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

Adding a Second Data frame to the Map Document

In ArcMap, it is also possible to have multiple data frames in a single map document. From the Main Menu, select Insert, then Data Frame. The data frame window turns white, and the map disappears. Currently, the new data frame contains no data.

An image of the Insert data frame menu item
The insert menu provides several options for inserting items to ArcMap.

In ArcMap’s current view setting, called the data view, only one data frame at a time is visible. You can switch back and forth between multiple data frames by activating them.

An image of the new dataframe added to ArcMap
The map appears blank because no data is yet added to the new data frame.

To demonstrate this feature, right-click on the data frame titled Humboldt County Fire Hydrants and select Activate. Switch back to the New Data Frame by right-clicking on it. Then, choose Activate.

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

Rename the new data frame. Call the data frame, “Election Precinct Map.” Add the election precinct shapefile from the working folder to the new data frame.

An image of the election precincts added to the map
The election precinct is the only layer in the new data frame.

One of the most powerful features of GIS software is the connection between a database and the map. Each shapefile comes with a database table. In ArcMap, you refer to the database table as an attribute table. To view the attribute table, right-click on the election precincts in the Table of Contents and select Open Attribute Table from the contextual menu.

An image of the open attribute table menu item
You can access contextual menus in the Table of Contents by right-clicking on layers and data frames. Click to view the image in a larger size.

The first time you open the attribute table, it will appear floating above the map. Click and drag your attribute table towards the bottom of ArcMap. As you drag, position your cursor over the blue arrow that appears near the bottom. When you place your cursor over the blue arrow, the attribute table will snap to the bottom of ArcMap.

An image of the blue arrow that snaps the attribute table
Snapping the attribute table to the bottom of the map makes it easy to read.

The attribute table and the map are directly related. The attribute table represents each point, line, or polygon feature on a map as a record, or row, in the table. If you select a feature on the map, a corresponding record gets highlighted in the attribute table. If you select a record on the attribute table, ArcMap highlights the corresponding feature in the map. To demonstrate this behavior, click the gray box on the left side of the attribute table for the record that says 5OR under the Precinct field. ArcMap highlights the polygon representing precinct 5OR on the map.

An image of the 5OR record selected
Selecting a record on the attribute table selects a feature on the map.

On the Tools toolbar, click the Select Features tool. The icon looks like a white arrow over a blue and white square. On the map, click on the polygon just right of precinct 5OR. ArcMap highlights the polygon on the map and the record for precinct 5KT-1 in the attribute table.

An image of the Select Features icon
You can select features by clicking on them or dragging a box over them.

Close the attribute table. On the Tools toolbar, click on the Clear Selected Features icon. The icon looks like a white square.

An image of the clear selected features icon
It is always a good habit to clear any selected features as you work.