Reference Map and Editing Map Features

Digitizing New Map Data – Exercise 4

For this exercise you will edit existing GIS shapefiles and create new GIS shapefiles by digitizing a high resolution digital air photo.

You will also learn to:



· Edit existing features in a shapefile

· Create new features in a shapefile

· Create a new blank Shapefile

· Add Labels and Edit Labels

· Symbolize features differently based on qualitative (categorical) differences

· Insert and edit legends

· Change legend layouts

Get your Data

Step One: copy K:\Courses\2017-Spring\GEO203QR-pytko1ja\22321828\_Common-RW_\DATA\Lab 4 – data to your folder

You will be creating new files and editing the existing shapefiles, so it is critical that you copy the Lab 4 folder to your K: folder or you will not be able to save your work!

Bring Data into ArcMap and Change Map Symbols

Step Two: Bring shapefiles into ArcMap, set drawing order and change symbols:

1. Bring the following Shapefiles into ArcMap and ensure the drawing order (top to bottom) looks liek:

a. MP City Limit.shp

b. MP Rail Road

c. MP Roads

d. mountpleasant_ne.sid

2. Change the symbols for each layer to the following:

a. MP City Limit – no fill with a medium (2 pt) line width and the color electron gold.

b. MP Rail Road – choose the rail road symbol, make the width 6.0 pt and the color medium sand

c. MP Roads (for the roads you will choose multiple symbols)

i. Click on the “Symbology” tab

1. In the index window on the left, click on categories

2. Click on the arrow in the drop down menu, labeled “ValueField”(this shows all of the available data fields associated with this shapefile)

3. Select Legalsyst

4. Click “Add All Values”

You should see 3 categories of roads added to your symbol window. You can change the look of each symbol just as you have with your other symbols.

5. Click on the “1” symbol button and change the line to a medium width (2 pt) and the color to bright red.

6. Click on the “2” symbol button and change the line to (1.5 pt) and the color to light grey (20%).

7. Click on the “4” symbol button and change the line to (1 pt) and the color to light grey (20%).

Lastly we need to change the legend labels for the roads so that they make more sense. While still in the “symbology” tab for Layer Properties, make the following changes:

8. Under the column “Labels”, click on the “1” and type “Highways” (without the quotes)

9. Click on the “2” and type “Major Roads.

10. Click on the “3” and type “Minor Roads”

C:\dpatton\GEO 203 - Online\Change Labels.JPG

Save Project – Save your project in your K: folder.

Edit an Existing Shapefile

C:\dpatton\GEO 203 - Online\pan.JPG

Use the zoom tool and the pan tool to explore the campus area of the map (area inside the blue line below). Notice that some of the vector (shapefile) streets are missing and that at least one road appears to be running through the middle of a field. You will fix these errors.

C:\dpatton\GEO 203 - Online\Campus.JPG

Step Three: Edit an existing road in the MP Roads Shapefile (make sure that you are in “data view” not “layout view”)

1. First you will need to open the “Editor” toolbar.

a. Click “Customize” (from the pull down menu at the top)

b. Click “Toolbars”

c. Click “Editor”

You should now see a new toolbar in your workspace.

C:\dpatton\GEO 203 - Online\Editor.JPG

You are now in edit mode. Be careful! Changes and deletions that you make at this time are REALLY changing your shapefile.

Edit (fix) an existing road.

2. First – turn off the rail road and city limit layers (click on the boxes with the checkmarks next to the layer names). The layers are still there, but they are temporarily turned off so you can’t see them and they won’t get in your way while you edit the roads layer.

3. Use the magnifying glass tool to zoom into the area south of campus.

C:\dpatton\GEO 203 - Online\Edit.JPG

Notice that the road goes through the middle of a field. You are going to correct that.


4. Choose the arrow tool  from the “editor” toolbar.

5. Double click on the incorrect road.

Notice that the road turns blue and there is a series of green boxes. The green boxes are vertices. In vector GIS, they represent the locational information for a particular feature. For a line feature like roads, the road is really just made up of points (vertices) connected by straight lines. Notice that there are no actually curves in a vector file. To make a feature look like a curve, you add additional vertices.

6. Place your pointer over one of the green boxes (your pointer will change to a box when you are directly over the vertex).

7. Hold down the left mouse button and drag the vertex to the position you want (somewhere on the center of the road to the east).

8. Repeat until all of the vertices are on the road.

9. Double-click off the line. The road should appear as a thin grey line again. It should also follow the road that you see in the image.

C:\dpatton\GEO 203 - Online\Edit Vertices.JPG

10. If you don’t have enough vertices to make the road appear curved, place you pointer over a section of line that does not have a vertex and click on the right mouse button – insert vertex. Or, click on the add vertex tool in the “Edit Vertices” tool bar  that popped up when you selected the line. Once you have the road where you want it and it looks they way you want –

11. Click on the editor drop down menu and click “save edits” – Don’t click “Stop editing” yet.

Step Four: Add a new road to the MP Roads Shapefile (make sure that you are “data view” not “layout view”)

Start by zooming out to the “full extent” of your data view.

full extent

1. Click on the  button OR right click on the name of one of your data layers (ex. MP Roads) and click to “zoom to layer”

2. Use the magnify tools to zoom to the area surrounding CMU’s main campus area.

Notice that West Campus Drive and East Campus Drive do not appear on the map. You are going to add these roads.

When you started editing, the “Create Features” window should have opened:

C:\dpatton\GEO 203 - Online\Create Features.JPG
C:\dpatton\GEO 203 - Online\Create Features Button.JPG

If not, click on at the end of the Editor toolbar.

3. Click on “Minor Roads” in the Create Features window.

4. Click on “Line” in the Construction Tools window

C:\dpatton\GEO 203 - Online\Construction tools.JPG

5. Start adding a new road to your “MP Roads” shapefile.

a. Position the cursor at the start of the road that you want to add (example)


b. Start adding the road by clicking the left mouse button.

c. Careful!!! A single click adds a vertex. A double click will end the line that you are working on. Don’t double click until you get to the end of the line.

d. You will add two roads:

i. Road 1

C:\dpatton\GEO 203 - Online\Road 1.JPG

ii. Road 2



C:\dpatton\GEO 203 - Online\Road 2.JPG

*It is important that you add them as two separate roads. Also, be sure to add enough vertices so that the roads appearsmooth and not jagged

6. Save Edits – Don’t click “Stop editing” yet.

Step Five: Add Attribute Data for Your New Roads

1. Single Click on the road that you just added (it should appear blue, but you shouldn’t see the green boxes).

2. Right Click on the name “MP Roads” in you table of contents.

3. Click on “Open Attribute Table”

4. At the bottom of the table, click the button for “show selected records”

5. Scroll to the column “RdName” and type in the name of the road.

a. The road to the west is called “West Campus Road”.

b. The road to the east is called “East Campus Road”.

6. Scroll to the column “Legalsyst” and make sure the value is “4”.

7. Repeat this process for both roads.

8. Close the attribute table

9. Click on the “Editor” pull down menu

10. Click “stop editing”

11. Click “save edits”

Save Project

Add a New Data Layer

You will now create a brand new shapefile for your project.

Step Six: Create a new, empty shapefile that you can add data to.


1. Click on the “Catalog” icon . This will launch a new ArcGIS program.

2. In the table of contents on the left, navigate to your K:drive and then to your exercise 4 folder

C:\dpatton\GEO 203 - Online\Folder.JPG

3. Right click on the exercise folder

4. Click “New”

5. Click “shapefile”

6. Change the name of the file from “new_shapefile” to “Ponds”

7. Leave the feature type as “polygon”

8. Do not click okay yet, continue reading on.

Now you must define the coordinate system for the new shapefile. We will use the MI GeoRef. Fortunately, this is the same coordinate system that the other shapefiles are in, so we can just borrow the setting from one of those files.

9. Below the window that says “unknown coordinate system”, click “edit”

C:\dpatton\GEO 203 - Online\import.JPG

10. Click on the dropdown arrow by the little globe 

11. Select “MP Roads”

12. Click “Add”

13. Click “OK”; “OK”

You now have an empty shapefile that you can add new data to.

Close ArcCatalog

Step Seven: Make sure the “Ponds” layer is in your workspace..

1. Add the layer as you would any other.

2. Start editing.

3. Make sure that the “Ponds” layer is selected in the Create Features window.

4. Use the Polygon construction tool to digitize the two ponds in the middle of campus.

C:\dpatton\GEO 203 - Online\Ponds.JPG

5. Save edits

6. Stop editing

Step Eight: Add data to the attribute table (you must STOP EDITING to add a field to the attribute table).

7. Open the attribute table for the “Ponds” layer.

C:\dpatton\GEO 203 - Online\Options.JPG

8. Click the “options” button 

9. Click “add field”

10. Change the name to “Name”

11. Change the data type to “text”

12. Leave the length to 50

You are now ready to add data to the table.

13. Go to the Editor Toolbar and Start editing

14. Add a name for each pond “East Pond” and “West Pond”

15. Stop editing – save edits

16. Change the symbol for the ponds to a light blue fill.

17. Make sure that the Pond layer is your top layer.

18. Right Click on the “Ponds” layer and select “Label Features”

a. You may not see the label immediately as it may be set to “ID” as the label. You will need to go into the properties window, and change the settings in the “Label” tab!

Finish Your Layout.

Step Nine: Finish your map.

Make sure to check that all of the vector layers have been turned back on!

· For the final map, we want the names to make sense for the legend

· Example: MP City Limits should just be City Limits.

· Change this in the properties for the layer (general tab)

Using the tools that you’ve worked with in the previous lessons. Create a map layout with the following elements:

1. Neatline

2. Title

3. Legend (find under the “insert” menu”)

· Use the legend properties (Style under the Items tab) to get your legend to look like mine.

4. Scale (keep scale in Miles and stretch the length so that it shows .5 miles from one end to the other.

5. Your Name

6. Turn off the image layer “mountpleasant_ne.sid”

7. Label the Roads layer using “Rd_Name” as the label field.

8. Label the Ponds layer using the “Name” label field.

Use the map provided in Blackboard as a guide for your final map.

Your map will be evaluated based both the content (i.e. do you have all of the data, is it symbolized correctly and is it neat).

Save Project, export your map as a PDF and submit through Blackboard.

"Get 15% discount on your first 3 orders with us"
Use the following coupon

Order Now