ArcView 3.0  is a mapping product from ESRI which provides a simple, more user-friendly access to manipulating and displaying spatial data.  It may be used to display Arc/Info coverages, view images and vector data, make logical queries of the data, save graphics and data for other applications, and do simple address matching.  The software does not provide the map creation and analytical tools of Arc/Info, for it is intended more as a tool for examining spatial data.

Currently ArcView runs on IBM, Mac, and Unix platforms. It comes with sample files for exploration, but more extensive datasets such as ArcUSA can be purchased.  ArcUSA comes in a detailed, 1:2,000,000 county-level version and a smaller, 1:25,000,000 version.  The latter version runs more quickly, but has fewer data sets to explore.  In addition, you may view any Arc/Info coverages you have with this product.

A Brief Overview

ArcView begins with a Project.  A Project  contains the various components of a job.  A Project file can be recognized by a .apr  suffix attached to its name.

Projects contain Views, Tables, Charts, Layouts and Scripts.  To the right,  these components are displayed when a new project is opened.  Views contain the map window, Tables are the attributes for the map, Charts contain a window for graphing data, Layouts contain a window for composing a display from various other windows, and Scripts contain a window for running customized programs.



A View is a map that is dynamically linked to a set of attributes.  A user can customize a View by manipulating the data and the symbology used to construct it.  Different Views of the same data may be created at the same time by a single user or by several users.

A View (ie map) actually consists of a set of data sets called Themes.  Buildings, wells, roads, streams, census tracts, and landuse zones are examples of some of the Themes found in a View.   Any Theme typically has various Attributes  (Fields) from which you might create subsets for display.  For example, you might display census tracts and then select the Population Density attribute from which you then subset only those tracts which have densities greater than 10,000 persons per square mile.

The various Themes are shown in a Table of Contents window. (The left side of View1)

To make a Theme visible on the map you need to click on a small box to the left of a Theme label so that a small check appears.  See Wells, Roads, and Landuse.

You may also select various Themes for further manipulation by simply clicking on them in the Table of Contents.  (Note the rectangular  highlight around Landuse.)  You may also control the order in which Themes are drawn by clicking on one and dragging it to the top or bottom of the Table of Contents window.

Above is a basic ArcView display of some sample data from the file Scantic.apr    On the left side is the Table of Contents.  Various Themes (Wells, Roads, Landuse.) are shown in the order they will be displayed top to bottom. Streams, Geology, and Flood are not checked and so will not be shown in the map.  The outlines of the Landuse polygons are shown because no Attribute such as the Landuse Code has been selected to distinguish between the polygons.


ArcView has an extensive help system.   Select the Help menu and the window shown below will appear.  Clicking on any of the green-colored words will take you to additional explanation of that topic. Note you can search by keyword.

Other Windows

Other windows will appear when various buttons and objects are selected.  In particular, double-clicking on one of the Themes in the legend opens the Legend Editor  which presents  significant options.

Shown to the right is the window for the "Buildings" Theme.  Several useful alterations may be made here.  You can change the name of a class.  You can change the number of classes and the way a range of numbers is grouped with the Legend Type window. You can change the colors by either double-clicking on the Symbols' colored box or by selecting the Ramp or Random buttons. You can also change Themes here by selecting the down-pointing arrow  to the right of the Theme: button. (Note that Buildings is currently selected.)

The Table option 

Shown below is the window that appears when the Open Theme Table option is selected.  Each of the Attributes for the Theme "Buildings" is listed at the top of a column while each building is listed as a row.  New  tools at the top of the View window can be used to select subsets of a particular Attribute.

Changes and subset selections made in the Attribute window also will be displayed on the map at the time they are made.

The Properties Option 

This option makes general changes to an entire Theme.  For example, you can subset the elements to appear on the map with a "Definition:" statement.  You may select a label and how it is positioned next to a symbol or you may even limit the scale at which the Theme will be active.

 More Instructions                Population Mapping Example