Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 10

Practical Exercise 1.

Introduction to ArcCatalog

Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystems

Analysis, and GIS Centre at Lund University, Sweden

Introduction to Geographical Information Systems

Introduction to ArcCatalog

1.2. Introduction to ArcCatalog

1.2.1. Purpose
The purpose of this exercise is to give you an introduction to ArcCatalog. ArcCatalog is
an application for managing geographical data. It is used for copying, moving and
deleting data; searching for data; previewing data; and creating new data. It also contains
tools for creating, editing and viewing metadata (data about data such as creation date,
the datas intended use and accuracy etc.). In this exercise you will:
- Learn about folder connections and how to create shortcuts to folders in ArcCatalog.
- Explore and view the contents of files, folders and disks in ArcCatalog.
- Explore the properties of files and folders in ArcCatalog.

1.2.2. Data
The data used for this exercises is the same as for the previous exercise 1.1 Introduction
to Windows Explorer, downloadable from Moodle. The data contains a number of
shapefiles or geographical layers of Nicaragua.
If you have not yet downloaded the data from the previous exercise to your computer,
create a folder in your local working directory called 1_Intro_ArcGIS. Download the data
from Moodle and copy all the data files for this exercise to your newly created folder.

Note: Specific information on how to download and extract the data can be
found in section 1.1.2 Data in exercise 1.1 Introduction to Windows Explorer.

1.2.3. Background
ArcCatalog is one of the three key applications in ArcGIS Desktop. ArcCatalog gives
users the possibility to extract information regarding spatial data contained on a
computers hard drive, on a network, or on the Internet. It can show users what folders
that contain spatial data and what kinds of spatial data they include. It also lets you
preview features and attributes of data. One can also examine and edit metadata, which is
information about the data, such as when and how it was created.

14-01-2010 Copyright 2010. Lund University GIS Centre. All rights reserved. 1
Introduction to ArcCatalog

1.2.4. Answers to be sent to teachers

All students have to send answers for questions by email to the teachers as
indicated in the document Sending Answers to Teachers available in the section Course
Information on the course homepage.

1.2.5. ArcCatalog Starting ArcCatalog

- To start ArcCatalog, click on Start on your Windows taskbar, and then
Programs > ArcGIS > ArcCatalog. The ArcCatalog window will open.

To the left of in the ArcCatalog main window you can see a catalog tree. This tree
provides you with a view of how the data, files and folders are organized on your
computer. On the right there is a display window with three tabs, Contents, Preview and
Metadata. These tabs let you explore the contents of selected items in the catalog tree in
different ways.
When you first start ArcCatalog, you will automatically be able to access data on your
computers hard disks through folder connections . Folder connections are basically
shortcuts that you can use to access your data more quickly. It is also possible to create
and store connections to specific databases and Internet servers as well as managing
geocoding services and search results.

14-01-2010 Copyright 2010. Lund University GIS Centre. All rights reserved. 2
Introduction to ArcCatalog

- In the display window, take a look at the different types of folder connections
by looking at the attributes in the column Type.
When a connection is selected, it is possible to access the data to which it is linked. When
you remove a folder connection in ArcCatalog you only remove the connection, you do
not delete any data. Exploring a folder connection

When a folder connection in the catalog tree is selected, the tab Contents lists the items it
contains. Unlike Windows Explorer, ArcCatalog does not list all files stored in a folder, it
basically only lists files that ArcGIS can handle. A folder might thus appear empty even
though it contains several files.
- Click your way through the folder connections in the catalog tree. Find and
open the folder where you saved the data for this exercise (e.g.
C:\LUMA_GIS\GISA01\Practical\1_Intro_ArcGIS\). The items or data in the
folder should appear in the display window to the right if you have selected the
tab Contents.
You can see the complete path of the data listed in the navigation bar Location just below
the main menu. You can also directly type a path in Location. Creating a folder connection

If you are working with a given dataset in a specific folder, and you would like to access
the folder quickly, you can create and save a folder connection to it.
- In the Standard toolbar, click the Connect to Folder button.

- In the Connect to Folder dialog window navigate to the folder that contains the
folder 1_Intro_ArcGIS in which you saved the exercise data (e.g.:
C:\LUMA_GIS\GISA01\Practical\) and then click OK.
Notice that a folder connection is now visible for the path in the catalog tree. In such a
way, it is rather easy to create connections or shortcuts to data.

14-01-2010 Copyright 2010. Lund University GIS Centre. All rights reserved. 3
Introduction to ArcCatalog Creating a working copy/backup of the data

When working with data, it is best to work with a copy of the data to assure that the
original data remains unmodified. This allows you to access to the original data if ever
data is lost or unwillingly modified. You will therefore now create an exact copy of your
data with which you will work.
- In the catalog tree, click once on the + to the left of the folder connection you
just created.
- Left click once on the folder 1_Intro_ArcGIS to select it (it becomes blue).
- In the Standard toolbar, click , or select Edit > Copy in the main menu.
The data copied is now transferred to the clipboard (the computers short term memory).
- In the catalog tree, go up one level by clicking in the Standard toolbar, and
then click or select Edit > Paste from the main menu.
- An exact copy of the folder 1_Intro_ArcGIS is created called Copy of
1_Intro_ArcGIS or 1_Intro_ArcGIS - Copy.

- Right click the copied folder and select File > Rename. Change its name to
- Remove your current folder connection (e.g.:
C:\LUMA_GIS\GISA01\Practical\) by right clicking it and selecting Disconnect
Folder. Its also possible to remove a folder connection by selecting it and then
clicking in the Standard toolbar.
- Create a new folder connection to the working folder
(1_Intro_ArcGIS_Working). Changing the viewing options of the data

The Options dialog window located in the main menu (Tools > Options) lets a user
specify the types of data ArcCatalog displays and the related information about them (file
name, file size, date modified etc). You can distinguish folders containing GIS data from
those that do not, and make other customizations regarding the way data is displayed.
- From the main menu select Tools > Options. The Options dialog window will

14-01-2010 Copyright 2010. Lund University GIS Centre. All rights reserved. 4
Introduction to ArcCatalog

- In the Options dialog window uncheck Hide file extensions under the tab
General and click Apply.
Notice that you can now see the extensions of each file listed. This is important in order
to know which type of file you are working with or previewing.
- Take the time to familiarize yourself with the options available by browsing
through the different tabs in the Options dialog window.

Question 1.2.1: How can you include the size of each item and the date when they
were last modified in the ArcCatalog display? Exploring data

As previously mentioned, there are three tabs in the ArcCatalog display window called
Contents, Preview and Metadata. These tabs provide different ways to explore the
contents of a selected item in the catalog tree.
Just like in Windows Explorer, you can change the appearance of the contents displayed
within the Contents tab. There are four display options available in the Standard toolbar:
Large Icons, List, Details and Thumbnails.

Each type of geographic data has its own set of icons in ArcCatalog, whether the type is
geodatabase, coverage, shapefile, raster, dBase or a map document. Throughout the
course, you will learn more about these different data types.
- Under the Contents tab, take a few minutes to explore the appearance options of
the exercise data.
For a general impression of the geographic extent of the data one can use the Thumbnails
view option. However, to examine the geographic data more closely, the Preview tab is
- Select the shapefile Nicaragua and click the tab Preview.

14-01-2010 Copyright 2010. Lund University GIS Centre. All rights reserved. 5
Introduction to ArcCatalog

Detailed preview is by default set to Geography in the Preview drop down menu at the
bottom. The tools found in the Geography toolbar can then be used to Zoom in , Zoom
out or Pan the data.

Note: If you are not able to see the Geography toolbar in ArcCatalog click View
> Toolbars > Geography in the main menu.

Alternatively, you can switch Preview from Geography to Table to view the attributes of
the theme selected in the catalog tree.

14-01-2010 Copyright 2010. Lund University GIS Centre. All rights reserved. 6
Introduction to ArcCatalog Exploring the contents of a table

ArcCatalog offers a collection of tools to explore a tables content. One can for example
search for values or sort the records according to values in one or more columns.
- Display the attribute table for the layer Nicaragua by selecting it in the catalog
tree and in the Preview drop down menu selecting Table.
At the bottom of the display window you should now be able to see the total amount of
records or rows in the table. The arrows located beside Record at the bottom can be used
to move to the beginning of the table, to the previous record, to the next record or the end
of the table. Freezing/unfreezing columns

Some attribute tables might contain a fair amount of columns. A useful thing to do in
these types of situations is to freeze columns. Freezing columns restraints a column and
as you scroll a table only the unfrozen columns are shifted.

14-01-2010 Copyright 2010. Lund University GIS Centre. All rights reserved. 7
Introduction to ArcCatalog

- Right click the heading of the NAME column and click Freeze/Unfreeze
The column named NAME is frozen in position and a heavy black line appears to its
right. When columns are frozen, they stay in place while scrolling horizontally and other
columns scroll normally. You can check this by making your window smaller than the
table itself. Sorting records

Records in a table can be sorted in ascending or descending order.
- Right click the heading of the column named AREA and select Sort Ascending.
Notice that the records are sorted with the smallest area value at the top of the

Question 1.2.2: What is the area of the smallest polygon in the table Nicaragua and
what does it represent (its name)? The areas in the table are listed as square meters
(m2). Obtaining statistics of numerical columns

Basic descriptive statistics can easily be obtained for numerical columns.
- Right click the heading of the AREA column once again but this time select

Question 1.2.3: What is the total area (sum) of all the polygons in the table
Nicaragua in square kilometers (km2)? Remember that area values are presented in
m2. Viewing and editing metadata

As previously mentioned, metadata is data about data. Metadata not only helps users to
find suitable data, it also tells users how to interpret and use the data. The amount of
detailed information stored as metadata can range from none to very detailed. In general,
the more metadata the merrier, as it allows the user know more about the data under

14-01-2010 Copyright 2010. Lund University GIS Centre. All rights reserved. 8
Introduction to ArcCatalog

Metadata usually consists of a number of properties and some documentation. Properties

might be derived directly from the data itself and documentation is additional descriptive
information that might have been added by its creator.
ArcGIS has been designed to create metadata for any geographical data set that it can
handle and ArcCatalog can be used to display metadata using a number of different style
- Select a shapefile in the catalog tree and click the tab Metadata in the view
window and explore the metadata content.
Each stylesheet present the same metadata using different sets of rules and it is possible
to change to another stylesheet by clicking the Stylesheet drop down menu.

Metadata can easily be edited in ArcCatalog (provided the user has writing access) by
clicking Edit Metadata . Metadata can even be imported from various external sources
by clicking the Import Metadata .

End of Practical Exercise 1.2

Send your answers to the teacher as instructed

14-01-2010 Copyright 2010. Lund University GIS Centre. All rights reserved. 9