Section Six - Introduction to Attribute Tables

In general, there are two ways to go about teaching software in a manner where students have "at home" prep time prior to "in-class" lab time: lightly read about the software before coming to class and be familiar with the interface or dive right into the software and read about the interface later.  While it is totally understood that at this time, you've most likely had no exposure to ArcGIS software and that "just reading" about the software is challenging without completing some hands-on interaction, through trial and error, speaking with students, and observing the results, the conclusion which has been made is - students have an easier time adjusting to the software when they have read some basic things about it before sitting down to it for the first time, followed by reviewing the text-based material after the second or third exposure. 

With this understanding of the student perspective in mind, this page and the following chapters are meant to be reviewed before using the software for the first time with an expectation the student will return to this page and Chapter Four after the first or second exposure to the software.  Using this method of preparation, exposure, review helps students feel less "lost in the sauce" of the software and increases understanding in a more rapid way.  In conclusion, I understand, so bear with me. No need to commit the "facts" about attribute tables or all the functions of ArcGIS to memory the first time through.  That will come in time.  I promise. 

Attribute tables are the data tables specifically associated with vector or raster files. We use them to understand, query, organize, and symbolize the layers in our maps. While the structure of attributes tables are similar to data tables (they even view the same in the software), they are a unique item when compared to non-spatial data tables.  Attribute tables will be covered in detail in Chapter Five. For now, just understanding the basics of attribute table structure.

Figure 3.19: A Typical Attribute Table with Labels