Editing in ArcGIS 10

In ArcGIS 10, the ArcMap editing environment requires fewer button clicks and uses simpler workflows so you can finish data compilation tasks more quickly. 

To edit data in ArcMap:

1. Open the Editor toolbar, start an editing session, and set a workspace.

Open the Editor toolbar by clicking the Editor Toolbar button on the Standard toolbar or by clicking the Customize menu, pointing to Toolbars, and clicking Editor. On the Editor toolbar, click the Editor menu, then click Start Editing. When you start an edit session on a geodatabase workspace, you can edit all the feature classes and tables in that geodatabase at the same time. With an edit session on a shapefile folder workspace, you can edit all the shapefiles that are stored in that directory. If you start editing in a map that contains data from more than one workspace, you are prompted to choose the workspace you want to edit. 

Later, if you need to edit data in the other workspace, simply stop editing, start a new edit session, and choose that workspace. You can also rightclick a layer in the table of contents, point to Edit Features, then click Start Editing, which automatically starts an edit session on the entire workspace containing that layer.

2. Start using feature templates.

In ArcGIS 9.x, you had to set a target layer and editing task on the Editing toolbar. In ArcGIS 10, you work with feature templates, which are accessed through the Create Features window. When you start an edit session, the Create Features window automatically opens.

With an editing session started, choose a feature template from the Create Features window. Feature templates are used anytime you edit features and are based on the symbology of the layer, so you can have more than one feature template per layer. For example, if you have a roads layer, a new feature template is created for each type of road symbolized in that layer (e.g., freeway, major road, local road). Feature templates have the same target layer property but different road type attributes, so if you create a new feature using the freeway feature template, the attribute for the road type is automatically assigned as freeway, and the new feature is also symbolized correctly.

When you start editing, ArcMap checks for existing templates and—if none are found—helps you get started by creating a feature template automatically for each layer in the current editing workspace. You can click the Organize Templates button on the Create Features window to open the Organize Feature Templates window, where you can manage feature templates and their properties.

The most significant feature template properties are the default attribute values, since setting them can save you lots of time and improve accuracy. When creating residential building features, for example, you should set the default building type to Residential so that the value is automatically populated in new features created with that feature template.

Any default values that are already set up in your geodatabase are included automatically in the feature template properties as well.

3. Choose a construction tool in the Create Features window.

You begin editing features by choosing a construction tool from the Create Features window. The bottom panel of the Create Features window lists the tools available to create features using the feature template you have selected. For example, if you choose the Springs point feature template at the top of the window, the only construction tools shown are those used to create points. If the Freeway line feature template is active, only construction tools that create lines are listed.

4. Look at snapping options for the editing environment.

ArcGIS 10 provides a simplified snapping experience that uses more map-based settings and minimizes the need to manage the snapping environment on a layer-by-layer basis. All the settings you need to work with for snapping are located on the Snapping toolbar. Open the Snapping toolbar by choosing Customize > Toolbars > Snapping to verify that snapping is enabled by default and inspect the other options. Instead of being available only within an edit session, snapping settings are used with other operations in ArcMap such as georeferencing and when using the Measure tool.

5. Create new features.

To create the new point feature representing the location of a spring water feature by digitizing it on the map, simply click the Springs feature template, choose the Point tool, and click the location on the map where you want to add the point. To digitize segments, click a line or polygon feature template and use the Line or Polygon tool to click the map where you want to place vertices. Straight segments are created by default as you click, but you can change the segment types using the palette on the Editor toolbar or Feature Construction mini toolbar. The Feature Construction toolbar follows the cursor as you click to give you easy access to commonly used tools. You can use the Tab key to reposition the toolbar if it gets in your way while digitizing.

6. Set a feature’s attributes in the Attributes window.

When you create a feature, it starts with only the default attribute values as specified in the feature template used to create the feature. To add or update attributes, select the feature and click the Attributes button on the Editor toolbar. The editing environment in ArcGIS 10 uses the settings on the Layer Properties dialog box when displaying attributes in the Attributes window. By respecting layer properties, the Attributes window helps you efficiently view only the information you need to update. For example, you can use the Layer Properties > Fields tab to turn off the visibility for a field, set a field alias name, or change how numbers display in a field. You can also set a field to be read-only so it can be viewed but not edited, regardless of file or database permissions. A feature is listed by its display expression, which is set on the Layer Properties > Display tab.

7. Reshape an existing feature.

To edit the shapes of an existing feature, click on that feature with the Edit tool. A small icon chip appears on-screen if overlapping selectable features exist at that location. This allows you to select the feature you want to edit. To edit the vertices and segments of a feature, you can either select the feature and click the Edit Vertices button on the Editor toolbar or double-click the feature with the Edit tool to open the Edit Vertices toolbar. The Edit Vertices toolbar appears when you are editing the vertices of a feature, allowing you to select vertices so they can be added or removed easily.

You can drag a box around multiple vertices to select, move, or delete all of them at the same time. Reshape curves by clicking and dragging curves, setting a specific radius, or repositioning handles.
8. Save your edits.
Just as in ArcGIS 9.x, your edits are not automatically saved when editing with ArcGIS 10. Saving the map document does not save your edits to the data. You can save edits at any time during an edit session by clicking the Editor menu > Save Edits. Once you have finished your edits, save the edits by choosing Stop Editing from the Editor menu on the Editor toolbar.
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