Friday, March 28, 2008

Integration of FalconView and ArcGIS

Starting with version 4.1, FalconView will be able to read and display map documents generated by ArcMap through a plugin overlay which will be shipped and installed with FalconView. When the user installs ArcGIS, a button that activates the GIS Overlay will appear on the FalconView toolbar. The early FalconView 4.1 version of the GIS Overlay will allow users to view ArcGIS map documents and data in FalconView and do some limited changes to the way those map documents are displayed. This paper describes the 4.1 effort in some detail.

(For users who do not have access to an ArcGIS license, FalconView will continue to function normally without the GIS Overlay. Many FalconView users - perhaps the majority of them - will have access to ArcGIS through the CJMTK program.)

I'm quite excited about the project I'm working on now. FalconView 4.2, which is still in development, will not only have all of the features of FalconView 4.1, but it will contain a GIS Editor which is almost like an "ArcMap lite." It will allow editing of map documents and feature classes, spatial queries, access to the ArcGIS geoprocessing libraries, and lots of extras. The output of the GIS Editor will be drawn as an overlay on the FalconView map. We're planning to allow users to pull data from existing FalconView overlays (local points, threats, tactical graphics, DAFIF, DTED, etc.) into the GIS Editor so that FalconView data can be used in spatial queries and geoprocessing. Map documents generated in the FalconView 4.2 GIS Editor can be saved and opened in ArcMap.

FalconView 4.2 will enter beta testing this summer. The screen capture included with this entry shows where we are at the moment (click on it to see a larger image.) It's a big undertaking, but the early results are promising. Expect some technical discussion of the ArcGIS and FalconView programming involved in this effort in future blog entries here. Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Welcome to GIS Coder!

Welcome to GIS Coder, a blog about all things GIS. We're going to start this blog with a focus on the technical side of GIS programming, though we may very well branch into other aspects of GIS.

By way of introduction, I'm Joel Odom, a research scientist at Georgia Tech. I'm in the FalconView department, and I specialize on the integration of FalconView and ArcGIS. Because of my background, you'll find me initially doing a lot of talking about these programs. I'm going to dive into technical aspects as much as my professional responsibilities allow. As a government funded academic researcher, I expect to get a lot of leeway in sharing my research.

My aim in this blog is to promote information sharing within the GIS community, to promote the FalconView program - a highly successful program of which I'm proud to be a part - and to promote my own professional development by forcing myself to think outside the walls of my office as I share technology, ideas and news. That's how the blog is going to start - we'll see where it goes.

The layout and format of this blog will change over time. The style of the blog - now informal - and the content of the blog will also surely evolve over time. I'm open to outside writers and welcome all feedback via the comment system. Comment moderation will initially be disabled, though I may choose to moderate comments if that becomes a problem.

(Because FalconView was mostly developed under Department of Defense funding, there are some aspects of the FalconView program which are "sensitive." By and large, FalconView is, in and of itself, unclassified and not sensitive, though it is export-controlled. There is a movement underway to create a version of FalconView which is available to export, maybe even open-source. For more information on the FalconView program itself, you may contact me directly, or you may contact the FalconView program manager at Georgia Tech. Be assured that nothing on this blog will touch on technology that compromises security or intellectual property rights.)