How do we get spatial data, and what can we do with what we get?

We have basic data for the countries of the world (tucked away on /acadproj/vol8/ which should be the R: drive in P302), but often we need more detail and other formats, and that can often be found online, for free... but not without certain difficulties in conversion to forms we can use. Consider the example of Colombia: a search for 'colombia gis' in google does produce a lot of hits (20K+...), and one of the first is ...which allows us to get a variety of layers ...but plunges us into complications of formats and compressed files and so on...

Still, this is what we need to conquer, so we might as well begin.

Here's what you say you need:

Matt: "number of McDonald's per country (shown with a gradiation)... another demonstrating the amount/percentage of land devoted to Beef/other meat production for McDonalds in certain countries (e.g., Brazil)"

Dan: * Geographical maps of East Africa as a whole and in parts Countries: - Tanzania (most important) - Kenya - Uganda * Great Lakes Region * Lake Victoria * Maps of cities along the shore of Lake Victoria (e.g. Mwanza, TZ / Entebbe and Kampala, Uganda) * Maps of population change throughout Uganda * Maps of fishery locations * Maps of where the Maasai live right now - change over time? * Topographical maps of the region * Maps that show savanna, desert, forest, etc. (I forget what you call them)

Mina: " I am specifically focusing on the population of S. Korea in terms of gender, age group, and geographic categories. I would think I need a map of how the ratio of people differ from urban area to rural area. I haven't been able to find any demographic map but I have found detailed statistical data and graphs on Korean population."

Tom: "...a map of svalbardland, with as many of the islands included as possible"

John: " on the number of nuclear tests that have occured worldwide to be placed into a color graded map based on frequency. Also, numbers of the size of the nuclear / atomic stockpile for certain countries over time. In addition, data on the ecological effects of these blasts i.e. instances of radiation posioning post-blast over time, the size of certain plant/animal populations post-blast over time, etc."

And here are some locations for basemaps and other GIS-related stuff:
Tom: q:\sval\svalout.shp
Mina: q:\skorea\skorea.shp and q:\southkorea\sk1.apr
Corinne: r:\colombia\colombia.shp and r:\colombia\16x.apr
Dan: r:\tanzania\tanzania.shp and q:\tanz\17x.apr
Matt: r:\esri1\world\cntry00.shp (countries of the world)
John: r:\esri1\world\cntry00.shp and post-Chernobyl links
(many of these constructed from data from

These maps provide the basics for entering data of various kinds, but your projects are so varied that it's difficult to give one set of instructions for everybody. There are some principles, however: you can add layers on top of the base maps, using geographic coordinates to locate and place points, lines, and polygons (that's 'vector GIS'); and you can add data to the .dbf files that lie behind the vector layers --by adding columns to the .dbf files, or by joining other .dbf files that have a common field (like an index number or code or character string that appears in both .dbf files).

There are lots of fiddly things to know and take into account when you're learning to use ArcView. One of them involves drive letter mapping, a FIRST STEP before beginning an ArcView session.

There are a number of ways to approach learning ArcView, and choosing among them is a matter of your time and specific needs. We have a collection of homebrew tutorials that are meant to help users get started and solve common problems, and ESRI has a superb online learning environment called ESRI Virtual Campus which features FREE beginning tutorials and not-free 'courses' for which we have password access. John Watkins of University Computing is the Administrator for passwords. And then there's 1:1 with me, to figure out solutions to your specific problems. And then there's scrabblin' at the coalface with your bare hands...

Another basic use of maps is to illustrate: you can capture screen images with PhotoShop and edit and save them in formats that can be put onto Web pages (.jpg and .gif images). Here are the steps: :

  1. With your ArcView project displayed on the desktop, hit the 'Print Screen' button to put the screen image onto the Clipboard.
  2. From the Windows Start menu, select Programs, then Adobe, then PhotoShop5.5 and wait while it loads.
  3. Once things have settled down and you see a grey screen, hit <Control><n> (a shortcut for "New") and you'll see a 'New' palette offering you an image size of 1024 x 768 pixels.
  4. Click 'OK' and hit <Control><v> to paste the Clipboard image into the space provided.
  5. Now use PhotoShop's Rectangular Marquee Tool to define the area you want to save as an image. I suggest that you keep the map's Legend, showing the values of the colors.
  6. Save the outlined area to the Clipboard with <Control><c> ('Copy'), do <Control><n> to get a New window again (and notice that its size is NOT 1024x768 pixels), click 'OK', and then do <Control><v> to paste the Clipboard's contents into that new window. So far so good.
  7. The next thing you'll do is SAVE this image to your /anth/ folder, but first you'll need to FLATTEN it.
  8. From PhotoShop's Layer menu, choose 'Flatten Image'.
  9. THEN you can go to PhotoShop's File menu, choose 'Save As...', navigate to your /hg/ folder, and save the image as a .jpg or .gif, naming it so you can find it again (like 'xhhold.jpg' for "mean household size"). Accept what PhotoShop gives you for Image Options.
  10. This puts the saved image where you can include it on a web page, using the Image button in FrontPage. You'll need to specify the image's whole URL, like Try this on a new page (using FrontPage) and save the page as pshop1.html in your /hg/ folder. Make sure you can open the page with your browser.
You'll need to do this a few times to build confidence, but it will make your maps much more eloquent. When you're through trying it all out, close PhotoShop and say NO to saving the image --it's your original screen capture and isn't useful for anything.