ROK Blog

Parcel Fabric Training Announced for March 2014

Carey Jenkins - Thursday, February 13, 2014

ROK is pleased to announce 2014’s Parcel Fabric Training in Charleston, SC. To make sure you are getting the most out of ArcGIS Server 10.1, we will be hosting a training class in conjunction with Panda Consulting in Charleston, SC  March 18-20.  Frank Conkling, of Panda Consulting, will be instructing the Parcel Fabric class. 

The three day Parcel Fabric Training covers the following main areas: 

Day One covers the fundamentals of the Parcel Fabric structure and its inner workings. During Day One we examine how the various components fit together and help to maintain information critical to Parcel Mapping. We will look at the points, lines, polygon and control sub layers and the ways in which we control the location and accuracy of the parcels. We also include a review of associated layers and applying least squares adjustments to the Parcel Fabric. 

Day Two examines your existing parcel data structure and we develop a Parcel Fabric design that can maintain your current information while taking advantage of the Parcel Fabric. We develop a staging geo database and process to convert your data and convert a portion of your data into this structure. By the end of Day Two, you will gain a good understanding of the transition process and be able to begin the conversion at your site.

Day Three
 delves into the daily workflow of using the Parcel Fabric for parcel maintenance. We review how to best implement a Parcel Fabric while continuing to maintain your existing systems serving maps to the general public and other Departments. We also review and perform parcel maintenance workflows using the Parcel Fabric maintenance tools.

*The training includes the initial conversion of 1,000 polygons during Day 2 of the training.  Inquire for additional conversions.

For more information, contact us or call 888-898-3404 x 2.


Mapping Capacity grows with ArcGiS Online and GOMaps

Carey Jenkins - Wednesday, November 20, 2013

We are pleased to share our client’s experience regarding GOMaps and ArcGIS Online.  Through the use of two new mapping services, Association of Central Oklahoma Governments has greatly enhanced its ability to provide dynamic maps and data to both member local governments and the public at large.

ACOG serves as a clearinghouse of regional data and these new tools – GoMaps and ArcGIS Online – tremendously streamline the process of generating interactive maps from a wealth of data and informational assets.


GoMaps is an online application that consolidates ACOG’s data such as transportation, land use, public safety, urban planning data and aerial photography into one GIS resource. Developed using ArcGIS, GoMaps features a range of tools that allow users to utilize ACOG data to build and share their own maps using any variety of the available layers including regional transit routes; bike routes; traffic counts; fire, law enforcement and ambulance service areas; school districts; municipal boundaries and snow routes.

Not only does GoMaps allow users to toggle data layers to create custom maps, but users can also extract and download data in varying formats – including shapefiles – for greater flexibility and use across other platforms. In addition, the application is loaded with interactive tools that allow users to create custom feature selections or queries using the parcel or address search features. 

You can find ACOG’s GoMaps application at acogmaps.org.

ArcGIS Online

Esri’s new online subscription service, ArcGIS Online, is a giant leap forward in the world of online GIS. Now, organizations such as ACOG already using Esri software products can build interactive maps in a number of minutes that can be shared worldwide. Esri has taken on the role of maintaining the tools and functionality of the application so that users can focus on what they know best – their data – rather than the behind-the-scenes web development. With ArcGIS online, ACOG staff can take any dataset and publish it on the fly as a data or map service available to share with other users (publicly or permission-based) as it is completely self-contained in an application with built-in tools for data editing and analyses.

Starting this fiscal year, ACOG has subscribed to this new service in order to increase project or program-based mapping services. This service extends the GIS data sharing capacity of this agency by providing a quick mechanism for staff to build a map from a variety of sources already published in the cloud or uploading it directly from their computer. Since ACOG has partnered with ROK to serve as a host for their own GoMaps application and map services, ACOG staff already has a number of map layers that have been published to the cloud immediately available for mash-up. Applications can be fined tuned for land use data, traffic crash analyses or even as a forum for collecting member suggested changes to the federal functional classification system for roads.

The staff has already published a series of demographic maps with data that the agency uses in the long range transportation planning process. These maps have been published using ArcGIS online and embedded in the website, but the source of the data on the maps comes from multiple live sources. To view ACOG’s suite of ArcGIS maps available now, please visit: http://acog.maps.arcgis.comThis blog post was written by Darla Hugaboom, Program Coordinator – Long Range Planning at ACOG. 

Why host your GIS data in a cloud?

Yvonne Jones - Monday, October 29, 2012

Hello folks! Yvonne Jones here, Marketing Manager, with ROK. For this week's update we have decided to pick the brain of our CTO Jason Harris and discuss his thoughts on GIS hosting and cloud services!


YJ: Good Morning Jason. We are very excited to hear your thoughts on this very hot and trending topic!


JH: Good Morning Yvonne, great to be here.


YJ: Let's jump right in to the thick of things and start off with, why is a cloud hosted GIS solution important?

JH: It is funny, when I first heard the term 'Cloud Computing' many years ago, I said to myself 'This just means a server that's sitting somewhere outside of your building, it just a new buzzword that the industry is pushing'.  It didn’t take me long to realize just how wrong I was. It is all about data redundancy, security, speed, scalability, and optimal use of available computing power.  GIS, like other industries, can take advantage of these real world benefits right now. All industries and organizations should want to serve their data faster, more securely, and of course less expensively - and using the Cloud to serve geographic data and services should be no exception.

YJ: How does one make an informed decision in regards to what program to choose?

JH: As the industry continues to mature, we are given more and more options when it comes to serving GIS through the cloud.  There are many factors to consider when choosing a vendor or service.  The very first thing I discuss when making recommendations to folks is how hands on do you want to be?  Many people opt to use a service such as Amazon EC2, where you 'rent' an entire server in which you must administer from start to finish. From licensing, to publishing maps, server maintenance, etc.  Everything.  It is your server and you are ultimately responsible for it.  It is not a role that some folks want to take on though.  There can be some budgetary issues because the cost for this service can vary quite a bit from month to month due to bandwidth demand, extra CPU cycles, etc. You pay for that server even if it sits idle for hours. For the very high volume and demanding map services, along with the right personnel administer it, this option works well. 

For folks that wish to take a more hands-off approach, the latest offering from Esri called ArcGIS Online is an excellent choice.  It allows non technical users the ability to quickly and easily publish their maps and data to web using the power of the Esri hosted cloud.  Simple web maps can be easily configured from a wealth of ready to use templates - and then shared within your organization, or the world.  There can be some downsides to this service, mainly the limited ability to utilize the more advanced features of ArcGIS Server. ArcGIS online is a 'metered' solution meaning you pay for what you use - which can be both good and bad.   As your monthly usage can vary widely, these situations can be difficult to budget for.   Overall, if you are looking to get your feet wet in 'Cloud Hosted GIS' and looking to easily share your data, then ArcGIS Online is a great option.

Then there is a hybrid type of cloud solution, which I like to call the 'Personalized Cloud'.  In this scenario, you partner with an existing company, such as ROK, to host GIS data and map services for you on their cloud.  This approach allows you to be hands on, while maintaining all the benefits of the cloud infrastructure - such as scalability and redundancy.  In addition, the full power of Esri's ArcGIS Server is exposed.  However, you get one more very important benefit - the expertise of a dedicated team backing you up. Managing servers and dealing with intricacies of serving spatial data can be time consuming.  When you have a talented team that is there to help, it can make all the difference.  Using this approach allows you to focus on your core competencies, and leave the heavy-lifting and server maintenance to others. 

YJ: Wow. Jason that is a pretty lengthy answer, could you narrow it down to the single most important point?

JH: Well Yvonne, it really all comes down to the economics of scalability. Some options use the 'metered' pricing tier, while others, such as ROK, use a fixed price.  The very first thing that we do here at ROK is to talk to the customer.  We are all developers at heart and understand what it takes to successfully launch a service or new web app.  So, in these initial discussions, we get a good feel for the requirements and target audience.  This lets us estimate out the resources needed and determine a fixed monthly price that won’t vary - and one that the customer is comfortable with.  Let us look at this scenario - Suppose you are hosting an emergency management application during hurricane season along the gulf coast of Florida. As a hurricane approaches, more and more citizens use these hosted services to, for example determine an evacuation zone.  This scenario would sharply raise your monthly bill, since more and more 'credits' were used.  Again, as we discussed before, this can be a budget concern if using the metered approach.  The good news is that service is not susceptible to this rapidly increasing load.  The cloud is able to quickly scale up, allot additional bandwidth as needed - all to effectively serve your GIS services.

 YJ: Ok, so you spent a good time on how but now tell us why to
 choose a hosted GIS solution.

JH: We are all expected to do more with less these days.  No matter which approach you take, the benefits of utilizing a cloud hosted GIS are compelling.  Taking into consideration a lower total cost of ownership, server uptime/redundancy, scalability, along with far fewer management headaches, moving your GIS to the cloud just makes sense.


YJ: You heard it best from our resident CTO. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us here or contact Jason Harris at jharris@roktech.net. 

Need Help with Your ELA (Enterprise License Agreement)?

Carey Jenkins - Saturday, July 28, 2012
As a strategic partner of eGroup, we have expanded our ArcGIS Cloud offerings to include Infrastructure and/or Desktop as a service. These GIS services enable clients to efficiently integrate their enterprise software with ROK GIS solutions, products, and services.

Are you a small business or local government and have an Enterprise License Agreement(ELA) with Esri? Are you short on the resources to get this implemented? Are you struggling with:
-IT Resources?
-Hardware, Servers, bandwidth, etc.?
-Application Map Services?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then ROK Full Service GIS can assist you with your ELA. ROK Full Service GIS can take your licensing and host it on our cloud, providing you a remote access through Citrix. This frees you up to continue with your day-to-day activities, such as editing and updating your data.

ROK Full Service GIS offers you peace of mind by providing:
-All IT Infrastructure
-Backup/Data disaster recovery (eGroup)
-40 years GIS experience which can assist you with data conversion, migration, configuration, upgrades of all service packs. By allowing us to help you with your Geographic Information System needs, we allow you to more effectively focus on your core competencies and day-to-day jobs.

ROK's ArcGIS Server Hosting

Carey Jenkins - Thursday, June 28, 2012
Your “hands-on” private cloud: We get asked a lot of questions about our GIS operation – from What is GIS? to What are the mobile applications of GIS? The answers to most of these GIS questions can be found throughout this website – however, we wanted to draw special attention to our Cloud Hosted Mapping Solutions, and how they compare to those incorporating the Amazon EC2 service or ArcGIS Online. Put simply, we have structured our ArcGIS Server Hosting program to save you time, save you money, and free up critical resources that might otherwise get consumed trying to manage a GIS system that goes beyond what you may have bargained for.

In order to fully capitalize on the benefits of GIS, you and your organization would do well to leverage the full power and performance of the ArcGIS Server. By hosting your online GIS maps on the ArcGIS server, you provide the fullest Geographic Information Services, without having to unnecessarily overwhelm your IT infrastructure. ROK's managed ArcGIS Cloud Hosting Service offers a solution to these common GIS problems that is affordable, convenient, and back up by over forty years of combined GIS expertise and unparalleled technical support.

When you use our ArcGIS Cloud Hosting Service, we guarantee to:
-save you time by managing all the processes required to configure and maintain ArcGIS map services. You'll be free to focus on your core competencies and leave the GIS challenge to us.
-save you money by charging only an affordable, fixed cost that does not change month to month. Easy to budget, easy to calculate return on investment, and easy to get started, our ArcGIS Cloud Hosting is a simple solution for all in the Geographical Information Services industry.
-save you resources by providing direct contact with the GIS experts that you will come to call “partner.” We want to help you achieve your GIS goals, and meet your objectives as quickly and easily as possible.

Intersted in learning more? Want to try out our services with your own GIS data? ROK will load a sample set of your data in our ArcGIS cloud, completely free of charge.

The Parcel Fabric

Carey Jenkins - Thursday, June 07, 2012

Training in Charleston, SC: We're happy to announce that on June 12th – 14th, we will be teaming up with Panda Consulting to bring you an in-depth look at The Parcel Fabric. What is parcel fabric? How does it relate to GIS and custom mapping? How can you best implement it into your technology services? This comprehensive, three day training program will answer these questions, and cover all aspects of the Parcel Fabric, and it's applications to GIS.

Frank Conkling of Panda Consulting will provide an intensive examination of the Parcel Fabric structure, the inter-dependencies of the sub layers, how the Parcel Fabric really works, what you need to do to make the transition, and how to integrate the Parcel fabric into your daily work flow, to ensure that you are getting the most out of your GIS.

Meet us at the College of Charleston on June 12th – 14th to expand your GIS knowledge, and more fully understand the capabilities of the Parcel Fabric. For $1,200 per attendee, this three day class is a must for anyone in the GIS industry: 

The parcel fabric training that my co-workers and I received was top-notch. The instructor was very thoughtful in the way he delivered the information we needed to plan for, create, and maintain the fabric. By the end of the training I felt confident that I had learned the skills necessary to implement the parcel fabric for our County Tax Map.  I am very pleased with the whole experience and highly recommend it.

Kevin Wiles, Anderson County, SC 

Contact us to find out more or to register for the Parcel Fabric training.  For a more complete description, you can download the training PDF below. Or, check out our Services page to find out more about our Geographic Information Services.\

The Parcel Fabric Training June The Parcel Fabric Training June (92 KB)

Migrating data into Esri’s Parcel Fabric

Jay Fowler - Thursday, February 02, 2012

Esri’s Parcel fabric offers a clean and efficient way to maintain and edit high quality land records. The fabric joins data into a cohesive structure allowing edits to apply across multiple features in a database. This creates easier workflows, increased data integrity, and reduced headaches for land record managers.

So how do land records transcend the old school’s messy data models into the fluid structure of Esri’s parcel fabric?

1.  Create and set up a staging geodatabase             
  • Data clean up with topology rules
  • Parcel line preparation
Creation of necessary source data attributes for migration
2.  Create and set up a future geodatabase that will contain the parcel fabric inside Esri’s Local Government Information Model  schema
  • Tailor this geodatabase to original land records data (i.e. spatial reference, creation of structure to support migration of source attributes, etc.)
3.  Migrate the data
  • This step is computer process intensive and could tie up a machine for a while
  • Paramaterization of data migration tool
4.  Review the migration
  • It is essential that a thorough review of the newly created parcel fabric is conducted for quality control purposes. There are a few known issues and fixes to employ if a parcel does not migrate into the fabric.

Check out this Esri whitepaper for more information.

For more information regarding the parcel fabric, check out the comprehensive parcel fabric training seminar co-hosted by ROK technologies and Panda Consulting at the college of Charleston March 13-15.

This gave me a laugh

Jason Harris - Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Saw this on a google search, it made me laugh, so I thought I would share. Names have been blurred to protect the stupid.

Jason Harris

Coldfusion ESRI Users Speak Up

Jason Harris - Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ok folks...its time. If you are a Coldfusion and ESRI user, now is your chance to tell the developers at ESRI. They recently sent out a developer survey looking for input on what languages and technologies you are using. It can be found here.

It drives me *crazy* that just about every site that ESRI has is built with CF, but the developer resources devoted to it is pretty poor as compared to .net

Jason Harris

Where Is Coldfusion ArcGIS Server Support?

Jason Harris - Thursday, August 09, 2007

With Coldfusion 8 out the door in in the hands of developers, I guess its time to ask the big question. Where is support for ArcGIS Server and Coldfusion? Obviously there was great support for ArcIMS and Coldfusion. ArcWebservices too. What about ArcGIS Server? With Flex & flash for the frontend and Coldfusion doing the heavy lifting, I see Coldfusion as an obvious choice. The vast majority of ESRI's many sites are Coldfusion based. There are a lot of Coldfusion 'haters' out there. Most if it comes from people that have never even tried it. I actually think these developers are threatened by just how easy it is to perform complex tasks with Coldfusion. Not so special are you? Maybe you arent so L33T after all huh? Bah, thats a post for another day...

I don't see it being that difficult of a task on ESRI's part. Coldfusion now has the ability to use any .NET object — (local and remote) and of course like any Java object (its had this since version 6 - for those of you that don't know, Coldfusion is a J2EE application). Creating some CFC's to interface with the java classes would be the obvious way to go, at least I would think.

I really see this lack of support to be a larger issue with ESRI lately. They seem to have taken the .net only stance. It certainly saves them time since you can go desktop or web (but dont forget about Adobe AIR coldfusion folks). I think that the java support was pretty much an afterthought, only there to satisfy some large clients. I think thats pretty obvious from the lack of documentation and examples. So that leaves out a huge amount of web developers - mainly the Coldfusion and PHP folks. And these are the folks that have made some of the slickest ArcIMS sites out there today.

If ESRI wants to continue their dominance in the web mapping arena, they had better taken a hard look at this strategy. If I were working at ESRI, I would want to get these ArcGIS Server toolkits into the hands of as many developers as I could. Leaving out Coldfusion and PHP (and others)creates a gapping hole in the web development community. If they dont, you'll continue to see the ESRI 'user showcase' sites dominated by ArcIMS (notice how they are made with server technology, er I mean ArcIMS). How long do you think before Google releases a (Free) client side server component that lets you use your data inside Google maps? Its only a matter of time...and by then, will be too late.

Jason Harris

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