In today’s lab we will be logging into the various accounts we will be using, looking at how the file server works, and taking a look at ArcGIS Pro; the primary software we will be using this semester.


During Labs, you are encouraged to ask questions, and interact with the material whenever possible (if you have a question most likely there are others with the same question so please speak up).

If you would after hours access to the GIS Lab instructions are available here:

Your Workstation

This lab is equipped with powerful workstations that run GIS software well. However one quirk we would like to cover is that you have two monitors. When we upgraded the lab computers, we opted to keep the old monitors for viewing web pages and word processing on. One of your monitors is 13 years old, and have various degrees of fading affecting colour reproduction, has HD resolution and 8bit colour. One of your monitors is less than a year old, is able to display 10bit colour, Ultra HD resolution, and is calibrated for constant display. This consistent color display helps when judging colour choices. You should always be using ArcGIS on the higher resolution screen.

* While on the topic of colours, we recognize that colour blindness is relatively common and affects how we perceive the quality of colour choices. If you feel this is affecting your ability to interact with the course content, and feel comfortable doing so; you may talk to Matt or your TA about developing strategies, any information you share will be confidential to the instructors.

Attending the Lab Remotely

If you wish to work on homework from home you may use the Remote Desktop server Osmotar; the connection instructions are available here:

File Storage

A description of the file system is available here: The most important details here are to always save to your K: drive! And most data for the labs will be found on the L: drive. Data saved on the C: drive is semi-persistent and any files saved here will be periodically deleted. Many pieces of software will default to saving to the My Documents folder which is on the C: drive, care should be taken to always change to K: drive.

Network File Systems and ArcGIS Pro

ArcGIS Pro does have some limitations in terms of how files are saved on network storage. Specifically it will not be able to use geoprocessing tools with files stored on UNC file paths. UNC file paths are locations on a server starting with \\. As an example your Documents folder can be opened in one of two ways from




While both locations have the same files ArcGIS Pro will only function properly when access through K.

Note that in windows File Explorer the Quick Access shortcuts go to the UNC path

Documents folder accessed via UNC.

Documents folder accessed via Drive Letter

When opening your ArcGIS Projects ensure that (K:) is present in the file explorer breadcrumbs to ensure that tools will work as expected.

Opening ArcGIS Pro

This Lab will be completed primarily using ArcGIS Pro. The first time you open ArcGIS Pro (and potentially from time to time depending on automatic filesystem maintenance) ArcGIS Pro will need to be configured for licensing.

Search for ArcGIS Pro

Thorough this course we will be accessing data stored in our ArcGIS Portal, you will need to log into the portal to gain access to the data stored here. Once ArcGIS Pro is open use the sign in button in the upper right corner to log into the portal at

On the login screen choose the Blue ‘University of Northern British Columbia’ this will allow you to login with your regular UNBC credentials. The default ArcGIS login is for legacy accounts and will not accept your UNBC credentials.

ArcGIS Pro Basics

When you first open ArcGIS Pro the welcome screen will present you with a variety of options.

In each lab we will create a new project to complete work in; primarily you will create projects by clicking on the map icon, this will create a new project with an empty map inside.

To make your first map select the map template and give it a name, as well as select where to save the project (K: drive!). Inside of your K drive make a folder for geog205, we will be saving all our labs in here and make sure to check the Create a new folder for this project.

The ArcGIS Pro screen is divided into 5 primary sections.

In the middle you will see the map view, this is where all of the data we are working with will appear, and you can navigate it much the same as Google maps, using click to drag and the Scroll Wheel. You will notice that every map starts with a default Topographic Map and Hillshade, but we will be able to customize this later should we desire.

Below the map is the info bar (pink in the image above). Here we see the map scale at the left and towards the middle the coordinates of the mouse pointer.

On the right of the map is the Catalog Pane, this is also where various tools will appear as they are opened. There are 3 Tabs for accessing data here, Project, Portal, and Favorites. The project tab gives access to data in the folder you created when making the project. To add data from the L drive, right-click Folders, and Add Folder Connection, from here you will be able to select folders in the L drive to make available in your project. The two folders we will be using in this class are L:\\DATA and L:\\GEOG205.

Add L:\DATA\pg_city_2010_lidar\UniversityAOI\Images\University_AOI_BE_15cm.tif, by dragging and dropping onto the map.

Also in the catalog pane, there is a portal tab. Inside here you can then select My Organization, and gain access to data shared on our Arc Enterprise Server. Try adding “UNBC 2020 Ortho” to your map by dragging and dropping.

Next, we will look at the left side with the contents pane, here all the layers on the map can be seen, and are shown in the order they are drawn on the screen, currently, the UNBC ‘ortho’ image should be covering the LiDAR, if you want the LiDAR to be on top, simply grab it and drag it above the UNBC Campus Map in the table of contents. In the table of contents, you can use the checkboxes to turn layers on or off, organize them into groups, as well as edit information about a specific layer by right-clicking on it.

Finally, we will come to the top ‘Ribbon’ here the menus are sorted into categories of tasks, such as Analysis, Editing, and Sharing. When you have a layer selected in the Contents there will also be additional menus added to the ribbon specific to that data type. For example with the University AOI layer selected, as this is a tif file which is a type of Raster – the Raster tools will be available on the Menu.

Open the Raster Layer Tab and set the Transparency to 50%, you should be able to see the University campus behind the lidar.

Preparing a Map for Print

Before we can print our maps we need to make a layout, projects can contain multiple layouts, for example, if you will be printing the same map on different sizes of paper; to make a layout open the Insert menu on the ribbon, select New Layout and pick Letter (standard paper size) under the ANSI – Portrait Section. At this stage, you should have a blank canvas to work with.

Again on the insert tab, there is an option called map frame, select this and draw a box on the canvas where you would like the map to appear. And then go into contents and uncheck all the layers except the Ortho under UNBC Campus maps. You should have something that looks like this.

With the map frame selected change the display options with right-click on the map frame properties. Set the scale to a round number that provides a decent view. In this case, 1:5,000 works nicely.

You can also adjust the view manually by right clicking on the frame, and selecting activate

This will allow you to click and drag, as well as zoom on the map inside of the frame. When you have it where you would like it, click to exit back to layout view.

At this point, we have a diagram of the University but we want a map so we will add a scale bar, found in the insert ribbon.

When you add your scale bar it will most likely show up with some messy looking divisions. For most people, 0.07 KM is not a meaningful unit of distance.

Using the Element panel on the right change the units to something more suitable in this case Meters* (Metres) would be a good choice, and change the width of the scale bar to make it 500m long. This is starting to be more useful but at this point, we still have divisions every 62.5m which is not great.

Under scale bar properties

Change the number of Divisions and Subdivisions so that the divisions represent a clean looking distance. In this case, I went with 2 divisions with 5 subdivisions, but you may find other combinations that work well. Additionally, you may notice that the labels still seem a bit off, you can change how the labels appear under the numbers section, using the Frequency Setting, as an example setting to Divisions and the first subdivision produces the following result.

Note that this US software by default spells ‘Meters’ instead of Canadian spelling ‘Metres’ – bonus if you can edit this to our proper language!

If you have more than one layer it would also be appropriate to add a Legend in the same manner as the scale bar. You can add a North arrow in the blank white space in the top left corner of the map.

Finally, we will use the straight text tool to add a title as well as a Name and the date the map was last updated.

By the end of this class, we will be making much better-looking maps, but this serves as an introduction to the software we will be using.

The last thing for today is to submit your map in Moodle. In the Ribbon go to Share, and Print Layout, Set the printer to ‘Microsoft Print to PDF’

Save the PDF as <username>_GEOG205_Lab1

Upload the PDF file into Moodle

Submission is due before the start of next weeks lab!

Expectations (Tips for success)

  • Arrive for your Lab on time, we try to keep everyone on pace during lab, and it is not fair to make the class wait for you to catch up if you arrive late.
  • If you must miss your lab section, please e-mail your TA ahead of time to let them know not to expect you. Provided there is room you are welcome to sit in another section for that week.
  • Stay for the whole lab, or until your assignment is done. Your lab time is a great time to work on your assignment as it is already scheduled, and it is easy for TA’s to help during lab section.
  • Assignments are due before the next lab, this is for your benefit as working on multiple assignments can lead to confusion, or lacking skills that were taught the previous week.
    • Once your lab starts it is already late, you are encouraged to be present in the current weeks content and finish the previous assignment later that day.
    • Assignments have a 10% penalty per day late. (If you are unable to complete an assignment on time for a justifiable reason, e-mail your TA, and Matt before the due date; it is much easier to offer extensions before it is late).
  • When working on your assignments, read the instructions thoroughly. In this course details around formatting matter a lot. In the workforce when producing maps they will be expected to be not only correct, but in the correct dimensions, and file format for publishing requested. Before submitting your assignment you should proof read it:
    • Use the assignment instructions as a checklist, are all required components present as described?
    • Does the map reflect cartographic principals you have learned in lecture? (IE. labels on water are typically light blue italic text).
    • Pay special attention to the concept of today’s lab.
    • Check your units! Should you have a north arrow (probably not, more on this later), and is your scale-bar in logical units?
    • Do all your layers show up in the legend with display labels (as opposed to full of underscores and abbreviations)
    • Maps are a communication tool, what does your map communicate?
    • Is your map visually appealing? Cartography is an art form
    • Open your PDF in something other than ArcGIS to ensure it rendered correctly
  • If you have questions please ask, you are likely not the only person with the question; feel empowered to ask during class.
  • Also note that there are Lab Dropin times that will take the place of office hours for this course, Mondays 2PM-3PM, and Wednesdays 1PM-2:30PM. Feel free to ask Matt any questions you have.
Categories: GEOG 205Labs