16 Geoprocessing Tools Every GIS Analyst Should Know

16 Geoprocessing Tools To Use In GIS Homework Like GIS Pro

GIS involves utilization of tools in the GIS software to manage and analyze geographic(spatial) data. It mostly involves collection of data, processing and interpretation with an aim of creating maps. Other than possessing problem solving, team work, excellent communication and strong analytical skills; GIS Analysts must have knowledge of some basic geoprocessing tools.

Are you a student or newbie in using GIS software and would like learn to geoprocess like an expert GIS analyst? Well, you are at the right place. In this post, we have compiled an ultimate list of top 16 geoprocessing tools that GIS analysts at our GIS homework help service do use most.

You will learn basics as well as most common ways of processing GIS data that include clipping, buffering, merging, intersecting among others. Our comprehensive list of geoprocessing tools include tools that can be used in ArcGIS and QGIS softwares.

Geoprocessing tools are very essential when one wants to execute a certain analysis using the GIS software such ArcGIS or Qgis. Some of the most common geoprocessing tools that every GIS Analyst should know:

  1. Buffer tool
  2. Clip tool
  3. Merge Tool
  4. Dissolve tool
  5. Intersect Tool
  6. Union Tool
  7. The erase (Different) tool
  8. Spatial join tool
  9. Extract by Mask Tool
  10. Clip Raster Tool
  11. Extract by attributes tool
  12. Reclassify
  13. Project tool
  14. Near
  15. Calculate by Geometry
  16. Near

Buffer geoprocessing tool

This is a reclassification process based on distance inside or without a certain closeness. The output are normally polygons around input features at a given distance. Buffer geoprocessing process works in two ways: Euclidean and Geodesic.

Euclidean measures distances in 2D (Two-Dimensional) cartesian plane whereby the distances are calculated between two destinations on a cartesian plane (flat surface). It is ideal in analyzing distances around polygons that are focused in quite a small area.
Geodesic buffering calculates distances between two location or points on a geoid surface. The methods applied determine the kind of buffers created.

In ArcMap buffering can be performed through the following procedure: Click edit tool followed by clicking the feature where buffering is to be created around> click editor menu and then buffer> type the desired distance in map scale units> Select the target in which the new feature will be created> click ok.

geoprocessing tool
Figure 1: Showing Geoprocessing Buffer Tool


buffering process
Figure 2 Showing buffering process

Clipping geoprocessing in ArcGIS

This is creating a subset dataset from a larger dataset through cutting out a section of a certain dataset using a section or multiple of the features in another dataset. The clipping process is useful in choosing an area of interest or study area during spatial analysis. The clipping layer is always a polygon whereas the input layer can either be a polyline, points or polygons. Clipping can be performed both on vector and raster datasets. For Raster dataset, clipping is done using either graphics, data frame or polygons.

Clipping geoprocessing is as follows:

The first step involves clicking the edit tool on the editor tool bar

Clipping geoprocessing Tool
Figure 3: Showing Clipping geoprocessing Toll


Step two involves selecting the features to be clipped

clipping - geoprocessing tool
Figure 4: Showing the second step in clipping


Step 3 involves typing the input features, output features and the tolerance value. Click the type of clipping operation whether to maintain or discard, then Ok.

3rd step in Clipping geoprocessing
Figure 5: Showing the 3rd step in Clipping geoprocessing

Merge Geoprocessing Tool

Merging in ArcGIS involves combing chosen features of the same layer or multiple layers into a new single feature. The feature must be either from a polygon or a line layer. In addition, also data sets must be from the same data type. The selected feature can either be modified or preserved.

Merging process in ArcMap involves the following process: Clicking the edit tool bar followed by clicking the features you would like to merge. Click the merge tool then click the feature the features will be merged into and finally click Ok to execute the process.

merging tool
Figure 6: Showing merging tool



showing merging geoprocessing
Figure 7: Showing merging geoprocessing.

Dissolve Geoprocessing tool

Dissolving tool generalizes and simplifies boundaries from a more complex to a simple. In most cases this tool adjacent edges on a common attribute values basis. The edges(boundaries) will melts into one only if the neighboring polygons share the similar dissolving attribute.

In ArcMap, dissolving tool can be accessed in the data management tool in the generalization toolset. It involves setting the fields that you would like to dissolve. To perform the dissolving geoprocessing: Click Arctoolbox> data management tool > Generalization > Dissolve > double click it. In the new window pane that appears > input files > output files will be selected automatically > Dissolve > Ok.

location dissolve tool in the Arctoolbox
Figure 8: Showing the location of Dissolve tool in the Arctoolbox


dissolving geoprocessing
Figure 9: Showing Dissolving geoprocessing.


Intersect Tool

This tool calculates a geometric connection of the input features. In most cases, percentages or features of the feature that overlay in all layers or feature classes will be inscribed to the output(product) feature class. While performing this analysis it is advisable that the input features simple one like point, polygon or polyline.

To perform this analysis in ArcMap, go the toolbar > geoprocessing > intersect > enter the input feature, out put feature class, join attributes, tolerance attribute, output type > click Ok.

intersect geoprocessing tool
Figure 10: Showing intersect geoprocessing


Union Geoprocessing Tool

The Union geoprocessing performs calculation of geometric union of whatever number of feature layers and classes. All input feature layers or classes must polygons in order for the output feature class to comprise polygons representative of geometric union of all involvements as well as the all the fields from all the input feature classes. Furthermore, union tool controls the spatial reference, clusters and cracks the features, determines geometric relationsamongst features from all feature classes and inscribes new features to the output.

To perform Union geoprocessing in ArcMap: Go to geoprocessing > navigate to union > click union > input the features > click Ok to execute the analysis.

union geoprocessing
Figure 11: Showing union geoprocessing.


Erase Geoprocessing Tool

Erase tool generates a product feature class by overlapping the input features with the erase features. Only those percentages of the input features falling exterior of the erase features are copied to the product feature class.

To carry out erasing geoprocessing in ArcMap: Go to geoprocessing> navigate to search > type and search erase geoprocessing tool > Enter input features > enter erase features > enter output feature class > enter tolerance > click Ok to execute the analysis.

Erase geoprocessing tool
Figure 12: Showing erase geoprocessing.


Spatial Join Geoprocessing Tool

This tool joins attributes from one feature to another grounded on the spatial connection. The target features and the merged attributes from the combined features are inscribed in the product feature class. All attributes of the merge features are added to attributes of the target features and cliched over to the output feature class. In the process attributes to be written to the output can be defined.

Spatial join analysis can be carried out in ArcMap as follows: Click on the geoprocessing> navigate to search > type spatial join tool > click the tool > enter the target feature, join features, click Ok to execute the analysis.

spatial join geoprocessing tool
Figure 13: Showing spatial join geoprocessing.


Extract by Mask

This is a spatial analysis function that extracts the cells of a raster that correspond to the areas defined by a mask. Attributes from the input raster will be carried over to the output raster attribute table.

To perform extract by mask analysis in ArcMap, the following steps are followed: Click the geoprocessing and navigate to the search > type extract by mask > click the tool> input the Raster data, input the feature mask data, enter the output raster > Click Ok to execute the function.

Showing Extract by Mask Analysis
Figure 14 Showing Extract by Mask Analysis


Clip Raster Geoprocessing

The Clip Raster tool permits the extraction of a percentage of a raster dataset on the basis of a template extent. The clip product comprises of any pixels that interconnect the template extent.

Clip Raster geoprocessing is carried out in ArcMap as follows: Enable image analysis Toolbar > image analysis > select the Raster to clip > enter polygon boundary to clip to > Click clip icon > click save to export Raster.

Clip Raster geoprocessing tool
Figure 15: Showing Clip Raster geoprocessing


Extract by Attributes Geoprocessing

This function involves extraction of the cells of a raster on a logical query basis. Attributes from the input raster dataset are normally passed over to the product raster attribute table. Liable on the property presence documented, part of the attribute values may require to be recalculated.

In ArcMap, extract by attribute analysis can be performed as follows: Click on geoprocessing > Navigate to search and type “extract by attributes” > Navigate to the tool > enter input raster, enter the “where value cluster”, enter the output raster > click Ok to perform the analysis.

Showing the extract by attributes geoprocessing
Figure 16: Showing the extract by attributes geoprocessing.

Figure 15: Showing the extract by attributes geoprocessing.

Reclassify geoprocessing tool

Reclassify tool deals with values in a raster. The tool reclassifies the values in a raster. It uses some parameters such as “classify or unique” generates map based on the values of the input raster dataset.
Reclassify geoprocessing can be performed as follows in the ArcMap: On the geoprocessing navigate to search > enter “reclassify” > click on the tool analysis > enter the input raster, enter the reclass field, enter reclassification (whether unique or classify), enter the output raster > click Ok to execute the function.

reclass geoprocessing tool
Figure 17: Showing reclass geoprocessing

Project Geoprocessing Tool

Project geoprocessing tool is useful in projecting spatial data from one coordinate system to another. To perform this in the ArcMap, the following steps are followed: Go to Arctoolbox > Data management > projection and transformation > project > enter the input dataset or feature class, output dataset or feature class, output coordinate system > Click Ok to execute the function.

showing project geoprocessing tool
Figure 18: Showing project geoprocessing tool.

Near geoprocessing Tool

Near(analysis) tool helps the GIS Analyst to compute distance and extra nearness info between the input features and the nearby feature in another layer or feature class. To perform “near analysis” in ArcMap, the following steps are useful: On the geoprocessing navigate to the search > type “near analysis” > On the appeared tab enter the: Input features, near feature, enter the method and click Ok to execute the function.

Showing near(analysis) geoprocessing
Figure 19 Showing near(analysis) geoprocessing

Calculate by geometry geoprocessing tool

Calculate by geometry can be utilized by any GIS analyst when they want to add info to a feature’s attribute fields in place of geometric features and location of each feature like area or length, elevation and x-y coordinates.

To carry out “calculate by geometry” in ArcMap, the following steps can be followed: go to the geoprocessing and navigate to search > click and type “calculate by geometry” > click in the “add geometry attributes”> enter input features, geometry properties, length unit, area unit > click Ok to execute the function.

Showing calculate by geometry geoprocessing
Figure 20 Showing calculate by geometry geoprocessing


Introduction to arcgis pro (no date) Introduction to ArcGIS Pro-ArcGIS Pro | Documentation. Available at: https://pro.arcgis.com/en/pro-app/latest/get-started/get-started.htm (Accessed: April 3, 2023).

GIS Technology in Corona Virus Disease Surveillance


Corona Virus, otherwise known as COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that mainly affects the respiratory system and is characterized by sneezing, headache, tiredness and a dry cough.

The disease has an incubation period on between 1-14 days before developing symptoms, which is why people are advised to take a 14-day personal quarantine to avoid the spread and also ascertain that you are not infected. We cannot ignore the massive progress that has been made in this field, despite the fact that there has not been found a cure nor a vaccine. One of the best ways to join in the fight against this virus is by washing your hand regularly with soap and running water. It is also advisable to use hand sanitizers to disinfect your hands regularly as well. Remember, that it can be spread from coming into contact with contaminated persons or surfaces and this may include even money as well, which is why people are encouraged to use mobile money transfer methods and most importantly stay at home.

GIS technology in covid 19 surveillanceWith scientist working around the clock to minimize the spread and also try and get a cure for the novel disease, Corona Virus, or as many of you will call it, Covid-19, they need help from every available channel and geographical data analyst have risen to the task once again to help and show them in a simplified version how the virus is spreading. So what is GIS technology? What is its relevance in relation to the Corona Virus? GIS technology is basically the collection, analyzing, manipulation and representation of spatial and geographic data as deemed relevant according to the set criteria. In our previous segment, we analyzed a couple of software that have been tested and proven time and again to be the best GIS program every GIS analyst should learnHowever, amid this pandemic, how do these systems help us and what role are they playing in making sure that the human race overcomes this terror? Well, this is how. Our GIS assignment writers compiled a list of how the world can use GIS technology in Covid-19 surveillance.

As you have already heard in the news, Corona Virus can trace its origin from Wuhan China, and for a minute there the world was not all that concerned with what was happening there until the number of people rose to a couple of hundreds and eventually, the first case of the disease was felt in another country and now this got more real for everyone. During the first run of the virus, there were random speculations as the disease was affecting random people at random places and in no particular order. However with time, after collection and grouping of data, it was now established that people were affected at different rates and thus the disease manifested at different periods. With this data the world was now able to see the region covered and also able to trace how it spread, this then led to the lockdown of cities in China to avoid the spread. Now with this in mind, I am sure you now understand how the vents unfolded.

Helps predict patterns and future outbreaks

As we have heard time and again we can never know where we are going unless we know where we are coming from. GIS technology has offered us that leverage as collected data is now analyzed and well represented and in turn, trends can be predicted. So why is so important to know the trends when it comes to Corona virus? As I had mentioned in the previous segment on, all about Corona virus, The virus is spread very fast by contact with surfaces or with people who have the virus, however, the virus is not air-borne. All it takes for the virus to spread is a simple handshake, a sneeze or even coming to contact with contaminated surfaces.

When the ministry of health or CDC is able to predict the areas that might be affected next, they impose closed quarantine in those areas and also are equipped in the event of an emergency. On top of that, it also helps advice people accordingly.

Real-time tracking of Covid-19 spread

GIS assignmentsThe world health organization is at the front line in helping fight this pandemic and they are doing the best they can in collaboration with both the affected countries and those that are not yet infected. Having in mind that they have this tasks in hand, they have also adopted a GIS system that assists them to get live updates of what is happening in terms of the cases being reported all over the globe. They are able to update their systems every 15 minutes with the latest news in terms of the spread and research on Corona Virus. GIS analysts have come up with a global map that shows the extent to which every country has been affected by the virus. However, the good thing is that they do not reveal the specific identities of the affected individual.

Distribution of economic aid

On a global scale, media houses have shifted their focus from the political arena, celebrity drama and right to the health sector. This has been the trend for all sectors that revolve around us. Social distancing has been stressed upon severally by the CDC, the ministry of health and even the world health organization. This without saying comes with a negative impact in terms of the world economy. This has not gone unnoticed by the World Bank which has in turn offered to work liaison with countries affected by the virus. Given that there is a variation in the geographical and number of victims in each country, they have to refer back to the data analysis presented by GIS analysts to equally give aid to countries. We can be certain that there will be a major backdrop in the standard of living in affected countries but at the same time still thankful that the World Bank has cushioned the landing.

Internal analysis

Medical facilities that are involved in the handling of patients and those in charge or research also find GIS technology quite relevant. There is so much that goes on in the medical facilities that people are not aware of but I think this is all for our good. However, given that this is a first time for us to deal with this disease, information such as its origin and all the conditions surrounding the disease, why the infection rate is higher in some regions than others is very vital. So on an internal basis, the medical institutions collect that data and share it to the concerned institutions for further development. On top of that, they also find conventional mapping to be very important and this reduces the response time when a case is found.

The world has come a long way and thanks to the ever-evolving technology, we are at an advantage even in the midst of this calamity. News surrounding Corona Virus reached every corner of the globe in less than an hour and education on its nature, how its spreads and how to protect one’s self is done on all media systems, including mainstream media and social media. This is however not the first time that GIS systems have been used, however, it is the first time that it has been used under the modern world. In the past, people used to wait for manual collection data and represent it on charts and maps, which took longer and the information ran a high risk of inaccuracy between updates. I can therefore not fail to acknowledge the major progress that has been made in this field by the day.

Read more on Covid-19 symptoms, causes and how to stop spread the virus