GIS/GPS – saving and moving GIS data

How do I save and move GIS data?

Much of GIS viewing and processing done in ArcMap. In ArcMap, you add in your data files as layers so that they can be viewed. When you save an ArcMap project (.mxd), then next time you open this file, all the layers will be present and you won’t have to add them in again.

However, keep in mind that ArcMap is just a project file, which points to the actual data. The original data is not stored in an ArcMap file (.mxd). If you only take the ArcMap project file back home with you, it will not work. You need to make sure that you take all the original data as well. Also, if you move any of the data from one folder to another, the ArcMap project will not be able to find it and you will get an exclamation point (<span style=”color: #ff0000;”>!</span>).

If you decide that you won’t need the ArcMap project, you can just close it without saving at all. Your original data will not be lost. The only time you need to worry about saving before closing an ArcMap project is if you’ve done some processing, and a new layer has been created and added to ArcMap. Most of the time, the new layer has been saved elsewhere, but to be sure, you should right click on the layer

Select Data


Another thing to remember about saving or moving GIS file (shapefiles, features, rasters, etc) is that each file is made up of more than component. For example, a shapefile must have a minimum of 3 files to work (.shp, .dbx, .shx). A raster file will have at least two components (.aux, .rrd). If you don’t copy each of these components, the datasets won’t display. To avoid most copying problems, use ArcCatalog to move datasets.

Data and project should be saved to a folder on the hard drive of whatever Barclay classroom computer you are using under Documents and Settings  All Users. You should also backup your data on a flash drive, CD, or DVD. Keep in mind that no data will be saved on the Barclay computers once the summer season has ended.