Introduction to GIS Data for ArcMap 10.1 and Higher
An introduction to GIS data using ArcMap 10.1 and higher; intended for planetary geologic mappers.
Location Taken: Flagstaff, AZ, US
Welcome to the MRCTR GIS Lab video tutorial "Introduction to GIS Data in ArcMap 10.1 and higher".
In this video we will address common data formats,
how to view GIS data, and access basic properties and functions.
This video is intended for new GIS users and those who use the program only on occasion.
One of the most common methods for sharing data is via e-mail and GIS Data are most often mishandled at this stage.
Data are usually sent as a series of attachments, like these shapefiles,
or as a compressed folder.
This view shows those same datasets in Windows File Explorer. As you see here, a shapefile is not just one file,
but a series of files with the same root name, and different extensions that work together in a GIS
If the file is in use, like an open ArcMap project, you will also see a lock file which disables all editing of the shapfefile.
A geodatabase - which houses one more geographic data sets - is housed in a folder with the *.gdb extension.
If you open the geodatabase folder you'll see that it's not meant to be human readable.
ArcCatalog is one the most underutilized features in ArcGIS.
It is accessible through ArcMap, but the full ArcCatalog application offers more options for interrogating and modifying GIS-ready data
For example, without digging into the Properties window
users can use the Preview tab to quickly view of the geography
and the attribute table of the selected layer.
The description tab displays any metadata written to the object,
that may be viewed at geodatabase,
feature dataset, and feature class levels.
Additionally, most geoprocessing tools can be executed from this window; and renaming importing and exporting data
is most easily accomplished from here as well.
ArcMap view is what most users are accustomed to
and offers the most robust functionalit,y but can also be the most difficult now to navigate.
Understanding how a map document works and how to discover key properties and tools can go a long way toward getting the most out of ArcMap.
You can see both representations of this geological maps are identical for relevant purposes.
The most important note about map documents
is that they do not actually store your data.
What the map document saves are tge data sources, expressions and symbology of your data as well as graphics and legends.
By switching the Table of Contents view users can determine the drawing oder,
the visibility and the selectability of all layers in the map, which can be very helpful in
troubleshooting some of the most common problems.
And by right clicking a layer,
users can access the most commonly used functions and properties.
There are two views in ArcMap data view and layout view. Data view supports editing and viewing data at all scales while layout view is
meant for creating complete maps and exporting at the printed scale.
This means that legends, grids and other ancillary map elements are not always visible in data view.
An often overlooked, but critical,component of the map document is the data frame.
A single map document can have multiple data frames, which are treated as separate maps,
but by default a map document has one data frame titled "Layers".
The data from controls the coordinate system, the reference scale (also referred to as a printed scale)
as well as other properties unique to the map.
The real power of a GIS is that datasets from different coordinate systems can be overlaid in one common coordinate system.
The last topic we will cover here is how to access the most commonly used features in ArcMap.
To utilize certain geoprocessing tools
users must first verify that the proper extensions are activated.
In the Customize menu, select Extensions,
in ensure that the Spatial Analyst extension is checked.
Also under the Customize menu is the Toolbars submenu, where other toolbars may be brought into the ribbon.
Additionally, the Windows menu allows users to open and dock useful windows within the project.
The Catalog window operates much like the ArcCatalog view mentioned earlier, but without the preview pane.
The Search window allows users to search for geoprocessing tools,
online resources and other help using plain language.
This is by far the quickest way to find features not already addressed.
We hope this lesson has been useful to you and your mapping efforts.
For additional GIS resources and more specialized tutorials please refer to the MRCTR
GIS Lab website hosted by the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona