Exercise 2a: Defining new types of features to create

Complexity: Beginner Data Requirement: ArcGIS Tutorial Data Setup Data Path: \ArcGIS\ArcTutor\Editing

About the Define New Feature Type wizard

Sometimes you may want to create features of a certain type in an existing layer, but the layer is not set up to capture those features. For example, you want to add features to a roads layer to represent an unpaved road, but you currently only have categories in your data for freeway, major highway, and local road. Through a wizard, you can define everything about the unpaved road category at one time—making it easy to prepare your data to display and store the new types of features. ArcMap automatically adds a symbol for the new category, any required geodatabase information (such as subtype value or coded domain value) for that layer, and a feature template to use when creating an unpaved road. The wizard saves you from having to stop your work to open multiple dialog boxes to set up the data on your own.

The park contains several areas of natural, cultural, or historical significance that are designated for research and education purposes only and are not open for public recreational use. In this exercise, you will define a new category of features to represent buffer regions around areas in the park that have been proposed for research-only use. This new category can show the area where travel is not recommended but is not prohibited.

The Research areas layer is symbolized by unique values, so the Define New Feature Type wizard allows you to define the symbol and create a feature template containing the default attributes for the new buffer zones category. You will use an existing feature to create the new buffer around it in a later exercise.

  1. Click the Open button Open on the Standard toolbar.
  2. Navigate to the Exercise2.mxd map document in the Editing directory where you installed the tutorial data. (C:\ArcGIS\ArcTutor is the default location.)
  3. Click the map and click Open.
  4. If you still have the map document open from the previous exercise and are prompted to close it, you can do so without saving your changes.
  5. If you are prompted to enable hardware acceleration to improve performance, click Yes.
  6. Right-click the Research areas layer in the table of contents, point to Edit Features, then click Define New Types Of Features.

    The Define New Feature Type wizard starts.

  7. Click Change Symbol to choose a different symbol to be used for the new buffer areas.
  8. Click the Color drop-down arrow and click Gray 30% to change the fill color to gray.
    Adding a gray fill
  9. Click OK on the Symbol Selector dialog box.
  10. Click in the Name box and type Buffer zones.
    Setting the symbol, name, and description for the new feature type
  11. Click in the Description box and type Buffer zones around Zion research areas.
  12. Click Next.
  13. The next panel in the wizard shows you the existing categories in the layer.
  14. For Value and Label, type Buffer zones. They should be populated automatically from the name you set on the previous panel of the wizard. The label is used to display the symbol category in the table of contents and legend.
    Setting the value and label for the new category
  15. Click Next.
  16. The next panel in the wizard allows you to set the default attribute values that will be used for new features created with the new Buffer zones feature template. This panel should be familiar to you from the exercise where you set the default attribute values for the landownership tracts.
  17. Notice that Buffer zones is already set as the default attribute value for the Name field. You could also set defaults for the Comment field; however, you will leave it blank since any comments will be specific to each feature you create, rather than a universal default.
    Setting the default attribute values for the new type
  18. Click Finish.
  19. A message appears that the new feature type was added successfully. Click No to quit adding new types.

    The new symbol appears in the layer's entry in the table of contents, and a new feature template has been created.

  20. Click the Editor menu on the Editor toolbar and click Start Editing.
  21. Notice that the Create Features window lists a new feature template for the Buffer zones.
  22. To continue to the next exercise, click Exercise 2b: Creating features from existing features.

Now that you have added a feature template for the new type, you are ready to start creating features.