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ArcView Tips and Tricks

Here's a Few Tips and Tricks for ArcView 3.x
Named Extents Hawaii Projections and Datums
Rotating Themes and Shapefiles Calculating Acres and Miles
Hotlinking to JPEGs and HTML Pages Copying Attributes to Another Theme
Georeferencing Aerial Photos Cropping Geo-referenced Images
Hawaiian Fonts DDV's Hawaii Highway Shields

Named Extents...

ESRI includes a number of scripts and extensions in the ArcView samples directory. One of the extensions that has proven extremely useful is called Named Extents.

Named Extents allows you to name and save a particular view extent. In this way, you can name geographic regions and subregions within your view and then move quickly between them by using a simple drop down menu, rather than trying to pan and zoom around.

This ability has proven extremely effective during live presentations or demos. It can also be a major time saver when doing editing. View extents can be easily added or deleted using drop down menu.

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Hawaii Projections and Datums...

GIS agencies within Hawaii use different map projections and datums. The State Office of Planning has all their data in UTM (Zone 4), meters, Old Hawaiian Datum. The City and County of Honolulu uses State Plane, feet, Old Hawaiian Datum. Maui County uses State Plane (Zone 2), meters, NAD83.

It used to be that you had to have access to Arc/Info in order to re-project data between these various sources. Even with the new projection engine in ArcView, this task is a bit daunting for the average ArcView user. However, Richard Stone from the ESRI Hawaii office has written an extension that makes reprojecting Hawaii GIS data a snap.

Check the ESRI ArcScripts page for the latest version. If you are a regular user of ArcView (or any ESRI software product), ArcScripts should be your second home. Or if you are in a hurry, you can download a copy of the extension here.

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Rotating Themes and Shapefiles...

There are occasions where ArcView's standard "north is up" orientation is not desired. This is especially the case in Hawaii, where the normal orientation is mauka-makai (from the mountain to the sea). This is, in part, due to the traditional Hawaiian ahupua`a concept.

A search through the ArcView-L (mailing list) archives turned up a theme rotation script (called RotateShapeApply). The script was modified by chief Maui GIS geek, Bill Medeiros, and further massaged by Jason Kornoff of the ESRI California-Hawaii-Nevada-Guam Regional Office. The latest version of the script, and brief instructions for its use, is available for download. As with all scripts you find on the internet, use this script at your own risk.

If you are not into Avenue scripts and prefer an extension, a company in Sweden called SWEGIS distributes the Analysis Extension. This extension includes over two dozen tools including a theme rotation tool. We tested this extension (a 30-day free trial is provided) and found it to be very well designed.

HINT: Based on our experience, don't use default rotation (center) points. Choose the x,y coordinates for the rotation point yourself (you can see the numbers in the upper right hand corner of the view as you move the cursor around). Then note them down somewhere. That way, if you need to rotate additional themes later, you can be a lot more certain that all the rotated themes will match up.

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Calculating Acres and Miles...

ArcView provides a script to calculate the area and perimeter of polygon shapefiles. If you need to calculate acreage as well, there's a modified version of ESRI's script which will calculate acres in addition to area and perimeter. The script will check to make sure that the map units has been set to feet or meters in View Properties and then it will apply the proper conversion factor. (The script only works with shapefiles that have been projected into meters or feet.)

The latest version of the script will also calculate linear feet and miles for polyline themes.

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Hotlinking to JPEGs and HTML Pages...

The HotLink tool in ArcView is extremely useful. However, the standard method of hotlinking to an image leaves much to be desired (it only works with GIF images and this doesn't work well for photography). Luckily, ESRI has the answer tucked away in the ArcView samples directory. It is a script named "lnkimgvw.ave", and once you have it loaded and compiled, you can use it to hotlink to JPEG images.

We've also used the hotlink tool to link to Netscape in order to view documents written in HTML. We use this to bring up zoning codes. HTML allows us a simple means of controlling formatting. We've found the older versions of Netscape Navigator will boot faster than Communicator, but we have sample scripts that will work with both version 3.x and 4.x. Note that Netscape will boot up each time you use the hotlink tool. If you find a way to get around this, let me know.

Theoretically, ArcView for Windows should be able to boot up any other Windows program. Check out the ESRI ArcScripts page for the HotLink API extension (just search on "hotlink"). It claims to use Windows interoperability to run any Windows program from ArcView. We haven't tried it, but it looks interesting.

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Copying Attributes to Another Theme...

Do you want to copy certain attributes from one theme and copy them to another theme? You could use the ArcView "join" command, but what if there is no common data field? You may want to try the Attribute Overlay script written by Holly Gaudet. The extension allows you to overlay two themes and copy attributes from one to another. The features in the edit theme has to match or be wholly within the source theme and you need to be aware of one-to-many relationships. But it is a very useful tool and has proven to be a time saver for us.

As with most of the stuff on this page, the Attribute Overlay script can be downloaded from the ESRI ArcScripts page.

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Registering Aerial Photos or Scanned Maps...

There are several scripts or extensions that allow you to register aerial photos or scanned maps in ArcView. There are three that we have some experience with. These range in cost from free to about $2500.

For free: Mark Cederholm has written a script that does simple two-point geo-referencing of a JPEG image. He has a separate script that writes out a JPEG worldfile. It does take some work to find the best point locations that give you the desired results, but you can't beat the price.

For free, but only if you already have Spatial Analyst: Kenneth McVay has created the Image Warp extension. The extension uses ArcView Spatial Analyst to warp an image to match a set of points that you enter. The results are very impressive. You can find Image Warp at the ESRI ArcScripts page.

Not free, but worth every penny: ERDAS/ESRI's ArcView Image Analysis. We used Mark Cederholm's script, got the powers-that-be hooked on aerial photos, then got them to purchase Image Analysis. It has easily paid for itself. We scan aerial photos, development proposals, historical maps -- you name it... It is an excellent piece of software.

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Cropping a Geo-referenced Image...

So, now that you have that image registered, what do you do about the black areas around the image? One thing you can do is create a polygon shapefile to act as a mask to cover the black areas. The cleaner approach is to download Kenneth McVay's Image Crop Miser extension from the ESRI ArcScripts page. Image Crop Miser will crop the registered photo and write a world file to match the cropped image. It's an easy way to reduce file sizes, save file space and speed up drawing time. You can also use the extension to mosiac your images.

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Hawaiian Fonts...

The folks at the University of Hawaii at Hilo have put together a set of downloadable Hawaiian fonts. The fonts allow you to use Hawaiian diacriticals (`okina and kahako) in Windows applications (they also have font sets for Macintosh as well). We've tested the Windows fonts in ArcView 3.1 and they work just fine. We did have some problems in Crystal Reports and we're not sure if the problem is the software or us.

One important hint: if you are going to use special fonts in your shapefile, you should create separate fields for the Hawaiian spelling and for the anglicized spelling (without diacriticals). This will allow you to use the anglicized spelling for sorting and searching, and then use the proper Hawaiian spelling for your labels and layouts.

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DDV's Hawaii Highway Shields...

Jim Mossman is currently updating his ArcView symbol palettes (and adding Arc/Info and ArcGIS palettes) of highway shields for many states within the US (including Hawaii). Please check the ESRI ArcScripts page for the Hawaii highway shield set. We've tried it and it works great.

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This is just the start...

I'm still working on this page and hope to add more stuff when I get the chance. Check back occasionally. Or better yet, post your own page of ArcView Tips and Tricks.


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Maui GIS Web Pages:

Maui GIS Home Page
ESRI Maui User Group | Free ArcView Resources | ArcView Tips and Tricks
For more info Contact Maui GIS

This page copyright 2002 by The Makule Guy hisself.