Coming Soon...Esri Introduces New ArcGIS User Types

Coming Soon...Esri Introduces New ArcGIS User Types

Esri will migrate User Levels to ArcGIS User Types in the next ArcGIS Online release in December 2018. The User Types will provide ArcGIS Users a focused set of capabilities and apps to accomplish business needs in their ArcGIS Organization.

Are You ArcGIS Pro-Ready? Check Your System Settings.

Are You ArcGIS Pro-Ready? Check Your System Settings.

Are you ArcGIS Pro-ready? System Requirements Lab has provided a tool (available here or at the system requirements page for ArcGIS Pro)  that produces a detailed report in a matter of seconds showing how your system stacks up to the minimum and recommended requirements for running ArcGIS Pro. Please watch this video for more information on how you can easily check your system requirements for Pro.

Create an Army of Data Collectors!

Create an Army of Data Collectors!

No one knows the features of an area like the people who inhabit it. However, to collect city or county wide data, there would be a sizable investment of personnel, time, and money. But what if it didn't have to cost an arm and a leg? What if you could create an army of data collectors who knew the area, and were willing to help document problems with features or infrastructure?

4 Ways to Enhance Your Survey Forms with Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS

 4 Ways to Enhance Your Survey Forms with Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS

Survey123 Connect for ArcGIS is a desktop tool that allows you to create and publish survey forms to ArcGIS for your data collection needs. Signing in with your ArcGIS Online credentials connects Survey123 Connect to your organization, and once you create a survey, the form and feature service are stored in ArcGIS Online. The survey form can be accessed and edited in the Survey123 for ArcGIS mobile app, or managed through the Survey123 for ArcGIS website. There are hundreds of ways to enhance your survey forms; here are a chosen few to check out.

Three Parcel Fabric Tricks that Will Save you Time

Three Parcel Fabric Tricks that Will Save you Time

Here are a few brief time-saving tips when performing parcel map maintenance tasks within Esri's parcel fabric.  You can find all of our ArcGIS parcel mapping tips and tricks by signing up at  For more information about migrating your data to the parcel fabric..

Editing Related Records in Collector for ArcGIS

Editing Related Records in Collector for ArcGIS

Good relationships are important in Business, Sports, Personal anything, really. Good relationships are important with GIS data as well. Let's take a look at how relationship classes and related data can aid in the GIS data collection process.

A client from a Water Reclamation Department uses the Collector for ArcGIS app to edit Sanitary Sewer Network data. They requested additional attributes for a Lift Stations layer, as well as the ability to add multiple Pumps to each Lift Station. The solution to this request is a related table in a feature service that allows for editing via the Collector app. This is an overview of the process.

But I have paper maps that work just fine...

Anyone who's following this blog has some awareness of GIS and what a powerful tool it can be. Throughout my various demonstrations or presentations, I am asked, "I have paper maps and CAD data, so why do I need GIS?" I usually respond with a standard set of answers: a GIS lets you edit information in real time, CAD is not to scale so your features aren't where you think they are, and so on.

10 ways to use GIS for Sidewalk and ADA Compliance

10 ways to use GIS for Sidewalk and ADA Compliance

Sidewalk inventories and ADA compliance are currently a hot topic among local agencies.  This post will provide you with some tips and ideas on how to use GIS to create and update your sidewalk inventory with the ArcGIS platform via the web and mobile devices.  

Mapping March Madness in Illinois

Mapping March Madness in Illinois

The Illinois High School Association are purveyors of America's Original March Madness, holding basketball state finals since 1908 (Peoria High was the first champion). The University of Illinois had a longstanding tradition of hosting the boys basketball tournament, and the Assembly Hall provided the backdrop of my first memories of watching March Madness on television, as well as the first time I attended in ...

To Portal? or not to Portal?

No, not the game Portal. ArcGIS Portal

Last year Esri released Portal with ArcGIS Server as a free extension. There has been a fair amount of confusion surrounding the product. What is it? Should we install it? What is it? 

One things is for sure; Esri keeps talking about Portal (or at least "a portal") so it must be important, right? Part of the confusion comes with issues of terminology. Another is people being unwilling or unable to explain the difference or what clients should do. I want to help with both. 

If you're a Esri shop, ArcGIS Online (AGO) is the platform through which all your GIS will be pushed out to your customers and users. If it isn't now it will be, so go ahead and relent. That platform is a portal (lowercase 'P'). To induce this platform acceptance, Esri decided to giveaway the server-software that runs ArcGIS Online. That is ArcGIS Portal (Capital 'P').  So you're using a portal when you are using ArcGIS Online and you're using a portal when you are using ArcGIS Portal. Get it? 

Now, Should you install and use ArcGIS Server Portal Extension? Probably not. Just use ArcGIS Online. Here's a quick Frequently Asked Questions when is comes to campaign ArcGIS Online (AGO) v. ArcGIS Portal (Portal)


Q: What about Security? AGO is highly secure by default, probably more secure than your ArcGIS Server installation, which has No security by default BTW. 
Q: Will AGO work with local services running behind my firewall? Yup. 
Q: I don't like my data being hosted on AGO. So don't. the idea of a portal is a window, not a dropbox. 
Q: Do I have complete control over my content? Yup. 
Q: Can the Portal software run on my existing ArcGIS Server? Maybe, but it shouldn't. Are you asking to overload Your PrintServer/FileServer and make it an ArcGIS server too? Recommended Best Practice is to run it on a separate server by itself. 
Q: Will AGO Work without the internet? Ok. Got me there, No. Your users do have to have access to the internet and most subdomains on So you will have to whitelist a fair number of URLs. Whereas portal can completely be on your internal network. Sequestered. 
Q: If I'm offline, how does Portal get updates to the basemaps? You install them.  
Q: Then how about new tools that are release on ArcGIS Online? You Install those too. 
Q: What about other peoples shared data outside my organization? No Workie.
Q: What if, I am using  Portal and I want to upgrade my hardware to meet customer demands? You cancel your weekend plans. 
Q: Seriously, What real benefit to I get from installing Portal? Your own Domain, Hyper-active-Internal-I.T.-Caveman-Security, Lots of extra work and a reason to spend lots of money on infrastructure hardware, bandwidth & overtime. 

A Portal is a place for connections, like an airport

The security thing could be a genuine issue ... for like the Department of Defense. If you are in local government IT, it really isn't a deal breaker. Does Your server have Multi-Factor Authentication? ArcGIS Online is pretty seamless with ArcGIS Server and plus wouldn't you rather offload some of your bandwidth? In most cases (95%) with city/county government ArcGIS Online will most always meet the orginization's needs.

Creating Line Features in the Field (Snap!)

Need to create line features in the field? Grab a tablet, the Collector App for ArcGIS supports point, lines and polygon creation and editing. Wait, but what about connectivity? If the lines are created on a touch screen device they are going to be as accurate as…well as drawing things with your finger, right? No worries. If you have ArcGIS for Desktop Standard, you have the Snap tool available to you, which will help you out. Once you’re done making your field additions, you can bring the data back into Desktop and run Snap to ensure coincidence of features. You could just consider it the most useful markup method ever. (!)



AGOL  Organizational Acct

Editable Feature Service(s) accessible on AGOL

ArcGIS for desktop Standard

Mobile Device


Before & After The red line was created in the field with Collector on iPad. The blue line has been snapped to the poles layer using the gp tool:

Important:  Ensure vertices are added at (or near) every coincidence location while creating line features, as you will need them later for this process.

Note: This method may be possible without Organizational Account/Collector but is very likely not near as fluid.

Moving to the Cloud For VPN Solution

Cloudpoint has been using 'The Cloud' since our incorporation. We don't need to be convinced that data, files or systems are safe. Sometimes (today for example) it can get kind of hinckey and frustrating, but for the most part we're On Board with being On the Cloud. 

We recently started using a new SaaS (software as a Service) product for creating a Virtual Private Network. Pertino. The VPN  has been a natural evolution of remote offices and telecommuting. Since there are only 3 full-time employees, soon to be 4, we are naturally out of the office quite consistently. In fact it is rare the week that we're all together.  VPNs keeps us connected and keeps that connection secure. Here's a quick video on how VPNs work. In the Past this usually has required an Appliance. No Longer, enter Pertino. 

Pertino has just come out of Beta. So we can talk about it like its an actual product. The theory is easy: When you are on a Pertino Network your machines and devices see each other as if they were on the same local LAN. When you are actually on the same local LAN, Pertino still works but you see a duplicate workgroup, local and Pertino. Ideally it all focuses on IPV6 addressing. We have 4 Laptops, One Amazon EC2 instance and our local Server all running on one Pertino Network, No More FTP... Rah!

Here's the amazing part for us Esri Users. The fantastic folks at Pertino have worked tirelessly to actually DOWNGRADE their technology to IPV4 for legacy products... Like ArcGIS License Manager. What's that you say? "AGS Flex License Manager is supposed to work with IPV6."? Yeah, Maybe... Sometimes.... until you have a protocol that actually requires you to use IPV6, then you find out how flaky it actually is.

But that doesn't matter anymore because They actually tested this on ACTUAL Esri software! I have too, and it works! Sitting on my couch at home, I boot up ArcMap and using Pertino it authorizes a Concurrent License from our server there at the office. 

That, my friends is the awesome power of the Cloud, and the dedicated programmers at Pertino.  

Now, Is it all Dandelions and Lollipops? Nope. Sometimes I have to stop and restart my Pertino app, On some Devices you have to edit your host file because of OpenDNS or Cheap Modems, and there is a cost (You'd want to pay for this service). BUT Their Customer Service is filled with Exceptional who truly want it to work for you, Even if you only have 4 people in your office. Case in point the ArcGIS License Manager. 

That being said, We're planning on being LONG term Pertino Customers. 

Topology & Geometric Networking... Say What???

These are two big words often used in the geospatial world but who really knows or cares what they mean?  Well now you can alllow yourself to be "In the Know".

Topology is the arrangement for how point, line, and polygon features share geometry.  In other words, it's provides a means to make sure all of your pipes are connected to all of the network structures such as valves, hydrants, and/or manholes, etc.  In addition you can make sure that there are no improper overlaps or intersections as in a tax parcel layer so your maps accurately represent what's out there in reality. 

More info on Topology 

Geometric Networking is just a fancy way of saying that all of your points, lines, and polygons have connectivity and can actually "talk" to each other.  It creates a model of your network which can be very useful for managing water distribution systems, electrical lines, gas pipelines, telephone services, and streams within the same drainage basin.

More info on Geometric Networks

Contact Cloudpoint at (877) 377-8124 for help with all of your GIS needs!

Jon get's a little hair-brained in his latest tutorial videos when he dons a hard hat.   Check them out at