Notes: I am also a learner of Arc/Info GIS as you. The only difference maybe that I start a little bit earlier than you do. I
would like to share my knowledge with you. You can send your questions to me. I can guanrantte that not all your questions will be answered.
But, I would do my best.
Here are some tips in using ARC/INFO
What is "FLEXlm Error"?
When you start Arc/Info, you occasionally got an error message saying something like "Flexlm Error and Program not run". This has something to do
with license management and often happen if there was a system failure before. You should inform your system administrator and ask him to restart license
manager or just logout and try again later.
How can I have Arc/Info to execute a command, an aml file, or popup a messasge, etc. when it is started everytime?
Under the root directory of your filespace, there is an hiden file named ".arc". It is an plain ASCII file you can edit by any text editors. By default,
there are several lines which define the display environment, terminal type, etc. You should leave those intact. Just append your command or procedure below. It should do the trick. But, if you work in an network
environment, this file may be overwritten when you login next time.
Where I can find help about a command or function?
Some commands or functions have many arguments. You can just enter them without any argument to get the usage. If you want to know more about the arguments, you should either
type help your_command at version 6.x or type help to start Arc/Info documentation tool at version 7.x. For version 6.x users, all the help information is kept under the directory of $ARCHOME/help. As they
are in plain text format, you can easily manipulate them. I mean copy, edit or print them. More information is available for some commands here. But, the most complete source is, understandably, the huge volumes of documentation.
At version 7.x, all the Arc/Info documentations are in digital format and can only be manipulated with FrameViewer provided. But, text-sensitive interface does provide some nice features for you to be discovered.
Some messages are very useful for me. Can I save them to an ASCII file?
With aml directive &watch, all the commends you entered and their results can be saved into an ASCII file. But, you have to be sure that the aml directive &fullscreen is set to
&on. You can also convert your watch file to an Aml file with &conv_watch_to_aml directive or run your watch file with &runwatch directive.
Is it possible to run an Aml file at unix prompt directly?
Yes. try the following line:
arc \&run Your_aml
You can also redirect the result or any error messages to a file with following line:
arc \&run Your_aml > Your_logfile
I do not like the black canvas color in ArcPlot. Can I change it?
Certainly. If you want to change the canvas color for the whole Arc/Info session followed, you should issue following command at unix prompt before you start Arc/Info:
setenv CANVASCOLOR Your_color
If you only want to change the canvas color for one display in ArcPlot within one arc/Info session, following commands are required to set up shading environment first:
Then, you can shade the whole canvas with following command:
patch 0 0 [show pagesize]
or just shade the map display area with following command:
patch [show maplimit]
Can I pass the output from a unix command to an Aml variable?
The answer is yes but not that straightforward. You have to use aml [task] function to execute a shell script. The shell script is as follow:
eval $ARGLIST 1>&2
Assuming this shell script is saved as a file named Your_shell_script and it is executable (if not, use
chmod u+x Your_shell_script to make it executable).
In your Aml file, you can use following line to assign the result from a unix command to an Aml variable:
&s Your_aml_variable [task Your_path_to_the_shell_script/Your_shell_script arg_1 arg_2 ... ]
Then, you can use string functions, such as [before], [after], [extract] to further manipulate the result.
What options are available for me to bring a .gra file to Word for Window?
Here is a summary from ESRI-L given by Mr. Ra'ed Kawar for Arc/Info version 6.x
1. Create postcript file through DISPLAY 1040 2 in arcplot and insert it
directly on MS-Word. It should print well. However, sometimes it just print
a box on the paper. This is caused by memory problems, you have to either
to increase the memory size allocation of the MS-Word or create an esri
plot file (i.e. DISPLAY 1039 from arcplot), then at the arc prompt use the
POSTSCRIPT command and use a reduction scale say %80. and redo the same
N.B: During the FTP process never use the binary option.
2. Make your plot and use the SCREENSAVE command in arcplot . At the arc
prompt use the CONVERTIMAGE command. This solutions offers a lower
resolution than the previous one, also remember to put the background as
3. Use the XV, capture the screen and save it to tiff file. This offer a
very low resolution image. It is only good if you doing something for the
World Wide Web (WWW).
4. This solution comes from ESRI technical support. It offers a very high
resolution and I found it to be the best in terms of memory consumption and
disk space usage:
What you can do is make a .gra file with display 1040.
Then use the CGM command to convert the .gra to a cgm file,
which Word should be able to bring in (I know WordPerfect
can). The problem is, that the CGM command, as it's
distributed, makes 32-bit cgm files. I got a fix for the
AML that the CGM command calls from ESRI, that allows CGM
to make pc-compatible 16-bit cgm files. I implemented the
changes and can now produce cgm files that work in Power Point,
Word Perfect, etc... Here are the AML revisions and :
To make a one-time change to your Arc/Info 6.1.1 install for
16-bit CGM support, edit the file "$ARCHOME/atool/arc/cgm.aml"
to include the following lines after line #73 (just before
the parameter file is closed.):
&s null = [write %prmfil% [quote 16bit 1]]
&s null [write %prmfil% [quote indexed 1]]
The first line converts to 16 bit, the second line allows
for true color.
To support *BOTH* 16-bit *and* 32-bit output, the cgm.aml
ATOOL would need an extra "&Argument", a syntax check, the
above line in an "&If" directive, and modification of the
"Usage". You could get by with only two changes, though:
Change #2:&args pltfil device scale encode imgfct calibr opaque
Insert #74: &if [keyword %nbits% 16BIT 32BIT] eq 1 &Then
Insert #75: &s null = [write %prmfil% [quote 16bit 1]]
Insert #76: &s null [write %prmfil% [quote indexed 1]]
Do you know that you can creat an icon with your own coverages?
Check out ploticon command in ARC module. With this command, you can convert
an Arc/Info .gra file to an icon which can be used in form menu design.
What is the recommended procedure to export an coverage for use on the PC Arc/Info platform?
To make data transfer between Arc/Info and PC Arc/Info a sucess, you should:
I do not want
to reinvent the wheel. Is there any ready for use AML I can borrow
Rarely (if any) you can
find an exact AML for your purpose. But, there are some AML you can borrow, modify and test. You should check the ESRI homepage
or ask the people on the ESRI-L. For statistics, you
can use Alan Brenner'code (stats.readme & stats.tar.Z)
How could I pass the result from an executable C or FORTRAN program to an Aml variable
You can assign multiple arguments (which can be from Aml variables) to a executable FORTRAN or C program. But, only
one return value can be assigned to an Aml variable. Aml function [TASK] is designed for this purpose. After having read the help message for
this function, there is one extra caution that you should assign the return value to stderr.
Enhancement of Arc/Info version 7.x in term of raster-based spatial analysis and modelling
It is summarised in What's New in ARC/INFo at Version 7 from ESRI as follow:
- make sure the coverage to be exported is in single precision. You can get this information by describe your coverage. If not, you
should use copy command with single option to convert your coverage first;
- export your coverage with no compression option;
- transfer .e00 file with binary option;
- run unix2dos command on PC Arc/Info platform if necessary
- Add tools for exploratory(i.e., statistical) data analysis (grid stacks, multivariate statistics)
- Support efficient and intelligent DEM generation from contours (topogrid tools)
- Provide interactive grid editing
- New capacities for modeling groundwater movement and dispersion (Gaussian dispersion)