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Using ArcGIS Desktop

ArcCatalog also lets you prepare datasets for editing and updatingyou can set up rules
so that edits to one feature class are reflected in another or that moving one feature moves
associated or connected features; you can also define additional fields before adding
attribute values when editing in ArcMap. You may also use ArcCatalog to assign the spatial
reference for a dataset, so its coordinate system is defined.

Use the Properties dialog box in ArcCatalog (right-click a dataset and click Properties) to
specify the spatial reference for a dataset or add fields to the dataset.

You also use ArcCatalog to create new (empty) datasets before creating the geographic
features themselves in the datasets (by importing or by editing in ArcMap). ArcCatalog lets
you define parameters and rules to ensure data integrity for your database. Right-clicking
an entry in the tree and clicking New displays the appropriate options for creating new
databases or datasets, or for creating rules for the database.

Right-click a Catalog tree entry to begin defining new databases, datasets, or

rules for ensuring data integrity.

Using ArcCatalog to build databases and compile GIS data is discussed in Chapter 2,
Geographic Data Management, and Chapter 3, Data Compilation and Editing.


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1 Introduction

ArcToolbox Much of your GIS work will involve using ArcMap and ArcCatalog to manage, display,

and query geographic data. A good deal of your work will also involve processing
geographic data to create new datasets, known as geoprocessing. Geoprocessing is used
in virtually all phases of GISfor data automation, compilation, and data management;
analysis and modeling; and for advanced cartography.

A typical geoprocessing operation takes one or more input datasets, performs an operation,
and returns the result of the operation as an output dataset. The Union tool, for example,
combines features from separate datasets into a single dataset.
Inputs to Union

Land parcels

Output from Union

Soil types

Land parcels and soil types

There are geoprocessing functions for spatial analysis operations, for converting data from
one format to another, for simple data management operations such as copying datasets,
for data integration operations such as appending map sheets, and many other operations.
These geoprocessing functions are collected as tools in ArcToolbox, grouped by category
in toolboxes and toolsets. Some of these same functions can also be accessed through
toolbars, menus, and dialog boxes in ArcMap and ArcCatalog.


Additional geoprocessing toolsets come with many of the ArcGIS extensions (described
later in this chapter), such as ArcGIS Spatial Analyst, which includes raster modeling tools,
and ArcGIS 3D Analyst, which includes terrain analysis tools. ArcGIS Geostatistical
Analyst adds kriging and surface interpolation tools. When the extensions are installed, the
tools appear as new toolsets in ArcToolbox. Some may also appear in menus or toolbars in
ArcMap or ArcCatalog.


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