Review of the ArcView GIS Application Review by Paul Emms
The ArcView (Beta Test Version) is an extremely useful program that enables the user to
analyze the Home Range Extension of a species with relatively user-friendly steps. The
benefits of GIS, allowing better display and information capacity of spatial data is
typified in this program in a way that is not daunting to those unfamiliar with GIS.
My introduction to ArcView was through the Tutorial Guide (Beta Test Version), which I
worked through to become familiar the programs applications. The Tutorial is explicit
and easy to follow, yet I could go no further as I got to page 19. This seemed to be the
only stumbling block for me as a user of the manual, and I suspect this may not be an
uncommon stumbling block.
Exercise 1 – starting a project
This section introduces the user to the basics to get started but is basically aimed at
showing the user how to:
import data habitat extent data
use tools and buttons
use the view
start up HRE
add Themes (from external files)
add a legend
import species range data
edit data points (e.g. delete erroneous data points; merge or query points)
use tables as a means of data analysis
use identify tool
This section shows the user how to capture raw data into a visual image from an external
source and add themes and legend to the visual map coupled with species range data.
Data points can be edited according to various parameters (e.g. time, distance and date).
Exercise 2 – animal movements
This section introduces the “Moose On A Leash” function to track animal movements,
which is presented in animated form or can be manipulated to show what movements
you’d like to see for a specified parameter. This enables the user to:
calculate distances between points or total movement by an animal over time.
calculate speed of animal movement between distances
Tables can be used to calculate distances and time also.
Exercise 3 - creating home range polygons
This section indicates how to determine the habitat range and size for a species. Data can
be merged or separated according to time of movement etc. This function also allows for
sub-sampling that simply makes use of a selection tool for a habitat selection on the map.
Exercise 4 – manipulating home range polygons
Here the cookie cutter approach is used to take a known distribution and cut the habitat
type out underlying that distribution so that the projection shows the habitat only and not
the species points. This is useful as points of a species do not ‘cloud’ the visual of the
habitat and since only the habitat is cut out for those points it is unnecessary to show
those points anyway.
Finally the tutorial guides the user through a method of calculating areas of habitats in
home ranges that have been ‘cookie cut’. This is a useful application for topics such as
habitat fragmentation and agricultural, urban and ultimately conservation planning.