Changes to Default ArcMap Settings

After upgrading to ArcGIS 10.3 last week, I went through the usual process of reapplying all of my settings and preferences in ArcMap. To expedite this process, a couple years ago I created a list of all of my preferences in ArcMap: toolbars, ArcMap Options, Geoprocessing Options, menu items, Environment Settings, and Advanced ArcMap Settings. At the suggestion of some of my colleagues, here’s the list in full.

1. Toolbars

By default, ArcMap shows two toolbars: Standard and Tools.

Default ArcMap toolbars
Default ArcMap toolbars

There are almost 50 other toolbars that can be added by right-clicking in the header area (or toggling in the Customize dialog).

List of ArcMap toolbars
List of ArcMap toolbars

But turning them all on at once is not a good idea. This overload of toolbars, many of which are only useful in specific contexts, is one of the reasons Microsoft moved Office to the ribbon-style UI. Esri has implemented the same ribbon in ArcGIS Pro, though I will miss some of the customization aimed at power users.

ArcMap with all toolbars turned on...yikes
ArcMap with all toolbars turned on…yikes

So for my day-to-day ArcMap work, I have the following toolbars enabled: StandardEditor, and Snapping in the first row; ToolsLayout, and Labeling in the second row; and Draw and Graphics in the third row. Organizing the toolbars in these rows allows for a comfortable fit in a window that is around 1,200 pixels wide.

My ArcMap toolbar setup
My ArcMap toolbar setup

Customize mode also allows adding or removing specific tools on specific toolbars if further tweaks are needed.

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Chicago, in 72 hours

Sarah and I visited Chicago for the first time in September 2014. Neither of us had ever been before, and it was a treat to explore a new city and see old friends.

We flew from Logan to O’Hare early Friday morning, arriving in The Loop by midday. Our hotel room at the gorgeous Blackstone Renaissance was already available, so we dropped off our bags and set out for some lunch.

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False Color Landsat Wall Prints

When I moved into my apartment in fall 2013, the long wall behind the TV desperately needed some decorations. While playing around with band combinations in some Landsat imagery at work, I stumbled upon an idea: a series of prints of multispectral remote sensing imagery with different band combinations. The series would resemble Warhol’s multicolored Marilyn Monroe prints, except that the striking color palettes would represent actual band combinations used in the remote sensing field to highlight different surface characteristics.

The prints depict a mostly cloud-free view of eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, southern New Hampshire, eastern Connecticut, and the tip of Long Island. The prints lack the usual accoutrements of maps like state outlines, legends, north arrows, and scale bars. For this reason, it takes many visitors a minute to realize they are maps and not some kind of abstract print.

All five fit nicely behind the TV
All five fit nicely behind the TV
Another view
Another view
Detail. The frame on the left is one inch across
Detail. The frame on the left is one inch across

I made these prints in ArcGIS using two scenes from the Operational Land Imager (OLI) onboard the $850 million Landsat 8 satellite. The publicly available LC80120302013250LGN00 and LC80120312013250LGN00 scenes were captured sequentially as Landsat 8 passed over from northeast to southwest at 11:30am EDT on Saturday, September 7, 2013. The tilt of the prints occurs because Landsat 8 orbits at a slight angle from due north so it can pass over different parts of the Earth. Luckily, rows 30 and 31 in path 12 of the Landsat Worldwide Reference System include almost all of eastern Massachusetts; only Nantucket and part of Cape Cod are missing.

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