> I am new to GIS ( just graduated, B.A.Geography ), and I was puzzled by
> various conversion software for DEMS, DLG, or any of the various files that
> ESRI produces.
> In class we had to bring some of the files into ArcInfo 2.0 unzipp and untar
> them, then import them into ArcView ( 3.1 ) before we could create our maps.
> My question is how do I use this downloaded conversion software. Do I import
> it directly into my workspace in ArcView along with the specific file iI am
> using or convert the file outside ArcView then import it ? Any thoughts would
> be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Hi David, you seem to be confused by the myriad of data formats out there in the real world and the sometimes arcane procedures employed by ESRI products to do something useful with it. You have every right to be
so, you're merely mortal after all ;-).
But before I (or probably anyone else) can help you with succinct advise you should review your suite of tools. For one, there is no such thing as ArcInfo 2.0, at least not since the early 1970's. So, do you
really mean 'Import', which ships as a separate program with ArcView? In that case you are working with the (in)famous E00 export format, which is an ASCII text file impersonation of an ArcInfo coverage. 'Import'
converts from E00 to the ArcView native binary shapefile format. It doesn't do anything else.
A serious ArcView project (insofar as you can get serious with ArcView) quickly results in tens of files (a shapefile is really 3 or 5 files), so you are advised to employ rigorous data management, i.e. every
project its own folder and rename default names to something intelligible, both for shapefiles (nwgrd1?) and theme names ("Reclass of Proximity of Market Areas", particularly useful to abbreviate this when you
need to use the Map Calculator with its midget-sized grid theme listbox). ArcView does not mandate or follow a particular file management philosophy of its own (yeah, ESRI is really loosening up!) so your
discipline is called for.
Being the biggest usually also means being the laziest and ESRI is no exception. There are more than a handful of simple desktop GIS programs for grabs on the internet (e.g. www.ossim.org) and I do recall an
advert from PCI not more than 48 hours ago for a free viewer that supports all the formats you mention. Now, can somebody explain to me why a US$2,000 piece of software can't do the same?
Welcome, David, to the wonderful world of GIS according to ESRI.
Patrick van Laake
Earth Observation Systems Laboratory
University of Alberta
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