USGS Astrogeology Geologic Map GIS Template

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Detailed Description

Review of all elements included in the GIS template provided to NASA-funded mappers producing USGS SIM-series planetary geologic maps.


Date Taken:

Length: 00:05:26

Location Taken: Flagstaff, AZ, US


In this video we will go through all parts of the geologic map GIS template

provided by Astrogeology

to NASA funded mappers producing USGS Scientific Investigation Maps,

known as some series maps provided brief explanation of how they work together to support the entire mapping process.

The actual contents of each project are based on the specifications

of the Mapping Coordinators letter of support for that map, but a generic version of the package is a also available for download

at the Planetary Geologic Mapping program Guidelines website.

The ReadMe is a text file stored in the root of the project directory the details all the information 

contained in that project and should be the first place mappers look for clarification.

It also includes basic guidelines for using the data and contact information for technical support.

The first folder labeled "CoordinateSystems" contains one or more projection files that define the spatial reference of the project.

A projection file is simply a text file with a *.PRJ extension that defines a spatial domain (or 

body), projection type, and parameters of the projection.

These coordinate systems are already saved in the map document and written to all spatial data in the 

project, but can be used for recreating the map or sharing with collaborators.

Layer files are used to save the symbology of a layer outside of the map document.

They do not contain any of the source data

and only work with ArcMap MXDs.

The layer files provided in the template are used to set the symbology of the empty feature classes, which include geologic contacts,

linear features, location features, and surface features

based on FGDC standard symbology.

The Rasters folder contains all base maps and key supplemental data

approved for use in the mapping process.

They are clipped tothe  map boundary and projected in the map coordinate system. This

folder also includes the ancillary files that contain the spatial reference, statistics, overviews and metadata associated with each image.

The Working folder is where all mapping data are stored and we recommend keeping this as the repository for all in-progress work, notes and

graphics related to the GIS. It is important to keep this workspace as well organized as possible since 

intermediate and derivative files can quickly become cluttered.

The Shapefiles folder is not included in the generic template,

but is included for prepared projects, and typically just contains a shapefile of the map boundary,

which can be useful for sharing, clipping in re-creating maps.

The geodatabase contains all mapped features, and mosaic dataset if there is one.

Geodatabases allow users to leverage the most capability in a GIS environment, some of which will be covered here.

For more information on using a file geodatabase see our other tutorials or visit Esri's website for detailed documentation and exercises.

Within the geodatabase is a feature dataset which acts like a sub-folder for all data that share a common spatial reference and tolerance.

This means that any feature class imported or exported from the feature dataset will automatically be projected to that coordinate 

system, which can be accessed or modified through the feature dataset properties window.

Stored in that feature dataset are the feature classes which store the actual mapping data.

We recommend that you output derivative layers to the same space,

and using naming convention that supports version control.

As mentioned, there a number of advantages to managing your spatial data in a geodatabase, and one of the most helpful is the attribute domain.

Attribute domains are predefined values

which can be text, numeric ranges or dates, that are available as drop-down field attributes.

The template geodatabase comes pre-populated with coded domains for all feature types used by the layer files and feature classes, greatly 

reducing the number of errors and overall time when entering attributes.

All prepared projects include MXDs saved in versions 10.1, 0.3 and 10.4.

In the event the map is corrupted it may be recovered from an earlier version

or rebuilt using the elements covered here.

Thank you for viewing; we hope this video has been helpful. For more videos as well as tools and resources for planetary GIS visit the MRCTR

GIS Lab hosted by the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.