Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Using Mapdex.org to View Spatial Data with or without ArcGIS

ArcIMS services are great. There are terabytes of data from Iraq, NOAA, and Federal as well as local communities. But you are not limited to only viewing that data from within the IMS site. You can easily add the data you need right in ArcGIS!

It gets even better for those users who don't have ArcGIS, because mapdex will display the information directly into Google Earth.

First navigate over to mapdex.org. There is a good chance you will find something of interest, as the site claims to be:

"A global index
of 2,067 servers, serving 37,178 map services, containing
400,000 GIS Layers, covering more than 4,000,000 columns"

Once you find your data, click the "layer viewer" icon. A overview window will show a sample of the data and provides an option to display in Google Earth. However, hope it contains a projection - otherwise it cannot be displayed in Google Earth. This is a good place to remind us all about projecting our own data whenever possible. As you will find out, you will find valuable data, only to be frustrated that you cannot display it because it is not projected - it's just good practice to add a projection.

Now, let's bring this same data into ArcGIS. First, jot down the server name. I want to catch up on some locations that Seth and Summer have been this past week in the Fox hit the O.C. So, it's off to Newport Beach, California!

One result comes up. The data I am looking for is at
www6.city.newport-beach.ca.us, (the city's IMS site.)

In ArcGIS:
Select 'Add Layer'
In the Lookin Drop Down, 'Select GIS Servers'
Double click 'Add IMS' Server
Paste in the URL from above
After a moment, the server will appear in the window
Click on the data you want in your map and select ok.

You map now has a live connection to the O.C.!

Note: this does not work with sites that require a user login feature, so results may vary.