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DAsH

Research Guide for DAsH (or digital humanities) resources and tools

Tutorials Introduction

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!

Basic Data

Learning Goals

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.

Opening a New Project in ArcGIS

When ArcGIS Pro opens, in the New section of the window that opens choose Map under Blank Templates.

Create a New Project window will open, and in this case give your project whatever name is descriptive. I'll be naming mine NYBasemap. You can also choose where it will save this project to. By default, mine goes to a Projects folder where I have ArcGIS saved on my computer, but you may decide to save it somewhere different. Wherever you save it to, take note of where it is on your computer. You will need to navigate back to it at the end of this tutorial so that you can zip the project folder along with all the other files that you have used.

Once you open your new project, by default there will be a map with topography layers as your canvas that shows mountains, and other geographical data. This might be best for our map, or we might want other options. To see the other options, choose the Map tab from the menu bar on the top of the screen and click on the dropdown arrow underneath the icon for Basemap.

The option for Basemap on the ArcGIS Pro menu

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. 

I'll be choosing Streets as the basemap for my map. 

Creating your Own Basemap with Publicly Available Data

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 lists information about of cities, towns, neighborhoods, census tracts but doesn't contain coordinates or other spatial information. 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 the internet 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.

Data

Getting Started

  • Download the zip file above and place in a folder that you can access easily. Navigate to that zip file in Windows Explorer, right-click on it and choose Extract All. This will extract everything into a folder named after the zip file. This is the folder you will want to connect to in ArcGIS Pro. 
  • In ArcGIS Pro, navigate to Catalog, by default, ArcGIS opens it in the pane on the right side of your screen. If you don't have it, you can add it from the View menu at the top toolbar. 
  • In Catalog, right-click on Folders and choose 'Add Folder Connection'. Maneuver to the folder that you have put these items in and click OK.

This next part is very important for if you plan on taking your project file and re-opening it on different computers. Do not grab the shapefiles in each of these folders and drag them directly onto the map. ArcGIS Pro is very picky about file structure and if you do not keep a consistent file structure, then any layers, files, shapefiles, selections, or any other modifications that rely on being able to access those files, layers, shapefiles, tables, etc, then your project file will be defunct and all those layers will need to be added again, and any joins or other modifications will need to be redone. 

  • To get these shapefiles into the folder that will get created alongside your project file for your New York basemap, right click on the shape-file in the folder of Cities_Towns   (Cities_Towns.shp) and choose Copy
  • Navigate up to NYBasemap, right-click on it and choose Paste.
  • Repeat this process for the shapefiles in the folders for Counties and Villages
  • After you do this, collapse the file that you originally got those shapefiles from or remove it entirely. Only deal with the shapefiles that are in your home folder of NYBasemap so that you can zip it all later. It should look something like this.
  • Drag and drop each of these shapefiles onto the canvas, and you should see a bunch of different boundaries and shapes showing up over New York State on your map. 

Shapefiles contain information on the location, shape and qualities of geographic features. This can be points, lines, or polygons.  In the case of these files, 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. When you drag them onto the canvas, they become Layers.

  • The layers will appear in the Contents window on the left, and the canvas in the middle will display these layers. ArcGIS will just use random colors by default.

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Layers in the Contents appear in the order they are drawn, 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.

  • Click on the Villages layer and drag it to the top of the Drawing Order of the Map

However in this case, because the Counties shapefile is at the bottom, you can't really see the county borders. Additionally, since the Villages and Cities_Towns layers were by default made similar colors, they are hard to tell apart. To change what colors are assigned to those layers, you'll need to change their symbology.

Changing Layer Symbology

  • Click on the Counties layer and drag it to the top of the Drawing Order
  • Right-click on the Counties layer and select Symbology. This will open the Symbology tab for Counties in the pane on the lefthand side of the page. By default, Single Symbol was chosen for the way to display the different shapes in the Counties layer. This is the kind of primary symbology you want, but you want to change what that single symbol is.
  • Double-click on the little patch of color next to Symbol and this will open the Format Polygon Symbol  menu with a list of different symbols. We want to just show the boundaries of the county while having no color in the middle, so click on the second swatch with a thicker black outline. This puts a thick outline over the counties of New York. Click on the back arrow to go back. 

  • Next, right-click on Villages and choose Symbology. In this case, let's say you didn't want to choose from any of the ArcGIS default colors for these symbols, and just wanted to choose a color. Double-click on the little patch of color next to Symbol and this will open the Format Polygon Symbol  menu with a list of different symbols. But in this case, click on the tab for Properties to configure your own version of what this symbol will look like. To get something that will show up over the purple of the Cities_Towns layer, I'll choose a bright yellow from the drop-down next to Color. I'll also change the Outline color to be black instead of grey, and then choose Apply 

This results in a map where the County shapes have a thick border so they are visible over the Cities and Towns, and the Villages are a different color from 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.

Creating a Group Layer

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. 

  • Right-click on Map at the top of the Drawing Order and choose New Group Layer from the menu. 
  • Name this layer Base Map from NY.GOV.
  • Hold down CTRL  on your keyboard. Highlight Counties, Villages  and Cities_Towns. Drag these layers into Base Map from NY.GOV

You've now created a group layer with the layers that make up your basemap. 

Saving Your Map

  • Click on the Project icon at the top of your menu bar and choose Save. If you are on your own laptop and don't plan on sending yourself a copy of your file to open elsewhere, you're all set. However, if you want to open this project file in another computer, or if you want to send your professor your project because it's finished or because you have a question, this is only part of what you need to do to ensure that you'll be able to access the project later. The other steps will need to occur in Windows Explorer, so exit ArcGIS Pro. 
  • Navigate to the path that your project was saved to at the beginning of this lesson, and locate the folder NYBasemap. 
  • Click to open it and make sure that the Cities_Towns, Counties and Villages shapefiles and their associated files are all there. 

  • Go back up a level to where your NYBasemap folder is locatedRight-click on it and choose Send to and select Compressed (zipped) folder
  • Windows will create a zip file of your project folder with your project file in it along with all the other files that it depends on. This zip file is what you will want to save to your Google Drive or flashdrive in order to access this project later if you are not just using ArcGIS Pro on your personal computer. 

If you had any issues creating this file, and need to see how I had it set up, here is the zip file that I made.

Learning Goals

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 a table to a GIS layer. You'll use the field calculator to add a new kind of data to your 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 2020 from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. 

If you've already done the previous exercise, you can just keep using that base map that you've made and will only need to download the CSV file, you won't need to download the zip.

Data

Getting Started

  • If you've already created the map, just open it now. If not, go to the folder that you've downloaded the NYBasemap.zip, right-click on it, and choose Extract All. Then in that folder, double-click on the NYBasemap project file to open it in ArcGIS Pro. 
  • You'll note that the file that opens already has a basemap of New York State's Counties, Villages, Cities and Towns. We'll be adding the data from the CSV file to this map however. Let's get it on the map. 
  • Double-click on Folders in the Catalog pane on the right-hand side of the interface. The folder that we will primarily be using is the one for NYBasemap. It is where all the shapefiles, tables and other files for our maps need to go so the ArcGIS project file can access them if it's opened on a different computer. 
  • If you don't already see the folder that you have your CSV saved to listed as one of the folders, you'll need to connect to that folder. Right click-on Folders  and choose Add Folder Connections. Navigate to that folder and choose it in the Add Folder Connections window, and click OK.
  • Open the folder in the Catalog pane, and locate the NYState_FelonyDrugArrests_YearAndCounty csv file. Right-click on it and choose Copy.
  • Scroll up to the NYBasemap folder, right-click on it and choose Paste. Close the other folder to avoid confusion. 
  • This next part is very important for if you plan on taking your project file and re-opening it on different computers. Click on NYState_FelonyDrugArrests_YearAndCounty.csv in the NYBasemap folder, NOT whatever other folder it is in, and drag it onto the map. ArcGIS Pro is very picky about file structure and if you do not keep a consistent file structure, then any layers, files, shapefiles, selections, or any other modifications that rely on being able to access those files, layers, shapefiles, tables, etc, then your project file will be defunct and all those layers will need to be added again, and any joins or other modifications will need to be redone. 

Once you have it on the map, your Contents pane should have your new table listed under Standalone Tables. The table won't change the display on the map just yet, you'll have to join it first.  The file should also exist within the NYBasemap folder in the Catalog pane.

It can be useful to create a different layer when adding data to a map. This way if you need to add new data to your map that needs to be joined to a geographic layer, the basemap won't need to be added again. 

  • Right-click on Base Map from NY.GOV in the Drawing Order and select Copy.
  • Right-click on Map at the top of your Drawing Order and choose Paste
  • Click on the copy of Base Map from NY.GOV you've made to change the title. You can also right-click and choose Properties and change its name there. Name the new layer DrugArrests2020
  • You won't be using the Villages and Cities_Towns layers in DrugArrests2020 since our data is county-based. Right-click on them in that group layer and choose Remove. They'll still be there in the original Base Map layer if we need to use them later.

Joining Tables to Layers

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 gives the layer with the spatial information the data from the table. In this case we have a table that has drug arrest rates for each county in New York State and a layer made from a shapefile that contains the spatial information about where those counties are located geographically as well as the counties' population data. If we join these, then we can take those statistics and map them to the counties. 

  • Right-click on the Counties layer in DrugArrests2020 and choose Attribute Table. Take a look at the columns of information on the sheet. Each column is considered a field in ArcGIS's terminology. At the top of each of these fields is the field name. Find the column that contains the name of the county, and note that it is NAME.
  • Right-click on NYState_FelonyDrugArrests_YearAndCounty.csv and select Open. Find the column that contains the name of the county and note that it is GeographicUnit
  • Right-click on the Counties layer in your DrugArrests2020 group layer, and select Joins and Relates -> Add Join
  • This will open an Add Join menu in a pop-up window. In the first dropdown Counties should be the entry for Input Table, as that was the layer you said you wanted to add a join to. For Input Join Field select NAME, since that's where you've determined the county names are. 
  • For Join Table select the NYState_FelonyDrugArrests_YearAndCounty.csv  table, and for Join Table Field, choose GeographicUnit, since that's the field that you determined had the county names on this table.
  • Leave Keep All Target Features checked.
  • Click on Validate Join. This will run a check and tell you if there are any fields with errors in the headers and how many of the records found a match.
  • I've configured the csv file correctly but remember if you want to a join with your own csv file, you need to make sure that the headers or column names don't contain invalid characters such as spaces, or other special characters. Underscores are okay. They also cannot start with numbers. 
  • When Validate Join has run  at the bottom of the message it will tell you how many records it matched. If that number is lower than the number you expect, you may have to revise the table. For instance, the first few times I tried a join, it kept only matching 61 counties instead of 62, and when I checked for which counties did not have a match, I discovered that csv file had St. Lawrence with a period and the Counties layer listed that county as St Lawrence without the period. If that happens you'll have to remove the file, re-edit it, and then re-add it to the map. 
  • However, in this case, the Validate Join window shows the amount of matches I'm expecting, so I'll click Close to go back to the original window, and then choose OK.
  • After it says the Join has finished, right-click on the Counties layer in your DrugArrests2020 group layer and select Attribute Table. Scroll to the right of the table and if the join has gone correctly, you'll see the additional fields that you've added from DrugArrests2012.csv, the fields for drug arrests in different years.
  • Click and hover on the County layer under Drug Arrests2020 until the text appears highlighted for you to alter. So you know the information contained in this layer, rename it to Drug Arrests By County, 2020

Adding Metadata

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.

  • Right-click on the Drug Arrests by County, 2020 layer and choose Properties.
  • Go to the tab marked Metadata and in the dropdown that says Show metadata from source (read-only) click to change it to Layer has its own metadata. The fields will switch from being greyed out to being editable
  • In the box for Description, change the text to:

Information on drug arrests from the Division of Criminal Justice Services, New York. (2023). "Adult Arrests 18 and Older: 2012-2021". Retrieved from https://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/crimnet/ojsa/arrests/index.htm .


This was the source I got the table from

  • In the field where it says Credits add at the end of information about the agency that created the table
    Division of Criminal Justice Services, New York.
  • Click OK to save this information.

Adding Symbology

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. 

  • Right-click on the Drug Arrests By County, 2020 layer and select Symbology
  • On the right hand side, it will open the Symbology menu. The default of Single Symbol will be in the dropdown. Click on it to see the options for the symbology you can apply to the layer. Choose Graduated Colors under Symbolize your layer by quantity, since you want the colors of the counties to change based on the number of felony drug arrests that occurred within that county
  • Since you want to display based on the quantity of drug arrests in a county, but based on population, you select the value as FelonyDrugArrests_2020 and the normalization as POP2020. This means that the display will weight the drug arrests by the population of that county. So counties with a 200 drug arrests but a 50,000 person population will be towards the higher end of the scale than one with the same number of arrests and a 500,000 person population. I'll show you how to calculate this value within the attribute table as well, but if you just want to get a quick idea of what your data will look like, normalization is a good way to do that if you have a 
  • Underneath where it says Classification there's a dropdown box next to Classes: that lets you select how many different classes this data will be divided into. Click on that box and choose 7. This means that there are 7 different grades from the lowest to the highest numbers, each corresponding with a color, that are available on your map. 
  • Next, let's change the color scheme. Currently, ArcGIS has it just based on a gradient that runs from yellow to red, and it can make it hard to tell the difference between counties that have two values that are close on the scale, unless they happen to be right next to each other on the map, the three red colors towards the top of the scale especially. Click on the color bar next to the Color Scheme and scroll to the third one down for Cyan to Purple. I like how this one goes through three different colors, but it still looks a little 1980s on the map, so I'll change which three colors they are by choosing Format Color Scheme
  • This is where you can pick which colors you want to represent the low, median and high end of your spectrum. The little arrow with a color swatch on it on the left-hand side will designate the lower end of the spectrum, the one in the middle is for the median, and the one at the right is for the higher end of the spectrum. By clicking on those arrows, and then the dropdown under Color you can change the colors associated with that position on the chart. I've chosen a dark blue for the low, a pale yellow for the middle and a bright red for the high.
  • Click OK and the map will change, and it's a bit easier to see which counties fall towards the high, middle, and low ends of the drug arrests per capita measure.
  • If you want to change how the classes are configured, click on the button for Method to see your other options. 
  • For this map, I'm using Natural Breaks (Jenks). That method divides up the data into classes depending on where between the maximum and minimum there are lows in how few records fall into those baskets. So if you had a bunch of records about test score averages, and a lot of the averages were nearby each other at 68,70, and 71, with very little near 72, the class break would be 72 so items with at least that score would be the start of a new class and 71 and below would be in another.
  • Some of the main other methods you might use are 
    • Equal Interval - this method will place each class boundary an equal distance apart from the minimum to the maximum number regardless if any of the measurements fell into that class. So if you had 4 classes and the measurements ranged from 0 to 100, the boundaries would be at 25, 50, 75 and 100.
    • Defined Interval -  this method will let you choose what the difference is between each interval, so if you had values from 0 to 100 and chose 5, it would place boundaries at 5, 10, 15 etc.
    • Quantile - this method means that each class will have the same amount of values in it, regardless of how far or close those numbers are to each other. So for the high school test averages example, if you were looking at 20 counties, and had 5 classes, if 4 of those counties had an average test score of 80, then 80 would be a class all its own instead of a range. 
    • Manual - this will let you decide for yourself where the boundaries for different classes are, by moving the markers on the Histogram tab of the Symbology window.

Different maps would require different classifications. If you are mapping high school test-scores for counties 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 that penalty average, so you'd probably want to do a Manual. If you're mapping percentages of towns' populations that are school-age children and teens, then you might want a clearer graph with demarcations every 10% to create a more understandable graph, in which case you'd want to do 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 - 

  • Play around with the different classification methods to and number of classes to see how they make the map seem to say different things about the difference and similarities between different counties' drug arrest rates. But ultimately, I'll stick with Natural Breaks since that is based on the ways in which the data falls and choose 7 classes and click OK. 
  • When you click OK, you'll get a map that looks something like the below

 

But as you see the scale for what the drug arrest numbers mean is a little hard to interpret as its just a very small decimal without a lot of context to it. I'll show you a different way to calculate this same kind of normalization within the attribute table in a way that you can make a clearer label. This will mean you'll be specific for your reader about on exactly what the numbers mean. You can make calculations within the table with a Field Calculator.

Doing Calculations in Your Attribute Table with the Field Calculator

If you need to perform mathematical functions on values in an attribute table for a layer you can do this with field calculator.

So if you had a Revenue field and an Expense field on a table you uploaded to ArcGIS, but forgot to calculate the profits field before you uploaded it, you can create a new field for Profit in ArcGIS and subtract Expense from Revenue and put the result in the Profit 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. 

  • Right-click on Drug Arrests by County, 2020 and select Attribute Table
  • In the top left corner of the Table, next to Field: click on Add
  • This will open a new window that says Fields: at the top and lists the different fields associated with the table. At the bottom there will be an editable one that currently just has Field written in it. This is where we will create a field that will store our calculation for the amount of drug arrests per 100,000 residents in a county 
  • The title needs to have no spaces and it has a firm limit on character count. I've named it ArrestsbyP since I'll be using it to store information on the arrests in a county per 100,000 people.
  • For the data type, select  Float from the dropdown . For Number Format, click and confirm that you want Numeric. Then in the window that opens,  choose that you want it rounded to  2 Decimal Places. 
  • At the very top of the window, choose Save underneath the Fields  tab. 
  • Once you've saved, exit the Fields editor, and when you scroll across in the table for Drug Arrest by County, 2020 , you'll see that  you've created a field called Counties.ArrestsByP that currently has 0 listed the whole way down the sheet. 
  • Right-click on the Counties.ArrestsByP field, and select Calculate Field.  This will open a popup window that you'll be writing your equation in.

Basically what you want to do is divide the drug arrests in a county by the population of that county, and then multiply that 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. 

The Calculate Field window has a space that lists the different fields on the table, helper functions, mathematical functions and a blank screen  below Counties.ArrestsByP= for you to put in the calculation you want to make using those fields and the available mathematical functions to appear in that window. 

  • Scroll through the Fields window and then double-click on the FelonyDrugArrests_2020 which adds that field to the equation you are building at the bottom of the window.
  • Click on the division sign '/' since you want to divide the drug arrests by population and then double click on the field POP2020 since that's the field that holds the population for the county.
  • Wrap the equation you have so far in parenthesis, since you want that division to be the first equation performed
  • Outside the parenthesis add the multiplication sign '*' and 100000 since once the result of the arrests divided by the population is calculated you want it to be multiplied by 100,000 since that's the figure you want to quote.
  • You should now have this in the window below Counties.ArrestsByP= 
    (!NYState_FelonyDrugArrests_YearAndCounty.csv.FelonyDrugArrests_2020! / !Counties.POP2020!) *  100000

  • Click OK.  It will calculate the same equation for each of the records in your attribute table and if it's successful the column will change to list those values.  

Now, change the symbology of your map to be displaying the values of this new field.

  • Right-click on on Drug Arrests By County, 2020 and choose Symbology
  • In the Symbology window, change the Field: to ArrestsByP and change the Normalization  to none. 
  • You want to make it clear to people looking at your map what these numbers mean: that 11.64-22.7 means 11.64-22.7 drug felony arrests in that county per 100,000 residents of that county. To do this, you change the label. Click on ArrestsbyP in the Contents pane and when it switches to highlighted text, type in Felony drug arrests per 100,000 residents

Saving Your Map

  • Click on the Project icon at the top of your menu bar and choose Save As, and make sure that you are saving this map within the NYBasemap folder that you are using. I'll be giving mine the new name of NYBaseMap_DrugArrests2020. If you are on your own laptop and don't plan on sending yourself a copy of your file to open elsewhere, you're all set. However, if you want to open this project file in another computer, or if you want to send your professor your project because it's finished or because you have a question, this is only part of what you need to do to ensure that you'll be able to access the project later. The other steps will need to occur in Windows Explorer, so exit ArcGIS Pro. 
  • Navigate to the path that your project was saved to at the beginning of this lesson, and locate the folder NYBasemap. 
  • Click to open it and make sure that the Counties shapefiles and the csv file that you used are located within it. 
  • Go back up a level to where your NYBasemap folder is locatedRight-click on NYBasemap and choose Send to and select Compressed (zipped) folder
  • Windows will create a zip file of your project folder with your project file in it along with all the other files that it depends on. This zip file is what you will want to save to your Google Drive or flashdrive in order to access this project later if you are not just using ArcGIS Pro on your personal computer. 
  • If you had any issues creating this file, and need to see how I had it set up, here is the zip file that I made.

Learning Goals

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, or primary or secondary, not information about its budget or number of students.

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 from the Department of Defense 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.

Data

Getting Started

  • If you've already created the map, just open it now. If not, go to the folder that you've downloaded the NY_DrugArrests2020.zip, right-click on it, and choose Extract All. Then in that folder, double-click on the NYBasemap_DrugArrests2020 project file to open it in ArcGIS Pro. 
  • This is the file the last section ended with, and there is a county map with symbology visualizing the number of felony drug arrests per capita in each county. There is also a group layer with shapefiles of the cities, towns, villages and counties of New York State. 
  • Double-click on Folders in the Catalog pane on the right-hand side of the interface. The folder that we will primarily be using is the one for NYBasemap. It is where all the shapefiles, tables and other files for our maps need to go so the ArcGIS project file can access them if it's opened on a different computer. 
  • If you don't already see the folder that you have your CSV saved to listed as one of the folders, you'll need to connect to that folder. Right click-on Folders  and choose Add Folder Connections. Navigate to that folder and choose it in the Add Folder Connections window, and click OK.
  • Open the folder in the Catalog pane, and locate the MRAPArmorOnly_2018-2022 csv file. Right-click on it and choose Copy.
  • Scroll up to the NYBasemap folder, right-click on it and choose Paste to move the csv file to reside within this folder. Close the other folder to avoid confusion. 
  • This next part is very important for if you plan on taking your project file and re-opening it on different computers. Click on MRAPArmorOnly_2018-2022 .csv in the NYBasemap folder, NOT whatever other folder it is in, and drag it onto the map. ArcGIS Pro is very picky about file structure and if you do not keep a consistent file structure, then any layers, files, shapefiles, selections, or any other modifications that rely on being able to access those files, layers, shapefiles, tables, etc, then your project file will be defunct and all those layers will need to be added again, and any joins or other modifications will need to be redone. 
  • Your Contents page will display MRAPArmorOnly_2018-2022.csv underneath Standalone Tables but your map will not change because it is only a table of data, not a map layer. You'll need to join it to a map layer to display its data.


It's important to note that I've created this csv file to be readable by ArcGIS. ArcGIS doesn't read csv files correctly if the headers contain spaces, special characters or numbers at the beginning of the field. So when you create your own files, be sure to do one last check for those before you upload. You will find out the error when you try to join the data to your map layers later, so it's best to get it out of the way beforehand. It's also a good idea to make sure that the names of counties and towns are formatted the same in your data table as on the Attribute Table for the shapefile you plan to join it to. When I first tried to join the table, I discovered that one had St. Lawrence listed as the county name, and another had St Lawrence without the period, so until I edited the table to match the table for the layer, it wouldn't see those two as a match.

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) and other armored vehicles from the 1033 program. 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

  • Right-click on the Base Map from NY.GOV group layer in the Contents Pane and choose Copy
  • Go up  Map at the top, right-click and choose Paste
  • Rename this layer Agencies Receiving MRAPs. You'll notice that if you check this layer to turn it on, now you can't really see your Drug Arrests by County layer anymore, but you'll be fixing that when you visualize this layer.

Joining Attribute Data from a Table to a Layer

In ArcGIS Pro, 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.

  • In the Contents pane, right-click on MRAPArmorOnly_2018-2022.csv and select Open. See which columns contain the name of the county or city that received an Mine-Resistant Vehicle or Armored NTVs and note the field name at the top. On this table, County has the name of the county where a county law enforcement agency got an MRAP and City for the city whose city, village or town law enforcement agency received one. Make a note of these field names.
  • Also, take a look at the other fields in this table to see whatever information it contains, it looks like the information about what items were received are in the column called Item_Name and the year they were received are in the column Ship_YearThis will come in handy, when you decide to put that data on the map. Close the table. 
  • Right-click on the Counties layer in the Agencies Receiving MRAPs group layer, and choose Attribute Table. When you look at the attribute table for this layer to see which field has the county name, note that it's the column called NAME. Do the same for the Villages and Cities_Towns layers, and you'll get the same result. The field that contains the information on what the town, city or village is called is titled NAME.

  • Right-click on Counties in the Agencies Receiving MRAPs group layer and choose Joins and Relates, and then select Add Join. This opens the Add Join window.
  • In the Add Join window, the first box for Input Table should already be filled in with Counties since that's where you started the Add Join process. Since you figured out that the field with the information about the county names is NAME, choose that for the Input Join Fieldsince when you looked at the attribute table for Counties, that was the field that had the county name. For Join Table choose from the dropdown that the table you are joining this layer to is MRAPArmorOnly_2018-2022.csv.  And for Join Table Field select that the field in your table that you want to base the join on is County, because when you looked at the table that was the field that contained the name of the county.
  • Click on Validate Join. This checks over to make sure your join will work correctly, telling you if there are any columns with unacceptable names or if the data are different types.
  • If the Join Validation works fine, click Close and then OK in the Add Join window.
  • The Join will run, and when you get the notification that it was successful, check to make sure in the attribute table.
  • Right-click on Counties in the Agencies Receiving MRAPs group layer and choose Attribute Table.  Scroll to the right of the table and you should see the new fields added from the MRAPArmorOnly_2018-2022.csv They will list <Null> for most of the counties but for ones where the county name was on both sheet you'll have extra data. 
  • Repeat this process for the Villages and Cities_Towns layers, but in the Join Data window, instead of selecting that the field in the table to base the join on Join Table Field choose City. Open the attribute tables for these layers to make sure they also contain new information.

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.

Adding Symbology

  • Click on Counties in the Agencies Receiving MRAPs layer and hover until the cursor changes. Add 'Receiving MRAPs to the end of the title so it now says Counties Receiving MRAPs. Repeat for the Villages and Cities_Towns layer and add 'Receiving MRAPs', since this is the data you'll be visualizing. You can also do this by opening the Properties window. It's a good idea to make sure all your layers are labeled with the information that they'll be displaying.
  • Right-click on Counties Receiving MRAPs and choose Symbology.
  • In this exercise, we want to display the counties that have received a Mine-Resistant Vehicle and the year in which they received it, so you want to display the records that have the category 'Mine-Resistant Vehicle' in the Item_Name field, and the values they have in the Ship_Year field.
  • In the Symbology menu on the right-hand side of the page, use the dropdown to change the selection from the default of Single Symbol to choose Unique Values
  • Since the two fields we want to use to symbolize are Item_Name and Ship_Year, use the dropdown to select Item_Name for Field 1. Immediately, the map will change to show all of the null values (counties that didn't receive MRAPs) as one color, and the one with the vehicle as another. We also want to display the year since we have data from many different years, so click on Add Field and select Ship_Year for the second dropdown

 The values symbolized in this legend and on the map are <Null>,<Null> which means that the county wasn't listed in MRAPArmorOnly_2018-2022.csv so just had "<Null>" written there, and MINE RESISTANT VEHICLE, 2018 meaning that a county received an MRAP in 2018. There is also an entry for <all other values>  which doesn't really apply here. Since we only care about geographic entities that did receive an MRAP, let's make it so only that value gets symbolized on the map. 

  • Right-click where it says <Null>,<Null> under Value and choose Remove. Do the same for <all other values>
  • Since we still want to be able to see the drug-arrest data for the county that did receive the MRAP, let's reduce it to an outline only, similar to what we did on our basemap. Double-click on the swatch of color next to MINE RESISTANT VEHICLE, 2018 to open the Format Polygon Symbol window, then choose Properties, to edit the appearance.
  • Choose No Color from the dropdown next to Color. For the Outline Color, use the dropdown to select a dark green color, and make the Outline Width 3 pt. Choose Apply to see how it looks on the map and if you like how it looks, go back to the Symbology tab. 
  • Now, let's do the same on the City and Villages layers. Right-click on Villages Receiving MRAPs layer, and choose Symbology. 
  • Repeat the same procedure - Choose Unique Values as the Symbology,  and then select Item_Name and Ship_Year as Field 1 and Field 2 
  • <Null>, <Null> <all other values>, and  MINE RESISTANT VEHICLE, 2020  will show up as the symbols. Remove the first two, and edit the color of the symbol for MINE RESISTANT VEHICLE, 2020  to be a bright green color (I just want to make sure that it shows up against the background map we made in the last lesson)
  • Lastly, let's edit the Cities layer. Right-click on the Cities_Towns Receiving MRAPs layer, choose Symbology tab, and use Unique Values to have the values symbolized be the Item_Name  and Ship_Year. When you do this the categories should be the null category, the all other values category and MINE RESISTANT VEHICLE, 2019 , MINE RESISTANT VEHICLE,2020 and UP ARMORED NTVS, 2022
  • Remove the <Null>,<Null> and <all other values> categories. Then edit the remaining swatches so that they are bright and distinct colors. I'll reuse the same bright green color for MINE RESISTANT VEHICLE, 2020 in this category as I did in the Villages layer to keep it consistent, make MINE RESISTANT VEHICLE, 2019 a darker green and make UP ARMORED NTVS, 2022 a bright purple color.
  • Once I've finished that I now have a map where I can see where are cities, towns, villages and counties that received Mine-Resistant Vehicles with the 1033 program and what the drug-arrest rate data is for the counties that requested them. 

Adding Metadata

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.

  • Double-click on the Counties Receiving MRAPs layer to open the Properties window and navigate to the Metadata tab. You'll be interested in the fields for Description and Credits, but first you'll need to make it editable. Click on the dropdown at top that currently says Show metadata from data source (read-only) and change it to Layer has its own metadata. The fields will switch from being grayed out and you can now edit the metadata. 
  • For description, add

Information on the receipt of MRAPs by law enforcement agencies courtesy of Defense Logistics Agency, Law Enforcement Support office from the 2023 dataset "LESO Property Transferred to Participating Agencies" from: https://www.dla.mil/Disposition-Services/Offers/Law-Enforcement/Public-Information/


This is the place where I got the information that I included on my spreadsheet.

  • Add to Credits
    Defense Logistics Agency, Law Enforcement Support Office 
    since that's the source for your information.
  • Repeat the above process with the Villages Receiving MRAPs and Cities_Towns Receiving MRAPs layers.

Saving Your Map

  • Click on the Project icon at the top of your menu bar and choose Save As, and make sure that you are saving this map within the NYBasemap folder that you are using. I'll be giving mine the new name of NY_MRAP_DrugArrests If you are on your own laptop and don't plan on sending yourself a copy of your file to open elsewhere, you're all set. However, if you want to open this project file in another computer, or if you want to send your professor your project because it's finished or because you have a question, this is only part of what you need to do to ensure that you'll be able to access the project later. The other steps will need to occur in Windows Explorer, so exit ArcGIS Pro. 
  • Navigate to the path that your project was saved to at the beginning of this lesson, and locate the folder NYBasemap. 
  • Click to open it and make sure that the shapefiles and the csv files that you used are located within it. 
  • Go back up a level to where your NYBasemap folder is locatedRight-click on NYBasemap and choose Send to and select Compressed (zipped) folder
  • Windows will create a zip file of your project folder with your project file in it along with all the other files that it depends on. This zip file is what you will want to save to your Google Drive or flashdrive in order to access this project later if you are not just using ArcGIS Pro on your personal computer. 
  • If you had any issues creating this file, and need to see how I had it set up, here is the zip file that I made.

Learning Goals

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

Data

Getting Started

  • If you've already created the map, just open it now. If not, go to the folder that you've downloaded the NY_MRAP_DragArrests.zip, right-click on it, and choose Extract All. Then in that folder, double-click on the NY_MRAP_DragArrests project file to open it in ArcGIS Pro. 
  • At the top of the menu bar, click on the tab for Insert, and choose New Layout

  • Choose that you want your Layout to be letter-sized and in layout format. 

A new tab will appear in your workspace labeled Layout, and when you click into it, there is blank canvas in the middle. The Contents pane on the left-hand side of your screen now has Layout at the top rather than Map. Up at the top, the options are different than they were when you were within your map. Now there are items like the Map Frame, North Arrow, Scale Bar, Legend and others that you can insert into your Layout. But first, let's add the map we've made to this canvas.

  • Click on Map Frame in the Insert tool bar, and it will give you some options. One, you note will look like your map, and when you hover it says that it represents the open view of your map. Click on the map
  • A little cross appears where the cursor is. Use it to draw a box around the portion of your layout that you want your map to take up. I'll leave some white space at the top for me to put the title and some at the edge for me to put in the Legend. Once you release it, your map will appear on your sheet. You can readjust how much space your map takes up by dragging the corners. 
  • On the left-hand side, the information about the layers in your map now appears in your Contents pane, so if you need to make any adjustments to the titles, colors, or transparency of a layer, you can edit it there. 

Adjusting The Map

Any changes that you are making to the map in the layout will change where the frame appear in the layout, in order to actually change things like how your map is centered within the frame, you'll need to Activate it. 

  • Right-click on Map Frame in your Contents Pane and choose Activate
  • The display changes and the Map tab in your menu bar opens. You can now use the Explore and panning tools in Navigate to change how the map is set up on the page. I'll try to get the map of New York State as centered and as large as possible in the frame.
  • If you want to get really fussy, you can even play with the projection in the dropdown at the bottom of the map. 
  • Once you have the map configured how you want it, you can just click on the Layout: Map Frame back link at the top of the Layout, and you'll go back into Layout view

Adding Text 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.

  • Add your title by going to the Insert  menu item and selecting the first option in the Graphics and Text box for Rectangle Text. Draw a box across the top of the layout where you want the title to be.
  • By default, it will just put in Text, replace it with Drug Arrest Rates by County, 2020 and MRAPs Received by Law Enforcement, 2018-2022
  • To change how the text is formatted, click on Element in the pane to the left. The Text Symbol tab will let you change what kind of font is being used and how it is sized
  • I made my font dark blue Arial font size 18, and made it aligned in the middle using these options. And
  • Use the same tool to add your name below the map title,
  • Put a text box with the sources in the lower left-hand corner of the map. 
  • For source I used the "NYS Office of Information Technology Services GIS Program Office (GPO); Division of Criminal Justice Services, New York; Defense Logistics Agency, Law Enforcement Support Office.
  • To put a white box under the text, use the dropdown menu next to Text in the Format Text window to select Background, and in that window choose that you want the text to have a white background using the dropdown next to Color
  • You can add padding around the text in the Text menu in the Display window (accessible via the paintbrush iconby upping the X gap and Y gap.
  • You'll notice that similar to when you were adding layers to your map and new layers would appear in the Content pane, now the Text that you have added is also showing up as a new layer in the Content pane. Just like with the map, you can turn these layers off and on or change the order that they are drawn in with this menu.

Adding a Legend to your Map

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. 

  • Go to Insert menu and click on Legend. Then draw a box where you want it to appear. I'll draw it overlapping the map on the right-hand side of the page. 
  • The Format Legend menu appears in the Elements pane. So I can better see it on the map, I'll first give it a white background and a black border in the display menu, and adjust the X and Y gaps for the background and border. 
  • The Options pane lets you check the box to show the title, ,which I'll leave as the default of Legend. Below that, under Legend Items is a box marked Show Properties. When you click on that, it will expand Legend in the Contents Pane, and you can edit how each layer appears on the legend individually. 
  • For instance, I don't want Item_Name, Ship_Year which is the item's heading for Villages Receiving MRAPs to appear on the legend, because I forgot to label it something less clumsy. But I do want the heading to appear for the Drug Arrests by County layer. So by clicking on each of the layers that I want to get rid of the heading and then unchecking that box  for Headings under Legend Item, I'll be able to change how the symbology for those layers on the legend. You can highlight multiple layers to accomplish this task. 
  • This is also where you can edit how big the patches of color are for any given layer or for all of them at once depending on what you've highlighted.

I'm satisfied with how this box looks now, but remember the elements box is where you can make changes for individual aspects of the Legend and how it looks on your layout, but if you want to edit say, what things are titled  or how they are symbolized, you'll want to go back and change it in the Map tab 

Adding Cartographic Elements

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.

  • Go the Insert tab in the menu bar and select Scale Bar. If you want a specific kind of Scale Bar, use the dropdown to select which kind you want. The nice thing about a scale bar, versus scale text is if a map is blown up or shrunken down, it will still be accurate. While if your map just has '1 inch = 50 miles' written on the bottom, and your map is blown up to a larger size, then that text is no longer accurate.
  • Draw a little box where you want the Scale Bar to appear on the map, and you can adjust its position or size afterwards.  
  • Similar to the other items you have added to your map, if you want to adjust aspects of your Scale Bar you can use the Elements pane. 

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.

  • Go to the Insert menu at the top of the window and select North Arrow. You can use the dropdown to select a specific one if you have one in mind. I like the two tone arrow, so I'll select it, and draw a little box on my map where I want it to appear. 
  • The North Arrow appears on your map, and you can move it to wherever you think it fits and size it up or down.

Exporting Your Layout

When you've finished this, you'll have a layout that's suitable for printing or uploading to the web to display the map that you've made. 

  • Click on Share at the top of your menu bar and you'll see that there are options for 
    • Capture to Clipboard which will put your map on the clipboard for if you want to paste it into a Slides or Word doc that you have open
    • Print Layout for if you want to print it out
    • Export Layout for if you want to save it as a pdf, jpeg or other file (the options will open in the Export pane to the right-hand side of the screen)

Saving Your Map

  • Click on the Project icon at the top of your menu bar and choose Save As, and make sure that you are saving this map within the NYBasemap folder that you are using. I'll be giving mine the new name of NY_MRAP_DrugArrests_Layout If you are on your own laptop and don't plan on sending yourself a copy of your file to open elsewhere, you're all set. However, if you want to open this project file in another computer, or if you want to send your professor your project because it's finished or because you have a question, this is only part of what you need to do to ensure that you'll be able to access the project later. The other steps will need to occur in Windows Explorer, so exit ArcGIS Pro. 
  • Navigate to the path that your project was saved to at the beginning of this lesson, and locate the folder NYBasemap. 
  • Click to open it and make sure that the shapefiles and the csv files that you used are located within it. 
  • Go back up a level to where your NYBasemap folder is locatedRight-click on NYBasemap and choose Send to and select Compressed (zipped) folder
  • Windows will create a zip file of your project folder with your project file in it along with all the other files that it depends on. This zip file is what you will want to save to your Google Drive or flashdrive in order to access this project later if you are not just using ArcGIS Pro on your personal computer. 
  • If you had any issues creating this file, and need to see how I had it set up, here is the zip file that I made.