CTSP Technical Tips Column: The following is the text of a special standing-room
only CTSP workshop presented by Larry Orman at the 1998 ESRI International
CTSP Technical Tips Column:
The following is the text of a special standing-room only CTSP workshop presented by Larry Orman at the 1998 ESRI International Conference.
HOT TIPS FOR GREAT GIS ON A BUDGET
Larry Orman, Greeninfo Network
Making your GIS software do what you wanted and enabling it to do more are like the Holy Grail -- something to search after, but probably never to find. Well, if your standards are just a little lower, you can actually achieve a huge amount. Here are some tips that come out of the experience of GreenInfo Network, a non-profit GIS support organization based in San Francisco (www.greeninfo.org):
#1: GREAT TOOLS FOR GIS OPERATIONS
ArcView at version 3.1 has some terrific capabilities that reduce the need for looking outside to improve its capacities, but there's still lots to consider -- and there are always people who figure out things that no one ever expected.
It always pays to keep up to date on the ArcView Scripts and Extensions area of the ESRI web site, as well as to explore the many programs that ship with ArcView, especially 3.1. Things change often, so check in every month or so. Here are some enhancements to ArcView that we've found especially useful (actual script names can be seen on the web site):
At GreenInfo Network, we've created our own internal scripts web page, downloading the scripts we need and building a page that lists them all, with a hyperlink that displays the text file of the script so that it can be copied directly into an AV script window.
One of the best ArcView extensions is XTOOLS, created by Mike Delaune of the Oregon Dept. of Forestry. This extension gives you the ability to do GIS spatial functions, such as BUFFER, CLIP, ERASE, IDENTITY, INTERSECT, UNION, UPDATE, and MERGE. Plus it has many shapefile management tools, and table management tools. A number of these functions have now been replicated in ArcView 3.1, but XTOOLS is still a valuable adjunct to the ArcView core. Where to get it: firstname.lastname@example.org
From Sweden comes a very useful extension, called The Analysis Extension by SWEGIS ($400, licensed). It helps bridge the capabilities of ArcInfo. They've also come out with a spreadsheet like ArcView table editor. Go to: www.swegis.com
#2: MAKE YOUR OUTPUT OUTSTANDING
ARCPRESS: The most important tool for output is to get ArcPress, no matter what it takes (it boosts quality and speed, and gives you scaling -- a modest price for big jump in quality). User tips for ArcPress:
PALETTES: Rigorous use of color (and B&W) palettes is vital to do high quality output. Here are our tips:
Test your palettes -- print all AV palettes on all your printers and use them as guides to determine consistent color. Color is a big issue with ArcView which doesn't support ICC standards (yet?!), and has non-conventional and limited color management capabilities. Use the SYMBOL DUMP script to build standard palettes, print them out as references
ARTIST.AVP -- while there are lots of them in AV 3.1, check out the outstanding ARTIST.AVP (on ESRI web site, by Jim Mossman). Match palette to printer -- do symbol dumps for each printer.
OTHER PRINTING TIPS:
#3: MAKE POWERFUL PRESENTATIONS
Here are a bunch of general tips about using GIS in presentations:
All text © by the respective organizations, November 15, 1999
Compilation & web design: Charles Convis, ESRI Conservation Program, November 15, 1999