September 24, 2007
Working with Cross Sections in ArcGIS
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Working with Cross Sections in ArcGIS
by Susan Smith
CrossView Earth Surfaces for ArcGIS from A-Prime Software, is a new cartographic tool for ArcGIS users that allows users to do topographical and subterranean cross sections at a cost effective price point. A-Prime Software is a newly launched division of DPRA with a focus on developing unique technologies to assist with their outreach, production management, and data analysis that work directly within the ESRI platform. DPRA is a government contractor tasked to aid in large-scale environmental restoration efforts.
According to the press release, A-Prime’s pilot product, CrossView Earth Surfaces, provides detailed cross-section views of the earth’s surface and sub-surfaces to GIS users worldwide. A simple and intuitive platform, CrossView is also the first among many wizard-based upgrades to the ArcGIS platforms that A-Prime Software has planned for the future.
Vice president of DPRA and A-Prime vice president Scott David said, “Our new CrossView plug-in now lets GIS users create stunning cross sections diagrams or profile views directly within the ArcGIS platform to give more intimate and robust information about terrains and subsurfaces. And since we’re GIS professionals engineering software for other GIS professionals, we’ve paid close attention to the flexibility and functionality we all need to work faster and more cost effectively,” David said.
Whether it was creating a topographical profile or actually show the subterranean layers water layers, DPRA found there was no workflow within the ArcGIS workflow, so they created internally a piece of software to optimize their operations, according to marketing manager for A-Prime Software, Matt Gale.
To simplify what had become a laborious analysis process, the company took what they had in their GIS platform such as editing tools, symbolizations, coloring, labeling, etc., and changed the perspective for the user, adding functionality around it. The resulting CrossView Earth Surfaces for ArcGIS is a wizard based system.
Gale said the ESRI ArcObjects interface allows companies to come in and create some value added features and functions to advance the platform, offer more tools and make it easier.
“Mapping is about making and representing spatial relationships – sure, across a map is interesting but also up and down the terrain is interesting,” Gale pointed out. “CrossView is more than just a subsurface product, more than just a topographical product, it’s a spatial presentation product, and gives you a new perspective that should be part of everyone’s toolkit. We don’t expect people to use it every day all the time. There are great products for you if you need to do subsurface analysis all the time, that are specific to workflows.”
Rather, A-Prime’s core customer is someone who is in oil and gas and who has a subsurface analysis tool, but they just want to create a quick little cross section in ArcGIS without jumping to another, more complex, platform. It would also be useful for someone like a park ranger who wants to plot and show the ascent of the trail, what the vertical relief is and what wildlife and birds seen.
The user of CrossView Earth Surfaces for ArcGIS must have ArcGIS. When using CrossView, the GIS professional does not have to turn the project over to a CAD person who doesn’t understand the spatial relationships. A GIS professional can take their geodata and their geodatabase, press a few buttons with CrossView in ArcGIS, and get an output dataframe that is spatially adjusted and attaches to all the geodatabase data. “All the tough work has been done for them, they can export into a map dataframe and then just save that file out to a DXF file. They send it in email to their CAD person. The CAD person doesn’t have to worry about the spatial part, it’s all done,
they can go in and do labeling and symbolization,” explained Gale.
Some user comments:
“As a geographer, my research field is the Niagara Escarpment in Niagara, Orleans & Munroe Counties of westerrn NYS. I am most interested in its topography, microclimates, glacial drainage and current river valley profiles. ProfileView [eds. note: precursor to CrossView] was able to give me more detail from the DEMs that I will be able to use in my classes and in my research. I plan to make more use of it once school starts at NCCC and classes settle in . . . “
-Robert Lord (Geographer)
“After using the sample data I loaded a DEM into a fresh map and drew a graphic line. I used ProfileView to make a quick and easy profile. It worked well. And now I do believe I would like to own this software since I got it to work and have ideas of interesting things to do with it.
“I like it because it attaches to ArcGIS. I have been trying to coerce Arc into making profiles and it really does not work. Then I try to do it in Excel, which is not the greatest for that. Then I think I should use CAD but I don't know how to do it in any reasonable amount of time, I'd have to invest a lot in training. We also have RiverMorph but I prefer to do my work in Arc.
This is what I have been looking for . . .
“The program is very good and straightforward in generating the 2D cross-sectional view of the dataset and I find it very easy to use and manipulate the output shapefile.
“ . . . Direct and simple to use and generate profile or crossing view of the data.
It works under the ArcMap environment that makes it easy to integrate and manipulating the output data within ArcGIS. With the price tag, it's really a very good bargain for this software.”
CrossView Earth Surfaces for ArcGIS retails for $499 and is a downloadable software purchased directly from
Top News of the Week
DigitalGlobe announced that the launch of WorldView-1 was broadcast live over the Internet. The live launch could be visited at the
Boeing WorldView-1 website on Tuesday, September 18 at approximately 11:20 AM PDT. The launch was scheduled for 11:35 AM PDT.
You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.
To read more news, click here.
-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.