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New Year, New Release! Introducing ArcGIS Pro 3.2 Q&A – Part 2

We’re answering your questions from our “New Year, New Release: Introducing ArcGIS Pro 3.2” webinar in a two-part series. The first post covered topics in ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro migration, oriented imagery, generating schema reports and radio group layers. This second post covers topics such as field data types, administration settings, surface profile charts, 3D basemaps and keyboard shortcuts. 

Earlier this year, to kick off our year of technical webinars, Maggie Samson and I introduced the latest release of the Esri core software, ArcGIS Pro 3.2. In our webinar, "New Year New Release: Introducing ArcGIS Pro 3.2," we counted down our ten favourite new features and functionalities. Whether you're a seasoned GIS pro or just starting your geospatial adventure, ArcGIS Pro 3.2 brings some noteworthy enhancements; if you couldn't make it to the live session, worry not! Please sit back, relax and catch up on all the action with our webinar recording

Our New Year resolution was to take our GIS to the next level with this latest release and with March upon us, we are sticking to our goals by continuing to answer your top questions. Join us in making 2024 the year of GIS triumphs with ArcGIS Pro 3.2! 

Field Data Types: 

With ArcGIS Pro 3.2, there are 4 new field data types that are available to use with your data. These options are as follows; Big integer, Timestamp offset, Date only and Time only. With these new field data types that have now been added, you will now have more room for customization when using your data in ArcGIS Pro.  

Screen capture showing the new data types in ArcGIS Pro 3.2. All data types are featured here, but we can see that Big integer, Date Only, Tiem Only and Timestamp Offset have all been added to the list.

Q: How does the Big Integer differ from the Double Field Data type? 

A: Big Integer and Double field data types may seem to be similar from a general perspective, although there are some differences to note in both which differentiate the two. The first thing that is important to note is that both use 64 bits as their size when saving the data to your computer.  

Where the differences start to come into play is with the Storable range that each can hold. Big Integer has a ‘storable range’ of -9,007,199,254,740,991 to 9,007,199,254,740,991 meaning that you can use any value up to and in between this range in your data when using this data type. The Double field data type has a storable range of approximately -2.2E308 to 1.8E308.  

The final notable difference between the two is that Big integer considers numerical values without decimals, whereas Double will take numerical values with decimals. For more information, you can view the field data types in the ArcGIS Pro documentation.  

Q: What are the different ways to add to these data types when creating new fields? 

A: There are several ways to go about this process. If you are creating a new field or have a currently existing field and need to change the data type, we can take two different methods to accomplish this. We can create a new field directly in the attribute table and assign a new data type to it or we can create a new field for a specific feature class using the ‘Add Field’ geoprocessing tool. Both methods will allow a new field and data type to be assigned to your feature class of choice.  

There are also two ways to change the data type of an existing field. The first method is to use the calculate field geoprocessing tool which will allow you to populate the attribute data from an existing field. The second method is to use the feature class to feature class geoprocessing tool to create a new feature class with the desired data type. 

This is a simple process; depending on the desired output, it will just require a different series of steps to accomplish what you would like.  

Administration Settings: 

There are settings in ArcGIS Pro that either you or your administrator have to manage. Environment extent was one of the major noteworthy changes that occurred in this update. We now have the option to set environment extents so that your data can be managed more easily and help prevent excessive load times in your map by selecting the extent you would like your data and map to load within. 

Screen capture which shows the environments menu in ArcGIS Pro. This menu is where you would set environment extents for your whole project.

Q: What is the purpose of using environment extents in your project and can these be changed at a later time? 

A: Environment extents are used to help define the features that will be processed by tools. Without extents applied to layers or within your project, it is common to see longer loading times depending on the size and quantity of your data. It can be beneficial to use environmental extents on a project level to help manage all your layers without having to do each one individually. If you only want to look at a specific area on your map, I highly recommend doing this especially if you have various data sources within this extent.  

It is important to remember, when this is set, that this will assume all the coordinate systems have already been set to what is necessary for each layer. If no coordinate system is specified in the environment pane, then the first dataset to enter your map will define the coordinate system for this extent. A thing to note is that you can always change the environment extents and coordinate system at any time after this.  

In other words, use extents and coordinate system application at an environment level to help simplify doing this for every layer individually. 

Surface Profile Charts: 

Surface profile charts allow you to visualize changes in elevation, surface temperature or temperature over a specified distance. You start by selecting the raster image you would like to use from your project and draw a line over a set distance. From here, the surface profile chart will create a chart based on the specific bands in your image. This means that we can analyze all the bands within the image for this specific line segment. This tool will be useful to quickly create and export charts to showcase information about raster imagery.