This article is intended for data creators and publishers using data.wa.gov.au’s geospatial Data Upload Tool to publish their data. If you have decided not to use the Data Upload Tool, please refer to the articles Publishing a dataset and Preparing data for publishing for general guidance on preparing and publishing datasets on data.wa.gov.au.
For a discussion on the pros and cons of each approach to publishing geospatial data, please refer to An introduction for geospatial data publishers.
This article will cover the key technical requirements that geospatial data symbology must meet in order to be uploaded and published through the geospatial Data Upload Tool (abbreviated as DUT), including:
- the supported file formats
- a symbology preparation checklist,
- a detailed list of the types of symbology that DUT supports.
All data loaded into DUT will go through a series of validation and repair steps to ensure it meets the data and quality requirements. Any issues encountered during validation will cause the data load to fail, and will be displayed on the publishing dashboard in DUT. These will need to be addressed, and the data re-uploaded, before it can be loaded into the data store.
Supported symbology formats
DUT only supports one format for supplying symbology for geospatial data: Esri’s MXD format.
There is an option to manually supply symbology information through DUT, however is it limited to very basic symbology and doesn’t support and more advanced concepts (e.g. styling rules).
Help: If you are not a user of Esri software and need to supply symbology information in other formats (e.g. QGIS’s QML format), please contact the team to discuss alternative approaches. Where practical, symbology can be converted to Esri’s MXD format.
Feedback: Please provide feedback about other symbology formats that DUT should support. We are particularly keen to support additional non-proprietary symbology formats. Please get in touch and advise of your requirements.
Symbology Preparation Checklist
There are some common issues that cause the problems in applying symbology when publishing data. Below is a handy checklist for data publishers to use when preparing your symbology:
- The MXD is not compatible with ArcGIS 10.3. MXDs must be saved with backwards compatibility to version 10.3 or older of ArcMap.
- Attribute names used for styling don’t match the data supplied. The attribute names used in any styling rules or labels you have defined must exactly match the data schema of the data supplied to DUT. If the attribute names change as part of the data preparation and upload process, then you need to ensure that the symbology is updated to reflect these.
- Symbology uses custom symbols or fonts. MXDs using custom corporate symbols or fonts aren’t supported by DUT. Where possible, please limit symbols and fonts to those available in the standard Esri suite. If you have a requirement for a custom symbol, please get in touch to discuss alternative approaches.
As part of preparing an MXD for use with DUT, there are a few important requirements that you should be aware of. As a rule, you should prepare an MXD that closely represents the look and feel of the data to be published.
Esri 10.3 or older
The Esri-based technology powering DUT is running ArcGIS Server v10.3.1. You need to take an extra step of saving the MXD to be compatible with version 10.3. You can save an MXD to be compatible with older versions of ArcMap via File > Save As.
If you’re using symbology options that were released from 10.4 onwards you may receive a warning from ArcMap about “Unsupported styling”. ArcMap will automatically choose 10.3-compatible symbols, fonts, etc. as part of the process of saving a 10.3 version of the MXD. If you receive this prompt, make sure you check the MXD after it’s created to ensure that the defaults that have been chosen still faithfully represent the intended symbology.
MXDs with multiple layers and corporate styling MXDs
Many organisations already have MXDs that define the symbology for their geospatial datasets. They have a single MXD that adheres to their corporate branding or meets legislative requirements.
If you have an MXD like this, it doesn’t need to be broken up into individual MXDs for DUT. Instead you can:
- upload it once to the first dataset you publish through DUT,
- email the team and advise which datasets it was attached to, and which other datasets contains the same symbology.
Custom font libraries
Custom fonts or font libraries are not supported.
Where possible, please limit the fonts to those available in the standard Esri suite. If you have a requirement for a custom symbol, please get in touch to discuss how your custom symbols can be replicated.
Custom symbols and layered symbols (where multiple symbols are combined to form a single symbol), are not supported.
Where possible, please limit the symbols to those available in the standard Esri suite. If you have a requirement for a custom symbol, please get in touch to discuss alternative approaches.
3D symbols are not supported.
Esri’s Maplex Labelling Engine is supported.
Labels as annotations
Annotation layers are not supported. If you require annotations with the data, it is recommended to convert these so they are included as additional attributes within the dataset.
If you need help preparing your symbology, or have any questions about this article, please get in touch.
The explanations provided here are intended to be concise and to-the-point. The team are happy to discuss the technical specifics of individual requirements in detail. Please provide feedback on the requirements if they cause issues for your organisation.