Skip navigation
All People > MidnightYell2003 > Adrian Welsh's Blog

I really liked how Denzel Washington used the phrase “explain this to me as if I were a xxx-year-old” in the movie Philadelphia (1993).

Reference: Philadelphia. Philadelphia, PA: Jonathan Demme, 1993. film.


So, I will take it one step further and attempt to explain the concept of georeferencing to an actual five-year-old.




Five-year-old engineer says, “I have this PDF of a site plan. I want to put this on a map and have it line up properly.”



Here is my map.



We need to zoom in a little bit closer.


Open Street Map 1:100,000<-- click to make larger


A little bit more.


Open Street Map 1:5,000<-- click to make larger


Almost there. Zoom in some more so that our site plan will fit better.


Open Street Map 1:1,050<-- click to make larger


Much better. Now, we need to shrink the site plan to a more usable size. Currently, it’s larger than our map.



Let’s make it a little bit smaller.



Perfect. Now we need to place the site plan on our zoomed in map and adjust it to fit by rotating it and resizing it.



Great! Now, after some quality control of adjustments and transformations, we can rectify this image and call it georeferenced!


OSM 1:1,050 with Image<-- click to make larger


We can make the georeferenced image transparent to where we can see the basemap behind it.


OSM 1:1,050 with Image, Transparency 50%<-- click to make larger


Finally, we can add existing linework and other GIS files to give the image a more solid reference.


OSM 1:1,050 with Image, Transparency 50% and Linework<-- click to make larger





Please leave comments and let me know if this is helpful and/or what I should change with this blog post. Thanks for reading!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! (at least, it is Thanksgiving time in the US). I thought this would give me a fun chance to write a blog post on “GIS for Dummies”, but with a cooking/recipe twist, Thanksgiving style. Some folks at my office and I came up with this idea and this would be a good place to share it.


For starters, this is GIS:


GIS: A Map, But More Than a Map

  • A way to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, and present data
  • A series of layered geospatial data organized in one space
  • A way to solve problems and answer complex questions


However, let’s make it fun so that anyone can understand.


GIS for Dummies Recipe




  • 4 parts Database
  • 1 1/2 parts Geographic Data
    • Points, Lines, Polygons, Rasters, DEM, and 3D Data
  • 1 part Data from Forms / Spreadsheets (Tabular Data)
    • Address Lists, GPS Coordinates, and Files
  • 1/2 part Basemap
    • Satellite Imagery, Street Map, Topography
  • 3 parts Graphics
    • Graphical User Interface (GUI) and Mapping Tools



  • In a large Database: Stir Geographic Data with Tabular Information
    • Geocoding, Database Design, Make Event Layers
  • Select a non-stick User Interface and press Basemap evenly into the Corners



  • Preheat the GIS toolbox to Automate Tasks using Models or Scripts
  • Divide Data mixture evenly into Feature Layers
  • Sift and Fold the Feature Layers into Geoprocessing and Analysis tools
    • Perform Analyses, Generate Statistics, and Analyze Networks


Finishing Touches

  • Glaze with Thematic and Map Elements to tell the Story
    • Symbols, Labels, Layout, Legend, North Arrow, and Scale Bar
  • Trim excess and Overlay Layers
    • Demonstrate Statistical Hotspots and Illustrate Spatial Patterns
  • Cool the map on a Web Server for Publishing
    • Interactive Maps highlight Spatially and Temporally Dynamic data
  • When baking at a high altitude, use Custom Widgets to show Data Trends
  • Decision-makers see Correlations and answer Complex Questions


(this image was too cool not to post! source:


I would love to hear what y’all think about this and would love to hear of anything I should add/take away from this as well. I can continue to update it.  


title Image source:

This blog post is taken from here, but I thought I'd share it on the GeoNet:

Meridian Has the AGRC Solution | Meridian Engineering, Inc. 


On August 31, 2016, Utah GIS users lost their connection to the State of Utah ArcGIS networks. After many long hours of making phone calls and exerting technical genius, Meridian’s GIS Project Manager Adrian Welsh has a working alternative to help Utah GIS users access this crucial data. The following are his instructions.

How to utilize parcel data from the AGRC with ArcGIS Pro

If you have used ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap) for utilizing Parcel data from the AGRC (Automated Geographic Reference Center), then you have probably come across this article describing the deprecation of SDE server connections (here: It is past August 31, and that means the server connection is gone (for GIS users outside the State of Utah networks). While the above article goes on to show how to utilize AGRC’s GIS data from ArcGIS Online into ArcMap, this blog post will show you how to utilize this online data (particularly Parcel data) in ArcGIS Pro.

Open up ArcGIS Pro and load a new map (or use an existing one). Under the Map tab at the top, click on the Add Data button:


On the left hand side of the Add Data dialog box, look under the Portal category and choose the All Portal option:


In the search box, type in “AGRC Parcels”


Choose the newly created “Utah Statewide Parcels” Feature Layer and then click on Select:


Because there are hundreds of thousands of Parcels in the State of Utah and this layer contains them all, it is a good idea to zoom in to a specified location in order to minimize drawing time. While this is different than how it used to be (each county was once its own layer), you can now utilize the entire state at one time which is helpful when your data spans across counties.

After it is loaded, you can treat it like you would treat your regular data:


One additional note about adding ArcGIS Online data: Oftentimes it is unclear what kind of data is being displayed in the Add Data dialog box. Here is a tip on how to know what the data types are. Open the Add Data dialog box, click on All Portal in the left hand side, type in SGID (or whatever) into the search box, then click on the three lines icon at the top, and choose Gallery:


In the list of layers, now you can see what the data types are (examples include: layer, feature layer [hosted or otherwise], map image layer, layer package, tile layer [hosted or otherwise], imagery layer, etc.).

Special thanks to Matt Peters at the AGRC for getting this layer put together.

I love using Flickr for hosting, storing, and sharing the photos that I take of my family.  I also like how you can geotag your photos in Flickr as well.  For a while, I really wanted to do more with this ability to geotag, such as add my photos to an Esri Story Map.  However, it seemed that this ability did not exist just yet.


I recall reading an Esri blog post from Bern Szukalski about possibly using the features found in to try and link your Flickr photos to an ArcGIS Online map (link here) that really confused me.  After about a year later, a new blog post came out (that turned into an ArcWatch Article) that demonstrated how to easily use geotagged photos from Flickr and put them in a story map (link here).


So, without much modifications, here is my first Story Map!

Trip to San Diego - July 2014

This is my first story map, so I am still tinkering around with it some!

I am not sure if that link will work, so here is the url:…


Please let me know what you think!