Join Adam Wilbert for an in-depth discussion in this video Identifying features, part of ArcGIS Essential Training.
- One of the most common things that you will do when working with geospatial data, is to make selections and explore additional details about the features that are currently on the map. After all, it's all well and good to have these shapes and dots on our screens, but if you want to find out what these points represent exactly, we'll need to explore them in more detail. To do this, we'll start by using this tool here on the tools toolbar called the identify tool. It has a blue circle with a lower case "i". When you select the tool, you will notice that the cursor changes to the identify cursor and now, when you select something on the map, for instance, if I click on Los Angeles here, I get a little pop up window telling me what I clicked on.
It's telling me that I clicked on something in the populated places layer and the feature is named Los Angeles and down below, it gives me all the information from the populated places database about the feature that I clicked on. For instance, I can see it's feature id here. I can see that it's a point shape and if I scroll down I can see it belongs to the United States of America and that it's in the state of California. By default, the identify tool is set up to identify from the topmost layer. I could change that here to either choose a specific layer, for instance, if I just want to choose information from the hurricane season, I can choose that and then click on an i point here for hurricanes or I can choose to identify from all visible layers.
Now, when I make a click here, for instance, if I click back on Los Angeles, it selects from all the different layers that are in the layer stack. For instance, it says that I clicked on Los Angeles in the populated places layer, but I also clicked on California from the states and provinces layer and I clicked on this WGS84 bounding box from the bounding box layer. I could go ahead and scroll through the different attributes for these various features just by clicking on them. So right now Los Angeles is selected and I can see it's attributes but if I click on California, I can see it's attributes, and you can see it flash on the screen here, or if I select the bounding box, I can see it's attributes and it flashes on the screen back in the background.
Now right here from the identify window, now if I right click on any of these features, I get a pop up menu similar to the ones we saw when we were geocoding features. I can choose to flash it's position in which case, I get the cross-hairs and you can see a blink screen. If I right-click, I can zoom to that particular feature, or I can pan to it and so on. I can select it to add it to a selection, or I can unselect it or I can create a bookmark about that feature. Let's go ahead and right click on the bounding box, and choose to zoom to that to get back out to my full extent. So we can use the identify tool to find information on an item that we can click on on the map.
But what if we know the name or some attribute of a feature that we want to quickly locate on the map. For that, we use a different tool. Let's go ahead and close out identify here and choose the binoculars icon here which is called find. I'll go ahead and click on it and the find dialog box opens. Now here we can search for various elements in my map. For instance, if I want to find Moscow, I'll go ahead and type in Moscow, I want to search invisible layers and I'll click on find. and you can see after I click search, it finds Moscow listed in all these different fields. It's finding it in the populated places here and if I click on it, it flashes it's position.
I can also find Moscow in the states and provinces table. It's listed as the capital. If I click on that, it flashes it's position as well. Let's go ahead and click on this and I'll type in New York. I'll press enter and it finds that in both the populated places here, if I click on it it finds it's location. But if I scroll down, New York is also a state and province name. If I click on that, it flashes it's position here. Finally, if I want to find information about Hurricane Sandy, I can go up to find here, type in Sandy, press enter, and it finds all of the points with the name Sandy in the name field of the 2012 hurricane season layer.
Clicking on anyone of those will identify those various points. If I scroll through here, I can click on different points to identify the track of Sandy. Now finding information about the features on your map, just requires a quick click with the identify tool. Doing so will pull up a detailed window showing you all of the information that is stored in the underlying data table about that specific feature. and when you want to locate a feature, when you know a search keyword that should appear in its attributes, use the find tool to quickly locate it on the map.
- Getting to know the ArcMap interface
- Geocoding addresses
- Measuring distances
- Adding and importing data
- Labeling and adding graphs
- Editing layer properties
- Seeing multiple views
- Making selections
- Exploring geospatial data with ArcCatalog
- Working with vector and raster data
- Styling the map
- Adding your own data
- Using the ModelBuilder
- Adding a legend and annotations