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Making selections


From:

Up and Running with ArcGIS

with Adam Wilbert

Video: Making selections

It's fairly common for geospatial datasets to include lots of features that are outside of the scope of our specific needs. In the case of our map, we have a global collection of airport locations when we might only be interested in the United States locations. Getting comfortable with the selection tool will help us get a collection or subset of this data. That is easier for us to manage, and better suited for the map that we want to make. Now, all of the selection tools are here, on the toolbar called Select Features. going to go ahead and select it. And before we get started, let's go into our Bookmarks and zoom into the United States.
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Watch the Online Video Course Up and Running with ArcGIS
3h 13m Beginner Mar 11, 2014

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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

Making selections

It's fairly common for geospatial datasets to include lots of features that are outside of the scope of our specific needs. In the case of our map, we have a global collection of airport locations when we might only be interested in the United States locations. Getting comfortable with the selection tool will help us get a collection or subset of this data. That is easier for us to manage, and better suited for the map that we want to make. Now, all of the selection tools are here, on the toolbar called Select Features. going to go ahead and select it. And before we get started, let's go into our Bookmarks and zoom into the United States.

Now, when I use the Select Features tool and click on a State, you'll see that it gets a bright blue border to indicate that it's selected. If I click on a different State, it'll deselect the first one and select the second one. As I click around on different States, you'll that each one gets selected and it de-selects the others. If I want to make a selection of multiple states, I'll just hold down the Shift key. And now, when I click on the States, it'll add them to a global selection of States. Now, what happens if I want to select one of the airports? If I click on this airport, here, in Salt Lake City, you'll notice that it selects the airport and it also selects the State.

Now we can control which layers of our map get selections over here in the Table Of Contents. I'll click on this button here that says List by Selection. And when I do that I can see that in my selected group I have Airports and I have States and Provinces. In my No Features selected section I've got Time Zones. And in Not Selectable, I've got Gradicules and Bounding Boxes. Now, within the selected group, I can see that I have one Airport and one State and Providence selected. I've got two buttons here this one here will toggle a selectable State. If I turn it off it will make it Not Selectable, so I can no longer select airports.

If I turn it on, now I can select Airports. And then this button here will clear the features in that group that are currently selected. So if I just wanted that Airport, what I can do is clear the States and Province selection from my selection group. And now I can see that I have one Airport selected, and no States and Provinces selected. Now what if I wanted to go through it and add in a couple of other Airports. We'll hold down the Shift key and click on the Next Airport and while it adds that Airport to the group, it also selected the State again. So what I can do is turn off the selection ability of my States and Provinces, and now that no longer will happen.

If I hold down the Shift key and click on an Airport, it won't add the State to my group. Now I still have that one State selected, so once again I'll go to States and Provinces. And clear the selection from that group. Now, let's go through a couple of exercises. What if I wanted to select all of the airports that match a certain type? For instance, I'm going to use the identify tool here, and select the Sky Harbor International Airport. And you'll notice that, in the identify window. I'm going to drag that, and put it here in the middle of the screen, that Sky Harbor International is of the Type, Major. So what if I wanted to find all of the airports in the whole world, that were of the same type? They were all major airports.

Well, I can make use of this attribute here, in a selection. I'm going to go ahead and close the Identify box. And up on the Selection menu, we've got two options: Select By Attributes and Select By Location. Let's first take a look at Select By Attributes. The Select By Attributes window asks me which layer I want to make a selection from. I'm going to choose the Airports layer to make selections from. And then down below, I have all the different fields that have data in them from the Airports group. I'm going to scroll down until I find Type, and I'm going to double-click on it. And when I do, it adds that text down into this box down here.

And essentially what I'm doing is creating a SQL select statement to query the database. So saying select star from my airports file where type, and I just need to finish this statement, is equal to, now I need to type in the word major. And a shortcut way of doing that is to say Get All Unique Values, and that'll give me all of the values that are within that type feature. and I'll double-click on the word major. So I'm going to select everything, for my airports where, the type is equal to major. I'll say Apply, and you'll see all of my points show up at our major airports.

All the minor airports and everything that's below a major airport won't show up in the selection. And if I zoom back out to the whole world, you'll see that it makes that global selection. Okay, so that's how I can select features by their attributes. I'm going to press this button here in the toolbar to clear the selected features. One of the other things that we can do is make a selection by location. So one of the other things that we can do is select features based off of their location. At the beginning of this movie I suggested that we might want to select all of the airports that are within the United States, so let's go ahead and see how we can do that.

First I need to select all of the United States, and we just saw how to do that. I'll use my identify tool. I'll choose one of the states to see what its attributes are, and here if I scroll down the list, I can find something that'll be useful to us. This admin field is set to United States of America, so the administrator for this particular state is the United States. So I'll make use of that in the selection. Close identify. I'll go up to the selection window and I'll say select my attributes. This time, instead of selecting from the Airports, I'm going to select from the states and provinces.

I'm going to scroll down the list until I get to Admin, I'll double click on it, and I'll say equals, get unique values, and this time I'll scroll down the list until I find United States of America. And I'll double-click on that. So now I'm selecting everything, or star, from the admin, states, and provinces geodatabase where the admin code is equal to United States of America. I'll say apply, and you'll see that all of my US states get selected and we'll say OK. So now we've made a selection of all the states and now I want to select all of the airports that fall within those states.

This time I'm going to go up to the selection menu and I'm going to choose Select by Location. The Select by Location window asks me how I want to select features. I can select Features From a Particular Area, or it can add to a current selection, or it can remove from a current selection, or it can select from the currently selected features in and make another further subset of features within something I've already got selected. I'm going to choose to select features from, and the target layer is going to be my airport. So I'm going to select features from the airports group. The source layer is how they are going to interact.

So from the source layer, I'm going to choose my states and provinces, and I'm going to make sure that this check box here, to use selected features is on. So essentially what I'm saying is, I'm going to make a selection by location. I'm going to select features from the Airports group, that are within the selected States and Provinces. We'll go ahead and say OK, and we'll see all of my airports that are within the United States get added to the selection. Now all I need to do is deselect my states in order to get the airports isolated by themself. Now, it looks like I had accidentally turned off my table of contents along the way. So, I'm going to come back up here to the Toolbar and choose Table of Contents and I'm going to re-dock it on the left-hand side.

Let's also go to Bookmarks and zoom into the United States, here. Now in order to deselect all of my states, in the table of contents. I'll go to List by Selection. Underneath states and provinces, I'll click the clear selection from the States and Grovinces group. So now I'm left with the selection of just the airports that fall within in the United States. Now it might be useful to save this selection. So in order to do that, I'll go back to my table of contents. And I'll list them by drawing order. I'll right-click on the Airport feature, I'll come down to the Selection Group, and inside the Selection Group I can choose to create a layer from the selected features.

When I choose that, I get a new layer in my table of contents called airport selection, and I can turn off now my global airports here, and I'm left with only the airports that fall within the United States. At this point it's probably a good idea to rename it, so I'll click on it, pause and then click again, and I'll call it US airports and press enter. And now if I go to my Global view you'll see that I no longer have airports throughout the world, I just have the airports that fall within the United States. So by using the Identify tool, we were able to identify a couple of the attributes of our particular features that we were interested in. And once we know those attributes, we can use the Select by Location and Select by Attributes tools to easily find features that share common traits, and even export that selection to a new layer.

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