Eyes in the Sky II > GIT Web Course > Module 2 > Week 5 > Intro to GIS > Intro to ArcGIS

Week 5: Monitoring Invasive Species

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Intro to ArcGIS

Opening Screenshot

ArcGIS is the market leader in geographic information systems for schools. Built to visualize, explore and analyze most forms of geographic data and remote sensed imagery, it is possible to combine point, line, polygon, and image data in ArcGIS. During the online course we will provide the data sets we want you to use to familiarize yourself with the interface. This spring and summer you will go through lessons with a large selection of comprehensive data that can be used in projects. ArcGIS can save and open projects, so work can be shared between users, or between school and home. ArcGIS classifies and symbolizes shapefiles, displays image data, works on data in several projections, and use data distributed over the Internet from several types of services such as ArcGIS online or any web based map service. It is also possible to use ArcGIS with data that is downloaded from a GPS unit to create custom layers of information that then can be related to scientific and other types of data. GIS Data is often freely available over the Internet from cities, counties and federal organizations such as the National Park Service (NPS) and the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) and many of the remote sensing sites we have already learned about.
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The ArcGIS Toolbar

The ArcMap toolbar contains a variety of tools for analyzing and manipulating geographic data. You will learn about the tools as you use them.

With the initial ArcMap startup, you will see a toolbar "floating" to the right.
Initial Screen

That toolbar can be moved and "docked" anywhere on the ArcMap interface. To move the toolbar, click and hold on the dark blue title bar at the top of the floating toolbar and drag it to the left or top of your screen.

  • The toolbar is docked to the left.
    Tool Bar Middle
  • The toolbar is docked to the top.
    Tool Bar Top

The standard button bar contains a variety of buttons with different functions.
Standard Tools


The toolbar contains a variety of tools with different functions.
Tools


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Download Geographic Data About Invasive Species

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Explore a GIS Map

Shortcut1

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Zoom in and out

Movie Icon

Click on the movie to open up the movie in the SERC Media library. Then click its name to play it. Close the window when you are done.

loading the player

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Find latitude and longitude

Move the cursor across the map to discover changes in X and Y and how they relate to Longitude and Latitude.

Movie Icon

Click on the movie to open up the movie in the SERC Media library. Then click its name to play it. Close the window when you are done.

loading the player

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Discover How the Layers Build the Map

A GIS map — is made of layers of geographic information connected to specific places on Earth. GIS layers can be global, regional, or local. They can represent 1) points, such as cities, 2) lines, like rivers and roads, or 3) geographic areas such as states and countries.

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Turn layers on and off

To turn a layer on or off, click in the check box next to the name of the layer. The layer will then be displayed on the map. top of page

Explore moving Layers in the Table of Contents

  • Click the Zoom to the Full Extent Zoom to Full Extent tool.
  • To the left of the map space is a listing of Layers, called the Table of Contents.
    The data that make up the layers are shown as either points, lines, or polygons. These layers come from shapefiles, a standard GIS data format. (It is also possible to add images to a GIS.) The layers are drawn from the bottom to the top as they appear in the Table of Contents. If not positioned properly, it is possible for some layers to cover up others. In general, polygons should be placed at the bottom, while lines and points should be arranged near the top.

    Movie Icon

    Click on the movie to open up the movie in the SERC Media library. Then click its name to play it. Close the window when you are done.

    loading the player

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    Understand Which Layer You Are Working With

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    Select a layer

    ArcGIS allows you to choose which layer you want to work with from within all tools. If you are asking to find a certain river in your project, just make sure that you choose the rivers layer to look in when asking the software to find the Pearl River for instance. This is the equivalent to making a theme active in other versions of GIS software. This should help simplify the concept of whether a layer is visible or if it is active which is required in other GIS packages. Layers that are turned on or are visible have a check in the box next to their name. More than one layer can be on at a given time, don't forget that some layers can be on top covering other layers when looking for them. Feel free to rearrange the layers to avoid completely covering over as needed.
    Turn on the US Rivers layer.
    This shows right clicking the Zoom to Layer on the context menu pulldown.
    Rivers Zoomed To Layer Context Menu
  • This shows the view zoomed in, after clicking Zoom to Layer.
    Rivers Turned On Zoomed to Layer
  • Movie Icon

    Click on the movie to open up the movie in the SERC Media library. Then click its name to play it. Close the window when you are done.

    loading the player

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    Investigate the Geographic Data Behind the Map

    What sets a GIS apart is the database of information linked to each layer drawn on the map. This makes it a powerful tool for decision-making and science. The data for each feature displayed on the map can be found in the Attribute Table. This table, or database, contains the geographic records in horizontal rows. The vertical columns, or fields, are the attributes of the data.
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    Examine the Data in the Attribute Table

    Select several US Rivers to connect rivers with their river systems.

    Select all the rivers in the Colorado River System.

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    Find Features of Rivers With The Identify Tool

    Find rivers on the map with the Identify tool Identify

    Movie Icon

    Click on the movie to open up the movie in the SERC Media library. Then click its name to play it. Close the window when you are done.

    loading the player

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    Explore More if You Have Time

    Explore the Attribute Tables of other layers in the map to see the different types of data linked to the map layers.

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    Resources

    Additional ArcGIS Resources
  • Instructional Materials for ArcGIS
  • Getting started with GIS
  • Download documentation for AEJEE
  • Geospatial Technology Curriculum Page
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    Movies on this Page

    Note: 3/15/10 The movies in the page above are ArcGIS movies. AEJEE movies are posted below.

    How to download movies

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    Flash Video Versions

    Download these versions to play on your computer. You'll need an appropriate movie player to view the file, such as Flash Player, Real Player (Mac / Win), or Adobe Media Player.

    Movie Icon Zooming ArcGIS

    Movie Icon Latitude and Longitude ArcGIS

    Movie Icon Layers ArcGIS

    Movie Icon Zoom to Layers and Layers On and Off ArcGIS

    Movie Icon Investigating Database ArcGIS

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    iPod Versions

    Download these version to play on your iPod or iPhone.

    Movie Icon Zooming ArcGIS

    Movie Icon Latitude and Longitude ArcGIS

    Movie Icon Layers ArcGIS

    Movie Icon Zoom to Layers and Layers On and Off ArcGIS

    Movie Icon Investigating Database ArcGIS


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