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Learning GIS (geographical information systems) requires training in cartography, database management, and spatial analysis. But once you've built a solid foundation in the basics, how do you approach GIS challenges in the real world? Dr. Jason VanHorn is here to help you master practical GIS scenarios, and answers the 7 most common questions he receives from other GIS professionals, including: Where can I get quality data? How do I create projections? What's an inexpensive solution for collecting geospatial data? and Where can I find a GIS job?
In addition to the options for layers available through ArcGIS online within the client, Azura has made it possible for you to connect directly to GIS servers around the world. Many government units at the city, county, state, and national levels are using an ArcGIS server. As are many United States universities and colleges. There are several kinds of geo-spatial servers and the possibilities of variation are shown in our catalogue. Let's open up our catalogue to see this. Here, I'll click on catalogue and GIS servers.
Here are the various kinds of GIS or geo-spatial servers available. That you can connect directly to. Let's start with the oldest first. The Arc-IMS server is the oldest. And although there are still a few around, most of them have been updated to the ArcGIS server. Later in the course, I will show you how to easily search for ArcGIS service layers to connect straight to ArcGIS servers. For now, let's go ahead and connect to a server at a college. To do this let's click on this add ArcGIS server.
In this example we're interested in the use of a GIS service. If you have direct access to a GIS server, you can also connect as a publisher or administrator using this method. Let's click next. Now we have to enter the direct link to the server. Notice the general format is through an HTTP connection. And then the name of the GIS server, forward slash ArcGIS. From a search, I know the direct path to the server I'm interested in, GIS dot calvin dot edu.
Below the server URL, there's an authentication option. If you want to connect to private GIS servers, you can provide your user name and password. In this example we will leave these blank since they are not required for publicly served data. Now click finish. Now the connection to the GIS server is established. Clicking on the plus button reveals all that is being served by that particular ArcGIS server. There are several different layers for us to interact with. Clicking on any specific folder will reveal what layers are available.
In this case I'm interested in this first option,CCEP. The Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve. To visualize this, I simple drag this service into my map view, and it loads. In the table of contents, we see the map surface, and if we click the plus we see what layers are available. In this case, we have many different kinds of groups and different layers within those groups. Since there are several different layers for us to interact with and analyze lets choose a couple to view. First, lets look at the trails. If I click the plus then I'll see that trails are turned on and I'm interested in the public trails, so lets zoom to those.
If I zoom to the layer by right clicking and choosing to zoom to for public trails. I zoom then, to the trails layer. In this case, I'm going to expand the layer and see the different symbologies linked to this layer. Notice we have different kinds of trails by these categories. Let's view another one of the layers. Let's look at the tree grid. Every five years, there's a tree census conducted on the campus. To see what's been done, we can click on the plus here for tree grid, and expand the options and turn it on.
When I toggle the layer on, now we see the tree grid and all the areas of the census, as well as the trees themselves. Let's zoom into that. Now I can use my identify tool and find out information about any of those trees. Here I'll left click, instead of the top most layer, I'll look at trees. Here we have a white ash tree, and we see that it was surveyed starting in 1974. By connecting the GSI databases like this and incorporating serve data and ArcGIS, the possibilities for analysis are almost limitless.
Now, I want to show you another service. Many of these other geo-spatial servers. Here a reference to the Open Geo-spatial Consortium, or OGC. The OGC maintains the standards for several protocols, including WCS right here, WMS and WMTS. WCS services typically are servers that are, are hosting raster data. Whereas WMS servers usually.
Have some sort of geo-reference imagery. A wmts servers are geo-referenced imagery that are web-mapped tile services. These are pre-generated tiles that allow for quick end user access. Let's connect to a WMS server now. To do this, I'll click on add, WMS server. Notice the same kind of dialog window pops up, where we have to enter a URL. In this example, I'm going to connect to the United States national atlas, following the same kind of procedure that I followed when I added an ArcGIS server.
Visiting the national atlas webpage, I can find the links for various WMS services. I will add two WMS servers, to show two kinds of data from the national atlas. First, I will add a boundary layer. In this example, I'm going to add counties. And now I will add the population layer. In this example, I'm going to look at population density in the year 2000. Now both have been added to the catalog. When we open it up, see them here. Now I will add them to my map. First I'll turn off the Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve layer.
And now I'll add the two WMS layers. Opening them up first I'll add the boundaries layer. And let's zoom to that. Let's make it a little easier to see by zooming in now. Now let's look at just the county layers. In the table of contents, if I click the plus to expand the options, notice we have several layers turned on. We're only interested in counties, so let's toggle off everything other than counties. Now let's add the population density layer from the catalog. Again, let's find the specific service we're interested in.
In the table of contents, let's click the plus button. And here, we're going to toggle off everything except population density. One of the nice services that comes with WMS, is the ability to add a legend to your map. To do that, right click on the layer, and choose, add WMS legend to map. Now we can see the legend linked to the population density by county. Since we can't see the county boundaries, lets visualize them by dragging the layer we first added to the top of the table of contents.
Now we are ready to export our map. And distribute it to our constituents. With the capability to connect directly to ArcGIS servers around the world, the enhancement for potential greater use and analysis and collaboration using GIS and geo-spatial data is almost unlimited.
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