Working with multiscale data

Complexity: Beginner Data Requirement: ArcGIS Tutorial Data Setup

The Nautical Information System (NIS) is an enterprise GIS that is made up of the database, workflow, and concepts. In an enterprise environment, data is stored in a Central Data Repository (CDR) for editing and maintenance, which is replicated to other databases for publishing. When implementing the NIS, there are many decisions that an organization needs to make. First, the organization needs to choose a relational database management system, such as Oracle or SQL Server. Once it is configured, the database is then ready to load the NIS schema.

One of the powerful benefits the NIS offers is that multiple-scale data can be stored in one central location for easy editing access. Each feature class in the NIS schema contains the field PLTS_COMP_SCALE, which identifies the compilation scale of the feature data.

Loading data

When loading data using the S-57 To Geodatabase tool, the PLTS_COMP_SCALE value is populated according to the CSCL or M_CSCL value in the S-57 cell. The S-57 importer takes care of populating this value for you; however, if you choose to load data via an alternative method, this attribute field will need to be populated in an edit session after loading.

  1. Start ArcCatalog.
  2. In the Catalog Tree window, right-click the feature dataset into which you want to import and click Import > S-57 to Geodatabase.
    Import S-57 to Geodatabase command

    The S-57 to Geodatabase dialog box appears.

    S-57 to Geodatabase dialog box for importing into an NIS database
    S-57 to Geodatabase dialog box for importing into an NIS database

    If you are importing into a non-NIS production database, the override options will not be available.

  3. Click the browse button (...) next to the Input S-57 Cell text box.
  4. Navigate to and choose the S-57 cell you want to import.

    If you are importing multiple cells, you must select them at the same time and from the same directory.

  5. Click Open.

    If you are importing S-57 data into a non-NIS production database or do not want to use the override options for your NIS database, skip to step 8; otherwise, continue to the next step to override CSCL and M_CSCL values.

  6. Click OK.

    A status dialog box appears.

    When the process is complete, the S-57 to Geodatabase dialog box appears and asks you if you want to view the log file.

  7. Click Yes to open and review the log file.

    The log file shows the following information:

    • Metadata information that was imported, such as dataset ID (DSID), dataset structure information (DSSI), and dataset parameter (DSPM)
    • The new value, if you have imported into an NIS database and replaced the imported cell's CSCL value with one of your own
    • The number of features and primitives that were imported
    • The amount of time it took to import
    • Any errors that occurred (listed at the top of the log file)
    • The import version name that was created and populated, if you imported into an ArcSDE geodatabase
    • The amount of time it took to read the file for the override option (NIS only)
  8. Close the log file once you are finished reviewing it.

    If importing into an ArcSDE geodatabase, you will need to reconcile and post your data in the import version to the Default version.

Populating the compilation scale when editing

In an edit session, when adding features, the PLTS_COMP_SCALE field is automatically populated for the user with the current setting of the nautical compilation scale property. This attribute is later used when populating product databases and can be leveraged in an edit session via definition queries. If you copy and paste features into an edit session in the NIS, the PLTS_COMP_SCALE of those features is set according to the property.

  1. Start ArcMap.
  2. On the main menu, click Customize > Production > Production Properties.

    The Production Properties dialog box appears.

  3. Click Nautical Properties.
  4. Click the cell next to Compilation Scale Value and type the product scale you want to apply in an edit session.

    You cannot use 0 (zero), negative values, or nonnumeric characters.


    The compilation scale can be found in the PLTS_DSPM table in the PLTS_COMP_SCALE field.

  5. Click OK.

Editing experience

Using the Feature Display Settings tool or manually selecting individual feature layers, definition queries can be set on any given feature layer. Sometimes it is beneficial to see all features when editing. However, it often complicates the display if multiple-scale bands of data exist in the area of interest. When you only want to see the features at a single scale, definition queries with the PLTS_COMP_SCALE = <your compilation value> will show only those features with the specified value.

  1. Start ArcMap.
  2. On the main menu, click Customize > Toolbars > Customize.

    The Customize dialog box appears.

  3. Click the Commands tab. In the Categories list, choose Production Cartography.
  4. In the Commands list, choose Feature Display Settings.
  5. Drag the Feature Display Settings command onto any toolbar.
  6. Click the Feature Display Settings button Feature Display Settings.

    The Feature Display Settings dialog box appears.

    Feature Display Settings dialog box
  7. If necessary, click the Definition Queries tab.
  8. In the Feature Layers list, click the name of the feature layer for which you want to define the definition query.

    For example, AidsToNavigationP.


    Checking the check box next to the feature layer will not select it.

  9. Click SQL.

    The Define Query Expression dialog box appears.

  10. Double-click the field you want to use in the query.

    The field name appears in the Where text box.

    For example, PLTS_COMP_SCALE.

  11. Click an operator.

    The operator appears in the Where text box.

    For example, =.

  12. Click Get Unique Values.

    The unique values for the field appear.

  13. Double-click the value you want to use in the query.

    The unique value appears after the operator in the Where text box.

    For example, 40000.

  14. Click Verify.

    The Verifying expression message appears and indicates whether or not the expression is valid.

  15. Click OK to close the verification message.
  16. Click OK on the Define Query Expression dialog box.

    The Definition Queries tab appears.

  17. Copy and paste the definition query to the Multiple definition queries (checked items) text box.
  18. In the Feature Layers list, check the check boxes next to the feature layers for which you want to update the definition query.
  19. Click Replace.

    A message appears that indicates which feature layers have had their definition queries replaced.

  20. Click OK.
  21. Click the Close button Close to close the Feature Display Settings dialog box.