Using ArcMap to Create, Format, and Troubleshoot GIS Data

Creating Data as a Shapefile 

  1. In ArcMap, right-click the folder where you want to put the shapefile. 
  2. Select New. 
  3. Select Shapefile. 
  4. Click the Name text box. 
  5. Enter a name for the shapefile. 
  6. Select, import, or define a new coordinate systemUse WGS 1984 (EPSG: 4326) 
  7. Click OK. 

Result: The new shapefile appears within the folder.


Creating Data in a GeoDatabase (GDB) (as a feature class) 

  1. Right-click the table. 
  2. Point to New. 
  3. Click Feature Class. 
  4. Enter a name for the feature class. 
  5. Choose the feature types to store in the table. 
  6. Click Next to proceed to the next dialog box. 
  7. Define the data fields. Note: You can import features from an existing feature class schema. 
  8. Click Finish. 

Result: The created feature class is now present in the GDB. 


Editing Data 

After a shapefile is loaded into ArcMap, you can edit both attributes and geometry. 

1. Use the Editor toolbar to change the location and number of vertices. 

2. Select one or more vertices. 

3. Drag and drop the vertex or vertices to the desired location(s). 

4. To delete a vertex –  

     a. Select the Delete Vertex tool. 

     b. Click the desired vertex. 


     a. Right-click the vertex. 

     b. Click Delete Vertex. 

5. To add a vertex, click Add Vertex OR 

     a. Right-click a segment. 

     b. Select Insert Vertex. 

6. Save your work often as the Editor Tool does not automatically do so. 


Formatting Data 

For the BDC, polygon availability data must be in one of the following four GIS spatial formats: 

  • Shapefile 
  • GBD (feature class) 
  • GeoJSON 
  • GeoPackage 


Additional Resources


Troubleshooting Data 

  • Confirm geometries are correct. 
  • If data is loaded but none is displayed, there may be a problem with the data source. 
    • Right click the data layer in the Table of Contents pane. 
    • Click Data and then select Repair Data Source. 
    • Navigate to the source in the file directory and select the appropriate file. 
  • Confirm the projected coordinate system matches the original data and is displayed over the correct locations. 


For more information, see: 


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