Thursday, March 30, 2006

Script & Workshop: Export ArcMap Features to Google Maps (HTML)

We (my GRA and I) have developed a simple script that will export ArcMap features directly to an HTML file containing a representation of those features overlaid on Google Maps. We are using it as part of a workshop on mashups and web mapping scheduled for this afternoon.

We named the script ArcMap2GMap, and it can be downloaded (along with the workshop materials) here. Extract the files in this self-extracting rar file (sfx) directly to the 'C' drive. This is set up as the default. A new folder will be created on your 'C' drive called ArcMap2GMap. Launch the ArcMap2GMap.mxd file, add some layers, click the custom button, fill out the quick wizard (including your registered API key), and you're all set. The files generated in the C:\ArcMap2GMap\mashupFiles directory can then be transferred to your server and that's it.

If you would like to see an example of what this script can generate, check out the: Crime and Education in Arlington, Texas page. Please use Internet Explorer as we have not yet implemented the -no wrap- fix necessary for the info-boxes to display properly in Firefox.. The green 'M' pins are the marijuana arrest locations in Arlington, TX over the last 4 months. The info-boxes specify the address and provide a link to the detailed report on the Arlington Police Department website. The yellow 'S' pins are the High Schools in Arlington. The green circles are a 1-mile buffer around each high school. The blue boundaries are those block groups where at least 20 % of the adult population have a graduate or professional degree.

The Crime and Education in Arlington, Texas page is actually the end product that everyone will be generating during today's workshop. Just about everything is done from scratch during the 2-hour workshop. The walkthrough.doc file included in the download contains a complete step-by-step.

Here are some features:
  • Select multiple features
  • Converts points, lines, and polygons*
  • * Automatically converts polygons to polyline files
  • Automatically simplifies lines using ArcMap's point removal algorithm
  • Users can create custom info-boxes using the ArcMap field calculator
  • Users can select from a variety of pin/line colors, symbols, opacity, and thickness.
  • It's very fun to create Google Maps with such ease.
ArcMap2GMap makes extensive use of the free and fantastic Google Maps EZ service.

I got the idea for creating ArcMap2GMap while working on the Shape2Text2Shape scripts. (Developing ArcMap2GMap was much easier.) I learned how to access the geometry object using an ESRI geoprocessing script, and I thought well it would be just so easy to dismantle points, lines, and polygons and reassemble them within Google Maps. Now, this is the farthest you can get from original, but the fact that I could actually do it drove me to actually do it. Now, there are lots of great Google Maps creation tools out there and a number of ArcScripts to convert from features to Google Earth, but ArcMap2GMap allows GIS users (such as our students) to quickly and easily leverage their ArcMap experience to manipulate Google Maps.

The last thing that I still need to complete for the workshop is to create a CD menu using Camtasia Producer and burn the CDs. On average we expect 10 students per GIS workshop, but I really think that we might get a larger showing today. I will post pictures and a follow-up post afterward.


Anonymous said...

very nice work Joshua, that looks like a great tool for getting GIS data onto GMaps quickly. It's nice that you incorporated the generalizing code as well.


Anonymous said...

This program is awesome! The results look really impressive on my resume. :o) Thanks! -Tyler

Google Street View Funny said...

Here is a great GIS Consultant/Contractor:

GIS Contractor/Consultant

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