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Workflow to generate PaleoGIS projects
Having to work with PaleoGIS at work, I've been iterating on a workflow with the colleagues from the EarthByte group to produce a minimal, yet production-ready workflow to generate PaleoGIS models from scratch (or GPlates-default files -
*.shp. Find the workflow on the Notes on PaleoGIS section of the wiki
Notes on PaleoGIS
Setting up a clean database
Building a PaleoGIS model without a PaleoGIS license, access to MS Access and being in Windows is close to impossible. There are ways to programatically do this but almost exclusively this is limited to the settings above. Some days of researching the webs didn't yield anything useful (e.g. using Python to write the database table). The used
*.mdb format makes it very hard to reverse-engineer, the inability of ArcGIS to rename the
OBJECTID field in the plate rotation table is another one.
Here's my take on what I think is the most robust way to generate a working PaleoGIS model without actually having access to PaleoGIS. It leaves the last step of model building (importing the rotation file) to the PaleoGIS user with a valid license:
- Use ArcCatalogue to generate an empty Personal Geodatabase (
- Import the feature data through right-clicking on the database file and selecting
Feature Class (single)or
Feature Class (multiple)depending on your input.
- From an existing and working PaleoGIS database, copy over the following tables by simple drag'n'drop into your new database:
T_Model_Settings(required PaleoGIS model settings table),
PLATENAM(optional, referenced by the
NUMBER_NAME_MAPPINGparameter in the settings table).
DATATYPE(this table is required by PaleoGIS and is referenced by the
DATATYPE_NAME_MAPPINGparameter), as well as
- a timescale table of choice (referenced by the
- Modify the following parameters in the
T_Model_Settingsin a way that the variables point to the correct feature classes or tables:
TIMESCALE_PREFERRED: Value should be set to the name of the timescale table you've copied into your database.
DISPLAY_LAYER_[1-9]: Value should be set to the feature class that should be displayed when the model is loaded. Increment the number at the end of the name string for any other added feature. Note that you need to use the following notation if you have simple, unstyled feature classes:
$PGD$|<Your feature class name>, if you have styled layers files, the syntax becomes:
$PGD$|DATABASE_LAYERS\<Your feature class name>.
DATATYPE_NAME_MAPPING: This value points to the
DATATYPEtable which is required to be present.
TIMESCALE_SOURCE: Name of the timescale table.
- Adjust the
DISAPPEARS_COLUMN_1to the correct names of the corresponding columns in your feature class files. Following the formal GPlates Standard Naming scheme, the column names should be
MODEL_REFPLATE_COLUMNunchanged as the PaleoDataConverter output will automatically use the default PaleoGIS naming scheme for these columns
Once the database is complete and the name-attribute mapping in the
T_MODEL_SETTINGS table is correct, pass the database on to your friendly plate modeler with a PaleoGIS license. The steps to complete the assembly of the PaleoGIS database are then simply to:
- Open up an ArcMap document with PaleoGIS installed.
- Open up the PaleoGIS settings
- Register the new model by clicking on
Register Model, then click on the
…Button next to
Model Path. The settings table should be automagically be registered, as the model name (
CITATIONvalue in the
T_MODEL_SETTINGStable). Once done, click
OKto load the model (with the tickbox for
Load model after registeringchecked).
- Once this is done, PaleoGIS will probably have a little hissy fit, but close the
- Make sure that the toolbar is available through right clicking on the ArcMap menu bar, the activating the
PaleoGIS: Analysis Toolmenu.
- Select the
Paleo Data Converterfrom the PaleoGIS Analysis Toolbar
Rotation File (.rot)as input data type.
Personal Geodatabase Table (.mdb)as Output format, the output location needs to be in the newly created
*.mdbdatabase. Afterwards click on
- Your plate model for PaleoGIS should now be complete and useable. If necessary adjust the