Monthly Archives: November 2008

Formatting Excel Data for Use in ArcGIS Desktop

Many ArcGIS users store nonspatial attribute data associated with GIS features in Microsoft Excel worksheets. Starting at the ArcGIS 9.2 release, it became possible to directly access Excel worksheets in ArcMap and ArcCatalog.

As a best practice, before using an Excel worksheet in ArcGIS, you should verify that its formatting will not cause any issues, particularly if the worksheet will be joined to another table or used in a geoprocessing operation. There are some common things to check. Depending on your organization’s data requirements, if you have an Excel worksheet that’s not formatted properly as described below, it may be a good idea to make a copy of it, then reformat the copy. Continue reading

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Editing Tip: How to Generalize a Feature

Digitizers can go overboard trying to accurately represent feature shapes. Accuracy is important, but for some maps you don’t need a lot of feature detail. For example, when creating a map that will be published to the Web, it is recommended to use generalized data when possible to optimize performance (draw speed).

The number of vertices in a feature indicates the level of detail it represents (the more vertices, the greater detail). If you have a dataset in which most of the features are simple shapes with few vertices but some are quite detailed, you can use the ArcMap Generalize editing tool to reduce the number of vertices in the more detailed features. Here’s how: Continue reading

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