The exercises in this chapter will acquaint you intimately with both the logical structure of Esri data sets and the methods used for storing those data sets on disk. In the process, you will be introduced to a major component of ArcGIS: ArcToolbox. You will also learn more about ArcCatalog and ArcMap. As before, you should view almost every step as containing a nugget of information that you will find useful in the future. Since the software is complex, it is a good idea to ask yourself at each step if the capability it suggests is one you will be able to remember how to tap, or whether it belongs in your Fast Facts File.
In Exercise 4-1, you are introduced to ArcToolbox. ArcToolbox is available, through an icon on the Standard toolbar, from both ArcCatalog and ArcMap. In the exercises that follow, you look at some trivial Esri datasets, basically to see their underlying structure. Exercise 4-2 looks at point, line, and polygon personal geodatabase feature classes. In each case you will see the minimum in terms of attribute names. You will look at the geographics, then at the attribute tables. You will augment the attribute tables of some of the datasets by adding the x- and y- coordinates of points, using ArcToolbox.