Holy cow.  Esri just saved me a lot of time.  With the SSURGO Downloader from Esri you can now download pre-packaged SSURGO soil data by watershed with all the attributes you need (like Farmland Class, Absorption Rating, etc.).  You used to have to download from NRCS or USDA, then import attributes to an access template, then export, then join, then export. This saves a lot of time and allows for mapping prime farmlands a lot quicker.  Thanks Richard Nauman, Michael Dangermond, and Charlie Frye!

Posted by Jake, filed under GIS, maps, Tips and Trikz, You know what I like. Date: February 13, 2015, 8:33 am | Comments Off

Map of Charlotte Metro

Map of Charlotte Metro

Here is a map I created using an ArcGIS to Illustrator workflow.  It is included in the article:

Preferred Office Locations: Comparing Location Preferences and Performance of Office Space in CBDs, Suburban Vibrant Centers and Suburban Areas by Emil Malizia.  The full study/article can be downloaded at the NAIOP website here.


Posted by Jake, filed under GIS, maps, Tips and Trikz. Date: November 17, 2014, 6:35 am | Comments Off

1. Export OSM file from
2. Install QGIS
3. Install QuickOSM Plugin (Plugins/Manage and Install Plugins/Search for QuickOSM)
4. Click on QuickOSM icon in toolbar
5. OSM File/Open the .osm file
6. Right click on files and export to .shp
7. Open .shp files (attached) in ArcGIS

Posted by Jake, filed under GIS, Tips and Trikz, Uncategorized. Date: October 11, 2014, 6:42 am | 1 Comment »

30  May
Folder Size

I am addicted to collecting GIS data. In addition to the collection habit, the DEMs, land cover datasets, growth forecasting and suitability models seem to overwhelm whatever new absurdly large storage mechanism acquired. Enter GetFolderSize-a great little application that mimics what XP used to be able to do. It scans folders so that you know where the largest data is. And it works in Windows 7.

Posted by Jake, filed under GIS, Tips and Trikz, You know what I like. Date: May 30, 2014, 2:22 pm | Comments Off

This article from Esri outlines how to use Python to assign sequential numbers to a field. I use this to create unique IDs for feature classes.

Posted by Jake, filed under GIS, Tips and Trikz. Date: February 11, 2014, 12:15 pm | Comments Off

20  Nov
Existing Density

Some may think that small southern towns (and cities) are not dense.  It always surprises me to find pockets of density where you would least expect it.  Check this map out of housing unit densities in Wake County, NC.

Wake County Dwelling Unit Density 2013

Posted by Jake, filed under GIS, GIS Art, maps, Planning, Policy, Sustainability, The Built Environment. Date: November 20, 2013, 3:27 pm | Comments Off

Ever wanted a quick and easy way to design visually pleasing cross sections?  Streetmix allows you to do just that.  You can specify a right-of-way width and add travel lanes, bike lanes, sidewalks and medians as you see fit.  Here is an example output:

Ideal urban neighborhood street

Ideal urban neighborhood street

Posted by Jake, filed under Biking, Design, Planning, Policy, The Built Environment, Tips and Trikz, Transportation, Uncategorized, You know what I like. Date: November 6, 2013, 7:45 am | Comments Off

Are you tired of hunting for a projection when creating feature datasets or reprojecting data in ArcGIS?  Well you don’t have to hunt.  Just copy the .prj file from the subfolder in the Projected Coordinate Systems folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\ArcGIS\Desktop10.0\Coordinate Systems\Projected Coordinate Systems) and place it in Coordinate Systems folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\ArcGIS\Desktop10.0\Coordinate Systems).

Coordinate Systems Folder

Coordinate Systems Folder

Now when you are prompted to select a coordinate system you do not need to hunt for it, it is available immediately in the first dialog. Store copies of all of your “favorite” projections here and it will save you a lot of time in the long run.

Favorite Coordinate Systems

After you copy .prj files from the subfolders

Posted by Jake, filed under GIS, Tips and Trikz. Date: July 25, 2013, 6:08 am | Comments Off

Esri’s Mapping Center does a good job of reminding us that ArcGIS is getting better and better at cartography.  This blog explains how to add a drop shadow to a polygon.  It works great for study area maps like the one below.

Drop Shadow Example

Posted by Jake, filed under GIS, maps, Tips and Trikz, Uncategorized. Date: July 19, 2013, 8:09 am | Comments Off

29  Jun
Love Your City

“Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her”
-G. K.


Posted by Jake, filed under architecture, Design, Planning, Policy, Politics, The Built Environment. Date: June 29, 2013, 2:23 pm | Comments Off

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