Create a Circular ArcMap Data Frame

Ever wished you could create a circular data frame to highlight an area on your map?  Just follow these steps:

  1. In the data frame properties (Size and Position Tab) make the height and width the same.                           

  2. In the data frame properties (Frame Tab) ►Border Section change the Rounding to 100% ► Background Section change the Rounding to 100%.



Map Packages: Easily Share ArcMap 10 Map Documents & Associated Data

A new feature at ArcGIS 10 is the ability to create a map package (file extension of MPK) using all the data that is in a map document (MXD). It will act just like the layer package that was introduced at ArcGIS 9.3.1. The package includes the map document (version 10 mxd) and the data (even if the data is from diverse places).

The map package will self-extract using the ArcGIS File Handler utility (ArcGISFilehandler.exe utility in your Program Files\Common Files\ArcGIS\bin folder, it also automatically installed with ArcGIS Explorer 900), it will by default place the files in your My Documents (XP) / Documents (Vista & Win7) > ArcGIS > Packages.

This is a great way to share a whole map with someone at a different location, however they will need to have ArcGIS 10, it won't work in ArcGIS 9.x. You will also be able to upload map packages to ArcGIS Online.

Revert Back to the ArcMap 9.3 Editing Environment in ArcMap 10

By default, the ArcMap editing environment uses feature templates and the Create Features window when adding new features. Feature templates define all the information required to create a new feature: the layer where a feature will be stored, attributes new features will be created with, and the default tool used to create that feature. In addition, the tools on the Editor and Topology toolbars contain easy-to-use tools to create and edit features.

Due to the usability benefits that feature templates provide, it is recommended that you learn to use them when editing. However, for organizations that are unable to adopt the template-based workflow, there is an option available to revert to the ArcGIS 9 editing environment. This allows organizations that rely on extensive editing customizations to transition at their own pace to the feature template workflow. You can return to using feature templates once you are ready to migrate to that workflow. You can revert by running ArcGIS\Desktop10.0\Utilities \AdvancedArcMapSettings.exe, clicking the Editor tab, and unchecking Create features using templates and restarting ArcMap.

Differences between the 9.3 and 10 editing environments

The following are some of the differences you will find when you revert to the ArcGIS 9 editing environment:

  • The Editor toolbar contains the Sketch tool and palette. The contents of the toolbar are returned to how they appeared in ArcGIS 9.
  • Any user interface element used with feature templates, such as the Create Features window, is removed from ArcMap.
  • Edit tasks are used to specify whether features are being created or edited. The Cut Polygons, Reshape Feature, Edit Vertices, Reshape Edge, and Modify Edge tools are removed from the Editor and Topology toolbars, and the Editor toolbar Task list is used to access that functionality.
  • The active layer in the Target drop-down list is the layer in which new features will be created. The exception is when using Copy and Paste and certain feature-creation commands—Buffer, Copy Parallel, Union, and so on. In those cases, a dialog box will appear allowing you to choose the target layer rather than requiring you to set the Target layer on the Editor toolbar prior to accessing the command.
  • The Annotation toolbar and Dimension toolbar contain the tools used to create those feature types.

Data Frame Tools Toolbar

A handy little toolbar you may have never used:

Ever need to rotate a map?  It will even rotate the north arrow in Layout View.

The My Places dialog box lets you create and work with a list of your most frequently used or favorite addresses, locations, features, and spatial extents. You can use this dialog box to navigate around to view these places. You can also annotate your map to show their locations and add the places into the route finding dialog boxes as stops and barriers. Adding items to the My Places list makes it easy for you to store your frequently used addresses, gazetteer locations, features, and extents and use them to navigate around maps and globes.

Click the My Places button  Description: My Placeson the Data Frame Tools toolbar to open the My Places dialog box. You can also open the My Places dialog box by right-clicking a location that you find using the Find dialog box or the Geocoding toolbar and clicking Manage My Places.

Your list of places is available regardless of which map you are using. Places are stored in a separate file on your computer, not in the map document, as is the case with spatial bookmarks. So you work with the same list of places in any application that supports them.

You can add items to the My Places list using the buttons on the My Places dialog box or through the Find dialog box.

  • Right-click an item you find in the Find dialog box or Geocoding toolbar, or any stop or barrier you define in the Find Route dialog box, and click Add To My Places.
  • Select one or more features on the map or globe and click Add From > Selected Feature(s) on the My Places dialog box.
  • Select one or more graphics on the map or globe and click Add From > Selected Graphic(s) on the My Places dialog box.
  • To add a spatial extent to the list, first zoom or pan to the extent you want to add, then click Add From > Current Extent on the My Places dialog box. This option is unavailable if you are working with a globe.

Each place is shown with an icon indicating what type of place it is. Double-click a place to flash and pan to it. Right-click to get a menu of options that apply to the currently selected place or places in the list. You can also click a place's name to rename it and click the column headings to sort the list by type or name.

You can export places to a file on disk. This allows you to share places with other users, for example, you can send a list of point locations to another user via e-mail. Sending a places file saves you from having to send a shapefile or whole geodatabase if you want to quickly share a location (keep in mind, though, that places are just coordinates with a label, and they don't have other attributes or symbology). Saving and loading your places also makes it easy for you to copy the places onto a different machine or install a common set of places, such as study areas, on a number of machines in a workgroup so that all team members can access them. An ArcGIS Place File (.dat) can be loaded into either the My Places list or as spatial bookmarks.

Batching - Running Geoprocessing Tools Multiple Times Automatically

Let’s say you have a polygon shapefile that you want to buffer using 3 different buffer distances.  You can use the Batch command to do this automatically; you just have to fill in the necessary information. (Note: Batch can be performed for any tool in ArcToolbox).

o   Find the Buffer tool in ArcToolbox, right click it and choose Batch… The dialog box will ask you for all of the same information that the regular Buffer tool dialog box asks for, the only differences is you can make multiple entries by clicking the  button.

Most Frequently Used Coordinate System

Most Frequently Used Coordinate System

In the ArcCatalog, drag and drop your most frequently used coordinate systems into the top level of the Coordinate Systems folder to put a copy of them into that location for quick access to them on dialog boxes.

o   In ArcCatalog, choose Customize ► ArcCatalog Options… from the main menu bar.  In the General tab and check the box next to Coordinate Systems.

o   Expand the Coordinate Systems folder to where your desired coordinate systems are and then drag them up to the main Coordinate Systems folder.

Large Menu & Toolbar Buttons

For those of you who have a hard time seeing the small tool buttons (commands) on your toolbars, it is possible to make them larger.

o   Choose Customize ►Customize Mode…from the main menu bar.

o   Choose the Options tab and check the box next to Large icons.

Regular Menu & Toolbar Buttons:

Large Menu & Toolbar Buttons:

Customize ArcMap 10 Toolbars

Creating custom toolbars is one of the easiest ways to tailor ArcGIS desktop applications to the way you work. In addition to positioning toolbars in a specific area of the application, you can group commands on a custom toolbar.  Save mouse clicks by creating a new toolbar that contains frequently used menu choices, new macros, or custom commands from another source.

o  Choose Customize ►Customize Mode… from the main menu bar.

o   To turn toolbars on/off simply check/uncheck the box next to the toolbar in the Toolbars tab.

o   Shortcut:  right-click on the standard toolbar (just below the main menu bar) and the select the toolbar(s) you would like to be visible. 

o   Toolbars can be docked anywhere or float in the application.

o   While the Customize dialog box is open, the tool buttons on visible toolbars can be rearranged and new tool buttons (aka commands) can be added from the Commands tab, just drag and drop the tool button to the visible target toolbar.

Adding and Moving ArcGis Toolbars

The ArcGIS Toolbar

Can't find the tool you want in Arcmap, perhaps you need another toolbar! 

Right click on any blank spot within the gray toolbar area at the top of the ArcMap.  The available toolbars will appear as a long list as seen in the graphic below.  Simply check or uncheck each toolbar to add (or remove)  them from the ArcMap project.

Rearranging a toolbar is easy.  Simply hover the cursor over the left edge of a toolbar, click and hold, then drag the toolbar to a new location. 


What's new with the ArcGIS 10 Table of Contents

The ArcGIS 10 table of contents (TOC) has several new ways to display data.

ArcGIS 9.x had three tabs at the bottum of the TOC.  In version 10 the tabs turned into 5 buttons at the top of the TOC.

List by drawing order: (previously the 'display' tab in ArcGIS 9.x)
This button allows you to see a list of themes, reorder, and check them on or off for display.

List by data source: (previously the 'source' tab in ArcGIS 9.x)
This button shows you the source directory for each theme within the TOC.

List by visibility: New to ArcGIS 10.
This button allows you to see which themes are currently displayed and those that are not.  Notice that the TOC can expand or contract the 'not visible' section, further cleaning up what you see in the TOC.

List by selection: (previously the 'selection' tab in ArcGIS 9.x)
This button allows the user to set themes available for selection.  Themes that can be selected, will show how many features are currently selected.  Notice the 800 features selected in the graphic below.

Options: New in ArcGIS 10
This is a new button in ArcGis 10.  This allows the user to modify how the themes appear in the TOC. The size of patches and lines can be resized  or reshaped for better cartography display in the TOC.  Please note that the changes within the options menu will NOT change how the legend will display in a map.