GIS Class Session Guide: 14 March 2017

Geoprocessing tools

Learning Goals

  1. Successfully visualize US Census data relevant to our course projects.
  2. Command basic geoprocessing tools for merging, joining, clipping, and manipulating polygon data for sample datasets
  3. Apply geoprocessing tools to census data and shapefiles to build a study area and manipulate that data to prepare for spatial analysis.


Fire up a word processor and write a short bio of yourself that you'd like to have posted on your Mapper Profile which will go live in the next few weeks on our class page. Think about why are you taking the course, your professional interets, and any personal tid-bits that you'd care to share with other students who may review your work for ideas. If you would like a picture of yourself, please send that along, too. Otherwise, we'll draw up personal icons to take the place of pictures.

When you're done, please email the text to Eric at

Project Check-in

We'll start each class with a brief check-in with each person about project progress so we can help one another and stay accountable for getting stuff done. Eric will also give an overview of grading and mid-term progress.

Exercise 1: Joining and visualizing census data

Finish up your US census and ACS downloads and visualization. Consider the different ways your data can be represented.

  1. Draw a few conclusions from your work and prepare a layout with a preliminary map of your data.
  2. Include a text box on that layout with a description of what the map shows and how it's relevant to your larger project.
  3. Email Eric the image of your layout

Exercise 2: Geoprocessing tools

Now that we have data visualized from the ACS, let's use some of the intermediate level tools inside ArcMap to process that data. We'll review the following tools:

  1. Merge
  2. Union
  3. Intersect
  4. Dissolve
  5. Update
  6. Buffer analysis and Selection

Exercise 3: Begin project work using the tools above

This week, please apply each one of the tools to your project data in a way that moves you close to answering your core analysis questions discussed above. Please email Eric an image of your work by Monday at Midnight so it can be posted on our course site for reviewing with the class on Tuesday night.