’s talks visit their youtube page.  This is a great event, because it is not just “GIS guys” who present, but programmers, database pros, map geeks, and people who have some great ideas about we handle, analyze and present geospatial data.

Ignite Spatial’s space is limited so get your ticket early.  This event is a great opportunity to see some really creative and innovated geospatial professionals present their ideas in a really fun format.

Hope to see you there!


NASA Image of the Day and Windows 7

I recently got Windows 7 on my work machine and while I was configuring my settings I came across a new feature that I thought was pretty neat.  The user can now create a desktop background image slideshow.  All the user has to do is point the tool to a directory of images, configure some settings, and presto, desktop slideshow.

Now, what does this have to do with this blog?  Well, being a geographer who works with the natural environment, I wanted images that reflected my interests.  I proceeded to download a number of images from NASA’s Image of the Day website for this purpose.

There are a number of images that are great for the type of analysis that I do, and I often use data from NASA and other related agencies in my analysis.  There is an added bonus to these unique datasets, a number of the images come as GeoTiffs, or KMLs, making the data available in a number of GIS programs from Google Earth to Quantum (and ArcGIS).  The images have a fairly good resolution are in an open format, making them available in almost every GIS software on the market.


NASA Image of the Day in Google Earth
NASA Image of the Day in Google Earth

Other examples of these NASA images that are in GIS friendly format include smog over northern China, recent flooding in Australia, and volcanic activity on Mt. Etna. However, not all the images are rectified, so make sure you check the details before you download.

NASA Image of the Day in Quantum
NASA Image of the Day in Quantum

Now are the images exactly what you need to solve a problem at work or in class?  Maybe not, but they are a great demonstration in regards to the power of remote sensing and GIScience.  I’ve used images from this site a number of times during lectures, and when appropriate, in projects for work (don’t worry, I know the terms and conditions).  So, if you have five minutes (which may turn into an hour), browse the site, download a few images for your sweet new desktop background image slideshow, and take note of what could help you in your day-to-day GIS workflow.