How To: Port ArcView projects and data onto a CD-ROM


Instructions provided illustrate how projects and data must be prepared for CD-ROM distribution.


  1. Practice this procedure with a small .apr file, first. For example, ther is an .apr in the following directory:


    The data for the project is scattered among several different directories, some above c:\AVprojects\myprojects, some below it, and some parallel to it.

    Make a backup copy of the project file (.apr).

    To make a backup of the project being worked on, go to the File menu, select Save As, and enter a different name than that of the current project.

    Another method is to use the operating system's file management utilities to copy or rename project files.

  2. Move all of the datasets into c:\AVprojects\myprojects, or into a directory contained by c:\AVprojects\myprojects. In this example, move all of the data files into the directory structure:


    Now the .apr file is in a directory that contains either the data files, or the directories to the data files.

    To ensure that the existing data structure on the machine is not disturbed, copy the data to the new directory structure and rename the original directories temporarily. This way project repair is initiated when the .apr file is opened. For example, if the datasets were in a directory called Original, copy them to the appropriate directories under the directory containing the .apr file, and then rename Original to Original2. This forces project repair.

  3. Open the project in ArcView. Project repair is initiated. Repair the project, and save it. The project will store the new pathnames.

  4. Open the .apr file in a text editor, such as Notepad or Wordpad. Do a search for the string 'path'. For the example being used in this article, the path to each data file is "c:/AVprojects/myprojects/gisdata/mydata." (Forward or backslashes do not matter.)

    For example, an entry will look like this:

    Path: "c:/AVprojects/myprojects/gisdata/mydata/spcities.shp"

    And like this:

    Path: "c:/AVprojects/myprojects/gisdata/mydata/spcities.dbf"

    For each path to a dataset, remove the drive letter and the directory path (including the slashes) up to and including the directory that contains the .apr file. All that should be left, in quotes, is the directory structure BETWEEN the .apr file and the data file, along with the data filename. The two examples above would now look like this:

    Path: "gisdata/mydata/spcities.shp"

    Path: "gisdata/mydata/spcities.dbf"

    Notice that there is no slash in front of the first directory name.

    These paths are no longer absolute; they are now only relative to the location of the .apr file. This is referred to as relative pathing. Make sure that this is done for each data file referenced in the project.

  5. Test the project by opening it in ArcView. The project should open properly without asking for project repair. If it does ask for project repair, do not fix it in ArcView, go back to the text editor. Saving it in ArcView puts the absolute pathnames back in, so the text editor needs to be used to take them out again.

    Once the pathnames are removed in a text editor, and the project has opened properly in ArcView, the project and all of the data is ready to be put onto the CD-ROM.

    Remember, when opening the project in ArcView to test the results of the text-editing, do not save the project in ArcView or the absolute pathnames will be written back into the .apr file. Consider opening the project in the text editor right before burning a CD-ROM to insure that the absolute paths have not been written back in by an accidental ArcView save.

    When burning the CD-ROM, dump the directory that contains the .apr file and the directories to the data onto the CD-ROM. In this case, the directory 'myprojects' would be copied onto the CD-ROM. This directory contains the .apr file, as well as the directories 'gisdata' and 'mydata', where the data files for the .apr reside.

    Use a second CD to copy all the data, if necessary. When distributing the CDs, instruct the user to copy the data from both CDs to the same location.

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