Friday, February 25, 2011


Esri's Bern Szukalski visited the City of Philadelphia GIS team in early December to show and discuss ArcGIS Explorer (AGX) capabilities. We were considering using AGX or AGX Online (AGXO) to present the city's GIS strategic plan to stakeholders. Bern asked if we thought AGXO would be adequate for this project and its objectives, as outlined by the city's Director of Enterprise GIS. I had no reason to doubt it at the time. Now I'm not so sure.

AGX Online is limited to basic labels and popups. It will fall short on a couple of the projects objectives: It won't present the GIS Strategic Plan with a lot of "impact" to city government audiences, nor display "Powerpoint-like" design details, as the GIS Director hoped.

Working the AGXO Frederick Douglass presentation ( ) showed me that AGXO is limited to:
  • Basemaps pan, zoom, and switch
  • Titles and text labels
  • Point, line, and polygon graphics
  • Popups from the graphics that are limited to
    • title and short text
    • displayed image or video
    • one hyperlink
That's all there is.

The strategic plan presentation might be improved somewhat with enhancements in the next release of AGXO, which Bern demo'd at Esri's Federal UC in January. He also described it at . Enhancements are:
  • map feature templates
  • better feature and annotation editing wizards
  • better user experience -- streamlined and simplified for ease of use.
The first two will make authoring more efficient but won't expand AGXO's presentation quality very much. Better user experience will help. This is something that many of my Frederick Douglass AGXO beta testers critiqued.

Maybe Esri can give me access to the new release in time for use on this project.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The "Search for Frederick Douglass's Birthplace" - interactive map presentation is online:

To get familiar with map/presentation authoring using ArcGIS Explorer Online (AGXO), I created an AGXO presentation using Choptank River Heritage data that I'm familiar with, and which was readily available. 

I've provided feedback to Esri on the AGXO authoring experience.  They requested feedback as part of our collaboration in which they provide tech support for an AGXO project I'm doing for the city of Philadelphia.

Any feedback appreciated.  Your responses to questions like these would help:

Did you have trouble getting or using the Silverlight plug-in that's needed for this?  (It's like the Adobe Flash plug-in.)
Could you find the start button okay?
Does the sequence make sense?  How could it be improved?
Is it easy to read and understand?  How could text or colors be improved?
What's missing?
What's extra that should be removed?
What type device did you use to view the presentation (e.g. laptop, iPad, phone type?)
What browser and operating system did you use?


Aerial photos of the Frederick Douglass Birthplace are online.

See the photos here .

I flew this site in 2004.  The album includes an index map that shows the location and orientation of each photo.

The actual birthplace is 4 miles (7 miles by road) from the highway marker in Talbot County, Maryland, that commemorates Douglass.  I'll publish the URL soon for an online map-based presentation, "The Search for Frederick Douglass's Birthplace".

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Choptank GIS :: Projects under way

I'm working on these Choptank heritage mapping projects:
  • Map viewer to be hosted at that will show locations and give info popups with links to web pages and pics for:
    • Historic sites on the Choptank and Tuckahoe (CRHC inventory)
    • National Register of Historic Places (data provided by MHT).
    • Public Landing
    • Some environmental/education sites
      This map viewer will be built on Esri's ArcGIS Viewer for Flex.
  • "The Search for Birthplace of Frederick Douglass's Birthplace".  A map-based presentation built on Esri's ArcGIS Explorer online.  This should be public in time to commemorate Black History Month.