Use of HTTP and HTTPS with ArcGIS

Have you ever found Web Map layers blocked in your application? Or warnings of potentially harmful content? This could be the result of a mix of HTTPS and HTTP content. 

This article will explain the basics of HTTP and HTTPS protocols, and how they affect the ArcGIS Platform. It will also cover some common errors in QuestionWhere and MyNearest, in ArcGIS Online applications, and with sign-ins to ArcMap and Workforce.

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URL query parameters in Web AppBuilder

URL parameters are dynamic values within the URL of a web map or app that perform pre-defined functionality,  such as zooming to fixed scales/locations or querying within layers.

This blog will focus on query based URL parameters in Web AppBuilder, and is applicable whether you are using ArcGIS Online, Portal for ArcGIS, or Web AppBuilder (Developer Edition).

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Issues with the World Imagery Service

We refreshed our ArcGIS Online Imagery Basemap on October 25th with updated data for much of Europe. This updated data brought many benefits, primarily more recent data and significant quality improvements across large areas. However, we have observed issues with the quality of some of the imagery in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

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Scheduling a ModelBuilder model using Task Scheduler

There are several workflows for running a model as a scheduled task. The workflow that many consider by default is to export the model as a Python script and run this Python script as a scheduled task in task scheduler. There is a better way than this, though it still requires some knowledge of Python.

If you save your model within a toolbox, it is possible to build a script that will import your model’s toolbox then run the model. The benefit of this workflow is that it can use the environmental settings of the model, and won’t require any modification to run. It is a two-stage process, starting firstly with the Import of the toolbox, followed by a line of code to call the model.

The ImportToolbox aspect is probably the trickiest part of the whole workflow, as you first have to understand aliasing. An alias is an alternative name for the toolbox, most likely in the form of a single word that describes the toolbox to you. The ImportToolbox function depends on an alias being set. This could be done when the Toolbox was initially created, or on the fly if one hasn’t been set previously.


For technical details see the Help documentation.  

The ImportToolbox function has two possible inputs. The first is the inputFile path to the toolbox .tbx file. If you don't have a toolbox alias set you will have to define the second optional input, moduleName. After importing the toolbox, you have to call the model. The model is called on the fly through the arcpy module and has a particular syntax that must be used to call it successfully.

It is very important to avoid underscores when setting the toolbox alias as an underscore indicates the end of the alias string. You should also use camel case (e.g. toolboxAlias) for readability. 

Code Samples

Using the following code samples, you should be able to determine how to import your toolbox and instantiate your model/tool. For sample purposes, the toolbox will be called “Toolbox”, the toolbox alias will be "toolboxAlias", the model name will be “modelName” and the model will have a single parameterised input feature class called "modelInput". 

Note, the model alias (if you have one, not to be confused with the toolbox alias) is not used at all in this process. 

If Toolbox has a predefined alias, then run the model:

import arcpy



Else set Toolbox alias on the fly when importing, then run the model:

import arcpy



Once your Toolbox has been imported, the model can be called in one of two ways:




But if the model has no parameterised input or output, the function would be called as follows:




Task Scheduler

Once you have successfully built up your Python script to call your model, the next step would be to automate this script in Windows Task Scheduler. When creating a task there are a couple of key parameters to look out for:

Ensure the task is "Run whether the user is logged on or not" and "Run with the highest privileges"

In the task action run the Python script from the folder where it is stored. To do this complete the “Start In” parameter with the folder location (in this example – C:\NightlyUpdate) of your Python script.

Finally ensure that you set up scripts on a Server/PC that will always be powered on at the time the task is due to run. 

How Google Chrome version 50 will affect the ArcGIS Marketplace apps; MyNearest and QuestionWhere

The new release of Google Chrome (version 50) will require some APIs to use a secure origin which will affect the Geolocation API used in both MyNearest and QuestionWhere. This Geolocation API allows the users of your MyNearest or QuestionWhere instances to get their current location from the browser they are using. Read on to see how it will affect the Esri UK ArcGIS Marketplace apps and how you can prevent losing the Geolocation API functionality.

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UK Products Support for 10.4 and AddressBase Premium Schema Changes

New versions of LocatorHub and ProductivitySuite are available now to support ArcGIS 10.4 and the changes to the schema of AddressBase Premium.  Read on to find about more about these releases.

CrimeAnalyst for 10.4 will be available by the end of April.

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Important Changes to Esri UK Online Services

Are you using Esri UK Online Services?  If so, please read on to understand the changes that have been made and how these will impact your use going forwards.

We are currently running the old and the new services in parallel and you have until 1st July 2016 to migrate to the new services (as we will be turning off the old ones).  Read on to find out more about the benefits of using the new services and to help you plan your migration.

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Do you use the Esri UK Free Online Services or the UK Content app?

Do you use the free Esri UK Online Services or the UK Content app? Changes have happened to them both, read on to see how we’ve added new locators to ArcGIS Online, which replace the existing services.  We have as also updated the UK Content app to help you to switch to these new services. 

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OS dataset updates - what you need to know

Over the last year we have updated you on some of the changes that the Ordnance Survey have planned or new datasets they have released.

With a lot of changes happening and many more coming next year we thought it was worth summarising them and letting you know about the work we have been doing or have planned.

OS MasterMap Water layer

The water layer can be loaded using the 'Quick Import' tool from ArcGIS for Desktop. We published a blog article in June that shows you how this can be done.

OS Open Rivers and OS Open Roads

We released a blog article in July letting you know about these datasets and our advice on how to load them into the ArcGIS platform. You can find that article here.

OS AddressBase schema changes

The new schemas for the AddressBase and AddressBase Plus datasets came into force from September and at the time we released new versions of ProductivitySuite and LocatorHub to handle these. (See the blog post).

We are planning further releases of LocatorHub and ProductivitySuite for Spring 2016.  These will include:

  • Support for schema changes to OS AddressBase Premium
  • Retirement of the locators for OS ADDRESS-POINT and OS MasterMap AddressLayer 2 in line with the OS withdrawal of these products.

OS MasterMap Schema changes

These changes are planned for March 2016 and will consist of some changes to the delivery mechanism for the data and some changes to the descriptive terms used for the Topography layer. Full details can be found on the Ordnance Survey website.

Be reassured that following the changes ProductivitySuite will continue to load the data for both the Topo layer and ITN.

To get the most out of the new data the way you symbolise it will need to be updated. The OS have recently started releasing new layer files through GitHub. Their hope is for this new method to become the standard way to post-process the data so that styling OS MasterMap Topography Layer becomes far simpler and easier. We have been working with them to ensure that the data you load using ProductivitySuite can take advantage of these new layer files.

We will let you know more about this next year.

OS Highways

We have been working with the Ordnance Survey over the last year to understand the new dataset and determine the best way to support it. The next release candidate of the dataset will be available in the new year and we will let you know details of how this data can be loaded and used in the ArcGIS platform in advance of any final release.

LocatorHub 5.3 Hot Fix 1

A hot fix is available for LocatorHub 5.3

The hot fix contains fixes for the following bugs:

  • the IDOX GMS Connector Locator does not work when accessed through the ArcGIS compatible rest facade (e.g. in ArcGIS Online)

  • the title case adaptor does not work when using the flattened match or through the ArcGIS compatible rest facade (e.g. in ArcGIS Online)

The hot fix is available from the ftp site.  Customers of LocatorHub should contact Customer Operations for the login details.

For further information please contact Product Manager

ArcGIS Online Basemap Security

Esri have started migrating to stronger encryption certificates utilising SHA-256 for basemaps via HTTPS - Previously it was using SHA-1.  Esri will continue updating ArcGIS Online certificates over the next few months.  This change should be transparent to most of our users.

One group of users that might run into issues are ArcPad users with Windows Mobile 6.5 and earlier.  Many of those devices still don't support SHA-256, which means you will begin seeing an increase in the number of ArcGIS Online service endpoints you cannot access via HTTPS. If you are using such a device, please contact your hardware vendor to find out your vendor's patch plans. We will be posting more information about this using the Twitter handle @ArcGIS Online.

Using your own rasters with OS Open basemaps

With the release of the OS Open basemaps in ArcGIS Online, customers may wish to overlay their own raster tile layers on the basemaps. In some instances the following error might be seen:

In order for your raster tile layer to be compatible with the OS Open basemaps, you need to ensure two things. Firstly, that your data is in British National Grid projection and secondly, that you are using the OS Open basemaps tiling scheme.

To check if your data is in the correct projection refer to this technical article. If your data is not in British National Grid you can use the Project tool to re-project your data.

Your tile layer needs be cached in the same tiling scheme as OS Open basemaps so the zoom levels are consistent. You can download the OS Open basemaps tiling scheme here. The tiling scheme contains a text file and an XML file which will be used to define the scale extents for your data so that it matches the OS Open basemaps. To cache your data you can use either ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro.

Caching using ArcMap

If you are using ArcMap to cache your tile layers, you can import the tiling scheme by going to File > Share As > Tile Package. In the Tiling Scheme drop down list select 'A tiling scheme file' to add the OS Open basemaps tiling scheme.

tile package.PNG

Caching using ArcGIS Pro

In ArcGIS Pro, you can use the geoprocessing tool "Create Map Tile Package". Ensure you have unchecked the “Package for ArcGIS Online | Bing Maps | Google Maps” box. You can then import the tiling scheme in the 'Service' dialogue box by dragging and dropping the XML file (note that it is not possible to browse to an XML file in the dialog below).


Publish your tile package (.tpk file) into ArcGIS Online (refer to step 4 in the following article). You will now have a tile layer which is compatible with the OS Open basemaps.

rasters overlay.PNG