Kyle Wikstrom
Kyle Wikstrom, GIS Solutions Specialist

Welcome to my summary and key takeaways from the Chapter 1 of The ArcGIS Book! Read about this blog series in my previous post.

The World of Things

The ArcGIS Book, Chapter 1, Summarized

Web GIS is a medium through which enables users to contribute information through useful, interactive GIS maps. All of the data that has been gathered, sometimes painstakingly, can FINALLY be shared with a massively wide audience. The ArcGIS system makes it easy to connect and interact with the immense amount of data we have, and data is only useful if it is being used.

The pattern of sharing readily available knowledge is improving how we communicate with the world about our world. There is so much data out there, and geography is most often a common denominator. There are all of these “things” that happen, and they all take place “somewhere”. This “somewhere” exists at a location in the world.

Think of it as a transitive relation. Remember in mathematics when we learned that if a = b and if b = c, then a = c? But in this case, imagine that a = thingsb = somewhere, and c = the world. If things happen somewhere, and somewhere exists in the world, then things happen in the world, and guess what. We can map the world, thus, we can place “things” on the map. Web GIS is empowering people to view how “things” are related to other “things” in terms of geography.

Now, don’t think long on the technical details or my idea of relating mapping to a transitive relation. If you took this to the bank on a purely technical sense, they will likely tell you it has bounced.

Back to The ArcGIS Book…

ArcGIS Online Content

Some of the most typical items stored in ArcGIS Online are 2D web maps and 3D scenes, layers, analysis, and apps.

  • Web maps and scenes serve as the primary interface for how work is done and are the key mechanism used to share geographic referenced data. Every web map (2D) and scene (3D) contains a basemap that serves as a canvas onto which data layers are overlain. Think of an outdoor water recreation map that shows lakes, water access, trails, etc.
  • Layers are geographic data such as point, line, and polygon features, imagery, surface elevation, and other data feeds that have location. Examples would be aerial imagery, lake boundary polygons, trail and path lines, etc.
  • Analysis functions and models can be formed into your own analysis tools and shared as geoprocessing packages, aiding to solve problems spatially using GIS.
  • Apps are designed to run on mobile devices but may be accessed in a web browser. They are the functional container surrounding a web map and can be configured for specific users.

ArcGIS Online organizes content into galleries using a portal application. It organizes your personal content, your organization’s content, and public content. This is how you share your geographic content with others.

At the center of all of this is the web map. The web map is the primary geographic container that displays your data and is consumed in an app. Web maps contain pop-up information, symbol styles, organization, and more.

Lesson 1

chp 1 1What is the topic? Hawaiian island volcanoes

What is the result?

  1. Hawaii Island Lava Flow Hazard Zones web map
  2. Hawaii Island Lava Flow Hazard Zones app

What do you need? User, Publisher, or Administrator role in an ArcGIS Online organization

What technical skills can you expect to learn?

  • Locate content in a group
  • Explore map content and features
  • View map content
  • Toggle layers on and off
  • Adjust layer transparency
  • Use measure tools to determine distance
  • Change basemap
  • Create a new map
  • Find an address or place location
  • Create a location bookmark
  • Search for data layers
  • Add data layers
  • Rename a layer
  • Reorder layers
  • Create feature labels
  • Control items in the legend
  • Change feature symbols to show location only
  • Change feature symbol properties
  • Save a web map
  • Update the web map item details and description
  • Prevent accidental deletion
  • Save a CSV file locally
  • Add CSV data from local machine to a web map
  • Match CSV data to spatial locations
  • Save CSV data as a layer
  • Update pop-up title
  • Configure pop-up field attributes
  • Remove pop-up
  • View attribute table
  • Add pop-up media, such as an image
  • Share web map with organization
  • Create an app from a web map
  • Choose an app template
  • Configure an app
  • Create a URL link
  • Choose app themes
  • Enable and disable app functions
  • Update the app item details and description
  • Create an app thumbnail

Lesson 2

chp1What is the topic? Hawaiian emergency shelter access

What is the result?

  1. Shelter Access Analysis web map

What do you need? Publisher or Administrator role in an ArcGIS Online organization

What technical skills can you expect to learn?

  • Access group content
  • Explore map content, features, and bookmarks
  • Save a copy of a web map
  • Perform drive-time area analysis on a data layer
  • Rename a layer
  • Change feature symbol styles to show proportional dots
  • Change feature symbol styles to show location only
  • Change feature symbol properties
  • Set symbol transparency
  • Set layer visibility range
  • View attribute table
  • Perform find existing locations analysis
  • Save a web map
  • Perform dissolve boundaries analysis
  • Remove a data layer
  • Copy [and paste] a data layer in a web map
  • Set filter on data layer
  • Change symbol style properties
  • Change feature symbol styles to show an attribute
  • Remove layer pop-up
  • Update pop-up title
  • Configure a custom pop-up display
  • Select a feature via the attribute table
  • Choose a basemap
  • Add Map Notes
  • Perform summarize within analysis
  • Update sharing properties for web map and layer content


Harder, Christian, and Clint Brown. “Maps, the Web, and You.” The ArcGIS Book: 10 Big Ideas about Applying Geography to Your World. Ed. Christian Harder. Redlands: Esri Press, 2015. 2-16. Print.

This article was originally published here on LinkedIn.

Follow Kyle on Twitter