Instant Data

Instant Data make repetitive data entry a snap in drawing windows or in drawing layers in map windows. This is a mode command. It is either checked or not checked in the Edit menu. When checked, all subsequent object creation commands, like Insert Point, will call up the Object Fields dialog, ready for action.


When an object is created, the Object Fields dialog in Instant Data mode allows us to enter values rapidly into desired fields. The dialog will be pre-loaded with most recently used data and the cursor will already be in editing mode within the most recently edited field. This makes it easy to rapidly enter repetitive values when adding lots of points or other objects to a drawing. For example, if we are using the GPS Console to automatically fetch location data when adding information on, say, fire hydrants or other assets in a town, Instant Data makes it easy to rapidly add other annotations.




To use Instant Data


1. Open a drawing window or click on a drawing layer in a map to make it active.

2. Click Instant Data in the Edit menu to check it ON.

3. Choose a tool to insert the objects you want, for example, Insert Point.

4. Click the location where you wish to insert a point. The Object Fields dialog will open.

5. Double-click into the value box for which you want to edit data and enter the data.

6. Double-click into any other value box for which you want to edit data and enter the data.

7. When finished adding data for all fields, press Enter or press OK.

8. Continue adding objects. Each time the Instant Data dialog will appear preloaded with the cursor ready to edit within the last value added. Change the values as desired. If for some objects you wish to add a value in a different field, double click into the value for that field and edit it.

9. When finished using Instant Data, click it off in the Edit menu.


Use Instant Data when you must create many objects and wish to add a value for each. For example, suppose we need to add many points to a map and we wish to enter a name for each in a field called Name. Check Edit - Instant Data and then we can use Insert Point to click where we want each point. Enter the name, hit Enter and click on the next point. Instant Data thus allows a very rapid repetitive data-entry rhythm: click a point - enter a value, click a point - enter a value, and so on.


Important: Please note that because Instant Data is used to load values into a database field for newly-created objects the Object Fields dialog only appears when there are fields defined in the drawing's table. If we create a new, blank drawing the Object Fields dialog will not be available until we add some fields to the drawing's table.


Instant Data remembers the last value used for each drawing. If we turn on Instant Data and then add points to different drawing (say, by clicking into different drawing windows or by changing the active layer in a map), the Object Fields dialog will be loaded with the last field used and last value used for each drawing.


Using Instant Data when Several Objects are Created


Manifold commands can be used to create many objects at once. For example, if the Insert Areas tool is used with Create Areas, Create Lines, and Create Points modes on the area with a line object at the boundary and point objects at the coordinates that define the area.


When several objects at once are created, the instant data dialog tries to identify the "main" object for which a data field value is to be assigned, using the order of precedence: areas, lines and finally points. For example, when creating an area with a boundary line and points at the defining coordinates the area will be taken as the "main" object and the instant data dialog will set a data field value for the area.


If no object can be obviously identified as the "main" object the instant data dialog will not launch even if Edit - Instant Data is checked. For example, we can use the Insert Box tool with Insert Points mode set ON to create four points at the corners of a box. There is nothing to distinguish any of the four points as being more "main" than any of the other points, so the instant data dialog will not launch in this case.




Suppose we are creating a map that shows the location of fire hydrants in our town. We have a drawing that overlays a high-resolution aerial photograph in a map. Using Insert Point we will click on each location that has a hydrant to create a point at that location. Our drawing's table has fields called Asset and ID Number we can use to identify each point. We would like each point to be created with Hydrant in the Asset field and a varying identification number in the ID Number field.


This is easy. We set Instant Data on and then click to insert the first point.




Since this is the first point to be created in the drawing, the Object Fields dialog launches with no values, but with the cursor ready to enter a value for the Asset field. We enter "Hydrant" and then double-click into the Value field next to the ID Number.




We now enter the desired value for the ID Number field and then press Enter. We've just created a point with the desired values.


We can now click into the drawing once more to create another point at the next hydrant location using Insert Point.




Once again the Object Fields dialog launches, but this time the fields are pre-loaded with default values (the last used) and the cursor is already positioned in editing mode within the Value box for the ID Number field. We can rapidly change the ID number for this hydrant and press Enter to create this next point.


Obviously, if there are many more fields than just one or two that must be filled in with default values when manually adding objects to drawings, Instant Data can save a lot of time.


Note: When finished using Instant Data, remember to take a moment to uncheck Edit - Instant Data


See Also


See the Add Points with Instant Data example topic for an example of adding points, using Instant Data and moving points by editing intrinsic fields.