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Geographical Information

Systems: Getting Started


John Porter - UVA
Geographical Information
Systems (GIS)
n Geographical Information Systems are
databases with customized tools for
graphical display of geographical data
includes:
• points
• lines
• areas
• images
Common Uses of GIS at Field
Stations
n Creation of customized maps
• Trails
• Research Areas
• Biota
n Spatial Analyses
• Where are places with a slope less than 10
degrees that have rocky soils and forest
cover?
Arc/Info
n Arc/Info
• Full-blown GIS System
• Well-developed tools for:
– creating GIS data layers
– analysis of GIS data
• User hostile?
– Complex capabilities and interfaces
– Arc/Info can do anything! (but you may die
before you figure out how!)
Software Tools from ESRI
n ArcExplorer - FREE!
• Simple display capablities
• Links to Internet map databases
• http://www.esri.com
n ArcView
• Most common tool for starting GIS
• Focus on user-friendly map display
• Some input and analysis capabilities
• Most of this talk will focus on ArcView 3.1
ArcView 3.1
Display and
query tools

Database,
Graphing Select which
and View,
Mapping Table,
Tools Chart or
Layout to
View Key for
Displayed
“View”
The ArcView Hierarchy
n Projects have one or more
• Views which may include one or more
– THEMES which may consist of
• Coverages or
• Images
• Layouts can include
– Views
– Graphics
– Keys
– Lines and arrows
Sample ArcView Session
n Start with a blank View in a new Project
Sample ArcView Session
n Adding a THEME to our VIEW
Sample ArcView Session
n Display THEME
Sample ArcView Session
n Zoom In
Sample ArcView Session
n Add an image as a new theme
Sample ArcView Session
n Move the new image to the background
by “dragging” the name down in the key

I dragged this down


with the mouse

Now we can see


the bird colonies on
top of the image
Sample ArcView Session
n Use the
LAYOUT
tools to
create a
printable
map
Sample ArcView Session
DONE!
Now- save
project
for next
time!
ArcView Extensions

n Spatial Analyst
• contouring
• buffers
n Network Analyst
• optimal routes
n 3D Analyst
• volumetric
calculations
n Image Analyst
Other Software Options
n GIS
• Map Info - http://www.mapinfo.com
• Arc/Info - http://www.esri.com
• GRASS
n Remote Sensing/GIS
• ERDAS Imagine http://www.erdas.com
• ER-Mapper
ERDAS IMAGINE
Menu Bar

Viewer for image


display and
manipulation

Spatial Modler
for analysis
Spatial Modler Interface
Each figure on the
modler screen is
linked to a fill-in box
ERDAS IMAGINE Strengths
n Converting raw image data to usable
GIS data
• Georeferencing
• Classification
n Analyzing image data
n Also has some vector GIS capabilities
and GIS analysis tools
ARC/INFO

Basic ARC/INFO is command-driven, you need to


type in commands at the prompt