So I have recently been investigating Postgres and PostGIS. I am not a DBA, nor claim to be one, but I am interested in this database, because one of our departments at the city is using it. I have also been interested in it for personal reasons and to tie with other open source software such as GeoServer for web GIS and QGIS (or uDIG) for general GIS work. It was easy enough to download. I installed the latest version, 9.1 and PostGIS 1.5. There is a one-click install for Windows and for Linux and you have the option to install PostGIS and the drivers for connecting with other environments such as ArcGIS. In addition, there is pgAdminIII, a GUI for managing the various instances of Postgres databases and a shapefile loader to "import" shapefiles into Postgres.

Nothing real new here, especially if you have an aptitude to look in stuff like this. I am really hoping to get the Postgres DB working with ArcGIS10, so I can create some table views to work with so they can reduce the data formatting tasks they are currently doing. The Dept using Postgres would need to "see" tables using ArcView (no ArcSDE) available for this group, so I am trying to take this angle.

So I was able to create a simple table (non-spatial) and I was able to import shapefiles into Postgres. I have also been able to make a connection to my new databases via OLE connections through ArcCatalog, however, I cannot get the contents of the data to show up, so something is amiss....

To the ESRI forums I went and quickly found a similar problem, posted 2011.


Looks like the default 'public' schema that is provided by PostGIS cannot be "seen" by ArcGIS10 and the recommendation is to create the data using a different schema (i.e. one other than 'public'). So, I did this and with no-avail, this did not seem to work for either a plain table or with the spatial data I created from importing a shapefile. I poked around the net some more and have not come up with anything too useful to help me with my ArcGIS plights.

I then tried to view the data in a different GIS, so I installed uDIG. With a little finagling, I was able to get my imported shapefile to PostGIS to show up in uDIG. Good news on one front, just not the ArcGIS front. So my Postgres (PostGIS) data seems to be in-tact, but something is still going on with ArcGIS.

One thing I did not check is the supported PostGres version for ArcGIS. I believe it is PostGres 8.4 and PostGIS 1.4 for a Windows 32- bit OS.



Looking at the forums, I may need to run the PostGres version from the ArcGIS media and then separately install PostGIS 1.4.

I also found this post too saying ArcGIS 10.1 supports Postgres 9.0 and PostGIS 1.4 for 32- bit OS and 1.5 for 64-bit OS.


My gut feeling is there are still going to be some additional "configuration" pieces in order for this to work.

Creating a Query Layer in ArcMap 

I suppose this is really what I want to do. (There may be an issue in ArcCatalog, but this might work in ArcMap). I will see...


I guess some of my own words of wisdom.

1. Check the supported version of the software before installing and investigate what you are trying to accomplish beforehand.

2. Read through some of the numerous documentation ArcGIS has to provide some kind of overview of the process.  There are a number of related documents that provide information, but you may still be scratching your head until you delve into it on your own....and then re-consult the ArcGIS documentation.

3. Ask questions to the forum and provide a well thought out response and provide supporting information such as screen shots, error messages, examples of work that you are trying to accomplish.

4.  If you are fortunate enough to have DBAs and other experienced staff, in-house, use them as resources too!

More to come...


A Python Primer for ArcGIS is Finally Out!

It has been a long time coming, but I am finally finished.  The Primer came out on December 5, 2011.  I must say, this was one of the hardest things I have done.  You can get a copy here or through my website at JenningsPlanet.

The American River College online Spring course (Geog 375) is already completely filled, but the book can get you productive.

Hope you enjoy it!



Redistricting in Sacramento City and County

Here is a public radio program that discusses the efforts of redistricting using GIS!

Insight - Capital Public Radio, 90.9 FM, May 17, 2011

The City of Sacramento GIS staff is help supporting a public effort using a web based application.  The period is now closed, but we have received a number of groups to propose their Council District Boundaries.  The County is doing all of the work in house for vote on by the County Supervisors.

City of Sacramento Redistricting Website

County of Sacramento Redistricting Website

State of California Redistricting Website


Ubuntu and GIS...attempt 2

I have a renewed vision for running and using Ubuntu open source OS and various GIS packages, etc. Luckily, I have a nice IT friend that has given me a little push, so I am in the midst of doing this again, with the hope of offering others the same encouragement. See Mark Perry's blog in the subject a couple of years ago...this is where I first heard about it.

So I currently have the latest versions of Ubuntu and the following GIS packages on a system. Do internet searches on these to obtain the download info. These work on Ubuntu and Windows...
QGIS - open source GIS with a good interface, pretty easy to use and has GRASS embedded in it. QGIS also has some capability to do GPS to shapefile and vice versa for GPS.

GRASS - open source image processing. Been around for a long time, but not very easy to use. I am taking a look at this again and seeing what QGIS can/can't do with it.

Anyone out there that would like to share/collaborate with me, drop me a line...Students of mine...feel free to get it going as well (even on Windows) and let me know. I would genuinely like to know more, but the Earth Day is only 24 hrs long. You might even be able to work on it for credit in the Work Experience class at American River College.....

PostgreSQL - open source relational database
PostGIS - PostgreSQL spatial add on

GPS Babel- open source GPS converted to dozens of GPS formats, manufacturers.

Opticks - open source remote sensing software. Solaris 32 and 64 bit are supported. I am looking into see if Ubuntu version is supported. It may be limited. I strongly suggest this software, I use it in my remote sensing classes, and I have developed algorithms for them as well.

I encourage discussion and collaboration on it, so keep me in the loop and feel free to post on this.
As for me I hope to create some GIS data in the various supported formats and be able to use them in ArcGIS, since ArcGIS will accept shapefile, postgreSQL, and a variety of raster data formats.

I am also looking into putting a virtual machine on my system as well so I can function in both worlds unless I find out I can function well in one.

Yours in Open Source NMC


Weislander Vegetation Type Mapping

A student of mine happened upon the Weislander Vegetation Type Mapping data set while conducting some of his thesis research.  This is a very great find of historical vegetation cover mapping for California.  This method was well ahead of it's time (being compiled in the 1920's and 30's).  This data set is now GIS enabled as a result of work conducted by UC Berkley and UC Davis.  I hope you find this data set useful in your work.  At least check it out.  Historical photos are available as well.

My student explained to me that some of the trees in the Sierras are not as near as big now as they used to be, especially of some species.

What a great data set that is available for other ecological research!

Thanks Jim!

Winter Downtime?

With my busy schedule, I don't often to post much of anything, but thought I might provides some info on a variety of topics.

I teach an online Python class at American River College.  It is completely full for the Spring and I am working on having the class offered more often.  I am also working on a text that I hope will become a book the provides the bridge between Python and ArcGIS.  A draft version of this will be offered in my class for the Spring.  Check out my blog and JenningsPlanet links for more information.

GIS and the Community

I am working with Soil Born Farms to possibly provide an Internship opportunity that can help Soil Born with their mission while using GIS to deliver the "local food message" and showcasing some of the utility of GIS.

I have also created a GIS of my home property that focuses on how I am using my property for gardening.  I hope to develop the data and generate some web services that I can  showcase to students about what GIS can be used for and as potential project ideas for some of my classes.

GIS and Renewable Energy/Environmental Management

Renewable energy is an important interest to me and as almost all sectors of industry, GIS is being used to communicate the messages.  ESRI has posted some interesting show cases of how GIS is being used in environmental management.

I came across this organization by chance in a book store.  It turns out it is run by the same person who put out EarthWatch and published scientific papers on the state of the World.  Check it out and read through Plan B 4.0 and get involved.

JenningsPlanet Urban Farm

My little patch of garden is in nitrogen and soil replenishing mode.  I have planted a wheat, vetch, fava bean mix in two of my plots as well as my back fence.  Luckily my neighbor cut is "evil privet" bush down, so I now have a little more sun light.  I am trying to remediate some soil on my back fence and have dug up a little patch near my shed (aka future green house) for something.  Compost bins are near full with my trees leaves and grass clippings, not to mention my home food waste.  At some point I need to seriously prune my wonderful seedless mulberry weeds (I mean trees) so that my little garden can benefit from the sun.  This will all come in time, since I need to fix my roof.

Energy Production

I have been thinking about how to implement (relatively cheaply) solar arrays on my property, better use water (hmmm...maybe I should be capturing this water for use later)....Note to Self:  Buy bins to collect rain water, then use on garden.  The solar arrays are not going to sustain my energy use for my home, but it will offset something.  The search goes on.


I now have some snow shoes, but of course the challenge is finding that time and obtaining winter clothes for my kids so we can go play.  I am also thinking of investing in a pretty good GPS for my treks.  I also plan to create GIS data sets/web services to also show case the use of GPS (yet, another one of my classes at American River College).

This is the update from JenningsPlanet Urban Farm.  If I could just shift the Earth's orbit or slow it down, I would have time to do these things.

If you want to call this downtime, so be it.

Be Productive, Get Involved


Bonsai Rock at Lake Tahoe

Bonsai Rock - Lake Tahoe

I finally made it to the Bonsai Rock at Lake Tahoe. I was a little disappointed when I saw the rock, since it looked like the trees had been cut down. I checked other posts and realized that they were ok. I am glad these have not been further cut down. I hope to go back at other times of the year to see how it is doing.


JenningsPlanet Organic Family Urban Farm EarthDate - 07.31.2010

Bed 1

I have been harvesting cherry and large tomatoes from the garden. I also have 3 poblanos almost ready. I have started a new batch of lettuce and carrots that I put in 2 weeks ago. First real leave are appearing.

Bed 2

Started 12 bush bean seeds. Currently 3 are coming up. I realized that one of the potato pieces I planted a couple of months ago is growing leaves. Maybe I will get a batch of potatoes. I also started 3 sweet potato cuts to see if these will start. My Japanese Eggplant which did have at least 4 flowers only has one developing eggplant. We will see if this survives.

Bed 3

My mandarin tree that I thought was dead, looks to be alive. It is producing flowers and buds and leaves, so hopefully, my little tree will make it. The pear tree did not make it. The fig tree has 7 developing figs. The cherry that I thought wouldn't make it has good leaves, but no flowers. I will probably need to wait until next year to see if I get any production.


One amazing thing this growing season, is I have been able to successfully start at least 6 tomato plants that actually started from seed in my developed compost pile. This (accidental) method was more successful than trying to start them from seed in seed trays. I know it had a lot to do with the soil temperature. Some even came up in a bed that I just threw compost on and mixed in with the soil.


I also built 2 starter boxes from recycled cedar boards I picked up in my neighborhood from a fence remodel.

I am planning on starting onions and brussel sprouts in these boxes and then transplanting them into my garden once sprouted.