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Tips and Tricks for linking data in ArcGIS

There are two basic types of joins in GIS tables and geo-data: spatial and relational (based on table IDs). Spatial join is the key concept in GIS and that is what sets all GIS technologies apart from other relational databases. Here we start with performing relational joint of list of zipcodes with names to the US zipcode shapefile.

Relational Join

To join table to shapefile based on ID (zipcode) the data type in the column you are planning to join should be the same. Let’s check on data type in Zip code shapefile. Right click on shapefile, select properties and look under Fields tab. The format of the data is Text and size is 5 digits.

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Converting multiple KML files into geodatabase for GIS project in ArcMap Desktop

Google Earth is wide-spread free GIS application which allows users to draw their own point, lines and polygons. Very often users create many separate files in KML or KMZ format and upon moving to the next step in GIS analysis are trying to recreate the same geographies in ArcGIS editing software. The fastest way to bring all those custom data into GIS project is described here. Assuming that you have Google Earth and ArcGIS Desktop 10.2 installed, bring all the KML/KMZ files into Google Earth through File\Open (you can select multiple files from the same folder):

Importing KMZ/KML data into ArcMap and creating shapefile

Very often your collaborators/scouts send you their geographical data (points, lines, polygons) in KMZ/KML format as GoogleEarth application is freeware and readily available. In order to do GIS analysis on such data and incorporate them into your ArcMap project you will need to import such data into ArcMap.

1. Make sure you received KML and not KMZ (zipped KML package) data. If you received KMZ, open the file in Google Earth first and save as KML. Refer to this blog post for detail instructions. Note: You might try to work on KMZ directly in ArcMap, I confirmed that ArcMap 10.2 can import point data from KMZ file, but previous version and other data (lines, polygons) had given me problems in the past when I tried importing from KMZ directly.

2. Start ArcMap (new project or any project covering the area your data are coming from). Open ArcToolBox (click on the red toolbox icon on the top). In Conversion Tool/From KML start KML To Layer.

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Simple manual for geo-referencing several locations with Google Earth

1. Install Google Earth from http://earth.google.com . Open Google Earth and go to Tools\Options

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Location

Denver, CO

Extracting Geographical Lat-Long data from Google Earth KML / KMZ files to Excel

If you have some data in table format with IDs for fields or point locations on the map and Google Earth KML file with those fields having same IDs, it is generally possible to bring spatial information to Excel and merge those data sources together to use in further spatial analysis in other GIS software and in newly released FREE ESRI Maps for MS Office Beta 2. There are a few little tricks to it, though…

Google Earth KML files are essentially XML files with geographical information, but Excel will not open them directly.

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How-to use LandMapper and consumer-grade GPS data-logger to quickly map salinity on farm fields

GPS waypoints in Google EarthTask on hand: estimate salinity level on fields planned for rice next year. Six fields with total area of 322 acres were selected by farmer.

Equipment on hand: two LandMappers with different size probes attached (measuring electrical conductivity (EC) down to ~ 8” and 18”), Columbus GPS data-logger, all-road vehicle or “Mule”. Three people: farmer driving a '”mule” and recording data on paper, one person measuring with Landmapper at 18” depth, other person measuring EC with LandMapper to 8” depth and recording POI or way points with GPS. Results: 30 points recorded in less than 1.5 hour (including about 45 min break to wait out the rain). EC in the field varied from 5 mS/m to 106 mS/m on surface; and from 19 mS/m to 400 mS/m in deeper layer.

Location

Farm Winnie, TX 29° 36' 14.6448" N, 94° 21' 7.0524" W
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