Managing Geospatial Data Using ArcGIS

Table of Contents

  1. Managing Geospatial Data Using ArcGIS
  2. Setting up Your Workspace
  3. Downloading Data from the Humboldt County Website
  4. Decompressing the files using 7zip
  5. Managing Data Using the Catalog Window
  6. Inspecting the Metadata
  7. Adding Data to ArcMap
  8. Exploring the ArcMap User Interface
  9. Adding a Second Data Frame to the Map Document
  10. Repairing Broken Links
  11. Compressing the Project Folder as a 7z file

Exploring The ArcMap User Interface

In addition to the layers appearing as maps in the data frame window, the Table of Contents lists the layers on the left. There are several ways the Table of Contents displays the list of data. By default, the view setting for the Table of Contents is List by Drawing Order. In this view, the ArcMap draws the layers on the map in the order the layers get listed. To demonstrate this feature, drag the fire hydrants layer to the bottom of the table of contents. On the map, the fire hydrants disappear. You cannot see them because they get drawn under the roads and the Humboldt County Boundary. The Humboldt County boundary is an extensive polygon feature which covers up anything underneath.

An image of the fire hydrant layer at the bottom of the Table of Contents
The order listed determines the order drawn on the map.

Drag the roads layer to the bottom of the Table of Contents. You should see the same thing happen to the roads as they become hidden by the Humboldt County Boundary, which is on top. Some of the roads extend beyond the Humboldt County Boundary. You might see some peeking out of the sides. Drag the Humboldt County Boundary back to the bottom of the table of contents.

An image of the roads layer under the County boundary
The order listed determines the order drawn on the map. The roads and fire hydrants appear under the County boundary.

Another commonly used view in the Table of Contents is List by Source. Near the top of the Table of Contents, click the second icon from the right. It looks like a silver cylinder over a yellow diamond. The Table of Contents groups the layers by file location.

An image of the Table of Contents in List by Source view
Layers are grouped based on file location.

To demonstrate this feature, open the original folder from the Catalog window and drag and drop the initial County boundary onto the data frame. The layer will appear in the Table of Contents under a different group. Notice that each group indicates the file path.

An image of the Table of Contents in List by Source view show two groups
Layers are grouped based on file location.

Try to drag the newly added County boundary to the top of the Table of Contents. As you can see, it does not work while the Table of Contents is in the List by Source view. The Table of Contents contains two additional views, List by Visibility and List by Selection. These last two views rarely get used in a typical workflow. However, they might prove useful under specific circumstances. Feel free to explore these views at a later time.

For now, return to List by Drawing Order. Right-click on the County boundary layer from the original folder and select Remove. You do not need a duplicate County boundary on the map.

An image of the County boundary remove option
You can access contextual menus in the Table of Contents by right-clicking on layers and data frames.

On the Tools toolbar, click the Zoom In tool. The icon looks like a magnifying glass with a plus sign inside. Click and drag a rectangle around Humboldt Bay.

An image of the zoom icon on the Tools toolbar

The data frame changes the map extent closer to the bay. Use the Zoom tool again click and drag a box near downtown Arcata, just north of the Bay.

An image of the dataframe showing the bay between Arcata and Eureka
The individual roads and fire hydrants should be visible.

Three additional zoom tools exist on the Tools toolbar. The Zoom Out tool looks like a magnifying glass with a minus sign and works similar to the Zoom In tool. Also included on the Tools toolbar are the Fixed Zoom In and the Fixed Zoom Out tools. They appear as four arrows either pointing inward or outward. You can use the Fixed Zoom In and the Fixed Zoom Out tools to zoom in and out in controlled jumps from the center of the data frame. Take a moment to experiment with each tool.

An image of the Fixed zoom in tool
The Tools toolbar provides several ways for changing the scale of the map.

Next to the Zoom Out tool is the Pan tool. The icon looks like a hand. Click the pan tool and move the map until the Humboldt Bay is visible just between the City of Arcata and the City of Eureka. You may need to zoom in or out a little. The Humboldt County boundary extends around the Bay, but the bay is not explicitly part of the data. What you see as the bay is the background color of the data frame, currently set to white. You can represent water in the bay by changing the data frame background color to blue.

An image of the dataframe showing the bay between Arcata and Eureka
The water features appear white because of the background color of the data frame.

In the Table of Contents, the word Layers appears above the three map layers. I believe Esri chose very poorly when naming this element in the Table of Contents. The name consistently leads to confusion. This item on the Table of Contents is not a layer. It represents the data frame. Access the properties for the data frame by right-clicking on the word Layers in the Table of Contents. Select, Properties from the contextual menu.

An image of the data frame contextual menu with properties selected
You can access contextual menus in the Table of Contents by right-clicking on layers and data frames.

When the Data Frame Properties window opens, click the General tab. Change the name of the data frame to something more descriptive, such as “Humboldt County Fire Hydrants.” Click Apply. The name updates in the Table of Contents.

An image of the data frame properties window general tab
Changing the name of the data frame helps to add clarity to the Table of Contents.

In the Data Frame Properties window, Click the Frame tab. Do not confuse it with the Data Frame tab, which has a similar name. Click the drop-down menu under Background and change the color to your choice of a shade of blue. When you are ready, click OK.

An image of the data frame properties window Frame tab
The Frame tab has options for changing the map border and the background. Click to view the image in a larger size.

The background on the map changes to blue.

An image of the background color changed to blue
Adding a blue background to the data frame simulates water features, such as the Humboldt Bay and the Pacific Ocean.