Introductory Tutorial/Refresher for Basic ArcMap Techniques for Geoscientists, with Emphasis on Working with Raster Data Sets

Barbara and David Tewksbury, Hamilton College


This series of three activities in tutorial format serves not only as an introduction to ArcGIS for our intro geology, hydrogeology, and structural geology courses but also as a mandatory refresher that students must complete before the first lab of our upper level course GIS for Geoscientists. The tutorial/refresher emphasizes techniques used by geoscientists. You might also be interested in our Full GIS course with links to all assignments.


Type and level of course
Any of our courses where students need an introduction to ArcGIS or need a refresher of basic techniques. See details under "Description" below.

Geoscience background assumed in this assignment

GIS/remote sensing skills/background assumed in this assignment

Software required for this assignment/activity:
ArcGIS v. 10.6 or higher with Spatial Analyst and 3D Analyst extensions; ArcScene.

Time required for students to complete the assignment:
As a refresher for students already familiar with ArcGIS, the refresher takes about an hour and a half to do. For intro students who have not used ArcGIS before, it takes about 4 hours to work through all three parts in a lab setting. Most classes spread this out over at least two labs.


GIS/remote sensing techniques students learn in this assignment
Adding data to ArcMap, working with the TOC, using ArcCatalog, file naming and structure, hillshading, creating shaded relief maps, symbology and display properties for raster data sets and shapefiles, attribute tables, selecting by attribute, creating map layouts with dataframes, creating and flying through 3D view in ArcScene, lighting and resolution in ArcScene.

Other content/concepts goals for this activity
Spatial resolution; topographic maps; digital elevation models; correlation of bedrock geology to topography.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Rather than teaching students point-and-click GIS, or techniques without analysis, these exercises teach GIS in the context of solving a geoscience problem or addressing a geoscience question.

Description of the activity/assignment

Everyone in our department who integrates ArcGIS into their courses uses these three activities to introduce students to ArcGIS. In addition, every student taking our 300-level course GIS for Geoscientists must complete these three activities as a refresher by the middle of the first week of the semester. This makes sure that everyone in the GIS course has (and remembers!!) the same basic background.

The tutorial/refresher is composed of three sequential tutorial exercises that provide students with an introduction to and experience with GIS analysis mostly of raster image data sets.

Mt. St. Helens exercise: Modified from an ESRI Canada activity, this exercise is designed primarily to be a "hook". It quickly gets students into ArcMap and gives them a first hand experience in the power of ArcGIS without bogging them down in background details.

Clinton exercise: Students gain experience in using ArcCatalog, creating hillshades of DEMs, and working with orthoquads. Although this exercise is built around the Clinton, NY 7.5' quad, it could be easily modified for any other quadrangle.

Adirondacks exercise: Students practice skills that they have learned in previous tutorials and gain experience in working with shape files. The primary emphasis of the exercise is to analyze the correlation between topography and bedrock geology in the Adirondacks region. The tutorial also teaches students how to create a finished map view. Although the exercise is built around the Adirondack region, it could be easily modified for any other area where bedrock resistance is correlated with topography.

All three tutorials are contained in the assignment/activity document that can be downloaded below. The data sets can be individually downloaded; even though the data sets are in zipped folders, they are still large and may take awhile to download.

Determining whether students have met the goals

These tutorials do not have any accompanying assessment. Students are ultimately assessed in later activities and assignments on the basis of whether they can apply what they have learned in the tutorials to new assignments.
More information about assessment tools and techniques.

URLs and References

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Introductory Tutorial/Refresher for Basic ArcMap Techniques for Geoscientists, with Emphasis on Working with Raster Data Sets --Discussion  

I am Mr. Abukar Mohamed OSman would like to be GIS Expert especeally in this field so i wanted you to give me help and me any kind of materials required for this course.



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