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FAQ: How is the ArcMap 8.x Identify tool different from the ArcView GIS 3.x tool?

Question

How is the ArcMap 8.x Identify tool different from the ArcView GIS 3.x tool?

Answer

The Identify tool in ArcMap 8.x is different from the ArcView GIS 3.x tool in three main ways:

1) The ArcMap tool displays more information about layer and data relationships.

2) The ArcMap tool gives users more control over the identifiable layers.

3) By default, as new features are identified in ArcMap, the results list is cleared.

Layer and data relationships:

Two of the major differences between ArcView GIS 3.x and ArcMap 8.x include (a) the change from a theme-based organizing structure to a layer-based structure and (b) an increased ability to handle relational databases, such as the geodatabase. These differences have a direct impact on the functionality of the Identify tool.

The ArcMap 8.x Identify tool displays layer and data relationships in a hierarchical view within the left panel of the Identify Results dialog box. Navigate these relationships to view attributes in each related table. As each feature is selected in the left panel, the right panel updates, showing the attributes associated with that record.

Controlling the set of identifiable layers:

The ArcView GIS 3.x Identify tool operates on features in the active theme or themes, so the set of identifiable layers is managed via the Table of Contents. In contrast, in ArcMap the set of identifiable layers is managed from within the Identify Results dialog box. The following options are available:

- All layers
- Visible layers
- Selectable layers
- Top layer
- Specific layers at a specific location

In ArcGIS 8.x and ArcGIS 3.x, the Identify Results dialog box may be accessed before using the tool by way of View menu > Identify Results.

Results list:

In ArcView GIS 3.x, as a new feature is identified, it is automatically added to the results list in the Identify dialog box. The Clear and Clear All buttons are used to purge some or all of these features from the list.

In contrast, the ArcMap Identify Results list resets each time a new feature is identified. If alternativly each newly identified feature needs to be added to the end of the current list, hold down either Shift or Ctrl as the tool is used to identify features.

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