Lab 01 - ArcGIS Refresher & Intro to WebGIS

Key Links & Dates

Corresponding Lecture Topic(s)
Week 01: Introduction/Review of GIS
See all Topics

Lab Due Date
Submitted before start of next week's lab on Canvas

Relevant Discussion(s):

Introduction to Lab


In this lab we are refreshing your memory about (or introducing you to) ArcGIS (version 10) and reminding you about some of the critical steps in making good maps with ArcMap. There are usually multiple ways in ArcGIS to achieve the same endpoint, and for now we will just walk you through one workflow. As with all labs, we will separate the lab tasks and what you have to submit from some suggested instructions and/or workflows.  Once we have created a map, we will export it in multiple formats, which we will publish as both static map figures and interactive webGIS maps on your own website.

For this lab, pretend that you are doing research (vaguely defined) at Tony Grove Lake. We simply need to draw a map of our study site and share that map with non GIS users.


  • Computer literacy and familiarity with Windows file management and web browsing
  • Previous experience with ArcGIS is helpful, but even if you've never used ArcGIS, we will walk you through everything step-by-step in this lab. As we continue through the semester, we'll work toward providing you with fewer and fewer step-by-step instructions, and encouraging you to piece together the steps required to complete a task on your own (i.e. Primary Learning Outcome 3)
  • No previous web editing or HTML coding experience is necessary

Lab Objectives

  • Reacquaint you with ArcGIS 10 and have you build a map.
  • Show you how to export map layers to KMZ format for use in Google maps.
  • Help you build a personal website that you will use for, at least, the remainder of the semester.
  • Have you publish your map in three forms to your new website: 1) image, 2) PDF, and 3) an interactive Google Map (i.e. webGIS). 
  • Finally, the lab is designed to familiarize you with the format of labs for this course, help you set up your lab account, and establish a personal file management system.  
This lab helps fulfill the primary learning outcomes 2 & 5 for the course.

Lab Tasks

There are three primary tasks in this lab you will be assessed on (see here for general course grading criteria & Canvas for grading rubric specific to this lab):

Task 1 - Create Study Site Map

Using ArcMap, create a map of your Tony Grove study site. You should use this polygon (data credits: Joe Wheaton) as your study site and include some context basemap layers (e.g. aerial imagery). The map must have all the attributes of a good map and pass the 6 C's litmus test! You should also create an inset location map. Export your completed map as a JPG and PDF, and create a KMZ of the study site layer. See detailed instructions.

Task 2 - Create your own GIS Website

Create a website (we suggest using Google Sites), which will house all your labs.  See detailed instructions.

Task 3 - Publish Maps to Your Website

Prepare a web page for this lab the showcases your final map and provides appropriate context for the map to the public.  Include:
  • goal of the exercise
  • displayed jpg image of your final map
  • link to a high resolution PDF
  • Cite your data sources
  • Interactive map of study site.
See detailed instructions.

What to Submit

To Canvas, you will submit a URL to your newly created GIS website. Within your GIS website, prepare a web page for this lab.   The web page should be clearly labeled at the top of the page (i.e. page name) as "Lab 01 - ArcGIS Refresher & Intro to WebGIS". 

Make sure your lab conforms to the general lab submission guidelines. Submit a URL for this lab's webpage on Canvas. 

Suggested Instructions & Workflows

For most labs, the tasks will be laid out concisely (see above), and you are free to use any workflow you wish to complete the tasks. Typically, we will provide you with some suggested instructions and workflows in subpages. In this lab, the workflow walks you through every step. In future labs, the workflows may provide only a broad overview, or only specific detail on the most difficult steps. For this first lab, we also provide you with some initial orientation material about ArcGIS and suggestions about file management (YOU SHOULD READ AND FOLLOW THESE).

Additional Resources

Lab Introduction Lecture Slides

  • Lab 1 Slides - Shannon Belmont (Spring 2013)
  •       2015 slides are on Canvas

Related Tutorials & Help for ArcGIS

Related Tutorials & Help for Google Sites

  • Google Sites Tutorials - This series of four tutorials from Radford University goes through the basics of creating a google site, editing and adding media to a google site, changing the appearance, and sharing your google site.
  • Google Sites Help Pages