ArcMap Intro Lab (due in two weeks)

Objective: The objective of this lab is to get you started with ArcMap and a little with ArcCatalog. You will: open shapefiles; measure distances; use the information tool; begin symbolizing data; examine and query data tables; sort tabular data; compute statistics from tabular data; select mapped features graphically; select mapped features from attribute charateristics in tables; select features by their location relative to other features; compute and use buffer zones.


The following data can be found on \\odin\Data\Geog 488 in the cartography lab. You might "map" this drive so that your computer sees it in its local file system. You can make CD of the files in this directory. If you copy the shapefiles to work at home, be sure to get all of the parts (.shp, .shx, .prj, .dbf etc.) of each shapefile.

oahucbpts.shp - Oahu census block centroid points (2000) with various charactieristics for the blocks, including urban/rural designation, population count and number of housing units. (It is missing the .prf file, which should indicate WGS84 and which you will need to set to answer several of the questions below.)

allroad3.shp - streets and roads of Oahu, most with street names, address ranges, TMK zones. (Coordinates of the segment end points are also in the table, but it is the coordinates in the ".shp" that are used for drawing. Augmented and derived from Census bureau data.

cc-street.shp - City and County of Honolulu version of street segment centerlines and address ranges. Probably a better version than the allroad3 data.

soils.shp - Oahu soils from some NRCS source. Contains 4032 polygon records and codes soils into 163 categories.

streams.shp - Oahu hydrological features (shore, ditches, canals, streams, etc) from the USGS 1:24,000 Digital Line Graph (DLG) data, includes map edges from the 1:24,000 topographic quadrangle source maps and up to three major and minor code pairs indicating what the features are, as well as from- and to-nodes and area-left and area-right for the (within map sheet) topology. In the USGS Digital Line Graph (DLG) data, Major and Minor code pairs were/are used to numerically encode the kinds of things shown on printed topographic maps. For example, a major code of '50' means a hydrographic feature. With it, a minor code of '412' means a 'stream'. ) These (and more) codes are documented in the USGS DLG Data Users Guide, Circular 895C, available on the web ( - Part 3: Attribute Coding) and photocopied in the manila folders in the bookcase at the front of PSB 310).

A Note on GIS Data and Coordinate Systems

One of the useful facilites of GIS software is the ability to integrate data from a variety of coodinate systems for use together. We'll spend some time examining this this term, but for now, know that map projection information for all but one of these data sets is in the associated .prj file and accessible via ArcCatalog or ArcMap as a general property of the data set. Those are distinct from the coordinate system used for the display panel (which you can access as a property of the display). This notion should make sense to you from Geog 370 or 375. It will become clearer as we go.

To set a shapefile's coordinate system (.prj file): (1) Remove it from any project you have open. (2) Open ArcCatalog (the file cabinet icon). (3) navigate to the shapefile. (4) If it is in a directory to whcih you can not write, copy it to a directory where you can write --- your U: 'drive'. (5) On the X Y coordiante system tab / panel, select the system in which the shapefile's coordinates are recorded.

Arc Hints

Help - is on the main menu of ArcMap and in the "Getting to Know ArcGIS" book.

Starting ArcMap - START:Programs:ArcGIS:ArcMap

Use ArcCatalog to connect ArcMap to your data folders. (And to associate coordinate systems with datasets that are missing them.)

Adding a shapefile to the map - Add layer; connect to folder; select files

Arrange layers - drag and drop in legend

Hide (or Show) layers - check box in the legend

Tool bar tools - zoom in, out, previous, next, full; pan; identify; measure; select feature

Getting the table for a layer - left click name in legend, then choose "view table"

Properties of the display panel - right click in the body of the map (with the pointer tool?), and then go to the desired properties in the drop-down menu.

Symbolizing data - double left click the layer's name in the legend / table of contents. Under the symbology tab, you can symbolize a layer as one class, several classes (and by different strategies), or as unique values (individual symbols) using graduated colors and or sizes.

Selection - by location (for locating things that are in some spatial relation to other things, i.e. close-to, inside, intersecting, etc)

Selection - by attributes (use SQL-like query to select records from a table.

Statistics - calculate statistics (mean, minimum, maximum, total, standard deviation etc for (selected rows) of a column of data in a table) (when viewing a table, right-click on a column heading and select 'statistics')

Summarize - create a new table summarizing (mean, minimum, maximum, total, standard deviation etc) the values associated with unique values in a column in a table. When viewing a table, right-click on a column heading and select 'summarize'. Be sure that you are trying to write the table in a directory to which you have write permission.

Spatial Join - relates records from two tables based on the spatial relationships among the entities they represent.

Table Join - relates two tables based on matching values in key fields in each of the tables.

Getting started

Map the data drive.

  1. MyComputer -> Tools -> MapNetworkDrive,
  2. select a letter (F:?) to designate the mapped disk,
  3. browse to highlight the data directory on the server: MyNetworkPlaces/EntireNetwork/Cartography/Odin/Data,
  4. click OK.
  5. The data directory should now show up on "MyComputer".

Start ArcMap.

Start ArcCatalog and connect to the data folder using the "Connect to Folder" button and then browsing to the letter (F:?) seleected above. You might as well make a connection to your home directory (U:?) now too.

Load the five data sets: oahucbpts.shp, allroad3.shp, cc-street.shp, streams.shp, and soils.shp into a new empty map (the Add-data "+" icon).

Spend a few minutes getting familiar with the controls. Pan, zoom, and drag to get around the image. Try the "back arrow" and "zoom to world" buttons. Use the check boxes in the legend to turn layers off and on. Change the colors on layers so they stand out better.

Examine the properties of the data layers (right click the name in the legend, the layer properties are accessed at the bottom of the drop-down list). In particular, note the symbology tab and the general tab where the coordinate system is specified.

Under the "General" (coordinate system) tab, find-out what coordinate system is used for each of the data sets. Are they all the same? Are any "Assumed"? Are any "Unknown"?

Under the symbology tab you can control the symbology used to represent the layer. You can make (more) useful maps by assigning more meaningful symbology to the features. There are options for showing qualitative or quantitative distinctions among, rather than just the existence of, features in the layer based on data fields in the associated tables. We'll do more with this later, but for now, change these three things:
symbolize the allroad3.shp street data so that all of the roads are red lines;
symbolize the census block populations (ratio level quantitative data) in oahucbpts.shp with small graduated circles whose sizes are proportional to the populations of the census blocks (POP100 field); and
symbolize the soil category (nominal data) with unique colors for each of the soil classes.

Open (and later close) the data table for each layer. See that the number of records is displayed at the bottom of the screen. Note the effects of clicking on a column label and on the box at the left end of a row. There is an "options button" at the bottom that gets you to the SQL interface to select by attributes, add new columns and do other things.

Check-out the interactive graphical selection tool. With it, click and drag over somethinig in the map. Find the thing in the table. Try doing it from the tabel to the map. (There is a "zoom to selected" option that might help.)

Look at the properties of the display. (Right click in the map body.) See the coordinate system and options for reporting distance units?


Using ArcMap, answer the following questions. Some are easy; some are puzzlers. The objective is to get you thinking about how to put the component functions together to useful effect.

  1. What is the map scale when you zoom so that Oahu just fits on your screen?(box displays the RF)
  2. What is the map scale when you zoom so that Waikiki just fits on your screen?
  3. What is the map scale when you zoom in so that only one census block centroid is on screen?
  4. What is the scale when you zoom to the data extent (world icon)?
  5. What coordinate system is used for each of these data layers? (right click name in legend, properties, general tab)
  6. What is the map projection used in the display?
  7. How many records are in the block centroids point file (oahucbpts)? (rt clk name, table, bottom of table panel)
  8. What is the most populous block (table, POP100 field, sort)?
  9. What is the soil class at the centroid of the most populous block? (information tool)
  10. What are the range and mean of the block populations? (POP100 field, statistics)
  11. Assuming that all of the records in the streams data are really streams, what is the total length of streams on Oahu? (field, statistics)
  12. What units do you think those are in?
  13. How many data fields are in the data table for allroad3?
  14. How many records are in the data table for allroad3?
  15. How many records are in the data table for cc-street?
  16. How many street segments have "Young" as the street name in allroad3? (select by attribute)
  17. How many street segments have "Young" as the street name in cc-street? (select by attribute)
  18. How far "out of whack" are these two sets of streets?
  19. What are the names of the data fields in the block centroids (oahucbpts) table?
  20. How many of the census blocks are classed as 'urban'? (URBRUR field, 1 vs 2, and which is which?)
  21. What proportion of Oahu's population lives on 'rural' blocks? (selection and summing, or summarize)
  22. How far apart are the two most distant block centroids? (ruler - measuring tool)
  23. What is the approximate perimeter of Oahu? (measuring tool)
  24. What is the total length of streams on Oahu? (try to refine-out the edges and shore lines)
  25. Which soil polygon has the greatest area?
  26. What is its soil class or category?
  27. How many census block centroids fall in this polygon?
  28. What is their combined population?
  29. Which has the higest population count?
  30. How many street segments are in Manoa Valley? (graphical selection)
  31. Which is the longest of these? (sort in the selected set)
  32. How many stream segments are within 2 km of any of these Manoa streets? (which streets data set did you use?)
  33. Using 'select by location', how many people (oahucbpts POP100 field) reside within 1 km of any of those stream segments?
  34. How are the topo sheet edges coded in the streams data? (I.e,, what are the codes in the major1-3 minor1-3 fields for the sheet edges and do these identify only sheet edges?) (inquiry, table examination, selection by attributes, thought)
  35. Are the edge line data coded consistently?
  36. How many soil classes are in the soils data?
  37. How many soils polygons do not touch a hydrological feature? (select by location, do not intersect [or 'interesect' and 'switch selection')
  38. Which soil category contains the greatest area? (summarize on category, sort the resulting table)
  39. What proportion of Oahu's population lives on each of its soils? (spatial join, summarize)
  40. Use the buffer tool (Red Tool Box icon, Analysis Tools, Proximity, Buffer, then fill-in the panel) to create a buffer zone of 0.5 km around all of the streams lines (you may want to remove the sheet edges, and perhaps save the cleaned-up data to your directory and use that data instead). How many block centroids are not inside of this buffer zone?