4.1. Lesson: Attribute Data

Up to now, none of the changes we have made to the map have been influenced by the objects that are being shown. In other words, all the land use areas look alike, and all the roads look alike. When looking at the map, the viewers don’t know anything about the roads they are seeing; only that there is a road of a certain shape in a certain area.

But the whole strength of GIS is that all the objects that are visible on the map also have attributes. Maps in a GIS aren’t just pictures. They represent not only objects in locations, but also information about those objects.

The goal of this lesson: To explore the attribute data of an object and understand what the various data can be useful for.

4.1.1. basic Follow Along: Attribute data

Open the attribute table for the places layer (refer back to the section Lesson: Working with Vector Data if necessary). Which field would be the most useful to represent in label form, and why?

Check your results

4.1.2. In Conclusion

You now know how to use the attribute table to see what is actually in the data you’re using. Any dataset will only be useful to you if it has the attributes that you care about. If you know which attributes you need, you can quickly decide if you’re able to use a given dataset, or if you need to look for another one that has the required attribute data.

4.1.3. What’s Next?

Different attributes are useful for different purposes. Some of them can be represented directly as text for the map user to see. You’ll learn how to do this in the next lesson.