A Tutorial For Arcview Gis

ArcView can be used to combine data with maps, creating a useful analytical tool.

ArcView GIS is a computer mapping software program that takes advantage of unique geographic identifiers to create connections between user data and mapping files. If you have a table of census data, for example, you can combine those geographic identifiers with mapping files, called “shapefiles,” and create graphics showing concentrations or changes in populations. The major criteria for using ArcView effectively are a strong understanding of relational databases and unique values used to create “joins,” or combined tables.


1. Open ArcView. Add a geographic “theme,” or a map and associated tables of a place, by clicking on the “Add Theme” button near the top of the screen. A “theme” might be something like a map showing all U.S. counties that includes a unique geographic code. The code is usually a five-digit string of numbers known as a Federal Information Processing Standard code.

2. Add a table by clicking on the “Table” icon in the left pane, then clicking “Add.” Browse to the table you want to use. As a general rule, database files with *.dbf extensions work best in ArcView. Your table should appear on the screen.

3. Double-click on the geography table in the “Table” pane to open it, too. Arrange the two tables where you can see both. Click on the unique identifier in your data table, such as a FIPS code, to highlight it. Then click on the unique identifier in your geography table, which would also be a FIPS code. Click on the “Join Tables” icon at the top of the screen.

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4. Click on the “View” window showing the map. Next, click on the “Legend” icon near the top of the screen. Select “Graduated color” from the dialog box. Use the pull-down menu in the box to select the geographic characteristic you want to display, such as total population or change in population. Click “Apply.”

5. Save your project by clicking on the “Save” icon in the upper-right corner of the screen.