Exploring Error and Uncertainty Related to Datums and Projections Using ArcGIS

Skill Drill: Downloading Data from Natural Earth

Table of Contents

  1. Exploring Error and Uncertainty Related to Datums and Projections Using ArcGIS
  2. Skill Drill: Setting Up Your Workspace
  3. Skill Drill: Downloading Data from Natural Earth
  4. Skill Drill: Connect to Your Workspace Folder in ArcMap
  5. Creating a File Geodatabase
  6. Creating Feature Classes from Shapefiles
  7. Adding XY Data using the ArcCatalog Window
  8. Skill Drill: Creating Indicatrices Using the Buffer Tool
  9. Evaluate Distortion Patterns in Map Projections
  10. Measuring Scale Distortion
  11. Skill Drill: Evaluate and Measure Distortion
  12. Troubleshooting Datum Shift
  13. Repairing Corrupted Data Using the Define Projection Tool
  14. Skill Drill: Repairing Incorrect Coordinate System Definitions

As you learned previously, Natural Earth is a website created to provide vector and raster data to meet the needs of cartographers using a variety of software applications. The data on this website is free to use without restrictions. Open the Chrome browser and navigate to the Natural Earth website. Click the Downloads link. Under Small scale data, click the Cultural link (Figure 2.01).

If you do not have the Chrome browser, you can download it here.

Figure 2.01: Natural Earth provides physical and cultural data in large, medium, and small scale. Double-click or tap twice to view the image in a larger size.

Under Admin 0Countries, right-click Download countries (Figure 2.02). Select, Save Link As, then navigate to your original folder and save.

Figure 2.02: The image here shows the Natural Earth Cultural Vectors download page for small-scale data.

Scroll down until you see Populated Places (Figure 2.03). Right-click the button that says Download populated places, select Save Link as, then navigate to your original folder and save.

Figure 2.03: This layer contains city and town points for the globe.

When you are ready, hit the back button and return to the main downloads page. Click Physical under Small scale data. On the Physical Vectors page, scroll down until you see Graticules (Figure 2.04). Right-click on the button that says Download 10. Select, Save Link As, then navigate to your original folder and save.

Figure 2.04: The image here shows the Natural Earth Physical Vectors download page for small-scale data. Graticules is near the bottom.

Previously, you learned how to decompress a file using 7zip. In Microsoft Windows, navigate to your original folder. You should see the three zip files, one for countries, one for populated places, and one for graticules (Figure 2.05). For each zip file, right-click, select 7zip, then Extract Here.

Figure 2.05: You can access the 7zip software by right-clicking on a compressed file.

Be sure to delete the zip files when you are done decompressing them (Figure 2.06). You won’t need them anymore. Eliminating them saves space and helps to avoid confusion later.

Figure 2.06: As you can see, many parts make a shapefile. It must use these files together to work correctly. NEVER delete any of the component files. Pay attention when deleting unwanted zip files. Double-click or tap twice to view the image in a larger size.