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Water Quality and Watersheds: A GIS Investigation

Downloadable Data for New York State

Instructions for Downloading
Please follow these instructions carefully because the GIS software will not work unless the maps are filed in the proper folder.

1) Before you download the data files, prepare a folder to store them in:

  • Create a folder called “GIS” and put it on your “Local Disk C” drive. [From the desktop, click on “My Computer”, then click on “Local Disk (C:)”, then from the menu bar select “File”, “New”, and “Folder”. Name the new folder “GIS”.]
  • Now create a new folder inside the GIS folder and name it “WaterQuality”. [Open the file you just created called “GIS” by double clicking on it. Now create a new folder inside GIS by selecting from the menu bar “File”, “New”, and “Folder”. Name this new folder “WaterQuality”.]

2) You have just created the proper file directory (C:\GIS\WaterQuality) that the GIS software (ArcExplorer) will recognize. Now you are ready to download, unzip, and place the data files in the “WaterQuality” folder.

  • From the list of links in the Data Files section below, click on the first data file, called "Watersheds".
  • A dialog box will appear that will ask whether you would like to open or save the file. You want to save the file, so click “Save”.
  • Save the file to the directory C:\GIS\WaterQuality. [A dialog box will appear that asks you where to put the file. Click on the folder with an “up arrow” until you see “Save in Desktop”. Note that you may already be looking at the desktop. From here, click on “My Computer”, then click on “Local Disk (C:)”, then “GIS”, then “WaterQuality”. Now click “Save”.]
  • Open the file and un-zip it. [A dialog box will appear informing you that the download is complete, and giving you the option to open the file. Click “Open”.]
  • Un-zip the file and save the contents into the directory C:\GIS\WaterQuality. [How to do this depends on what kind of file-unzipping program is on your computer. Most are fairly straightforward. Here are instructions for the program “Win-Zip” since it is the most common.]
    a. Select from the menu bar “Action” then "Extract”.
    b. Tell Win-Zip that you want to store the files in C:\GIS\WaterQuality [Double click on “Local disk (C:)”, then “GIS”, then “WaterQuality”.]
    c.
    Click “Extract”.
  • Now repeat this process for all the data files available. There are 13 maps to download.
  • Instructions on how to use the curriculum are in the Teacher's Guide.

3) The Watershed GIS Project file also needs to be placed into the C:\GIS\WaterQuality folder. This is a project created in ArcExplorer that displays the maps properly.

  • A dialog box will appear that will ask whether you would like to open or save the file. You want to save the file, so click “Save”.
  • Save the file to the directory C:\GIS\WaterQuality. [A dialog box will appear that asks you where to put the file. Click on the folder with an “up arrow” until you see “Save in Desktop”. Note that you may already be looking at the desktop. From here, click on “My Computer”, then click on “Local Disk (C:)”, then “GIS”, then “WaterQuality”. Now click “Save”.]

Data Files (NYS Maps) to Download:

Watersheds
Cities
Roads
Big Rivers
Streams
Land Regions (Ecozones)
Geology
Precipitation
Agricultural Land
Forested Land
Urban Land
Percent Waters Impaired
Kind of Pollution


Metadata: (These files are not needed to run the project, but they provide information about how the maps were created and where the data are from.)

About the Data (This file describes how to access the original metadata and how these data were modified for use in this curriculum.)
Big Rivers and Lakes metadata

NY Land Regions (Ecozones) metadata
NY Land Cover metadata (This file applies also to the Forest, Agriculture, and Urban Land maps.)
Precipitation metadata
NY Watersheds metadata

Please feel free to contact Tania Siemens (tjs35@cornell.edu) with questions, comments, and feedback.

Go Back to the Water Quality and Watersheds GIS curriculum resources download page.


 

 

Copyright 2006 CSIP, Cornell University