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Mapping and GIS

A guide to mapping resources, including GIS (geographic information systems), at the UNT Libraries and on the Internet. The guide also provides links to geospatial and other data that can be downloaded and mapped.

ArcGIS for Desktop

ArcGIS is a package of mapping software programs and is available on all student-access PCs at each UNT Library location and Student Computing Labs across campus. Faculty can download AcrGIS as well.

Go to the Start menu and then look for the ArcGIS folder. Within this folder, you will see several applications: 

ArcMap 10.x is the "flagship" mapping program where most of your mapping, analysis and modeling needs will be completed. A video series on essential ArcGIS elements can be found here: ArcGIS Essential Training.

ArcCatalog is a handy program to use because it helps you organize your GIS files. Two file management benefits that ArcCatalog specializes in are:

  1. Since shapefiles have multiple file extensions that, when packaged together, make one shapefile, ArcCatalog allows you to view each shapefile grouping as one file. 
  2. Geodatabases cannot be edited using Windows Explorer or My Computer, but can be in ArcCatalog.

ArcGlobe and ArcScene both utilize 3D perspective natively. ArcGlobe is ESRI's "version" of GoogleEarth. ArcScene is good for visualizing data that contains significant elevation information (e.g., a stream channel or the skyline of New York City).

ArcGIS for Desktop Help is an offline version of the online help that you can find here. The Help pages are quite helpful for answering quick questions about a tool, analysis method or data compatibility. GIS Tutorial 1 & 2 and GIS Tutorial 3 are available for use at Eagle Commons Library and are located in the Reference section.

ArcGIS in all of its constituent parts supports the Python programming language using the ArcPy module.  Python can automate repetitive analytical tasks or take an out-of-the-box functionality and make it customized to fit your needs.​ GIS Tutorial for Python Scripting is an ebook available for use from the UNT Libraries.

ModelBuilder comes with ArcGIS - it is Esri's "visual programming" environment where you can drag and drop tools to create an automated process without needing any coding knowledge. Getting to Know ArcGIS ModelBuilder may be of interest for those who do not want to get into full-blown programming.

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