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GIS workflows for multi figure reports

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#1
Tommo

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Hi

After recently moving to a new company, I'm about to set up a small office GIS system. I'm taking the opportunity to evaluate my GIS work practices and coming to the conclusion that they're not very efficient!

Most of the GIS work is basic map generation to support geological reports. All fairly basic stuff, with 20-30 maps per report. They often have the same extent and base map, with a few different layers to show a different property. In the past, I've saved each map as an individual document - just changing whats neccesary. With this practise comes the problem of unintentionally altered data frame extents, wrong figure numbers, etc, all of which take a long time to change for full collection of maps.

Now I'm wondering if theres a more effiecietn way to generate these types of maps.

Can you have multipage map documents?
Can multiple documents be linked back to one master document?
Can the figure names/client details/title/etc be linked to a database so they don't have to be changed manually?
Has anyone got a robust workflow established in their workplace that could be reproduced?

Thanks for any input.

Tommo

#2
MapMedia

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Hi Tommo, Which GIS software are you using?

#3
Tommo

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Hi - We're using ARCView.

#4
MapMedia

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Tommo - OK. Sounds like you want to start using templates of sorts. I have not used these, so hopefully some of the ESRI people here can offer some solutions.
How good are you with Avenue?

#5
Tommo

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No experience at all I'm afraid.

#6
MapMedia

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Its a fairly easy language to pick up and start using, especially for what I think you want to do.
You might start off by visiting Arcscripts site and see if they have anything read-made.

Good luck!

#7
chris thompson

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Hi

After recently moving to a new company, I'm about to set up a small office GIS system. I'm taking the opportunity to evaluate my GIS work practices and coming to the conclusion that they're not very efficient!

Most of the GIS work is basic map generation to support geological reports. All fairly basic stuff, with 20-30 maps per report. They often have the same extent and base map, with a few different layers to show a different property. In the past, I've saved each map as an individual document - just changing whats neccesary. With this practise comes the problem of unintentionally altered data frame extents, wrong figure numbers, etc, all of which take a long time to change for full collection of maps.

Now I'm wondering if theres a more effiecietn way to generate these types of maps.

Can you have multipage map documents?
Can multiple documents be linked back to one master document?
Can the figure names/client details/title/etc be linked to a database so they don't have to be changed manually?
Has anyone got a robust workflow established in their workplace that could be reproduced?

Thanks for any input.

Tommo


There is a free mapbook extension from the ESRI developer samples that can create multipage map docs, but those reutilize the same layout for each page in the map doc so that might not work depending on howyou might envision using this functionality. There are other map book tools available but I'm not familiar with those.

You cannot link between ArcMap mapdocs that I am aware of.

There are ways you could automate the things you ask about (names, client info, titles, etc.) but this will take learning some ArcObjects and Visual Basic - this wouldn't be terribly difficult to do (another poster mentioned something about Avenue, I'm presuming you are using an ArcView license of ArcGIS 9.x and not the older ArcView 3.x.? If so then you can forget about avenue - thats a dead language at this point in time - if by chance you ARE using ArcView 3.x.. i'm sorry!!)

One of the things we've done in our organization is to remove map titles and figure numbers from our maps, and let that information be managed in the wordprocessing document as part of the figure captioning process. That way you save space on the map and it doesn't matter what figure number a given map is, as that changes frequently if a new figure is inserted before the map.

You will definately want to work with layout templates, and should consider things like establishing a fixed extent for your map if that won't change from map to map for a given report. Other things you can do to speeed up and more 'automate' map making would be to create layer files of the data you're displaying in maps, with standardized symbolization and labeling applied so that you can just add the layers to a map document, look at using modelbuilder to process your data can help automate data creation and management, and finally, have a very clearly stated set of map standards and best practices available that everyone in your organization is aware of.

Good luck!
Chris Thompson




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