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Adding data to the map

From: Up and Running with ArcGIS

Video: Adding data to the map

The most basic requirement for any GIS, is the When ArcMap loads, we get this Getting Started screen.

Adding data to the map

The most basic requirement for any GIS, is the logical arrangement and management of the various geospatial data sources. We've seen in our catalogue how to review the contents and manage your individual data files. Now, it's time to combine them into a map composition in Artmap. For that, we're going to return to the idea of a data layer. Where each data element is either above or below other data layers. In this movie we're going to start building a map of Washington State dairy locations. I've collected a couple of different files for you, here in the Washington State folder, within the data files. We'll use these files to create a map of Washington Dairies.

And we'll keep adding to it, throughout the remaining movies in this chapter. So to start let's go ahead and open up ArcMap. I'll press the Windows key and start ArcMap. When ArcMap loads, we get this Getting Started screen. I'm going to choose from my templates here on the left. And choose the blank map template, and say, OK. Now, at first, ArcMap doesn't know what it is that we're about to map. So if we take a look at its coordinate system by double clicking the layers here. We'll see that no coordinate system is currently set. Let's go ahead and say OK. And I'm going to open up ArcCatalog again. We'll just rearrange the screen a little bit using Windows' snapping feature.

By dragging the title bar over here to the right to fill up the right half of the screen. Now the first file I want to add is this Washington State shape file here. We can preview it's geometry. Take a look that it's a Washington state outline. And if I want to add it to my map, all I need to do is drag and drop it into the table of contents here. And now in ArcMap our data frame updates. Now let's go ahead and check the coordinate system. I'll double click Layers again. And in the Coordinate System tab, we'll now see that it's using the State plane Washington south coordinate system, in the projection of Lambert conformal conic.

So our map takes a projection and coordinate system with the first data file that gets added to it. And any subsequent files that get added to it, will be reprojected on the fly if they're not in the system natively. When adding data files you might get a transformation warning dialog box, telling you that a transformation is going to apply to that data. Let's go ahead and add some more data. Go back into ArcCatalog. And this time I'm going to go up and grab the counties file, And drag and drop that above Washington. I'll go ahead and take a look at my map now. And you notice that every time we add a new file to the map, ArcMap stylizes it with kind of a random color symbology.

So your colors might be different than mine. Now, there's a couple of other ways that we can add files to our map. In the very beginning, you might remember that we have a catalog pane over here on the far right. And if it's not available, you can go over here and press this Catalog button here to open it up. The catalog window is kind of a mini ArcCatalog where we can get access to our data folder connections here. So inside of this, I can go to data files. Into Washington State. Into Roads, for instance. And I can grab one of our roads files. I'll grab this 24 K lines file and drag and drop it above Counties.

And that adds the roads to my map. Let's do that one more time. I'll go over here to Catalog. And this time I'm going to close out my Roads. And I'm going to grab the Cities file here. This is a geodatabase file. So if I go into the database, I could find the city shape file. Then I'll drag and drop that above the roads. And it gets added to the map as well. Now there's one other way that we can add data to our map. That's using the Add Data button up here on the top. I'll go ahead and press that, and it opens up this Add Data dialog box. The Look In drop down box also shows me the same folder connections that I created inside of ArcCatalog.

So I'll go into the data files. I'll go into Washington State. And I'll go into the Dairy folder. And this time I'll select the dairy2010 shape file, and I'll press Add. And that also gets added into the map. Now let's go ahead and clean up our layers a little bit. We're going to rename some of these so I can have a clearer name. So in order to rename it, I just click to select it. Pause for just a second, and then click again to make it editable. And I'll call this dairyfarms. Cities is fine. This here is our roads network, so I'm going to click on that and edit and just call it Roads.

This one here I'll just rename to County. And it's called county10 because it represents the counties that were present in the 2010 census. Here and Washington. I'll just rename it so it has a capitalized W. There. So now our Layers panel is cleaned up. Let's go ahead and create a couple of bookmarks. I'm going to first zoom in a little bit to fill out my data frame. And I can actually do that really easily by right clicking on a file that I'm interested in here. I'll right click on Counties and I'll say Zoom to Layer, so that it fills my screen. Let's go ahead and create a bookmark for this view.

I'll say, Bookmarks, Create a Bookmark. And we'll call this Washington. And say OK. And I'm really interested in this particular area up here. There seems to be a lot of dairy farm activity. So I want to take a look at that. I'm going to use my plus magnifying glass and I will zoom in to that area. And I'm actually just going to click one more time just so I get a really even data scale right here. And I'll create a new bookmark. I'll go to Bookmarks. Create a Bookmark. And this particular area is the town of Bellingham, Washington. It's actually where I'm from. So you can see we have a lot of dairy farms in the northern part of our county.

I'm going to call this Bellingham, and say OK. So now I've got two bookmarks created for this map. Let's go ahead and go back out to a full extent. And that'll zoom back out. Now let's go ahead to save our map. I could either press the Save icon here or go to File> Save in the File menu. We're going to go into the Data Files folder and inside the working folder. And we'll save our map there. I'm going to call it Washington dairies. Go ahead and say Save. And now we have our first map created. So that's a couple of ways that you can add data to your map.

Either pulling directly from our catalog, using the catalog pane in ArcMap. Or using the Add Data button on the standard tool bar

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Up and Running with ArcGIS

36 video lessons · 3193 viewers

Adam Wilbert


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