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Introducing Geographic Information Systems with ArcGIS: A Workbook Approach to Learning GIS, 3rd Edition by Michael D. Kennedy

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Chapter 7

Creating Spatial Data Sets Based on Proximity, Overlay, and Attributes

STEP-BY-STEP

____ Open your Fast Facts File.
____ Open the Color Figures file.

ArcGIS Desktop has three programs that create buffers. While they are similar in their intent, they have different capabilities and allow different inputs. The fact that there are three programs, instead of one that has all capabilities, is indicative of how the computer code for ArcGIS has evolved, rather than having been written from the ground up. The three are:

  • Buffer Wizard, an older, but still supported, program that has a lot of capability but has to be added to the menu of tools that you can use. In the author’s experience Buffer Wizard doesn’t always work.1
  • Buffer, in ArcToolbox, creates buffers, but, depending on the final output you want, have to be tweaked with other ArcGIS tools, and which doesn’t supply an important column of information in the buffer feature class attribute table with some inputs.
  • Multiple Ring Buffer, which allows several buffers to be created at the same time, but lacks the ability to make variable-width buffers based on the attribute table of the feature class being buffered.

You will use all three to gain an understanding of their capabilities.

Exercise 7-1 (Warm-Up)
Making Trivial Buffers around a Trivial Feature Class
____ 1. In ArcCatalog make or confirm a Folder Connection to
___IGIS-Arc_YourInitials\Trivial_GIS_Datasets.
____ 2. Start ArcMap with a new Blank map. In ...

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