Some hidden gems in ArcGIS 10.2.1

The ArcGIS 10.2.1 release last month was in part a stability release but also included some interesting new features for ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS for Server. One of the most significant was the new ArcGIS for Server capability to Enable feature services for offline map use. This puts in place a key component for extending the ArcGIS mobile apps to work offline and was mentioned in a previous post. ArcGIS for Desktop saw new capabilities added, mostly to the Geoprocessing toolboxes.

Several of the changes focus on data management tasks. The new Conflation tools use feature matching techniques to identify features that match or abut an existing set of features, based on a search tolerance setting. Features from adjacent areas that should be contiguous can be edge-matched, with different options for updating the geometries. If you have data from two sources that have slightly different geometries for the same features these can be matched and either rubber sheeted to match the master set or have the attribute information transfered. In both cases links are created as the first step so you can review the matches before any updates are made. The same feature matching function is used in the new Detect Feature Changes tool, which identifies attribute changes as well as spatial ones. The Add Geometry Attributes and Alter Field Properties tools look handy for setting up project data and altering existing data for new uses, something I do quite a bit of.

The last new tool I wanted to spotlight is the Similarity Search tool. Its direct purpose of identifying candidate matches for a feature based on attribution is a useful analysis tool but I was more interested by the footnote on similarity mapping. By generating a set of match rankings you can create a map showing which features are more or less similar, to the candidate, that is based on multiple attributes.