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Download and symbolize data

In the previous lesson, you created a map and tailored it to your field training exercise. In this lesson, you'll download your field training exercise data to better understand the hit-and-run attack patterns of the insurgents. You'll also download a working aid that explains insurgent activity in the FOB Rookie area.

While working on your first field training exercise, an intelligence officer tells you to download an Excel spreadsheet and plot its locational data. Your mission is to analyze the data to help counter an enemy whose attacks have caused significant damage to FOB Rookie.

Download the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and FOB Working Aid

In these steps, you'll download the documents you'll need to complete this lesson.

  1. Go to the Actionable Intelligence group.
  2. Click the thumbnail of the Insurgent Activity Excel spreadsheet to download it.

    Insurgent Activity

    Depending on your browser, the spreadsheet may appear on your downloads bar, or you may be prompted to open or save the file.

  3. Save the spreadsheet (InsurgentActivity_spreadsheet.xlsx) to a location on your computer, such as your desktop. Remember the location so you can browse to it.

    To download the next two files, you will have to open each document and then save them as PDFs.

  4. Download the FOB Rookie Working Aid to the same location.
  5. Download the Actionable Intelligence PowerPoint (which is in a PDF format) to the same location.

    The FOB Rookie Working Aid explains the spreadsheet and provides additional details needed to perform predictive analysis later in the lesson. You may want to review its contents before continuing. You may also want to print or keep this document open as a quick reference.

Load the spreadsheet into the map

Next, you'll import the Excel spreadsheet as a table in ArcGIS Pro.

  1. If necessary, open your FOB Rookie project in ArcGIS Pro.
  2. On the ribbon at the top of the page, click the Analysis tab and click Tools to open the Geoprocessing pane.
  3. At the top of the Geoprocessing pane, search for Excel to table.
  4. In the search results, click Excel To Table (Conversion Tools).

    Excel To Table tool

  5. In the Excel To Table parameters, next to Input Excel File, click the Browse button. Browse to the InsurgentActivity_spreadsheet.xlsx file and double-click it.
  6. Change the output table name to InsurgentActivity (no space between the words).For Sheet, choose Sheet1.

    Excel output

  7. Click Run.

    The imported InsurgentActivity table is added to the Contents pane as a stand-alone table.

    Next, you'll open the table to see what data it contains.

  8. In the Contents pane, under Standalone Tables, right-click the InsurgentActivity table and choose Open.

    Open table

    The table opens below your map view. In ArcGIS Pro, you can drag a table to anywhere on your screen. When you drag the table, docking targets appear with options to position the table in relation to the map.

    Docking targets

  9. If necessary, click the InsurgentActivity tab and drag the table to a location where you can view more of the data.

    Table tab

  10. Resize the table and familiarize yourself with its contents.

    The file has 107 rows of data that depict three months of hostile activity in the FOB Rookie area beginning on January 1, 2015. The table columns, from left to right, include fragments of information that relate to each attack:

    • Attack time (local time in the Pacific time zone)
    • Day of the week
    • Moonlight illumination percentage on that day
    • General location of the attack
    • Attack coordinates in MGRS
    • Attack coordinates in decimal degrees, both longitude and latitude
    • Attack type
    • Primary weapon used in the attack
    • Insurgent network responsible for the attack
    • Rocket launch and impact points in MGRS
    • Rocket launch and impact points in decimal degrees, both latitude and longitude
    • Remarks for significant information relating to the attack

    The table has columns for both MGRS coordinates and corresponding x- and y-coordinates in decimal degrees. This is not redundant information; ArcGIS Pro requires x- and y-coordinates to plot geospatial data on a map.

    The table also has columns for the attack types of In-Direct Fire (IDF), Small-Arms Fire (SAF), Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAM), and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). In the table, these attack types generally reference a location where the attack took place. IDF is associated with two locations because they involve a launch site and an impact point, which, depending on the caliber of the rocket, could be up to 20 kilometers apart in this exercise (battlefield technology does not always detect a rocket's launch point, so some rocket attacks will list impact points and no launch points). SAMs are missiles, and their data references one launch point but no impact point. Refer to the Attack Types entry in the Working Aid for more information.

  11. Close the InsurgentActivity table.

Plot data on the map

The InsurgentActivity table contains the data you need to analyze. First, you'll display its geospatial data on the map.

  1. In the Contents pane, right-click the InsurgentActivity table and choose Display XY Data.

    Display XY Data

    The XY Table to Point tool opens in the Geoprocessing pane. This tool creates a point layer based on x- and y-coordinates in a table. For more information about event layers, see the Add x,y coordinate data as a layer help topic .

  2. Change X Field to Longitude Launch and Y Field to Latitude Launch.
  3. Change Layer Name to RocketsLaunch.
  4. If necessary, for Spatial Reference, choose GCS_WGS_1984.


  5. Click Run.

    Map points

    The RocketsLaunch layer is added to the map. It displays points for each rocket launch location in the table. (The color of your points may vary.)

    You've added the rocket launch points to the map, but your table also contains x- and y-coordinates for rocket impact and attack locations. You'll run the XY Table to Point tool two more times to add points to the map for these locations.

  6. In the XY Table to Point parameters, change X Field to Longitude impact.
  7. Change Y Field to Latitude impact.
  8. Change Layer Name to RocketsImpact.

    Change name

  9. Click Run.
  10. Follow the same process to make a layer from the x- and y-coordinates of the Attack longitude and Attack latitude fields. Name the layer Attacks_JanMarch_2015.

    Attacks layer

    Optionally, you could rename the RocketsImpact and RocketsLaunch layers to reflect the same date range as the Attacks layer. The dates give you a reference point for the data, but they can also clutter your Contents pane.

  11. Click Run.

    Map center

  12. Save the project.

You've successfully used geospatial data from a spreadsheet to display corresponding locations on your FOB Rookie analysis map. Next, you'll modify the point symbols to be more characteristic of the features they represent.

Symbolize the battlefield

Symbolizing the data will help you visualize the battlefield. Currently, each point layer uses a single symbol for all its features. In the Attacks layer, this is acceptable for the rocket launch and rocket impact points because they are both associated with in-direct fire. But the Attacks layer also contains points for small arms fire, surface to air missiles, and improvised explosive devices, so these attack types should be categorized differently so you can easily identify them on the map.

  1. If necessary, in the Contents pane, click the Attacks_JanMarch_2015 layer to select it.

    When you select a layer in the Contents pane, the Feature Layer contextual tab appears on the ribbon with three associated tabs that contain tools specific to the feature layer.

  2. On the Appearance tab, in the Drawing group, click the Symbology menu and choose Unique Values.

    Unique Values

    You can use Unique Values to apply symbols to different attribute values.

  3. In the Symbology pane, for Value field, change Field 1 to Attack type.

    Attack type

    The Attacks layer doesn't need a symbol for IDF, or Indirect Fire, because the data for this attack type includes rocket launch and impact coordinates, which you already have as individual layers on the map.

  4. In the Value column of the table, right-click IDF and choose Remove.

    IDF Remove

    The <all other values> category will symbolize the points in the layer that are not attack type IED, SAF, and SAM. The only remaining attack type value is IDF, which you just removed, so you'll remove the <all other values> category as well.

  5. Click the More menu and uncheck Show all other values.

    Uncheck values

    The <all other values> category is removed from the list of values.

  6. In the Contents pane, click the symbol for the IED Attack type.

    IED symbol

    The Symbology pane displays a gallery of symbols.

  7. Scroll through the gallery and click Star 3.

    Star 3

    When you select a symbol from the gallery, the map updates accordingly.

    In military symbology, red is always the color that represents hostile activity.

  8. Follow the same process to change the other symbols for the Attacks layer:

    • SAF: Triangle 3
    • SAM: Circle 3


    You can filter the gallery by searching for a symbol by name.

    Next, you'll update the symbols for the rocket launch and impact layers.

  9. In the Contents pane, click the symbol for the RocketsImpact layer.
  10. In the Symbology pane, filter the gallery by searching for Cross, and click Cross 1.
  11. Follow the same process to change the symbol for the RocketsLaunch layer to Cross 3.

    Map symbols

  12. Save the project.

Militaries have detailed and exact drawing standards for battlefield symbology. A simplified version of battlefield symbology was used for this lesson.

In this lesson, you converted a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to a table and symbolized its data on the battlefield map. In the next lesson, you'll modify the attribute table to convert attacks from local time to coordinated universal time (UTC), the international 24-hour time standard for much of the military and civilian worlds.