ArcGIS Tutorials

How to work with ZIP files

ArcGIS -- Core
Tutorial Description Tools/Techniques
Exploring a GIS Map

This exercise introduces the user to the following tools and concepts:

  • adding data symbolizing features navigation tools,
  • data view vs. layout view,
  • layer properties,
  • identify tool,
  • measurement tool.

  • Catalog
  • Folder connections
  • Layer properties
  • Selection
  • Attribute tables
  • Distance/area measurements
Managing GIS Data

In this exercise, you will work with data for the Acadia National Park area.  You will learn to use  ArcCatalog to copy and delete features from a workspace. You will also learn about folder connections and how to avoid broken links.

  • Folder connections
  • Layer source paths
  • Fixing broken links
  • Relative paths
  • Geodatabases
Symbolizing Features

In this exercise, you will learn how to symbolize features based on their geometric characteristics and their attribute type. You will also learn how to add data frames, modify their coordinate systems and generate a final map layout.

  • Symbolize points, polylines and polygons
  • Add data frames
  • Create map layout
Labels and Annotations

In this exercise, you will annotate a reference map of the Maine mid-coast region. Steps will include generating dynamic labels (automatically placed by ArcMap) followed by their conversion to geodatabase annotation features. You will then learn how to manually edit/customize the annotations inside of an ArcMap session.

  • Auto-labeling
  • Convert labels to annotations
  • Edit annotations
Summarising income values by distance bands

In this exercise, you will tally weighted county income values by distance bands.

  • Buffer (multi-ring buffer)
  • Clip
  • Intersect
  • Dissolve

ArcGIS -- Coordinate Systems
Tutorial Description Tools/Techniques
Tissot's Circle

In this exercise, you will create geodesic circles on a spheroid representation of the earth. These circles are used as a reference to evaluate the distortion in shape and area that accompany most projected coordinate systems.

  • Buffer tool
  • Data frame's coordinate system
  • Coordinate system's parameters
  • Distance measurement (planar & geodesic)
  • ArcGlobe
Defining and Projecting data

In this short exercise, you will learn how to read coordinate system information for GIS data, define a coordinate system when one is not present, and re-project your GIS data to a new projection.

  • Identify a coordinate system
  • Define a coordinate system
  • Project (or re-project) GIS data
Geodesic distance and area measurements

In this short exercise you will learn how to circumvent coordinate system limitations by adopting geodesic based solutions to distance and area measurements.

  • Select by Location (from the pull-down menu)
  • Select Layer By Location (geoprocessing tool)
  • Python parser for area/length calculation
Containment in different reference systems

In this short exercise, you will learn about distortions in polygon or polyline edges associated with changes in reference systems. More specificially, you will learn how a feature contained by another feature in one reference system may not be so in a different reference system. You will also learn how to help preserve this spatial property across reference systems by densifying the features.

  • Select by Location
  • Changing data frame CS
  • Densifying line edges

ArcGIS -- Working with Data Tables
Tutorial Description Tools/Techniques
Joining non-GIS tables

In this exercise, you learn how to import tables (both comma delimited text files and Excel files) into ArcMap and join theses tables to existing GIS layers. You are taught how the tables are to be properly formatted and you learn to avoid common pitfalls.

  • Reading CSV files
  • Reading Excel files
  • Joining tables
  • Converting strings to numbers
Downloading and mapping census data

In this exercise, you learn how to download and manipulate 2010 census data tables using the Social Explorer website. You also learn how to download Census boundary shapfiles from the Census Bureau's website then join the census table to this census shapefile.

  • Downloading census data
  • Data manipulation in excel
  • Joining a table to shapefile

ArcGIS -- Map Algebra Operations
Tutorial Description Tools/Techniques
Local operations

In this exercise, you will perform local operations on raster data using algebraic and conditional expressions.

  • Raster calculator
  • Conditional operations
  • Raster attribute table
  • Projecting raster layers
Focal operations

In this exercise, you will perform focal operations on raster data using regular and irregular neighborhood (kernel) definitions.

  • Focal statistics
  • Regular neighborhood
  • Irregular neighborhood
  • Weighted neighborhood
Zonal and global operations

In this exercise, you will run a global operation (Euclidean distance) on a point dataset then use a zonal operation to summarise its values across polygons.

  • Zonal statistics
  • Euclidean distance
  • Reclassification

ArcGIS -- Analysis
Tutorial Description Tools/Techniques
Create a human influence index map In this exercise, you will create a Human Influence Index (HII) map for the state of Maine following the methodology outlined by E.W. Sanderson (
  • Polygon to Raster
  • Euclidean distance
  • Reclassification
  • Raster Calculator
  • Model Builder
Computing a Least-Cost Path Between Two Locations In this exercise, you will identify the most cost effective path between two locations based on elevation slope and landuse type.
  • Surface slope tool
  • Reclassify
  • Total cost
  • Cost-distance/direction
  • Least cost path
Finding the 5 mile driving distance to the nearest fire station In this exercise, you will use Network Analyst to identify all road segments that are within a 5 mile driving distance of the nearest fire station. You will then create two outputs: the road segments that are within 5 miles and the road segments that are outside the 5 miles driving distance.
  • Network Analyst
  • Service Area
  • Erase
Finding potential sites for a youth center In this exercise, you will use various selection methods to identify potential youth center sites that are near centers of high youth population density.
  • Select by location
  • Select by attribute
  • Definition query
Earth work In this exercise, you will use raster geoprocessing tools to estimate the net amount of fill to be added/removed for the construction of a building on a sloped surface.
  • Polygon to raster
  • Raster calculator
  • Zonal statistics
Modeling hydrologic flow paths and basins In this exercise, you will learn to generate flow paths and hydrologic basins from an elevation raster layer.
  • Mapping streams from elevation models
  • Mapping hydrologic basins from elevation models
  • Filling elevation sinks
  • Computing flow directions
  • Computing flow accumulation
Viewshed analysis In this exercise, you will learn to generate viewsheds for given point locations using an elevation raster layer.
  • Editing tables
  • Creating viewshed rasters
Quantifying point patterns In this exercise, you will learn how to quantify point patterns using density based and distance based approaches.
  • Fishnet (gridded) polygons
  • Raster to polygon
  • Spatial join
  • Dissolve
  • Kernel (and point) density
  • Average Nearest Neighbor

ArcGIS -- Editing
Tutorial Description Tools/Techniques
Geocoding addresses In this exercise, you will learn how to geocode addresses using the Census Bureau's geocoding service.
  • Geocoding addresses
  • Using formulas in Excel
  • Creating new point layer from lat/long data
Creating simple shapefiles In this exercise, you will learn how to create simple shapefiles (polygons, polylines and points).
  • Creating new shapefiles
  • Editing shapefiles
Advanced editing In this exercise, you will be introduced to a few of ArcGIS' intermediate editing tools. You will learn how to create and edit polygon and polyline data stored in a geodatabase. You will also learn how to avoid certain editing pitfalls such as the inadvertent creation of "doughnut holes".
  • Creating new features
  • Splitting polygons
  • Creating "island" polygons
  • Editing polylines
Defining and fixing topological errors In this exercise, you will learn how to define and identify topological errors. Examples of topological rules covered in this tutorial include "must not overlap" and "must not have gaps" rules.
  • Creating new topological rules
  • Setting snap tolerances
  • Fixing topological rules

ArcGIS -- Remote Sensing exercises
Tutorial Description Tools/Techniques
Downloading Landsat data In this exercise, you will identify Landsat scene(s) for your study area and use the USGS' Glovis website to select and download the data file(s).
  • Downloading Landsat data
Processing Landsat data In this exercise, you will learn how to convert Landsat files raw digital numbers to radiance and reflectance measurements.
  • Raster calculator
Image sharpening and classification In this exercise, you will learn to work with multi-band rasters. You will merge a panchromatic raster with a multiband raster (from a Landsat scene). You will also perform a supervised and unsupervised classification on a multi-band scene.
  • Pan-merge tool
  • Supervised classification
  • Unsupervised classification
Computing NDVI from MODIS satellite data In this exercise, you will use map calculator to compute a NDVI raster from two single band rasters (one red, the other NIR).
  • Raster calculator
Creating NDVI mosaic for parts of Colby using NAIP data In this exercise, you will use map calculator to compute NDVI rasters from NAIP raster layers. You will also learn how to mosaic several rasters together as well as how to convert a 32-bit float raster to a 16-bit integer raster.
  • Raster calculator
  • Mosaic
  • Copy Raster

Manny Gimond Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.