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Enlightening Research


Tips and Tricks for linking data in ArcGIS

There are two basic types of joins in GIS tables and geo-data: spatial and relational (based on table IDs). Spatial join is the key concept in GIS and that is what sets all GIS technologies apart from other relational databases. Here we start with performing relational joint of list of zipcodes with names to the US zipcode shapefile.

Relational Join

To join table to shapefile based on ID (zipcode) the data type in the column you are planning to join should be the same. Let’s check on data type in Zip code shapefile. Right click on shapefile, select properties and look under Fields tab. The format of the data is Text and size is 5 digits.



Importing KMZ/KML data into ArcMap and creating shapefile

Very often your collaborators/scouts send you their geographical data (points, lines, polygons) in KMZ/KML format as GoogleEarth application is freeware and readily available. In order to do GIS analysis on such data and incorporate them into your ArcMap project you will need to import such data into ArcMap.

1. Make sure you received KML and not KMZ (zipped KML package) data. If you received KMZ, open the file in Google Earth first and save as KML. Refer to this blog post for detail instructions. Note: You might try to work on KMZ directly in ArcMap, I confirmed that ArcMap 10.2 can import point data from KMZ file, but previous version and other data (lines, polygons) had given me problems in the past when I tried importing from KMZ directly.

2. Start ArcMap (new project or any project covering the area your data are coming from). Open ArcToolBox (click on the red toolbox icon on the top). In Conversion Tool/From KML start KML To Layer.


Performing spatial joint in ArcMap: points to polygons

1. Bring polygon dataset to ArcMap – can be shapefile from the local drive.

2. Bring CSV or Excel table with Lat Long for points:


3. Right click the CSV file and export data as shapefile (creates a shapefile from table data).

Simple manual for geo-referencing several locations with Google Earth

1. Install Google Earth from . Open Google Earth and go to Tools\Options



Denver, CO

Evaluating cultivation level of sandy soils in European Russia with electro-geophysical methods

Electrical resistivity vs cultivation degree of sandy soils Update: Full PDF of the paper is now available!

Electrical resistivity of cultivated sandy soils of humid areas is a complex characteristic based on three fundamental properties of soil matrix, such as soil texture, total organic matter (carbon content) and cation exchange capacity (CEC). Relationship of electrical resistivity (ER) with those properties has been approximated with exponential equation ER=a*exp(-b*x), where x is any of the properties above. The correlation coefficients for ER as function of CEC, texture, or organic matter were between 0.82 and 0.91 for the soils of Klin-Dmitrov watershed near Moscow and Kirov, which suggests their applicability for other humid areas. We present a new approach to approximate exponential relationship ER=a*exp(b*x) with a linear “piece-wise” function based on the age of cultivation for each field.This approach was used to develop management zones based on ER to separate uniform areas of similar organic matter, CEC and clay content. Those basic properties are the foundation of soil fertility in humid areas. They influence biomass and bioactivity of soil microorganisms, thus the exponential relationship between ER and soil microorganisms was also observed. The approach based of electrical resistivity or conductivity was used to evaluate fertility and degree of cultivation of sandy soils in humid areas and for detail soil mapping and delineation of management zones in adaptive precision agriculture. The field and laboratory electrical geophysical methods are recommended for quick and accurate soil mapping and management in sustainable farming.

*at SAGEEP 2013, March 17-21 in Denver, CO, Larisa Golovko, Ph.D. will also present "Basic Theory of Measuring Electrical Resistivity, Conductivity and Self-Potential in Soils and Plants" with LandMapper ERM-02 and other commercially available geophysical equipment at post-conference workshop "Agricultural Geophysics: Theory and Methods".
SAGEEP 2013 logo
Cite this presentation as:

Anatoly Pozdnyakov, P.I. Eliseev, Larisa Golovko, Lev A. Pozdnyakov, Maria S. Dubrova, and E.P. Makarova. “Evaluating Cultivation Level of Sandy Soils in European Russia with Electro-geophysical Methods.” In New Views of the Earth. Denver, CO: Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society, 2013.



Denver 39° 44' 15.2412" N, 104° 59' 4.9848" W
Klin, MOS 56° 19' 18.5304" N, 36° 42' 30.8772" E
KIR 58° 36' 16.8984" N, 49° 39' 58.5504" E

Extracting Geographical Lat-Long data from Google Earth KML / KMZ files to Excel

If you have some data in table format with IDs for fields or point locations on the map and Google Earth KML file with those fields having same IDs, it is generally possible to bring spatial information to Excel and merge those data sources together to use in further spatial analysis in other GIS software and in newly released FREE ESRI Maps for MS Office Beta 2. There are a few little tricks to it, though…

Google Earth KML files are essentially XML files with geographical information, but Excel will not open them directly.


Adding Lat-Long for the centroids of USA counties in a new point shapefile (ArcMap 10)

Software: ArcGIS - ArcEditor 9.2, 9.3, 9.3.1, 10 ArcGIS - ArcInfo 9.2, 9.3, 9.3.1, 10 ArcGIS - ArcView 9.2, 9.3, 9.3.1, 10 ArcGIS for Desktop Advanced 10.1 ArcGIS for Desktop Standard 10.1

USA counties center pointsThis is documented step-by-step and hands-on exercise on how to create XY point shapefile for the centers of USA counties (with linked basic demography and FIPS) in ArcMap 10.1. You don’t need to follow those steps (and if you don’t have ArcGIS for Desktop, you cannot) and may just grab the resulted layer file in various formats at the end of this post. Formats available are MS Excel table, CSV table with XY, zipped SHP file package, and KMZ file.

This layer is not directly shareable on ArcGIS Online, as it has more than 1000 features (3143, to be exact), we may post it there later as partial files…

If you need help with your GIS project, please, do not hesitate to contact Landviser, LLC - post comment, email, or call 609-412-0555. Current complete catalog of Landviser LLC

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How-to use LandMapper and consumer-grade GPS data-logger to quickly map salinity on farm fields

GPS waypoints in Google EarthTask on hand: estimate salinity level on fields planned for rice next year. Six fields with total area of 322 acres were selected by farmer.

Equipment on hand: two LandMappers with different size probes attached (measuring electrical conductivity (EC) down to ~ 8” and 18”), Columbus GPS data-logger, all-road vehicle or “Mule”. Three people: farmer driving a '”mule” and recording data on paper, one person measuring with Landmapper at 18” depth, other person measuring EC with LandMapper to 8” depth and recording POI or way points with GPS. Results: 30 points recorded in less than 1.5 hour (including about 45 min break to wait out the rain). EC in the field varied from 5 mS/m to 106 mS/m on surface; and from 19 mS/m to 400 mS/m in deeper layer.


Farm Winnie, TX 29° 36' 14.6448" N, 94° 21' 7.0524" W
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