April 10, 2015
By George Demmy
TerraGo has just released the version 6.7 of most of our core products which focus on bringing GIS-Lite functionality to document workflows under the aegis of our OpenGeoPDF initiative. That's a mouthful, so I guess it wouldn't be too bad to shorten it to version 6.7 of our OpenGeoPDF products. In this release, we've added two functions which significantly enhance the GIS-Lite capabilities provided by the recently-added Identify tool in Toolbar: search and update of GeoPackage feature attributes.
Search has become an essential paradigm. My once punctilious management of email, each incoming message being tagged and routed to its own place based on an arcane library of rules accumulated over more years than I care to admit in Emacs Gnus has been replaced by a couple of rules for alerting me to things of current urgency, but otherwise I just search to find in an sea of unsorted emails Outlook, at least at work. With Toolbar 6.7, you can search attached GeoPackage for features matching what you type in the search field, get a list of matches, and then you can click the match to see where it is on the map. Double click the match and you'll zoom to that feature. We had to add additional metadata to the GeoPDF documents to make this all go, and that's some of what went into Publisher 6.7, including persisting the field names that ArcMap thinks is the most useful to identify a particular feature. Again, using OpenGeoPDF to tie Publisher to its client application Toolbar helps illustrate the connection. I hope Esri clones the feature in their Identify tool -- it's pretty damn useful and cool.
Update of feature attributes in a GIS-Lite application is one of those features that perhaps not that many people need, but for the folks that do, it's essential. They need coworkers, citizens, people distributed hither and yon to be their eyes and ears and share what they see and where they see it. Our geospatial markup we call GeoMarks have been around since before TerraGo, and they're handy for the ad hoc observation, but they extend PDF's annotation system which is not well suited for large amounts of GIS data. GeoPackage feature attributes, however, is perfectly suited for large amounts of GIS data in a document workflow context. Load up 15000 telephone poles and out you go to do your inspection. You may not need to go to each pole, but the several that you do will certainly be in there. Ground truthing, inspections, surveys, the applications are myriad. Search and update are two dramatic steps forward for GIS-Lite capabilities in TerraGo Toolbar made possible by our close integration with ArcMap with Publisher. I can't think of anything that more dramatically increases the audience and utility of an investment in ArcGIS at the price point and ease of use threshold. If you can, please let me know!