6.3.3. Importing vector and raster data

Vector data are point, line, and polygon features on the map which represent real world entities while raster data represent continuous features such as altitude or satellite imagery (see section 3.2. for data explanations). Here we will add a polygon layer which represents the administrative boundaries in and around Fribourg, Switzerland, and a DEM from the same area. 

To add a vector layer:

Click the Add Data button.

  1. Browse to the commune_boundary_FR shapefile.
    Depending on the type of vector added, it will have a point text icon05, line text icon06, or polygon text icon07 icon. This one is a polygon layer.
  2. Single-click the commune_boundary_FR shapefile.
  3. Click Add.
    Now the vector layer can be seen in the TOC and in the map.
  4. Change the symbology to make the polygons hollow (no fill, thicker line) so the DEM is visible (Fig. 13).
  5. In the TOC the name of any layer can be changed by slowly double-clicking the layer name or by going into the Properties > General and change the layer name there to make it more intuitive, if needed.
  6. Now would also be a good time to save the map document (*.mxd). Go to File > Save (or use the shortcut Ctrl + s).

To add a raster layer:

  1. Click the Add Data button.
  2. Open the DEM sub-folder in the GISBEEBOOK folder.
  3. Double-click the aster30_frib_ch.tif file to add it to the map.

In ArcGIS rasters are represented by this icon text icon08. Now the DEM can be seen in the TOC and on the map (Fig. 14).

Fig. 13. A map with the colony location point data, the DEM, and the commune boundary layer displayed in ArcMap. The symbology of the polygon layer has been changed to hallow polygons so the DEM is visible even though it is technically under the commune layer.


Fig. 14. Examples of both vector and raster data displayed in ArcMap.

figure014 Importing GPS data (*.gpx files)