Exercise 1a: Using direct-read formats
Direct-read formats are used directly from the Catalog tree as read-only datasets. When you add them to ArcMap, ArcScene, or ArcGlobe, all standard map functions are enabled, including attribute tables and labeling functions.
Using a direct-read feature class in ArcMap is similar to working with other geodatabase feature classes. You can snap to geometry, substitute symbology, query attributes, and use it with all geoprocessing tools that accept feature classes or layers as input.
This exercise introduces you to direct-read formats using MapInfo TAB data; other formats supported by the Data Interoperability extension can be used in the same way.
Add the data to ArcMap
The Data Interoperability extension must be enabled.
- Start ArcMap.
- Click the Catalog Window button on the Standard toolbar.
Type C:\arcgis\ArcTutor\Data Interoperability\ in the Location text box and press ENTER.
The location is added to the Catalog tree under the Folders Connections heading.
Click the subdivisions.tab dataset and drag it into your map.
ArcGIS uses spatial indexes to quickly locate features in feature classes. Notice that ArcGIS indexes the dataset the first time you add it to ArcMap and displays a status window. The display duration of the window depends on the size of the dataset; the window may be displayed only for a few seconds for small datasets.
Right-click the subdivisions Line feature layer and click Open Attribute Table.
The feature layer contains no data. Repeat this step for other feature layers and observe that only the Polygon feature layer contains data.
- Right-click the folder in the table of contents and click Remove.
The dataset is removed from ArcMap.
Unlike a native ESRI dataset, when you connect to a MapInfo TAB dataset for the first time, it generates a feature class entry for all geometries supported by the format; other nonnative formats produce similar results. The next section will show you how to purge empty feature classes from the dataset.
Purge the empty feature classes
To purge empty feature classes from the dataset, refresh the dataset in the Catalog tree.
- Click the subdivisions.tab dataset in the Catalog window.
- Press F5 to refresh the data, or right-click the dataset and click Refresh.
- Expand the dataset in the Catalog tree.
Only the subdivision Polygon feature layer is displayed.
Explore the dataset
Explore the dataset in ArcMap and the Catalog window to gain insight about working with nonnative data formats when the Data Interoperability extension is enabled.
- Right-click the subdivision Polygon feature class in the Catalog tree, and click Item Properties from the shortcut menu.
- Click the Description tab and explore the metadata.
- Drag the subdivision Polygon feature class into ArcMap.
- Click the Identify button and select a feature to view the attributes.
This completes the exercise.
Continue to the next exercise: Exercise 1b: Adding interoperability connections.