Eyes in the Sky II > GIT Web Course > Module 2 > Week 8 > Getting to Know Cartography in GIS > Getting to Know Cartography in ArcGIS

Week 8: Monitoring Fires

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Getting to Know Cartography in ARCGIS

Review of Symbolization and Querying as the key skills reviewed

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Launch ARCGIS ArcMap and Open the Aspen Fire Project

Shortcut1
  • Launch ARCGIS ArcMap by double-clicking its icon on your desktop or by clicking its icon Launch Bar.
  • Choose File > Open, navigate to C:/Eyesinthesky2/Week8/AspenAM, select the Aspen_fire.mxd file, and click Open.
  • When the project opens, the base map displays a satellite image of Earth.

    The image is part of the Blue Marble collection at NASA. It is a composite generated from several different types of data. Much of the data comes from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument, a remote sensing device on the Terra satellite. Latitude and longitude lines are visible on top of the image.




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Investigate the Spread of the Fire with Database Queries

You might wonder . . . How far did the fire spread and how many acres did it consume by the end of Day 1? Day 2? Day 3? Day 4? Use database queries to find out.

  • Scroll down to the bottom of the Table of Contents. Turn off the Blue Marble Earth image. Then turn on the Shaded Relief and False Color Aerial images plus the Daily Fire Perimeter layer. Zoom in until you can clearly see the perimeter lines.
  • There are several ways you can do this. The steps below show one way to end up with a map zoomed in on the Daily Fire Perimeter layer.

    1. Scroll down to the bottom of the Table of Contents.
      27 Scroll Down to Bottom of TOC
    2. Turn off the Blue Marble Earth image by clicking the box to the left of its name.
      28 Turn Off Blue Marble
    3. Turn on the Countries and US 48 States layer by clicking the boxes to the left of their names.
      29 Turn On US 48 & Countries
    4. Turn on the Shaded Relief and False Color Aerial images plus the Daily Fire Perimeter layer. Look carefully and you will see a small dot in the Southeastern part of Arizona. This dot is all that is visible of the fire images and perimeter layer at this scale. It is necessary to zoom in for a closer look.
      30 Shaded Relief False Color Daily Fire Perimeters
    5. Right click on the Daily Fire Perimeter layer in the Table of Contents. Then click on Zoom to Layer in the context menu.. This is what the map looks like when zoomed in on the Daily Fire Perimeter layer.
      31 Zoomed in to Daily Fire Perimeter

  • Open the Attribute Table of the Daily Fire Perimeter layer and scroll across the table until you find the ACRES field.
    1. Right-click on the Daily Fire Perimeter layer in the Table of Contents and select Open Attribute Table.
      32 Open Attribute Table on Daily Fire Perimeter
    2. In the Attributes of Daily Fire Perimeter table that opens, you can view the individual records for the layer. Scroll across the table until you find the ACRES field.
      33 Daily Fire Perimeter Attribute Table

    The ACRES field indicates the number of acres consumed by the fire, feature by feature. You'll notice that a single day frequently consists of several features displayed as polygons that show the area of the fire each day. We'll ask ARCGIS to select these, highlighting them together.
  • Close the Attributes of Daily Fire Perimeter table.

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Create and execute a query that shows how far the fire spread on the first day

How would you write the query statement?
(DATE = 617)
  1. Click the Selection and Select by Attribute menu option.
    34 Fire Perimeter Select by Attribute
  2. The Select by Attribute window opens. Move it to where you can see both it and the map.
    35 Select by Attribute Window
  3. In the Select by Attribute window select the field DATE by double clicking on it. Then click the "equals" sign. Click on b>Get Unique Values and double click on the Value 617. You can also type in this equation (DATE = 617) into the <SELECT box in the middle of the window. Click Apply. One record is selected on the map.
    37 Build Query Day 617
  • Right-click on the Daily Fire Perimeter layer in the Table of Contents and select Open Attribute Table. Scroll across the table and right click on the ACRES field heading and choose Statistics from the context menu.
    38 Right Click ACRES and Statistics
  • In the Statistics Window, notice that in the Sum field, 52 acres burned that first day.
    39 Fire Perimeter Statistics Window

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Create and execute a query to find out how many acres burned by the end of Day 2

Hint: To find out how many acres burned by the end of the second day, build and execute a query using Select by Attribute that selects the features that burned on both June 17 and June 18, 2003.

How would you write the query statement?

(DATE = 617) or (DATE = 618) is the query to use. If you use the expression, (DATE = 617) and (DATE = 618), no features will be selected since there are no features that have two dates.

  • After executing the query, notice that nine features are now selected in the Attribute Table.
  • The results of the query show that 9 features showing the spread of the fire have been selected on the map and in the Attribute Table.
    41 Fire Perimeter Selection 2 Days br>
  • Use the Statistics button in the Query Builder window to find out how many total acres burned.
    1. To find out how many total acres burned, right click the ACRES field heading in the Attributes Table and choose Statistics from the context menu.
      44 Statistics 2 Days Fires
    2. The Statistics window opens. Look in the SUM field to find out that 461.85 ACRES burned during the two days of your selection.
      45 Statistics Window 2 Days

    The Statistics Results include the Total which sums the acres burned for each feature. The query you built selected all the features from Day 1 and Day 2. So by the end of the second day, the fire had covered 461.85 acres.
  • Close the Statistics Results window.

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Create and execute a query to find out how many acres burned by the end of Day 3

How would you write the query statement?

(DATE = 617) or (DATE = 618) or (DATE = 619) is the query to use.

How many acres burned?
3,230 acres had burned by the end of the third day.

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Create and execute a query to find out how many acres burned by the end of Day 4

How would you write the query statement?

(DATE = 617) or (DATE = 618) or (DATE = 619) or (DATE = 620) is the query to use.

How many acres burned?
6,348.82 acres had burned by the end of the fourth day.
  • Close the Selection Statistics, Select by Attributes, and Attribute Table windows. Click the Clear Selected Features Clear Selected button.
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Investigate the Spread of the Fire with Spatial Queries

You might wonder . . . How many parcels were within one mile of the fire on Day 1? Day 2? Day 3? Day 4? Use spatial queries to find out.

  • The Shaded Relief and False Color Aerial images plus the Daily Fire Perimeter layer should still be on. In addition, turn on the Parcel Status layer and zoom to the extent of the layer.
    1. The Shaded Relief and False Color Aerial images plus the Daily Fire Perimeter layer should still be on.
      31 Zoomed in to Daily Fire Perimeter
    2. Turn on the Parcel Status layer by clicking the box to the left of its name.
      46 Parcel Status Turned On
    3. Right click the Parcel Status layer and click on Zoom to Layer in the context menu. Individual parcels are now visible on the map.
      47 Parcel Status Zoomed

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Select the area of the fire on Day 1

  • Use Selection > Select by Attributes on the menu bar to query the layer to show how far the fire spread on Day 1.
    1. Click on Selection > Select by Attribute on the menu bar.
      50 Open Select by Attribute
    2. A new window opens. Move it to where you can see both the Select by Attributes window and the map.
      51 Select by Attributes and Map
    3. In the Select by Attributes window double click the field DATE. Then single click the "equals" sign. Lastly, click on the Get Unique Value button and double click the Value 617. You can also type this equation (DATE = 617) into the box in the middle of the window. Click Apply.
      52 Select Day 617 with Parcels
  • Close the Select by Attribute window. One feature is selected on the map.
    53 Selection with Parcels

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Buffer the area of the fire to find parcels that are within one mile of it on Day 1

  • Use the Select by Location menu option to set a one mile buffer that selects parcels.
    1. Click the Selection > Select by Location menu option to open the Select by Location window.
      56 Select by Location
    2. In the Select by Location window, set the Buffer Distance to 1 and the Buffer Units to Miles. Turn on the Apply a buffer to the features in Daily Fire Perimeter option, using the Parcel Status layer. Note: use screenshot for appropriate selections in Select by Location window.
      Select by Location Filled In

  • Click Apply. The map shows parcels that are within one mile of the fire on the first day, with parcels that are within the buffer showing as highlighted in blue.
    59 One Mile Buffer Day 1

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Show the results of the spatial query

  • To see the results of the spatial query, open the Attribute Table of the Parcel Status layer and scroll down to the bottom of the table.
    1. Right-click on the Parcel Status layer in the Table of Contents and select Open Attribute Table.
      60 Open Attribute Table Parcel Status
    2. In the Attributes of Parcel Status table that opens, you can view the individual records for the layer. Scroll down the Attribute Table. The selected records are highlighted in blue. The table in this image has been scrolled partially down the list.
      61 Selection in Table
  • The number of parcels selected is shown at the bottom of the Attribute Table.
    62 Table with number Selected
  • How many parcels were selected?
  • 149 out of 1055 parcels were within one mile of the fire on Day 1.

  • Close the Attributes of Parcel Status and click the Clear Selected Features Clear Selected button.

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Repeat the steps above to find the parcels that were within one mile of the fire on days two, three, and four

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Create a New Project to Explore Additional Fire Data

Now that you have explored a specific fire (the Aspen fire), you will broaden your focus to look at fires globally and in the U.S. You will create a new project, add image and vector data and symbolize it as needed to help you visualize patterns in fire data.

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Where were the fires in February 2010?

  • To create a new project file, select File > New. ARCGIS will ask if you want save the project that you have open. Click No.
    1. Select File > New.
      64 Open New Project
    2. Select OK.
      65 New Window OK
    3. ARCGIS will ask if you want save the project that you have open. Click No.
      66 Click No to Save Project

  • Click the Add Data Layer 5205 Add Data Button button. Navigate to the data folder, select the Feb2010_Fire.TIF, and click OK.
  • This is the map with the Feb2010_Fire.TIF image turned on. The image shows fires active across the globe during February 2010. The data come from the MODIS satellite. It was downloaded from NASA Earth Observations (NEO) site as a GeoTIFF file. It was downloaded at the 0.25 resolution, so as not to slow down the rate at which layers are drawn. Some of the points may have been lost in this reduction.
    While it is a pretty picture, it is hard to interpret this raster data without the addition of vector data to orient our brains.
    68 Feb GeoTif

  • Add the cntry95_wd.shp layer to the map. Then move this vector layer above the fire image layer.
    1. Click the Add Data 5205 Add Data Button button. Navigate to the data folder, select the cntry95_wd.shp, and click OK.
      69 Add Data Cntry95
    2. In ArcGIS, the newly added cntry95_wd.shp layer is now added to the map above the Feb2010_Fire.TIFF image. 70 Cntry95 on Top of Tif

  • The cntry95_wd.shp layer is on the map and visible, but it is hiding the layer below it. Edit the properties of the cntry95_wd.shp layer so that only the outlines are visible on top of this predominately black image. Then give the layer a more recognizable name like Countries.
    1. Right-click on the cntry95_wd.shp layer in the Table of Contents and select Properties.
      71 Right Click Properties Cntry95
    2. In the Properties window, click on the Symbol button. Click on the Fill Color down arrow and choose No Color in the paint palette. Click on the Outline Color down arrow and choose the lightest gray in the Outline Color paint palette. Click OK.
      72 Change Single Symbol to No Color
    3. Click the General tab at the top of the Properties window and type Countries in the Layer Name: box, giving the layer a new more recognizable name. Click OK.
      73 General Tab Change to Countries

  • Now the image makes more sense to our brains. It has been given context by the Countries outline.
    74 Countries and Feb Tif

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How Do Fire Prone Areas Change throughout the year?

  • Explore more fire data by adding the FEB_2010_MODIS.shp layer to the project.
    1. Click the Add Data 5205 Add Data Button button. Navigate to the data folder, select the FEB_2010_MODIS.shp, and click Add.
      75 Add Feb 2010 Modis
    2. Here is what the map looks like after the FEB_2010_MODIS.shp layer has been added.
      76 Map with Modis

  • To look for patterns in the fire data, classify the Julian date field of the layer into four classes of graduated symbols using an equal interval classification. By using four classes you are breaking up the month's worth of data into weekly intervals. The Julian calendar is often used in science. On a Julian calendar, January 1 is day one of the year and December 31st is day 365.
    1. Right-click on the FEB_2010_MODIS.shp layer in the Table of Contents and select Properties....
      77 Right Click Properties Modis
    2. Select the following options in the Properties window:
      • Select Symbology tab
      • Select Quantities > Graduated Symbols
      • Classify by the Field Value: JULIAN
      • Classes: 4
      • Style: Circle
      • Classified by: Equal Interval
      • Color ramp: Yellow to Red
      • Size: 5
      • Click OK
      78 Symbolize Feb Modis Points
      83 Circle 1
      80 Symbolize Feb Modis Color
    3. Here is the map with the data classified by Julian date.
      81 Map with Classified Data

  • Right click on the FEB_2010_MODIS.shp layer in the Table of Contents. Then click Zoom to Layer in the context menu.
    82 Modis Zoomed to US
  • What state and region had the most fires in February?
  • Florida and the southern states had the most fires in February. These fires early in the fire season are typically grass fires. As the season progresses, and more areas dry out, the fires move North and West until fall rain and snow quiets the fire season for another year.


  • Choose File > Save As.. and navigate to the AspenAM folder. Name your project Feb_Fires. ARCGIS will automatically add the appropriate extension (.mxd) when you click Save.
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Create a Map to Tell a Story of Interest to You

  • Create a new project and use at least two of the GIS analysis techniques you've learned in this module (database and spatial querying, symbolizing, classifying, adding latitude/longitude data, gathering statistics) to illustrate a story with data.
  • Feel free to use any of the GIS data from any of the projects in this module. Be sure to look in the YellowstoneFireData that you will download in the next section of this week's material for all kinds of additional data to explore.
  • If you like, you can go to NEO and download a GeoTIFF to bring in as a base layer for your project. Please note: In ArcGIS you must save your NEO GeoTIFF files with only one "f" in the named GeoTIFF. For example, "Fire.TIFF" must actually be saved as "Fire.Tif".
  • Take a screenshot of your map when you have finished it. If you like what you have created then save your project.

This is the screenshot that you will post to your discussion group for your required weekly assignment.

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Resources

  • 60 Minutes Program "Age of Megafires" viewable online. Shows the results of the Aspen Fire Age of Megafires
  • Wildland Fire Graphics and information from CBS News Wildland Fire

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Movies on this Page

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How to download movies

  • Click the link to go to the SERC media library listing for the movie. The record will open in a new window.
  • On the SERC media library page, right-click (Win) or control-click (Mac) the link (below the movie on the Flash version pages) to download the movie file to your hard drive.
  • Look below the movie window for the file download link.

    Save Movie from CMS listing

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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 Investigating the Spread of the Fire Using Database Queries in ArcGIS

Movie Icon Investigating the Spread of the Fire Using Spatial Queries in ArcGIS

Movie Icon Creating a New Project in ArcGIS

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iPod Versions

Download these version to play on your iPod or iPhone.

Movie Icon Investigating the Spread of the Fire Using Database Queries in ArcGIS

Movie Icon Investigating the Spread of the Fire Using Spatial Queries in ArcGIS

Movie Icon Creating a New Project in ArcGIS