Up and Running with ArcGIS
Illustration by John Hersey

Exploring vector data


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Up and Running with ArcGIS

with Adam Wilbert

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Video: Exploring vector data

Now that we know what vector files are, let's take a look at a couple of examples inside of our catalog. I'm going to go into the folder connections that we created previously and inside of the Data Files Global folder, I'm going to take a look at these files here. The Airport's file is a point file. If I click on it on the Preview tab, I can that it has point vector files. The gradicules is a line feature class, and I can see that it has a line icon here. The time zones and bounding boxes are both polygon features, and they have a polygon icon here. Now this file up here, has a little database icon, the silver cylinder here indicates that it's a File Geodatabase.
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Watch the Online Video Course Up and Running with ArcGIS
3h 13m Beginner Mar 11, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Get up and running with ArcGIS, a true geographic information system (GIS) that allows you to dig into highly accurate geospatial data in a way other mapping applications can't compete with. It's great creating maps, analyzing data for land use studies and other reports, and preparing data for use in an application or database. Let Adam Wilbert show you how to display, analyze, and illustrate geospatial data with ArcGIS. He explores how to import data from multiple sources, manage it with the ArcGIS catalog, and then start making maps. Learn how to lay out your data in the ArcMap component; add symbols, scale bars, and legends; and get your maps out of ArcGIS and into the real world, whether it's for printing or export to another application.

Topics include:
  • Understanding vector vs. raster data
  • Modifying metadata
  • Adding data to a map
  • Importing data from online providers
  • Labeling features
  • Joining data
  • Clipping data to a study area
  • Working with map layouts
  • Creating a legend
  • Printing and exporting the map to a file
Subjects:
Business Developer IT
Software:
ArcGIS GIS
Author:
Adam Wilbert

Exploring vector data

Now that we know what vector files are, let's take a look at a couple of examples inside of our catalog. I'm going to go into the folder connections that we created previously and inside of the Data Files Global folder, I'm going to take a look at these files here. The Airport's file is a point file. If I click on it on the Preview tab, I can that it has point vector files. The gradicules is a line feature class, and I can see that it has a line icon here. The time zones and bounding boxes are both polygon features, and they have a polygon icon here. Now this file up here, has a little database icon, the silver cylinder here indicates that it's a File Geodatabase.

But, inside of the File Geodatabase is yet another polygon feature for our Admin States and Provinces. The Geospacial data sets are created for a wide variety of uses by a wide variety of organizations and not every file will be suitable for every other use. Inside of my Washington State folder I'm going to open that up I'm going to go into the state boundary and choose this shape file here. Now if I take a look at this file I can zoom in using the same tools that we have inside our arcMap. I can use my magnifying glass to zoom in or out. I can pan or go to the full extent.

I'm going to zoom into this Puget Sound area right over here and we can see how detail this is. In fact, if I just scroll done just little bit we will find the bay that represents Seattle here and I can zoom into this area and see all the different docks and stuff that make up the shoreline of the city of Seattle. Now this is a vector file that was created for the Washington State outline. If I view the same area inside of my Admins States and Provinces file, by clicking on it over here, it's in the global folder inside of the geodatabase. I'll see that ArcCatalog keeps me zoomed into the same area. But it represents a generalized version of that file.

So you can see that the coast lines of Washington, compared to this Admins States and Provinces file, is much more generalized. That's because this file was created for use at global scales. And if I use it as intended, if I zoom to the full extent, you can see that it appears to have a great deal of detail. At a global scale though, the individual docks in Puget Sound are pretty irrelevant. And so it doesn't make much sense to maintain that level of detail throughout the entire file. So that's a little bit about vector files store geospatial information. In the next movie, we're going to explore an entirely different way of exploring geospatial data.

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