These tutorials assume that you have access to ArcGIS either in our computer lab or installed on your computer so there won't be any instructions on how to install. They are written for someone with basic knowledge of ArcGIS's interface, that wants a walkthrough how this tool can be used to help them ask and answer their spatial research questions.
For tutorials starting at a beginner level I recommend those on ESRI's website or if you have a New York Public Library card, they have several great tutorials for newcomers to ArcGIS on their Lynda.com portal.
The data I'll be using in these tutorials comes from felony drug arrest statistics by county that I got from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, spatial data from the New York State GIS Portal and data from the Law Enforcement Support office at the Defense Logistics Agency concerning the 1033 program. In brief, the 1033 program lets local law enforcement agencies request decommissioned military equipment ranging from office furniture, to night-vision, to weapons to Mine-Resistant Ambush Proof Vehicles (MRAPs).
While the data I'm using is real from a project that I did, it isn't going to be updated so please go back to the original sources mentioned if you'd like to explore it further. I picked these data sets because they were handy and they are large and complex enough to show how to work with different kinds of data but not too complicated to get in the way of explaining the process. The maps made in these examples are not necessarily scholarly rigorous but hopefully the process of making them will get you familiar enough with ArcGIS Pro so that when you map your own data, you'll have more time for scholarly rigor!
A basemap is the background map for your data. It can be of a scale that only country borders are drawn, or be zoomed in enough that features as small as streets and buildings can be seen. This provides the geographic context necessary to display the area of your study. In this tutorial you'll learn how to add a basemap for ArcGIS online, how to create your own basemap of an area using publicly available materials, and how to save the basemap you create as a template, so you can reuse it if you are creating several maps of the same area.
ArcGIS offers you the ability to use one of its default basemaps. These can be useful to you if your data already has coordinate information or other GIS information associated with it, and you don't want to have to create a basemap beneath it.
It's as easy as going to the add data icon, and selecting Add Basemap.
You can choose from a bunch of different choices for whatever is best for your map, and any GIS data you have can be added easily on top of it.
Play around with the different kinds of maps available and think about what kind of map would be useful for what kind of information. What kind of map would look best with demographic data? What kind of map would look best to show the routes of CitiBikes?
Keep in mind though that these maps do by default draw the full extent of the planet so they can be slower to work with. These layers also don't have an underlying attribute table that you can join other data to that doesn't have its own geographic information, so any features you add will need to be marked by hand, or come from a table that already has latitude and longitude data.
Clear the ArcGIS basemap that you've added by right clicking on the layers and selecting Remove.
If you look at sources like the US Geological Service (USGS) or different states' websites, you can find shapefiles of the boundaries and features of an area you may be interested in. These, unlike the ArcGIS basemaps, contain attribute tables, which include the name of the geographic entity (county, town, landmark) and sometimes additional data as well. The inclusion of names is handy for if you have a table that doesn't already include geo-locational information, but lists information about of cities, towns, neighborhoods, census tracts. You can take that table and join it to your map if the two are referring to the same counties, cities, towns, census tracts by name, but more on that later.
So depending on the data you have, and the size of the area you are studying you may want to use these sources to create your own basemap rather than relying on ArcGIS's basemaps.
In this exercise, I'll be using New York State as an example, but just by searching for "GIS shapefile" for the state or country you are planning on studying you'll likely be able to find this data. Of course, if you're having trouble finding the GIS data for the area you want to study, please feel free to contact the library, and we'll help you look.
I've gotten this shapefile from gis.ny.gov, more specifically the civil boundaries dataset. For other kinds of research questions, maybe boundaries for counties and cities won't be what you want, maybe you want elevation data or park boundaries or census tracts. You can visit the site to download these files or use the embedded versions below.
Shapefiles contain information on the location, shape and qualities of geographic features. This can be points, lines, or polygons. In our case, it's the counties, towns and villages, so polygon data. The file has instructions on how the polygons are shaped and where they are located on the map, but also can contain attribute tables that have additional information on these polygons such as the name of the area they represent, and sometimes other information about demographics, climate data, population, etc.
Layers in the Table of Contents appear in the order they are stacked, so normally the ones representing the larger entities (states, counties) are placed towards the bottom and smaller features (towns, roads landmarks) are placed toward the top. You can change their order by clicking and dragging them into the position that you want them to be. However in this case, if you place the counties on the bottom, you can't really see their borders. But if you drag them to the top, they obscure the cities and towns. You'll need to change the Symbology for that layer so that it has a border, but no color fill in it.
This results in a map where the county shapes have a thick border so they are visible over the cities and towns. Play with the options to come up with whatever color and outline combination create a map that will be a good backdrop for your data.
If you have a set of layers that you know you'll always want to appear together, you'll want to create a group layer. This means that you can turn all three layers off and on with the check of one box, and if you have to move that layer above or below additional data you're adding you can do so more easily.
Since you'd likely want these three shape files to appear together always, let's go ahead and make them a Group layer.
You've now created a group layer with the layers that make up your basemap.
If you've created a basemap that you know is going to be useful to you in future maps, then you can make it a template. This is useful if you'll be doing a series of maps of the same geographic area. By doing this, you'll be able to decide to have the layers on this map and any data files attached to it automatically available to you in the Table of Contents window when you make a new map with this template. So you won't have to re-do this map any time you're enhancing the New York State map with further data.
When it has been pasted into that folder, you can re-use this basemap for any New York related maps (such as the others in these tutorials). It will appear as a Templates option when you create a new map.
Mapping lets you compare adjacent areas or areas surrounding a place of interest. Sometimes the comparisons you'll want to do will be quantitative. If you want to see if census tracts with high median incomes cluster together or if neighboring states with different approaches to labor laws have different unemployment rates, you are mapping quantitative data.
In this exercise you will take quantitative data related to the felony drug arrest rates in the counties of the state of New York and map that data by joining an attribute table to a GIS layer. You'll use the field calculator to add a new kind of data to your attribute table, then change the symbology of the map to display this data.
For this map, I'll be using the basemap created in the first exercise, and a csv file that contains felony drug arrest statistics by county in 2012 from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, and population information for 2012 from the New York State Department of Health
It doesn't have any locational data on it, so it won't change the display on the map, but it will switch your Table of Contents window to be List by Source view and display that this sheet is available in the map document.
I like to create a different layer when I'm adding data to a map. This way if you want to add new data to your map that you'd need to join to a geographic layer to, you don't need to add your basemap again.
If you have one table that has data about counties or census tracts or cities or any geographic entity and another layer that has those entities' spatial information, you can join the layer to that table. This lets the layer with the spatial information also contain the attribute data from the table. In this case we have a table that has drug arrest rates and the population for each of the counties in New York state, and a layer made from a shapefile that contains the spatial information about where those counties are located geographically. If we join these, then we can take those statistics and map them to the counties.
Whenever you add data to a layer, you'll want to add information to the Description and Credits section of your layer. This is called metadata since it is data about what your data is and where you got it from. You may be working on projects with many layers, and you'll always want to know where the information on those layers came from. This is a very good habit to get into so that when you cite the sources on your map when you print or share it, you will just be able to get that information in the description of the layer, instead of digging back through your computer to remind yourself where you got your information from. Viewers will want to know where the information on your map came from.
Now that you have new attributes added to your map layer, you can use them change the counties' symbology to display the drug arrest rate data.
Different maps would require different classifications. If you are mapping the above example regarding high school test-scores, and there is some state funding penalty that kicks in for schools with an average below 60, you'd want to manually set a boundary at 60 so it was clear what high schools were above and what were below, so you'd probably want to do a Manual. If you're mapping percentages of a group of town's populations over 55, then you might want a clearer graph with demarcations every 10% even if not all of the categories will have many towns that fall within them, so you'd want a Defined Interval classification.
There are a few other options that are more complicated.I recommend checking out ArcGIS's site for more information on how choosing different classifications can skew how your data appears. But on to this map -
But as you see the scale for what the drug arrest numbers mean is a little hard to interpret being as how it's a very small decimal. I'll show you a different way to calculate this same kind of normalization within the attribute table. This will mean you'll be clearer on exactly what the numbers mean, and so how to label them for the reader. You can make calculations within the table with a Field Calculator.
If you need to do mathematical functions on values in the attribute table for a layer you can do this with field calculator. It's also handy to batch-add values for a new field based on information in other fields in the table.
So if you had a Revenue field and an Expense field on the table you uploaded to ArcGIS, but forgot to calculate the profits, you can create a new field for Profit and subtract Expense from Revenue and put the result in that column. It's an easy way to come up with new information you might want to display on your map from data you've already loaded, without having to add a whole different sheet.
Basically what you want to do is divide the drug arrests in a county by the population of that county, and then multiply that (hopefully very very small) number by 100,000 to calculate how many drug arrests occur in that county per 100,000 residents. This is generally the calculation used to measure how often an event occurs within a population.
When you open the Field Calculator, it has a space that lists the different fields on the table, and a blank screen below for you to put in the calculation you want to make using those fields and the available mathematical function
Now, change the symbology of your map to be displaying the values of this new field.
Save your map. It is now set for the next exercise. If you want to see how I've constructed my map, the map document I used is attached below.
You will at points want to visualize qualitative instead of quantitative data. Qualitative meaning that instead of displaying a numerical measure about the area, you're displaying the category assigned to that area or other text-related information. You might want to display is zoning data for a particular building or street. You might want to display only whether a school represented by a point on your map is public or private, not information about its budget, number of students or year of construction.
For this exercise, you'll be taking the map we created in the last exercise displaying the quantitative data for felony drug arrest information and adding a layer of qualitative data to it. You'll do this by joining a table with information on which county and local law enforcement agencies in the state have obtained a certain kind of military equipment, to a layer with geographic information about New York State, and then changing the visualization associated with it.
For this map, you'll be starting with the map created in the last exercise. If you didn't complete that exercise, but just want to start from this point in the exercise, the map is available here. I'll also attach below the data sheet that you'll be working from in this exercise. You'll want to move both into a folder you are connected to already in ArcGIS, or create a new connection to the folder that they are in using ArcCatalog
The data sheet included is the one from a project I worked on previously concerning New York State law enforcement agencies and the request of Mine-Resistant Ambush Proof vehicles (MRAPs). It lists the city or county of the agency, the equipment they requested and the year of the receipt. What it does not include is shape files for the areas discussed. However, you do have the county, village and city shapefiles from your base map, and if you have a common field between the data in your table, and data in the attribute table for your shapefile, you can join the data from the sheet to the locational data.
It's a good idea to keep a basemap that is clean of any joins or added data just so if you make any mistakes and need to start over, or if you have additional layers of data you want to add, you always have a clean copy to join it to, so make a copy of your Base Map from NY.GOV layer
In ArcMap you can take a table that has attribute data about locations on a map and join it to locations on that map if those two tables have a field (aka column) in common. So if you have a table that has all the population data for every town in the region and one of the fields on that table contains the name of the town, and you have a polygon shapefile that has the locations and shapes of each of those towns and one of the fields for the attribute table contains the name of the town, you can join the two items together and your shapefile will now have population information about each town. You do, however, need to know which fields you'll be matching up between the table and the layer.
Now that the qualitative data from this table is attached to the layers of your map, you can change your symbology to display this data.
The values it found were: "<Null>,<Null>" which means that the county wasn't listed in MRAPs_And_Ship_Year.csv so just had "<Null>" written in for those fields, Mine Resistant Vehicle, 2013 which means that a MRAP was sent to that law enforcement agency in 2013, Mine Resistant Vehicle, 2016 and Mine Resistant Vehicle, 2017, which means there was a vehicle sent in those years. These are the categories that you'll want to assign colors to that can display this information
Since on the top layer, you've made the county level data transparent, along with any village or cities not receiving MRAPs, your map now looks something like this. Places that received the MRAP vehicle that you're interested in are in varying shades of green.
However, you may notice that the borders for the counties look a little strange. The black border from the counties that didn't receive an MRAP is overriding the green outline for the ones that did. This means you'll need to change the symbol levels.
The higher the number, the closer it is to overriding the other symbols, so since you always want one of the counties that are the area your study, (those with Mine-Resistant Vehicles) to be on top, give the Label No Mine Resistant Vehicle the lowest number.
Once you've done this and hit OK and apply, you'll see that the borders of the counties with the MRAPs is more pronounced
Since the Drug Arrest By County layer is from 2012, it would seem that the information you'd want to display on this map to try and answer the question 'Do places that have a high drug crime rate request MRAPs?' would be which places requested MRAPs in 2013. The places requesting MRAPs in 2014, 2016, 2017 would be responding to crime rates from different years. So you'll want to change your symbology to only display that data.
Your map now reflects the information you want to display for your research question about whether counties with higher drug arrest rates in 2012 have law-enforcement agencies within them requesting Mine-Resistant Vehicles in 2013 to deal with this issue.
Whenever you add data to a layer, you'll want to add information to the Description and Credits section of your layer. This is called metadata since it is data about what your data is and where you got it from. You may be working on projects with many layers, and you'll want to know where the information on those layers came from. This is a very good habit to get into so that when you cite the sources on your map when you print or share it, you will just be able to get that information in the description of the layer, instead of digging back through your computer to remind yourself where you got your information from. Viewers of your map will want to know your sources.
Save your map, and if you want to be able to use it as a template for future exercises, copy it to the 'MapTemplates' in your ArcGIS folder as described in the last exercise. I've attached the map document below if you want to see how I constructed it.
You aren't just creating a map to see the geographical locations of your area of study yourself, you'll also want to be able to display those results to other people in a way that is clearly understandable. Though there is an option to export your map as a jpeg or to screenshot, if you create a layout, you can include not just the image of the map but items such as a legend, a title, a scale and other navigational aids. You can do so in a way that will let you easily see how it will appear at different sizes, and you can ensure the information is neatly organized.
In this exercise you'll be taking the map created in the last exercise and creating a layout for it that will include a legend, supplementary text, and other cartographic elements. You'll learn how to format it so that all the information that you're displaying is easily understood and so that it will fit comfortably on a standard sized piece of paper.
If you did not create this map in the last exercise and are just skipping ahead to see how to create a layout, the file for this map is below
What you see on your map canvas will change. Instead of being the only element on the canvas, your map is in a smaller frame within a white box with a drop shadow. The larger box with the drop shadow that represents the piece of paper your map would be printed on and the dashed line a small space in from the edges represents the printer margin.
The inner box with your map in it is the data frame represented in the Data View of your map, everything within that icon at the top that just says Layers.
In this example we only have one data frame, but you might have a map with multiple data frames because you want to compare many different maps on your eventual final display. Maybe you have demographic maps of New York, Chicago and San Francisco or maps of the same city over time that you'd want to all display on the same piece of paper. In that case you'd put each in its own separate data frame, and then each would appear in a different movable box for this map. That's covered in a later exercise.
If you want to change the size of the data frame for your map or where it is located on the page, you just need to doubleclick on it, until the blue squares appear on the corners and midpoints of the lines and from there you can resize or move it around.
To this map, you want to add a title at the top, a source line at the bottom, a legend on the side, as well as a scale and North Arrow somewhere on the map. To be sure you're leaving enough room, use the Guides tool. Guides draw a blue line on your canvas that will be invisible when you print, but that you can snap the borders of your elements to when adding those items to your map.
In order for your viewers to understand what they're looking at, your map will need a title, your listed sources, and importantly for your sake, your name.
The symbols you create won't be helpful to the viewer in understanding what your map says about your research question unless you tell your reader what the symbols mean. That's why creating and formatting a legend is very important to the presentation of your map. Remember that when you click on the items of the legend in your Table of Contents field you are changing things like the color, the title and the symbol size on the map itself, but if you double-click on the Legend on your Layout View after you've created it your changing the formatting of those elements: the size of the text, what elements you're showing, things like that.
If you want to get rid of anything in the legend, or change it you just double click on the menu and from there you can remove the title, change what explanatory labels are visible for each layer, and even take items off the legend.
This one looks good to me as is, so I'll move on to the next item.
You'll also want your reader to be able to know rough distances between places on your map, and to be able to tell if you've turned it so North is not the direction from the top to the bottom of your paper. You can do this by inserting a scale and a North Arrow.
The North arrow is also an important navigational element, less so in this case because you won't actually be using this map to drive or walk anywhere but it will still help orient the viewer.
And when you're done, you'll have a map that's suitable for printing. I've attached the file below that has my map layout on it so that you can see how I constructed it.