11. Intro to ArcGIS Desktop | Hacking the Humanities

The instructions in this post are very abbreviated to remind you of the steps we took in class. Each exercise includes links to online resources that step you through similar processes in much more detail. The tutorial files are available in the COURSES shared drive in the Common >, GIS folder. Launch ArcMap and explore the interface. It should look fairly familiar from ArcGIS online, with a map window to the right and table of contents to the left and button of tools across the top. To get started, we’ll use web layers the same as we did with the online product. ArcMap for desktop also allows you to add your own data layers, create your own map layers and perform very intensive analyses of them. To get a basic sense of what different layers look like, we’ll download a series of layers from a project that has made their shapefiles available: Mapping Medieval Chester. You can use ArcMap to georeference an image, just like we did online. The process is not exactly intuitive, however, and takes some patience. Georeferencing Tutorial from the fantastically detailed and helpful GIS Manual maintained by Paul Cote at the Harvard Graduate School of Design Now that you’ve got the referenced image you can digitize features from it to create new vector layers that you can transform, analyze and otherwise manipulate. In our case, we’re going to create vector polygon shapes for some of the buildings on the 1902 campus map that no longer stand today. We’ll also add start and end date fields for when the buildings were built and when they were demolished. That way we can “enable time” on the layer we create and animate the map, making our buildings appear and disappear as you slide forward through time! For the last two exercises, we are working with non-Carleton data. It is very common to have some data that is not spatially referenced, but contains location information, like states or countries, that you would like to be able to display on a map. To do that, you need to join the tabular data in your spreadsheet to the geodatabase table on a common field. For a detailed walkthrough of this, and many other GIS processes, see the University of Minnesota’s U-Spatial Training Workshop files at We have been working entirely in data view, but ArcMap also has a layout view which lets you add legends, scale bars, north arrows and multiple maps to a nicely formatted page for publication purposes. This is one of the key advantages of the desktop version over the online offering, which is great for interactive maps but less so for high-quality static ones. Anti-spam*To prove you are a person (not a spam script), type the words from the following picture or audio file. Source.


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Last Modified: April 18, 2016 @ 7:10 pm