Event Layer Files

For a refresher on layer files, please see the GIS Concepts Review document.

The Event Layer Files can be found in the \tools folder in the GeoOps Incident Directory Structure.

Nearly every map is going to start with the Event Group Layer Point Labels Defined.lyr file, the primary two types being the Edit Project and Incident Maps. The key difference between these two is the database to which the layer file path is repaired.

It is very important to keep these two separate because incident maps should never be created using the Local Copy or Edit GDB and data edits should never be made outside of the Edit Project.

Event Layer File Template Implementation Diagram

Diagram showing the different data interactions when using the Event Layer File Template for both the Edit Project and Incident Map Projects.

Keeping the Edit Project separate from Incident Maps is a crucial component of the GISS Workflow and proper layer file management is essential to this.

Because a layer file stores symbology, labeling, and Feature Templates, it can be used to quickly create projects. But because it also stores files paths, it can easily add the wrong data to a project resulting in inaccurate products or wasted time editing the wrong database.

Following the presented best practices will help to avoid any mishaps, but it is always important to be aware of what data you are working with and how all your databases, maps, projects, local copies, and layer files all fit together.

The Event Layer Files

  • Accountable Property 2020.lyr(x) – Symbology for the new Accountable Property feature class.
  • Event Group BAM Large Symbols 2020.lyr(x) – Point and Line symbols sized appropriately for a BAM. Increase or decrease the size as necessary.
  • Event Group Layer Point Labels Defined 2020.lyr(x) – Point, Line and Polygon layer with point labels set up in Label Classes that can be easily converted to annotation.
  • Event Line Collector Display 2020.lyr(x) – Simplified line symbology for use in Collector. 
  • IR Group Layer 2020.lyr(x) – Symbology for the new IR feature classes.
  • Label Point 2020.lyr(x) – New feature class to store labeling information.
  • Repair Status Group Layer 2020.lyr(x) – Group layer with EventPoint and EventLine symbolized based on the RepairStatus field. This layer file should be used in conjunction with the Event Group Layer Point Labels Defined layer file to provide a RepairStatus “halo” for features.
  • Structure Triage 2020.lyr(x) – New feature class based on the Structure Triage guidelines in the Incident Response Pocket Guide page 14+15. Alternate Triage categories for California’s FIRESCOPE is available in the NIFS.

Edit Project

Instructions for using the Event Layer Files with the Edit Project are provided in the documentation on the Creating a Local Copy and Creating and Edit GDB pages as these contain the datasets it will point to depending on which is being used.

Incident Maps


Starting from the Pro Project Template.

  1. Use Save As to save the template as a new project in the projects folder, naming it per GeoOps {mapType}_{year}_{incidentName}_{localIncidentID}.aprx.
  2. Open the existing map view {MapType}_2019_{IncidentName} and rename it with the map type and the incident name.
  3. Repair the data source for the existing layers (or add the Template lyr file and repair) to the Master Incident GDB.
  4. Open or create a Layout in the appropriate size and customize it to the product type.

For more information on creating incident maps with ArcGIS Pro, see the Map Layouts Page.


Starting from a blank mxd or a template that does not have the Event Features already in it:

  1. Add the Layer File Template (Event Group Layer Point Labels Defined.lyr)
    The Event Group Layer shown in the ArcMap table of contents with broken data links.
  2. Repair the data paths to the Master Incident GDB in \incident_data.
    The Set Data Source window with the Master Incident Geodatabase selected.
  3. That’s all! Make your map.

OPTIONALLY: Save this group layer file to the \incident_data folder, but keep in mind that it is crucial not to mix this layer file up with the Edit Layer File.

The recommended best practice is to use the template and repair the path for each new project (mxd). This provides a built-in check that they are always pointing to the correct database.



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