Introduction to Arcview

Starting Arcview

Before we go on, some of the basic components of Arcview need to be explained.

Table of Contents:
In Arcview, the screen is divided into two parts: the pictorial part and to its left, a listing of various items. This listing is the Table of contents.
The Legend is located in the table of contents where there may be a theme highlighted. The legend is the listing of the feature(s) in a theme.

In Arcview, a theme is a set of geographic features of the same type along with their attributes. Examples are: rivers or lakes. A rivers theme would contain the map of the rivers and a table attached to it which would contain relevant information such as the names, locations and lengths of the rivers.

Look at the monitor. Notice the inner window titled "world". This world window is a view, A view is an interactive map that lets you display, explore, query and analyze geographic data.
Views rely on underlying attribute tables(data tables). If the underlying table changes, the view will change. Actually a view is a collection of themes. Notice that the world view contains the themes rivers, lakes, countries, etc. (These themes may or may not be visible depending on whether they are turned on or off and whether one theme may be drawn on top of another).

A project contains, among other documents not covered here, a collection of views. These views can have common themes or all themes might be distinct. The project window is not currently visible.
Going back to Arcview: Note: In GIS, themes are layered on top of each other. If one of them can not be seen under the other, the order in which the themes appear in the table of contents on the left side of the view can be changed.

To Activate a theme:

Activate the Projected population theme by clicking on its name or its legend in the table of contents(not the checkbox to the left of the name). The theme will be raised when activated.

Moving themes around

Click and drag the Projected population theme below the Life Expectancy theme and release the mouse button. Now the Life Expectancy theme will be visible when turned on.

Turning themes on and off

Each theme has a checkbox to the left of its name in the table of contents. By checking it, the theme is turned on. If the box already has a check in it, the theme can be turned off by clicking on the box again. Turn on the Life Expectancy theme(if its not already on).

Introduction to the interface

The menu bars and the tool buttons that you see are all part of the Arcview interface which enables us to easily use the services that Arcview offers. Right now you see the themes which are part of one view. The menu bar is at the very top of the image you see. It has the words: File, Edit, View, Theme etc. If you click on any one of these words, you will get a pull down menu with other selections. Below the menu bar are the tool bars. The tool bars directly under the menu bar contain tool buttons. The tool button directly under the File menu is the tool to save a project.

The use of each button can be determined by doing the following:

Note: From now on, if the word button is mentioned, it is assumed that tool button is meant.

The menu bar and tool bar change for the different components of the project. For example, what you see now are the tools for the view component of the project. If you change the component to Layout or Tables, the menu and tool bars will change.

Themes and Tables

Identify tool
Open Theme Table

Selecting features

Using zoom

Zoom in
Feature Zoom


Measuring tool

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