Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Labs - Geography Skip Navigation

GIS and Cartography Lab Information

Our curriculum uses geographic information systems (GIS) and associated software extensively for research and learning. Here is some information about the available labs with all the software and technology that you will need to use GIS effectively.
Student at a PC in the GIS lab

GIS and Cartography Lab and Classroom

Location: 203 Ho (campus map)

Hours:
Public Hours: Mon–Fri, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (excluding posted class hours)

Security card clearance provides student access anytime Ho Science Center is open.

  Mon–Fri Sat–Sun
During semester 7:00 a.m.–12:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m.–12:00 a.m.
During break 7:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Closed


Equipment:
  • 24 Personal computers
  • 1 Instructor's station
  • 1 Black/white laser printer
  • 1 Color laser printer
  • 1 42-inch wide color plotter
Software:
  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Open Office
  • SPSS (IBM SPSS Statistics) 22
  • ArcGIS 10.2 (ArcInfo install)
  • MaxQDA 11
  • GoogleEarth
  • GPSUtilities
  • Adobe Acrobat Professional, Photoshop, Illustrator (selected machines)
Handheld GPS units (Magellan Meridian Gold) available for checkout. Contact any faculty member or Myongsun Kong for more information.

Frequently Asked Lab Questions


How do I network to the geography server?
Once you've been given access to a space, you can download these instructions (PDF).

I save a lot of work on the computers in the labs and on the geography server. How long can I go back to it?
All things considered, it would be best if you backed up anything you wanted to keep onto your own media (CD/DVD/portable hard drive/N: network storage, etc.) - especially at the end of every term.

As a rule of thumb:
  • We wipe the hard drives of the computers in Ho 203 before the beginning of every term.
  • We wipe the hard drives of the computers in Ho 213 during summer break every year.
  • Read-and-write access for the geography server (GEOGSV02) will be given for only the term of the course it is taught.
  • Read-only access may be given for up to a year, depending on the course.
  • All student data will be removed from the server a year after the course requiring the space began.
  • Special permissions may be granted for longer periods of time. Please consult with faculty as soon as possible.
  • Data is safe for these terms unless something potentially damaging occurs (i.e. mechanical failure, physical upgrade, virus infestation, abuse of resource, etc.).
  • If your data is really important, PLEASE BACK UP on your own media! Especially at the end of the semester!
This policy may be revisited at any time and may change without notice. Drafted 10/15/2014

I get a funny error while trying to print - how do I fix that?
Generally, most errors are due to font, formatting, or image incompatibility with our printers.

The first thing to try is changing the font for the entire document to something like Arial or Times New Roman (or other, older, commonly used computer fonts).

For anything with complicated formatting, the easiest way to work around this problem is by printing to a PDF and then printing the PDF. Download instructions for this.

What is an *.e00 file?
A *.e00 file is an ESRI Interchange file. This is a coverage that has been compressed in a proprietary ESRI format. However, you can open up such a file and view it in ArcMap.

How do I import a *.e00 file in ArcGIS 10.x?
Open ArcToolbox. Go to Conversion Tools > To Coverage > Import from e00.

Note: This is the old ArcView 3.x tool for conversion. Please make sure that the naming conventions are upheld. (If importing a coverage, grid, or tin, names are limited to a maximum of 13 characters long, and cannot have spaces. Also, do not save in a geodatabase.)

What's this exclamation point next to my file mean?
If there's a red exclamation point to the right of the filename when you open up your map document (*.mxd), that means ArcView can't find your datafiles.

How do I get rid of the exclamation point?
Right-mouse click on the file name that has the exclamation point. You'll get a long menu - go to the bottom of the menu and find 'Properties.' Click on Properties. A big window will pop up. Go click on the Source tab. There will be an inset area named 'Data Source' which gives you a lot of information about your data file, including where the file was the last time you saved your map document (*.mxd). There will be a small button on the bottom left hand of the window called 'Set Data Source.' Click on it, and another window pops up that will allow you to navigate to the current location of your datafile. (If the data is not on the disk or computer that you are currently working on, go back to the last computer or disk you were working on and get the data from there. More information on this is under the FAQ heading "How do I avoid getting the exclamation point?") After finding your datafile, click Add. That window goes away. Click OK on the Properties window. The exclamation point should go away and your datafile should appear.

How do I avoid getting the exclamation point?
There are a couple of ways to avoid this - always make sure that you save all datafiles associated with the map document (*.mxd). Don't move any of your datafiles around. Most GIS information is comprised of many files and every file is important so that the data is viewed properly, and this varies from file type to file type. The only way to know which files are associated together is to look at the names — almost all files that are associated have the same name, just with different suffixes. For example, in a shapefile, there are a minimum of 3 files, and up to 8 files that comprise the working data — so while you're looking at "hamilton.shp" — hamilton.shx, hamilton.dbf, hamilton.shb, hamilton.prj, and a bunch of other files are working to make that view possible. Coverages are very complicated, and they come in their own folders, and add another folder 'info' to any place they're located, or if there's already an info folder, they'll add data to that folder. Tiff files tend to come with the image, plus projection files.