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Generate dynamic XY coordinate labels for dataframe corners in ArcGIS layout

Generate dynamic XY coordinate labels for dataframe corners in ArcGIS layout


I need to label the four corners of a dataframe as shown in the image. Can this be done with dynamic text scripts?


Yes, it is documented in the help file in the second to last table. I believe you're looking for

and similar (lowerLeft, upper/lowerRight).


" On our dynamic Earth, continents don’t sit still. They slowly move around the planet , stretching oceans and lifting mountain ranges . [ . ] Over time, things add up. And it’s beginning to impact the accuracy of geospatial data. "

by MelitaKennedy

A long time ago when there was still printed documentation, the Understanding Map Projections book had a foldout table in the back. The table listed all the map projections and had information about various properties and characteristics.

Bojan Šavrič Bojan Savric undertook to update and modernize the table including changing the categories and adding new projections. We hope you like the new style! It will easily fit on a 8.5"x14" or 11"x17" page if you want to print it out. Here's the 11x17 version on my office door:

It's complete through ArcGIS Pro 2.5 and ArcGIS 10.8. We're adding 3 new projections to those releases: Adams square II, Tobler cylindrical I, and Tobler cylindrical II.


The well-known ID of the spatial reference or a spatial reference json object. For a list of valid WKID values, see Projected coordinate Systems and Geographic coordinate Systems.

An array of strings formatted as specified by conversionType .

Example: ["01N AA 66021 00000","11S NT 00000 62155","31U BT 94071 65288"]

Description: The conversion type of the input strings.

The following are valid conversion types:

  • MGRS - Military Grid Reference System
  • USNG - United States National Grid
  • UTM - Universal Transverse Mercator
  • GeoRef - World Geographic Reference System
  • GARS - Global Area Reference System
  • DMS - Degree Minute Second
  • DDM - Degree Decimal Minute
  • DD - Decimal Degree

Description: (Optional) Conversion options for MGRS, UTM and GARS conversion types.

The following are valid conversion modes for MGRS:

  • mgrsDefault - Default. Uses the spheroid from the given spatial reference.
  • mgrsNewStyle - Treats all spheroids as new, like WGS 1984. The 180 degree longitude falls into Zone 60.
  • mgrsOldStyle - Treats all spheroids as old, like Bessel 1841. The 180 degree longitude falls into Zone 60.
  • mgrsNewWith180InZone01 - Same as mgrsNewStyle except the 180 degree longitude falls into Zone 01.
  • mgrsOldWith180InZone01 - Same as mgrsOldStyle except the 180 degree longitude falls into Zone 01.

The following are valid conversion modes for UTM:

  • utmDefault - Default. No options.
  • utmNorthSouth - Uses north/south latitude indicators instead of zone numbers. Non-standard. Default is recommended.

The following are valid conversion modes for GARS:

  • garsDefault - Default. Same as garsLowerLeft . Point at the lower left corner of the box.
  • garsLowerLeft - Point at the lower left corner of the box.
  • garsCenter - Point at the center of the box.

Generate dynamic XY coordinate labels for dataframe corners in ArcGIS layout - Geographic Information Systems

Perform drive substitution

Perform drive substitution to create the virtual drives L and M.

Adding Data to ArcMaps

Create a personal folder

Create a new folder in the root directory of the M: drive, and named as arcmap_basics. When you create new directories, give them names that mean something to you, that you will recognize later. Avoid names like myfile, GIS, or project. If you do not use descriptive names, you will waste far more time later attempting to figure out what is on your file system.

    The location of the ArcMap shortcut may vary from system to system. It should be in a path similar to this:

Save the Map Document

Before doing anything else, save the ArcMap document. Click the Save button and save the document in the directory you created. Name the file arcmap_basics_a. Note you do not need to specify the file extension .mxd ArcGIS will automatically add the file extension.

There are a number of directories and files on the CD.

Data files are in the directories packgis (Pack Forest data) and esridata (general datasets from ESRI).

The contents of the CD should look like this:

  • There are TWO main file types: Coverage and Feature Classes (in the Geodatabase) in the packgis folder.
  • All Feature Classes layers are stored into "packgis.mdb"
  • All Coverage layers are mostly stored into "forest" folder. The Coverage file is an old data format to store information, like a zip file, it inculdes a set of classes to represent a single GIS layer. You could select one main feature class within the coverage or pick "whole package" at the same time.

Add Coverage layers to the data frame

    Click the Add Data button to add a new layer to the data frame.

The list of files in this folder are only those that can be added to an ArcMap document. Other files in the folder may be visible in the Windows Explorer, but if they are not sources for ArcGIS data, they will not appear in the Add Data dialog.

Click the point data source and click Add (or simply double-click on the file name).

Note that each of these data sources is composed of multiple layers (as indicated by the icon). ArcMap automatically adds the feature class with the highest priority (in this case, the line data sources).

You have just added a few different spatial data sources to a data frame. You have altered drawing order so that polygons do not obscure points and lines.

Once data sources are added to data frames, they are known as layers.

Open a layer attribute table

Each feature data layer that is added to the data frame will also be accompanied by a attribute table.

    To open the roads arc layer's attribute table, right the layer name in the table of contents and select Open Attribute Table.

You have just opened the layer attribute table for a coverage class (a feature layer). All feature layers (point, line, and polygon) have attribute tables. Each feature in a layer has an associated record in the attribute table, and conversely, each record in a attribute table has an associated spatial feature.

Add an event layer to a data frame

If you have a text or excel file that contains a set of XY coordinate points, you can import them into ArcMap. There are few options for the files:

    • Tab- or comma-delimited form, with the .txt file extension.
    • Excel 97-2003 file format, with the .xls file extension.

    You have just added an event XY layer to a data frame. Use this technique to convert simple point coordinate tabular data stored as a file into explicitly spatial feature layers. Your point data can come from any source: a file that is a list of points, a file that is a single point, or any file that can be converted to a format that ArcGIS can open as a table.

    Add an image layer to the data frame

    Images can be displayed in data frames. Some common images used in geographic displays are satellite images, digital orthophotos, and scanned maps. In order for these images to "fit" with other geographic data, they must be accompanied by a world file, which is an ASCII file that determines pixel size, location, and skew angles. Each of the parameters in the world file are expressed in real-world coordinates. Without a world file, an image cannot be placed in geographically referenced data frames. If you look at the L: drive's directory structure, you will see world files accompanying each image file (e.g., ortho_91.blw).

      First, create a new data frame (Insert > Data Frame). Rename the data frame to Orthophotos.

    You have just added image layers to a data frame and overlaid arc (line) features of a polygon dataset. Using different datasets stored in the same coordinate space allows you to see the relationships among different data. Image layers are used more and more as cheaper digital imagery becomes available.

    [Note: Sometimes the warning of Pyrmid showed up. ]

    Pyramid layers are additional files created for rasters that have multiple resolutions. When a raster is displayed at small scale, lower resolution is used, but when you zoom in, finer resolution is shown. In Arc10, you may not have to see this warning if the raster layer has been built its pyramid.

    When a raster dataset is added to ArcMap for the first time, if it has not had pyramid layers built, ArcMap will give you the option for creating pyramids. Click Yes when asked to build pyramids. Because the data sources are stored on the L: drive, which is not writeable, the pyramids will be stored on the hard drive.

    If you get a warning message, click OK.

    Add a CAD layer to a data frame

    CAD data can be read directly by ArcMap. In this section you will load a CAD data source and investigate the effects of incompatible coordinate systems.

      Add a data source from the packgisarchive directory. You will notice there are two entries for each of the DXF files in this directory. The ones with the multilayer icons can be added on a feature class-by-feature class basis, while the ones with the icon that looks like a compass treats the drawing as a single entity. Open (double-click) the multilayer version of the e-10a.dxf data source and add the polyline feature class.

    This may seem confusing, but it is a critical part of understanding how ArcMap handles display of spatial data . If, after reading the next few paragraphs, you do not understand this, make sure to ask a question or you may suffer from a severe lack of basic understanding of how GIS works.

    The features that are visible in the upper right are the layers you added initially, which are all stored in State Plane feet.
    The CAD layer features are in the data frame, and are actually located in the lower left of the data frame, though the magnitude of coordinates of the CAD layer features makes them too small to see.

    Why? A data frame represents a simple coordinate plane, just like a sheet of graph paper (but we don't see the lines). ArcMap displays data according to internally-stored spatial coordinates for each data source, which are an inherent part of the spatial data sources. The data are placed on a simple Cartesian plane according to these internal storage coordinates.

    The CAD drawing was prepared with coordinates specified in page units and coordinates (in this case, inches), rather than in real-world units and coordinates (feet for the other data).

    Make the CAD layer active and zoom to its extent (right-click > Zoom to layer. Now move your pointer around the data frame, you will notice coordinates in the range of 0-30, which are page units (inches), rather than the range you saw before with State Plane coordinates. The coordinates represent the location on the page where features were added. This is a typical situation when you have multiple different datasets from different sources. Some of your data may be in one coordinate system, while others are in a different coordinate system. In this case, some of the data are stored in a real-world referenced coordinate system (State Plane feet), and the other dataset is stored in an arbitrary coordinate system (page inches).

    If you do have CAD datasets (or any other datasets, for that matter), you should always find out what coordinate system and units they are stored in. If you ever have input on the development of CAD datasets, make sure to specify that the data should be stored in a system that matches your other GIS data.


    Important Note: Use this technique whenever multiple datasets do not appear to display simultaneously. Even if you have multiple datasets for the same location on the earth, the datasets may be in different projections or coordinate space. For example, if you get data from the Washington DNR and other data from the USGS, these datasets will most likely be stored in different coordinate systems. If the data do not share the same coordinate definition, you will see a large area of white space and just a few dots of color where the data lie on the coordinate plane.

    You have just added a CAD data source to a data frame. CAD drawings can be important data sources, depending on the industry you are working in.

    You have also learned the technique that allows you to tell if several datasets are incompatible in coordinate or projection properties.


    Projected (X,Y) Coordinate System

    The Target Coordinate System interface has been designed to make creating, editing or viewing coordinate systems a simple, one-step process. Target uses a single dialog to set and modify coordinate system settings. The Coordinate System tool also now supports ESRI projection files (PRJ).

    The Coordinate System Dialog

    Whenever you work with coordinate systems in Target , the coordinate system information for the current database, grid, or view is displayed in the Coordinate System dialog. When the fields in the dialog are shaded grey, you can only view the information. If the dialog box fields are white, you may edit the values.

    The dialog also includes a Copy from button that displays the Copy Coordinate System From dialog. Use this dialog to copy a coordinate system from another file. The file types supported include, Database, Grid, Geosoft Voxel, Geosoft projection (*.prj), ESRI projection (*.prj), Geosoft warp (*.wrp), Geosoft polygon (*.ply) and GMSYS model.

    To define a coordinate system, you must know the type of coordinate system that is used for the data. If the wrong coordinate system type is specified, Target may return strange results or take an unusually long time to process the data.

    • If the database contains no coordinate system information, the Unknown radio button is automatically selected in the Coordinate System dialog box.

    Setting a Projected Coordinate System for a Database

    Use the Projected (x,y) coordinate system if your database coordinates are in a known projected coordinate system, such as UTM, or some other map-based coordinate system. A coordinate system can be defined from any pair of channels in a database. These two channels must contain coordinate information. Normally, the X and Y coordinate channels are used.

    To Set a Projected (X, Y) Coordinate System for Database Channels

    This procedure assumes you have an open a database which contains at least two channels with coordinate information (X, Y).

    On the Coordinates menu, click Coordinate System .

    The Georeference database channels dialog appears.

    Select the X and Y coordinate channels that you will use to set the coordinate system

    From the Set as current X,Y? dropdown list, select Yes .

    The Coordinate System dialog appears. This dialog displays the current coordinate system information for the database.

    Select the Projected (x,y) radio button. The appropriate dialog parameters are enabled.

    Verify the Length units are correct.

    Select the Datum and Local datum transform from the dropdown lists. The Local datum transform dropdown list provides all the local datum transforms, which apply to the selected Datum .

    Select the Projection method . Choose one of the available predefined projections from the list. The list contains all projections currently defined by EPSG (v4.2). In cases where the coordinate system can only be viewed, and not modified, this control is replaced with a label containing the name of the local datum transform.

    • If the coordinate system method you want to use does not exist, but you know the parameters for it, you can click the Projection method dropdown menu,which actives a New button to access the New Projection Method dialog. Use this dialog to create a new (custom) coordinate system method.

    When all the Coordinate System settings are correct, click OK .

    Set Projected Coordinate System of a Grid

    Normally, when you create a grid from a database that already has location (coordinate) channels with a defined coordinate system, the coordinate system information in the database is automatically applied to the grid. You can modify the current coordinate system or define a new one from the Grid and Image menu.

    • To ensure consistency between your databases and grids it is good practice to define a coordinate system for your database before creating grids from it.

    To Modify or Define a Projected Coordinate System of a Grid

    When the fields in any dialog box are shaded grey, you can only view the information. If the dialog box fields are white, you may edit the values.

    On the Grid and Image menu, select Properties .

    The Grid Properties dialog appears.

    Browse to the grid you want to modify.

    Click Next . The Grid Properties dialog appears. This dialog reports all of the basic information about the selected grid.

    Click Modify to display the Modify Grid Properties dialog. This dialog displays the information that is used to locate the grid in a real coordinate system.

    • Changing anything in this dialog will have the effect of moving or changing the apparent size of the grid when displayed on a map.

    Click CoordSys to modify (or define) the map coordinate system of the grid file.

    The Coordinate System dialog appears. This dialog displays the current coordinate system information for the grid.

    Select the Projected (x,y) Coordinate system radio button.

    Verify the Length units are correct.

    Select the Datum and Local datum transform from the drop-down lists. The Local datum transform drop-down list provides all the local datum transforms, which apply to the selected Datum .

    Select the Projection method . Choose one of the available pre-defined projections from the list. The list contains all projections currently defined by EPSG (v4.2). In cases where the coordinate system can only be viewed, and not modified, this control is replaced with a label containing the name of the local datum transform.

    If the coordinate system method you want to use does not exist, but you know the parameters for it, you can click the Projection method drop-down menu,which actives a New button to access the New Projection Method dialog. Use this dialog to create a new (custom) coordinate system method.

    When all the Coordinate System settings are correct, click OK . The Modify Grid Properties dialog appears.

    Click OK to apply the changes to the grid file and the Grid Properties dialog will be displayed.

    Click Exit to close the dialog.

    Create New Map from Projected (X, Y) Coordinates

    In Target maps have several Views that contain information about the map. Coordinate system information for a map is contained in the Data View. Base map information is contained in the Base View.

    When you create a new map, the system either reads the manually entered coordinates or scans a user-specified database or grid file and attaches their coordinate system and coordinate attributes to the specified map view.

    Use the New map from x,y menu item to create a new blank map to fit the data range specified. The data range can be entered manually, or it can be determined from the range of selected data in a database or from a grid range. The first step is to create a new map using the coordinate system from an existing database or grid.

    To Define a Map Coordinate System for a New Map from Projected (X,Y) Data

    On the Map Tools menu, select New Map and then select New Map from X,Y .

    The Data range to map dialog appears. This dialog shows the data range (coordinate), units and coordinate system information from the last coordinate system that was used.

    To change the coordinate system information you can scan an existing database or grid. Follow the procedures below depending on where the coordinate system information resides.

    To Scan a Database for Data Range and Coordinate System Information

    Click Scan Data . The system scans the current database open in your project. The new data range and coordinate system information obtained from the database appears in the Data Range to Map dialog box.

    To Scan a Grid for Data Range and Coordinate System Information

    The Get range from a grid file dialog box appears.

    Click OK .The new data range and coordinate system information, obtained from the grid, appears in the Data Range to Map dialog box.

    To Define the Coordinate System

    Click Coordinate System to view the coordinate system information. The Coordinate System dialog box appears. This dialog will display the known coordinate system information as defined in the scanned database or grid file.

    • When the fields in any dialog box are shaded grey, you can only view the information. If the dialog box fields are white, you may edit the values.

    If all the coordinate system settings are correct, click OK to apply the coordinate system and the Data range to map dialog will again be displayed.

    Click Next to continue. The Create a New Map dialog box will be displayed.

    Specify a Map name for the new map.

    To automatically calculate the map scale, click Scale .The default scale that will fit the defined data range to the specified template will be displayed. You can modify this value to a more appropriate scale.

    Click Finish when you are done. The system will create a new (blank) map with coordinate system information in the Data View.


    Teaching Local Coordinates to Play Fair

    This article builds on the techniques learned in “Good, Better, and Best: Converting and Managing Local Coordinates in a Projected System,” which ran in the Spring 2013 issue of ArcUser magazine.

    That exercise showed how to place a locally referenced scanned map and a computer-aided drafting/design (CAD) drawing in a projected coordinate system. Using the ArcGIS 10.1 Georeferencing tool, local control points were connected to coordinates that were surveyed in the field. By connecting a high-quality scanned map and CAD layer to carefully surveyed points, both products were georeferenced with surprising precision.

    Continuing to Battle the Mountain, Locally

    Like the previous exercises, this exercise uses data related to mining activity around the Old Rattler claim in Battle Mountain, Nevada. The data includes completely synthetic drill hole collar locations and topographic survey control data for more than 80 holes drilled in 1978 and 1979. In the previous exercise, we inspected the relative locations of many drill hole collars that were originally defined in a local grid, changed the scale and units, and compensated for a rotated local grid.

    Unfortunately, due to the quality of the scanned map and limitations of the CAD file, we could not validate the data. However, during a subsequent search of legacy data, we discovered an old database file containing information about 84 exploration holes drilled in 1978 and 1979. The simple collar file includes drill hole names, local coordinates, total depth, and orientation. The file also includes local coordinates for survey points labeled Control 1 through Control 4. It would be great if these collar points were registered in Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) North American Datum (NAD83), but this is enough information to get started moving them to projected coordinate space.

    DHA-78-001 marks the origin of the local system, so we sent the surveyors back to the field to precisely capture its coordinates in UTM meters and NAD83 decimal degrees. The major axes of the local grid are rotated about 17 degrees to the right (clockwise), which approximates the local magnetic north in the late 1970s. Since we are not sure field staff who collected the original data even understood datums, we will register the local grid in NAD83. All early field measurements seem to be recorded in feet, so we will specify US Survey Feet as the local unit.

    First, we will need to create a new data frame in the existing project, then post the collar points, add the known UTM NAD83 Survey Control as a reference, and experiment with local grid parameters to see if we can match local control with a known survey. This might sound quite complicated, but the matching process is very hands-on and visual, though it often requires multiple iterations to define the best fit.

    Legacy Data on Drill Hole Collars

    Download the sample dataset [ZIP] and unzip it locally.

    1. Open Battle Mountain05.mxd in ArcMap. Zoom to the extent of Survey Control layer and make only the Survey Control, Faults, PLSS, Properties, Rivers, Streams, Roads, Trails, Claims, and Leases layers visible. Save the project, renaming it Battle_Mountain06.
    2. To begin, insert a new unprojected data frame. On the Standard menu, choose Insert > Data frame. Do not add any data because ArcMap will adopt the projection used by that data. Right-click New Data Frame and choose Properties.
    3. In the General Tab, rename the data frame Local Grid, set the Map Units and Display Units to Feet, and activate the Maplex Label Engine. Click the Coordinate System tab and verify that no coordinate system is specified. Apply these updates and save the project. Local Grid is now the active data frame.
    4. Click the Add data button, navigate to Battle_Mountain05DBFFiles, and load DH_Collars_78_79.dbf. Inspect this table of legacy data and observe the local Easting (LOCAL27_E) and Northing (LOCAL27_N) fields. Someone made a very general assumption that the datum might be NAD27 (if a datum was even considered). Scroll to the bottom of the table to see the four control points used in the previous exercise.
    5. In the table of contents (TOC), right-click DH_Collars_78_97.dbf and select Display XY Data.
      Set X Field: to [LOCAL27_E] and Y Field: to [LOCAL27_N].
      Leave Z Field: set to , as we have not validated [ELEV_FT].
      DO NOT define a Coordinate System.
      Click OK.
    6. Change the point symbol to something distinctive such as the red 14-point crosshair symbol. Check the coordinates of the four bounding control points. These points no longer have the units of measure assigned to them previously and have reset to Unknown Units. Reopen the data frame properties and change units back to Feet.
    7. Bring the Survey Control reference data into the new data frame. Change the TOC display to List by Drawing Order and make the NAD_1983_UTM_Zone_11N data frame the active data frame. Right-click Survey Control and choose Copy. Right-click the Local Grid data frame name and select Paste Layers(s). Position the Survey Control layer below DH_Collars_78_79 Events and expand its legend. The UTM NAD83 survey data provides a reference that can be used to determine the projection parameters for the local system data. Save the project again.

    Chasing the Rattler: The Fun Starts

    This is the challenging part of our adventure. The well-defined UTM NAD83 survey data has been added to the Local Grid data frame which also contains the mapped origin and widely spaced control points of the local grid. The grid origin (we think) was aligned using magnetic north, and map units are certainly imperial (feet).

    The grid origin is essential. Our surveyors just returned from the field with very carefully derived longitude and latitude in World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS84) for the collar of DHA-78-001. This information should be sufficient to define a coordinate system for the Local Grid data frame. Once it is created and tested, this local coordinate system can be saved to the Favorites in the list of ArcMap’s projections so it can be used to register other early project data including the Program_78_79 CAD drawing.

    1. Open Properties for the Local Grid data frame and select the Coordinate System tab. Mouse over the small icons to the right of the search window to locate the Add Coordinate System icon and click its drop-down arrow.

    2. Choose New > Projected Coordinate System. Name the new coordinate system Old_Rattler_Local_Grid. Change the Projection Name to Local. Now fill in some of the blanks. Scroll down past False_Easting and False_Northing and type in the values in Table 1 for some other parameters. Our surveyors collected very precise WGS84 geographic coordinates for the origin drill hole, DHA-78-001. Longitude and latitude values are necessarily very precise, representing centimeter-level measurements. Check them carefully as you enter these values.

    3. Set Linear Unit to Foot_US and change the Geographic Coordinate System to GCS_WGS_1984. Click OK twice to update the Local Grid coordinate system.

    4. The Tranformations warning box appears. Click Yes (Remember, never check the box next to Don’t warn me again ever). Click OK twice.

    5. Return to the Coordinate tab and click the Transformations button. In the Geographic Coordinate Systems Tranformation dialog box, set Convert from: to GCS_North_American_1983 set Into: as CGS_WGS_1984, and set Using: to NAD_1983_To_WGS_1984_5. This is a very important step. Click OK to close Data Frame Properties and apply the update.

    6. Zoom to the layer extent and see how well the control points on the drill collars data matches Survey Control points. Zoom to the DHA-78-001 (the origin that is labeled) and check its coordinates. They should be very close to (but perhaps not exactly) 0,0. If you have a difference of more than a foot, return to the data frame’s Coordinate System properties and check the values entered for the longitude and latitude center coordinates. Save the project.

    7. Notice that four red crosshairs in the display’s corners are still orthogonal (i.e., not rotated). This will be fixed interactively in a later step. Zoom back to the extent of the Survey Control layer and save the project. With the origin pinned, we are on our way to defining a local coordinate system.

    Modifying Our Local System

    After defining the origin, we can focus on the grid’s rotated azimuth.

      Reopen the Local Grid Properties and click the Coordinate System tab. Double-click Old_Rattler_Local_Grid and set the Azimuth: to 17 and click Apply.

    Tuning and Saving Our Local Grid

    Remember the Scale_Factor parameter? It might be the least understood of all projection parameters, but it is very important. A very slight stretch to the local system is needed to obtain a best fit. Return again to Coordinate System properties, set a Scale_Factor of 0.9999, apply the change, and zoom way in to Control 1 to inspect the results. Check out the DHA-78-001 origin and the other three control points. The differences between control points and collar points should be very small. Tweaking the origin would get them a bit closer but controls points are already well within the tolerances that our surveyors might achieve. Save the project again to preserve the Local Grid settings.

    Now save this local coordinate system so it can be applied to other spatial datasets, including CAD data. This acceptable local grid can be saved to our Favorites in ArcMap. Open Coordinate System properties and observe the rightmost, star-shaped icon. Highlight Old_Rattler_Local_Grid and click this button to save this coordinate system to your Favorites. The Old Rattler coordinate system will now be available whenever needed.

    Managing the Local Grid

    All or some of the DH_Collars_78_79 Event points can be exported as a shapefile or a feature class.

    1. Right-click the DH_Collars_78_79 Events layer in the Local Grid data frame and choose Data > Export Data. Save the shapefile in SHPFilesLocal as DH_Collars_78_79 and click Yes when asked if you want to add this layer to the project and use the coordinate system of the data frame. Change the symbol to a green X and zoom to the map extent. Now for the real test.

    2. Copy the DH_Collars_78_79 shapefile layer in Local Grid and paste it into the NAD_1983_UTM_Zone_11N data frame. Make the NAD_1983_UTM_11N data frame active and zoom to the extent of the DH_Collars_78_79 layer. Carefully study the map. Notice the properly rotated control points match the origin drill holes. Save the project.

    3. Before applying the Old Rattler coordinate system to the Program_78_79.DWG Point data, a little “housecleaning” is needed. The two-point CAD world file previously used to register the Program_78_79.DWG Point file should be removed from the project and any reference to this earlier relationship erased. The best way to do this is to first remove Program_78_79.DWG Point from the UTM data frame, save the project, and close ArcMap.

    4. Open Windows Explorer or another file manager and navigate to Battle_Mountain06CADFilesLocal and delete all files under Program_78_79.DWG except Program_78_79.DWG.Points (including the .lyr, .xml, and especially the .wld files).

    5. Restart ArcMap and reopen the project. In ArcMap, open the ArcCatalog window, navigate to CADFilesLocal, and locate Program_78_79.DWG.Points. Right-click the CAD file and select properties. Open the General tab and notice that the Spatial Reference is undefined. Click the Edit button and select Old_Rattler_Local Grid from Favorites. Click OK several times to assign this coordinate system. Open Properties for Program_78_79.DWG Points to verify that the coordinate system has been applied.

    6. To test this CAD projection, drag just Program_78_79.DWG Points to the ArcMap canvas. These points should post right on top of the DH_Collars_78_79 points. In the background, you created a standard Esri projection file that is located in the same folder. It has the same root name as the CAD drawing and a .prj extension.

    Tip: Want to know how ArcMap stores the information about coordinate systems you save as Favorites? In ArcCatalog, browse to C:Users<your user name>AppDataRoamingEsriDesktop10.1ArcMapCoordinate Systems.

    Summary

    This tutorial actually uses the same steps covered in the previous article “Good, Better, and Best: Converting and Managing Local Coordinates in a Projected System,” in the Spring 2013 issue of ArcUser magazine, but this time these steps were performed in a different order to define a local coordinate system in a new data frame.

    1. Move: Use geographic coordinates to define the local origin.
    2. Rotate: Experiment with the local azimuth to align survey control.
    3. Scale: Use adjusted US Feet units to minimize distortion away from the local origin.

    In this tutorial, we won the fight with Battle Mountain by successfully defining a local coordinate system that will properly register local vector data in any data frame containing a properly defined coordinate system.

    Try this three-step approach with other local data. Remember that you must obtain the highest-quality survey data available to define a local origin and any Easting/Northing offset. Also, you must calculate (or carefully estimate) any grid rotation. Always reinspect the data as you tune the coordinate system. Feel free to contact me and let me know how this method works for you.

    Acknowledgments

    Thanks again to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) and Geoscience Australia (formerly Australia Geological Survey Organisation that have developed the basemap data that support this training series. And special thanks to my geologist and firefighter friends who support and test these tutorials. I could not create field-ready materials without their valuable input and assistance.


    Locate the battlefield

    You will locate the Meuse-Argonne battlefield and use the Coordinate Conversion tool to specify the location with an MGRS coordinate.

    The map zooms to the location and marks it with a point. Chatel-Chehery is at the center of the Meuse-Argonne battlefield.

    The Coordinate Conversion tool converts coordinates between several common formats, including Decimal Degrees and MGRS, when you click a point on the map or type coordinates into an input parameter. To perform the conversion, you will configure the tool to output into MGRS.

    You will configure the advanced settings of the MGRS coordinates into a more easily readable format.

    In the Coordinate Conversion pane, MGRS is set as the output coordinate type.

    Next, you will add some points.

    You will use this tool to convert the coordinates of Chatel-Chéhéry to MGRS.

    The converted MGRS coordinate value is output to the List box.

    In this way, you can collect a list of important coordinates and export them to spatial or tabular data.

    You downloaded and installed Military Tools for ArcGIS , changed the coordinate system to meet military standards, and explored the Coordinate Conversion tool to discover the MGRS location of the battle. Next, you will create map features to represent the German and American units that participated in the battle. Additionally, you can watch a Military Tools for ArcGIS overview and a Coordinate Conversion overview demonstrating the tools.


    Find deforestation near existing roads

    Before you begin your analysis, you'll select a sample area of the existing road network. The road network is massive, with over 20,000 features. Performing analysis on the entire thing would take a lot of time. Selecting a sample area may affect your results slightly, but not much.

    To quickly turn all layers on or off, press the Ctrl key and click one of the layer check boxes.

    Your selection doesn't have to match exactly.

    The features in the box are selected on the map. Some roads that extend outside the selection area are selected. If part of a feature is in the selection area, the entire feature is selected.

    Now that you have a sample of roads selected, you can start performing analysis on the sample. To do this, you'll use the Buffer tool. The buffer tool creates an offset at a specified distance from the input features. Using the deforestation data, you can calculate that most deforestation happens within 5.5 kilometers of roads, so you'll create a polygon feature representing that area.

    The Geoprocessing pane appears. A customizable view of favorites is displayed. Favorites are frequently used choices.

    The buffer parameters open in the Geoprocessing pane. In the tool pane, you'll set your input dataset and a few parameters needed to run the tool. One of those parameters sets the distance of your buffer, or how far away from the input features the buffer area will extend. You already know that 95 percent of deforestation in the Amazon occurs within 5.5 kilometers of roads. This is a good distance for your buffer, as relatively little deforestation occurs beyond this distance.

    When you run a geoprocessing tool on a layer with selected features, the tool will only process the selected features.

    The only other parameter you need to change is Dissolve Type . By default, the Buffer tool creates a buffer for each feature in the input layer. Because your Roads layer selection has many features and those features are very close together, the Buffer tool would create a large number of overlapping buffer features. By changing the Dissolve Type parameter, the Buffer tool will create a single feature as its output.

    If you are unsure of what a parameter does or what option to choose, hover over the parameter and click the information button that appears.

    When the tool is finished running, the resulting layer is added to the Contents pane.

    A significant portion of the buffer overlaps with the Deforested Area layer, although not uniformly. The northwestern part of the buffer has many areas that are near roads but have relatively little deforestation.

    To calculate the percentage of the buffer that is deforested, you'll need a layer of deforestation within the buffer. You can create this layer using a geoprocessing tool called Clip . The Clip tool clips the extent of one layer to the extent of another.

    The selection of roads is removed.

    Once the tool finishes, the layer is added to the map.


    Add and symbolize a layer of countries

    First, you'll add a layer that shows the countries of the world. You'll symbolize the countries with a gray color scheme to emphasize your purple bombing missions.

    1. If necessary, open your Vietnam War Bombing Missions project in ArcGIS Pro .
    2. On the ribbon, on the Map tab, in the Layer group, click the top half of the Add Data button (the icon).

    The Add Data window appears. You can choose to add data from your project, ArcGIS Online , or your computer. The layers in ArcGIS Living Atlas are hosted on ArcGIS Online .

    The window displays some of the layers available in ArcGIS Living Atlas , but not all. You'll search for a layer of world countries.

    If you see multiple results named World Countries (Generalized) , choose the first one that you find.

    The layer is added to the map.

    The default orange symbology isn't particularly appealing. Additionally, the basemap is still visible.

    If your map also has a World Hillshade layer, do not turn it off. Terrain was a key component of the Vietnam War and will give your map a more realistic appearance.

    If your map does not have a World Hillshade layer, open the Add Data window and choose Living Atlas . Search for and add the World Hillshade tile layer owned by esri .

    You'll symbolize countries with a plain gray symbol that has thick borders, emphasizing the division between countries. To better emphasize country borders, you'll add a glow effect.

    The default symbol has two layers: one for the outline (also called stroke) and one for the fill.

    The fill color for the countries is now a semi-transparent gray color. The outline is still orange. Rather than change the outline layer to a single, plain color, you'll add multiple outline layers that you'll symbolize with a gray gradient of colors, imitating a glow effect around country borders.

    This tab allows you to add, remove, and manage symbol layers and their effects. You'll add two more outline (or stroke) layers in addition to the one that already exists.

    This layer is the topmost stroke layer, so it'll be thinner and darker than the others.

    The plain gray fill emphasizes the bombings, while the three-stroke outline makes national boundaries stand out.


    &ldquoReal World&rdquo Application

    The United States Border Patrol&rsquos jurisdiction is divided into Regions and further subdivided into Sectors. In the Western Region, the San Diego and El Centro Sectors are responsible for patrolling approximately 130 miles of border between the State of California and Mexico. The San Diego Sector, headquartered in Chula Vista, California, has used GIS for several years. The El Centro Sector, east of San Diego, is in the process of implementing a GIS and is working closely with the San Diego Sector. Both Sectors are committed to standardizing GIS data collection, symbology, and analysis. Through data sharing exercises, the Border Patrol staff noticed that two similar sets of street data, one from the El Centro Sector office and another from the San Diego Sector office, were not aligning. They have asked you to figure out what datum the data is in.

    Getting started

    • Open up a new ArcMap window. Click Cancel on the opening screen.
    • Save the map document in your data folder as GEOG358_Lab02_YourLastNameApplication.mxd
    • By default, there is only one data frame in the Table of Contents. For this exercise, though, we want three data frames. Go to Insert > DataFrame and create two more data frames.
    • Rename the data frames as:
      • Unknown Coordinate Systems
      • GCS NAD83
      • PCS NAD27

      Make sure you are adding shapefiles and not layer files [.lyr])

      • When you are presented with a window that complains about an Unknown Spatial Reference, just press OK this is the problem we are trying to fix.
      • Right-click the Unknown Coordinate Systems data frame and select Activate.
      • Double-click the Unknown Coordinate Systems data frame. Under the General tab, set the map units to Decimal Degrees and the display units to Meters.
      • Click Apply and then OK.
      • Make sure you’re zoomed in enough by right-clicking the SanDiego layer and selecting Zoom To Layer.
      • Look at the map for a couple seconds and try not to develop a migraine. That offset between layers suggests datum problems. The ElCentro layer is probably in one datum and the SanDiego layer in another.

      Investigate the San Diego and El Centro datum problem

      • Right-click the ElCentro layer, select Copy, right-click the GCS NAD83 data frame, and select Paste Layer(s). Do the same for the SanDiego layer. The GCS NAD83 data frame should have four layers now.
      • Right-click the GCS NAD83 data frame and select Activate.
      • Right-click the StudyArea layer and select Zoom To Layer.
      • Turn off the ElCentro, SanDiego, and StudyArea layers by going to the Table of Contents by clicking the checkboxes next to them. The only visible layer should be cards.
      • Let’s see if either the ElCentro layer or the SanDiego layer might have been created using the same datum as the cards layer.
      • Zoom in closer to one of the roads in the middle part of the cards layer. Now turn the ElCentro and SanDiego on and off a few times. Does one of them seem to fit the cards layer better? If you don’t see any difference, look closer at the highway interchange in the right part of the screen.

      Define the coordinate systems for San Diego and El Centro street shapefiles

      • We’re going to remove all the SanDiego and ElCentro layers from our map document. Right-click each one (there should be four of them total) and select Remove.
      • Click the ArcToolbox icon and give it a few seconds to open. Go to Data Management Tools > Projections and Transformations and then double-click Define Projection.
      • Click the folder icon to the right of Input Dataset or Feature Class and select SanDiego.shp from your folder.
      • Click the hand icon to the right of Coordinate System and select Geographic Coordinate Systems > North America > NAD 1983. Click OK. Click OK again.
      • This shapefile will automatically be added to the active data frame (GCS NAD83).

      note: If you received an error message from stating that projection didn’t work, make sure ArcCatalog is closed and try again.

      • Double-click the SanDiego layer you just created and then click the Source tab. It should list the Geographic Coordinate System as GCS_North_American_1983.
      • Click the General tab and rename the layer SanDiego_GCS_NAD83. Click OK.
      • The ElCentro shapefile might be in GCS NAD27. Using the Define Projection process we just used, select the following coordinate system for ElCentro: Geographic Coordinate Systems > North America > NAD 1927.
      • Rename the layer ElCentro_GCS_NAD27.
      • The ElCentro layer certainly fits much better now, but that’s not good enough for purists like us.

      Convert El Centro street shapefile from NAD27 to NAD83

      • In ArcToolbox go to Data Management Tools > Projections and Transformations and then double-click Project.
      • Click the down-arrow to the right of Input Dataset or Feature Class and select ElCentro_GCS_NAD27.
      • Click the folder to the right of Output Dataset or Feature Class and save the file in your folder as ElCentro_GCS_NAD83.shp.
      • Click the hand icon to the right of Output Coordinate System and select Geographic Coordinate Systems > North America > NAD 1983.
      • Make sure the box below the Geographic Transformation (optional) field says NAD_1927_To_NAD_1983_NADCON.

      If it doesn’t, click the down-arrow to the right of Geographic Transformation (optional) and select NAD_1927_To_NAD_1983_ NADCON.

      Reproject the Usgs100k shapefile

      • The Usgs100k layer in the PCS NAD27 data frame is a 1:100,000 scale digital line graph (DLG) that was downloaded from the USGS EROS website. It is in a projected coordinate system (NAD_1927_UTM_Zone_11N).
      • Reproject this layer the same way you reprojected the ElCentro layer in the last section. When you’re done, drag the layer over to the GCS NAD83 data frame. How well does it fit the other layers? You may notice that the fit is better in the area’s center compared to its periphery.

      Add some pre-made layer

      Esri’s ArcGIS Resource Center defines a layer thusly: “Each layer references a dataset and specifies how that dataset is portrayed using symbols and text labels. When you add a layer to a map, you specify its dataset and set its map symbols and labeling properties.” We’re going to add a few layers that already have their map symbols and labeling properties set but need to be referenced back to their shapefiles.

      With the GCS NAD83 data frame still active, right-click the data frame and select Turn All Layers Off.

      Right-click the data frame, select Add Data, and add the following:

      Don’t see anything? That’s because the connection to the underlying data was severed. This is the case whenever you see grayed-out check boxes with red exclamation marks next to them. Let’s fix this. For each layer, double-click the layer, click the Source tab, click the Set Data Source… button, and then add its corresponding shapefile from your Lab04 folder (e.g., cards.shp for cards.lyr). This should make the gray part of the check boxes and the red exclamation marks disappear.

      Take a screen shot of ArcMap (all of it—including the Table of Contents, menus, etc., using the snip tool is fine in this case) and save it in your data folder as GEOG358_Lab2Application.png.

      Paste the image in the word document with the rest of your answers and submit it on blackboard.