Author Topic: ARC GIS help?  (Read 2776 times)


  • Stubble
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ARC GIS help?
« on: January 12, 2015, 07:58:57 AM »
I have started toying around with the trial of ARC GIS (specifically ARC Map).  Given our reader demographic, I thought there might be some people here who have experience with this program and could help me answer some basic questions about using the program.

Background: I downloaded the free trial of ARC GIS Pro to try and make several maps for a piece of property my family owns.  The USGS topo maps are not sufficient for what I want (they lack the resolution) so I want to create my own topo maps.  I understand learning ARCMap is something that often takes hours of training (probably several courses) to become proficient at (like Solidworks would be to somebody who has never done 3d modeling) but I would rather not pay for somebody to do work when I believe I can learn enough to get to my desired end product.  It's the program's nuances that trip me up, like I learned to enabling extension this weekend (why aren't these just always enabled?).

My (current) specific questions:

1. Clipping (I think) is what I need to do to reduce the data from ALL of the state of Maine to my area of interest.  I cannot figure out how to do this.  I believe I need to make a polygon layer and use that to clip my datasets, but I really have been stuck figuring out how to do this, and when I do, what my end product will be.  (Basically, I'd like to work with a 400-500 acre dataset rather than the current gigantic one I am using.  I think the program will run better and faster.

2. I was able to download a Lidar Derived DEM (Digital Elevation Model) for my area of interest.  I tried to contour the model, but I believe the data has too much resolution for the type of contour function I was using and so my contours ended up being tiny little oddly shaped contour lines rather than nice contour lines like I wanted.  I could NOT find the "production contouring" toolbar which I believe would have enabled me to do the type of contouring I wanted.

3. I have yet to be able to make good boundaries.  I can overlay a map image over the property, by lining up some roads and trace the boundaries, but that doesn't help me too much as I want to input survey data.  I haven't played around much with this, and I think I'll be able to figure this out when I focus more on it.

4. Actually making a map.  I know there are 2 "views" (or screens or whatever) and one shows what will actually print if I were to print a map.  Though I'll have more questions later about making the map actually look good, my basic questions is if I want to be able to take my map to a print shop and have them enlarge it, what output should I be looking for?  .pdf is my first instinct, but this may or may not be correct.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: ARC GIS help?
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2015, 08:53:18 AM »
Have you tried the help?

That's for 10.1 but I can't imagine they changed how clipping works. You'll need to make a polygan of your property and use that to clip the Maine dataset. It's been quite awhile since I've used GIS but that's the jist of what you need to do.

Does the DEM overlay the Maine dataset? I'm assuming the Maine dataset is imagery? Does your property have large elevation changes?

I suspect a printshop will want an image file of some sort rather than a pdf.