- Run GIS software on the largest monitor you can.
The map is the story; make it as good as you can. Laptops have
many good points; a big screen is generally not one of them. Insure the map
windows takes up as much of the screen as possible (menus and toolbars
reduce map size) and consider enlarging the map and having scroolbars.
You are ultimately responsible for the quality of your graphics.
- Use multiple monitors if possible. You frequently
will have the program, its help file, a web page for questions and data
downloads, and something for documenting your results (Word, Excel, or
PowerPoint). It helps to have the most screen real estate
- Use the phone or a second computer for the help or web browser.
||No Spaces in file names.
||Do not start file names with a number. While
starting with a number will generally work, there are times when it will
fail, and the error message may not be very clear.
Open Files or Directories
- Many GIS operations require you to open a directory or folder.
A double click on the folder name will not work; you have to
highlight the folder, and then click the "Select folder" button.
- To open a file, you can use the open button or double click.
- The windows dialog shows what you are being asked for in the
lower right corner.
- If you see nothing in a folder where you know there are files,
you are probably in folder selection mode.
- If you see nothing in the folder and you are in file selection
mode, you are probably looking for the wrong file extensions.
You can change to all files with the drop down selector, or select the
correct extension which keeps you from having to wade through too
many files, or type "*.*" in the file name edit at the bottom left.
- Insure you pay attention to where you download files.
If you download to the downloads folder, clean it out periodically.
You can do a quick and dirty copy everything into a new
- You can set your browser to always ask, which helps you to organize the
files, or understand that the files will probably all pile up in the
- There are operations that will fail if performed on a file in
the downloads directory (e.g. trying to rename it to use GDAL to
modify a Geotiff), so you should move the data to another directory.
- Problems with ftp data download?
||File Extensions and Folder Options. Insure that you understand about file extensions or types, and check
the dialog boxes to insure that you are looking for the correct file
types, or are saving as the correct type.
Go to Organize, Folder options, and pick the View tab.
Change your Folder options to make this easier:
- Uncheck "Hide Extensions for known file type". Many
GIS "files" such as shapefiles
and worldfiles actually consist of multiple files with the same name
and different extensions, and you may have to pick the correct one,
which is very hard when they all look the same (sometimes the icon
will be different, if Windows recognizes the file type, but often
the files will all look the same).
- Display the full path in the address and title bars.
- (Optional) Pick "Show hidden files and folders".
- Types of compression
- ZIP files: right click on the file in Windows Explorer, and then
pick the "Extract all..." near the top of the list. MICRODEM
can do batch Decompression.
- TAR and GZ and .7Z : use 7zip or the Compress/Decompress
option in MICRODEM (which uses 7zip), and is particularly effective
for Landsat imagery.
Printing Help File
- In the table of contents, pick the topic you want to print,
right click, and select print
- Pick to print just that topic, or all subtopics
- For one of the courses
- You will get the best results by printing one week's lesson
topics at a time.
- Lessons should be finalized before the week starts, but are
likely to see minor updates until that point.
Word Reports, when you will be getting electronic
edits from a colleague (or even if you will be doing extensive edits)
- Do not use text boxes. You cannot put a comment in the
text box, and the comment wind up far from the text it tries to refer
it. If the editors puts the text inside the text box, it
usually has to be resized, and then plays havoc with everything that
- Do not wrap text around the figures. When there are
changes, this can act very unpredictably.
- Do not put two figures side by side. If you want to do
that, make them 1 figure
- Make the figures as big as possible, especially for detailed
maps. If you have no constraints on the number of pages, make
the figures big.
- Further suggestions for figures.
Unless the report will be your pride and joy and absolutely needs to
look like it was professionally printed,
KISS. There are important parts to formatting (references and figure
captions), and others are much less important in a learning environment.