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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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The Basic Difference between ArcCatalog and ArcMap
The most general statement that can be made about ArcCatalog and ArcMap is this: ArcCatalog deals with the exploration, examination, and finding of geographic data sets; ArcMap uses those data sets to form layers that display maps and allows analysis of the underlying spatial data.

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