Central Region Energy Resources Team


Selected ARC/INFO coverages created for investigations of the distribution and resources of coal in the Kaiparowits Plateau, southern Utah: an accompaniment to Hettinger and others, 1996
version 1

by L.R.H. Biewick, R.D. Hettinger, and L.N.R. Roberts

Open-File Report 97-709

This report is preliminary and has not been reviewed for conformity with U.S. Geological Survey editorial standards and stratigraphic nomenclature. Any use of trade, product, or company names in this publication is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


Getting started: Downloads
     Basic Contents of the TAR File
Database Management, Design, and Organization
The ArcView Project
     Recommendations and Dependencies
     ArcView Procedure
     Theme Display and Properties
     Additional Features or Items
UNIX Platform Considerations
     ARC/INFO Global Variables
Appendix 1 -- Coverage Descriptions  
Appendix 2-- List of Coverages in each ArcView View
(with thumbnail ArcView images)
         a - Location of Kaiparowits Plateau
         b - Generalized geologic map
         c - Iospach map, Calico and A-sequences
         d - Structural features and inclination of strata
         e - Structure contour map of the Calico sequence boundary
         f - Isopach map of net coal in the Calico and A-sequences
         g - Reliability for coal resources in the Calico and A-sequences
         h - Overburden on the Calico sequence boundary
         i - Summary map
         j - Location of the Kaiparowits Plateau, Utah
Appendix 3 -- List of Tables in each ArcView View
Appendix 4 -- List of Items Found in Tables in each ArcView View

     1. Data Library Organization Chart
     2. Regional/National Coal Assessment Data Library Structure


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is undertaking a five-year effort to identify and characterize coal beds and coal zones that could provide the fuel for the Nation's coal-derived energy during the first quarter of the 21st century. As part of the National Coal Assessment, Hettinger and others (1996) have completed an assessment of the coal deposits in the John Henry member of the Straight Cliffs Formation, Kaiparowits Plateau of southern Utah. Their report delineates the distribution of coal and provides estimates of resources in the basin. It also serves as a basis for future coal resource assessment, coal availability and recoverability, and coal reserve studies. A fundamental component of their work was the digital geologic and geographic data compiled in a Geographic Information System (GIS). GIS technology allowed for the spatial integration of data layers and resulted in the ability to display, analyze, and query data and to produce information that is useful for land-use planning.

The Kaiparowits Plateau digital data are contained in Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) ARC/INFO coverages. A coverage is a digital representation of a theme or map in the form of vector data. A coverage stores related features and associated feature attributes in tables to create a set of thematically associated data considered as a unit or layer. The ARC/INFO coverages are contained in "workspaces" stored in a structured data library. Workspaces provide an umbrella to store both coverages (spatial locations) and attributes (INFO tables). The data structure is described in the section entitled, "Database Management, Design, and Organization".

The ARC/INFO coverages are being released as they meet the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) compliant metadata standards and criteria. The data layers included in this report were used to generate figures 1, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, and 22 in Hettinger and others (1996).

This report will discuss:

The Appendices 1 through 4, provide a brief description of each coverage, a list of the coverages and tables (and the items within) contained in each ArcView project view, respectively. More detailed information can be found in the metadata associated with each coverage.


STEP 1. Download files.

The file, kaip.tar.gz extracts to 21.0 MB, that includes 37 folders (directories).

Save the file to disk on your computer in your preferred directory.

STEP 2. Run the extraction utility

Special utilities (available for UNIX, Windows95/NT, and Macintosh) are needed to extract the data and the ArcView project file from the GZIP and TAR formats.

The data files and the ArcView project file are automatically extracted in the necessary directory structure that will allow the ArcView project to run. Any changes or movement of files within the directory structure may result in ArcView not performing optimally. See the section below entitled, "The ArcView Project -- Recommendations and Dependencies". See Figure 1 for a diagram of the directory structure.

Basic Contents of the TAR File

The directory where the data have been extracted from the TAR file should contain the following files and directories:


The Kaiparowits data structure is a component of the larger USGS Energy Team Regional/National Coal Assessment Data Library. It parallels the Regional/National structure that resides on a Energy Team server in the Central Region. The database is organized into a hierarchical structure with the top level directories containing work areas defined by an area of geographic extent. Work areas provide an umbrella to store ARC/INFO "workspaces" as well as other types of files. A workspace stores ARC/INFO coverages and the associated attribute data in the INFO directory. The major Kaiparowits work areas are utah and kaip, which correspond to state-wide Utah coverages or layers of information and Kaiparowits Plateau coverages, respectively.

The following Data Library Organization Chart is provided to guide users to the location and naming conventions of the ARC/INFO coverages. Below is a description of the database structure.

Below each of the level 1 top-level directories are level 2 subdirectories containing the important individual components for the spatial analysis and ArcView projects. The components consist of ARC/INFO coverages, metadata documents, and a file containing projection parameters for the coverages (geog.prj and utm.prj). Projection files contain the parameters used in a GIS workspace to georeference or register the digital information to the surface of the Earth for accurate overlay, analysis and resource calculations. Often, it is necessary to store a coverage in more than one projection in order to display data at various scales, of which there is only one case in this report (kdak and kdak_dd; in kaip/coverages/scale125k). Coverages used to display data at a Utah statewide scale are inaccurate in the chosen projection for spatial analysis in the Kaiparowits Plateau study area (Universal Transverse Mercator - UTM, zone 12). ArcView can change projections interactively when the data (either coverages or shapefiles) are stored in geographic decimal degrees (latitude and longitude). For this reason, it is important to keep a copy of coverages in geographic decimal degrees format for ease of display in ArcView of combinations of coverages from various workspaces at various scales (local, statewide, national). kdak_dd is in geographic decimal degrees for the Utah statewide index map. Geographic format is not a true projection, but a spherical reference system. It is appropriate for graphical display, but caution must be exercised in performing spatial analysis using area and perimeter with coverages stored in geographic format. The coverages included in this report that are stored in geographic decimal degrees are those coverages that are included exclusively for display in a locality map.

Because the directory structure organizes spatial information, scale and resolution of the data are important factors in arranging the hierarchy of a spatial data repository. This gives an immediate identifier to the level of detail based on the scale at which the data were captured. Resolution is directly related to the accuracy and obviously important in analysis and interpretation. Multiple scales are necessary to adequately display differing National, regional, and site-specific products and analyses. This type of grouping of ARC/INFO coverages in workspaces defined by scale (m = million, k = thousand), provides a more useful means of storage than including the resolution of the data in the coverage name. To do the latter may pose a problem in that the filenames could become very long. To help increase efficiency and avoid typing long path names, global variables were developed and are included in this report in a file named stat_nca. Included also are aliases that expedite moving through the directory structure at the UNIX system level. That file is named alias.txt. The use of the global variables, aliases and the ARC/INFO startup file will be discussed in the section entitled, "UNIX Platform Considerations".

The filenames are significant, descriptive, and designed to be intuitive. They give basic thematic information and are annotated in Figure 1. For a brief description of the coverages, see Appendix 1. More detailed documentation is included in the formal metadata for each coverage (see section entitled "Metadata").



The ArcView project (k1.apr) was created using ESRI ArcView GIS software Version 2.1. ArcView GIS software is a desktop GIS with a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI) allowing users to easily load and display spatial and tabular data. ArcView provides tools to query, analyze and present results of the data. The output of an ArcView analysis is the "project" file that by convention carries the .apr extension.

The ArcView project serves several purposes, including:

The ArcView project file has been designed for maximum utility on a variety of computer platforms. Initial compilation was on a Intel Pentium platform running Windows NT. It can be opened in either ArcView 2.1 or ArcView 3.0, and it accommodates all types of computer platforms including: UNIX, Windows-based PCs, and Macintosh.

Recommendations and Dependencies

After you have successfully extracted files from the TAR file, it is important to keep the directory structure intact as provided so that ArcView can locate the associated coverages, that is, with the ArcView project file stored at the same directory level as the kaip and utah directories. The directory structure is the key or pathway for ArcView to locate and display themes. Moving the ArcView project file relative to the data will require editing to adjust paths stored within the project file or development of system-specific environment variables for ArcView and the system properties. Additionally, if the project file is saved before exiting, it is recommended that the project be saved to a new file. Saving the project to the original file before exiting will alter entire paths to the associated coverages in the project file; this can be significant if the project file is subsequently moved to another directory or computer system. For example, the paths in this ArcView project file begin with the top-level directories, i.e., kaip/coverages/scale100k/county. Whenever an ArcView project is saved, all paths to where the data reside are placed in the ArcView project file. If the user downloads this suite of files to the d: drive and saves the ArcView project, the path listed above is now altered to d:/kaip/coverages/scale100k/county.

ArcView Procedure

Once the ArcView program is started, click on the File pulldown menu and select Open Project. Select the appropriate drive in the lower right of the Open Project window, then select k1.apr and click on OK. When the project file is open, you will see the application window that contains the ArcView user interface. Like all the windows in ArcView, you can move, resize, minimize, or maximize this window. This ArcView project was developed using 16-bit color. Set your monitor to that setting or greater for the best viewing. On both Macintosh and UNIX platforms, we found that the original application window may need to be enlarged slightly by dragging the upper right or lower right corner.

The application window contains a View document window that partially overlies the Project window. The Project window displays the names of all the documents contained in this ArcView project. The ArcView user interface consists of menus, buttons, and tools arranged in three bars at the top of the application window. Along the bottom of the application window is the status bar. When you place the cursor over a button or tool, the status bar displays a one-line description of the operation it performs. Loading of this ArcView project is complete when the lightning bolt tool, turns from gray to black (becomes active).

The first view is an index map showing the location of the Kaiparowits Plateau, southern Utah.

Step 1. Hotlinks: As instructed in the note at the lower right on the first view, move the cursor using the left mouse button to click on the lightning bolt in the application window tool bar, to use the hotlink tool. The hotlink tool links to other views, tables, images, text. With the tip of the lightning bolt tool, click inside the Kaiparowits Plateau to link to the next view, which is Figure 1, showing the location of the Kaiparowits Plateau, Utah, modified from Hettinger and others (1996). (The hotlink is associated with the theme labeled "Kaiparowits Plateau" in the legend. This theme should be and must be active in order for the predefined action to occur. The theme labeled "Kaiparowits Plateau" is active when it appears to be contained in a raised box in the legend. Click the left mouse button with the cursor in the general vicinity of a theme in the legend to make that particular theme active.)

Step 2. Selection Tool -- Making Windows Active: Use the left mouse button to click on the black arrow (the selection tool) in the tool bar. Use the selection tool to click anywhere in the Project window to make it active. In the white portion of the Project window are a list of views. Each view contains a display, and is a modification of one of nine figures from Hettinger and others (1996), including figures 1, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, and 22. By double-clicking with the mouse button on the name of a view, that view becomes active. Sequentially display each of the figures to view the coverages included in this report.

Theme Display and Properties

The data files that make up each view are referred to as "themes" in ArcView. Themes are synonymous with ARC/INFO coverages or ArcView shapefiles. The theme names appear along with the legend information in a gray box to the left of the view, and in this ArcView project, serve as a short description of the coverage.

Theme Properties: To see the coverage name and path, as shown in the Data Library Organization Chart, click with the left mouse button in the general vicinity of a theme in the legend box. The theme name and its associated legend become a raised box. Now click on the word Theme in the menu bar along the top of the view user interface to activate a pull-down menu. Select Properties from the pull-down menu. In the left margin of the Theme Properties window, the Definition tool, when highlighted and active, lists the source.

A single click with the left mouse button on the icon containing a hammer and a question mark (query builder) lists the fields in the active theme. Each field is an attribute that can be queried for spatial analysis. Each attribute is described in Appendix 4 and is explained in detail in the formal metadata associated with each coverage. In the Query Builder window, click in the box to the left of Update Values to place an "X" in the box and make it active. Now double-click any field with the left mouse button to see all of the values stored in the selected field. Cancel the Query Builder and Theme Properties windows to return to the View tools.

Identify Tool: The leftmost tool in the View tool bar is the identify tool. This tool contains the letter "i" inside a black solid circle, and can be used, for example, to identify the values in color ramp figures or specific attributes.

Additional Features or Items

Note that values assigned to contour intervals have been assigned to the polygons by taking the midpoint of the range of values defined by that polygon. See the formal metadata associated with each coverage for further information. Revisit this web site for future additions (

The final view listed in the Project window is the index map that is activated upon loading this ArcView project.


A critical aspect of this report is the documentation of the digital layers or themes. As a result of the 1994 Executive Order 12906, metadata (information about the data, i.e., it's source, scale, process steps, etc.) documentation is required for all "new" (post 1994) digital spatial information generated by U.S. Government agencies. Metadata is being organized by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) into a National clearinghouse of digital information, the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). NSDI serves as a metadata repository, provides pointers to accessible digital information, reduces digital compilation effort within the Federal Government and Public, and provides a forum for exchange of data and ideas. Documentation augments utility, educates people about the data, assists them in determining its usefulness, and helps track content and data quality.

For each of the coverages included in this report, FGDC-compliant metadata have been compiled using several tools including: ESRI's DOCUMENT.AML, a text editor, and tools developed by the USGS including CNS, XTME, and MP ( The metadata documents are stored in an ASCII text file in each of the subdirectories, kaip.docu or ut.docu, at the level where the coverages reside (all coverages stored below the kaip top-level directory have metadata files in the subdirectory kaip.docu).

The metadata filenames are 'coveragename'.meta, i.e., metadata for the coverage roads is named roads.meta. The process was more efficient and successful by using DOCUMENT.AML only to extract pertinent information from the coverages. The DOCUMENT CREATE command allows the user to capture and extract metadata information from the coverage. The information processing done by DOCUMENT CREATE includes converting and reporting the bounding coordinates in latitude and longitude decimal degrees, reporting of the native dataset environment, calculating and reporting the spatial data organization information and spatial reference information, reporting some of the entity and attribute information and metadata reference information. That information is also written to INFO files associated with the coverage. Once CREATE is complete, the user quits that DOCUMENT option, and runs another DOCUMENT option (FILE) to create an ASCII metadata file from the INFO files created during DOCUMENT CREATE. The resultant ASCII metadata file can then be referenced while using other tools that proved to be more appropriate for entering the additional metadata information.

The tools developed by the USGS (XTME, CNS and MP) serve to ensure that metadata are structured appropriately for the NSDI. XTME creates a metadata template that can be filled in while in the program or saved and edited using a text editor. Use of a text editor simplifies cutting and pasting information you might have in unformatted documentation files and in the ASCII text file saved from running DOCUMENT FILE. Users can transfer metadata files in and out of XTME and the text editor as needed. CNS ("chew 'n spit") is a utility that formats the data properly for XTME and MP and stores any additional information into the "leftovers" file. CNS proved to be a critical tool for formatting FGDC-compliant metadata. MP is used upon completion of metadata compilation. MP scans the metadata document and reports to the user by line number any errors that were encountered. With a text editor, the user can then isolate and correct those errors, and rerun MP. Occasionally running CNS once again on the metadata file immediately before running MP will correct some of those errors (that is, errors caused by inappropriate formatting). MP can also be used to write the metadata file in ASCII, HTML, SGML, or DIF formats.

Printing of metadata from a word processing program gives better results than simply printing the raw ASCII text file, in that the word processing program will force long lines of text to wrap rather than get truncated.


ARC/INFO Global Variables

The global variables, as mentioned in "Database Management, Design, and Organization", provide an efficient way to access coverages in a hierarchical data structure. Use of variables reduces typing and allows a user to process coverages in workspaces other than in the one the user is currently working.

The global variables are activated on a UNIX machine by first performing a global edit on the paths in the file stat_nca. One can change /coal2/nca/reg3/ to be the entire path, including the name of the disk, to where the utah and kaip top-level directories were downloaded. For instance, if the files are housed in a subdirectory you named kp (for Kaiparowits Plateau) in your home directory on a SUN server, change /coal2/nca/reg3/ to /home1/(username)/kp/. Next, copy stat_nca to $ARCHOME/stations/stat_nca, and put the .arc file (a startup file) in your home directory. Normally only the system administrator has write access to $ARCHOME/stations and can copy stat_nca from your directory. The .arc file contains a single command (&station nca) that activates the stations file (stat_nca) when the ARC/INFO program is started.

The global variables are indicated on the Data Library Organization Chart (see Figure 1.) and are used as a shortcut in ARC/INFO in typing the directory path. For example, at the Arc prompt, type: workspace %.n3k125% to move to kaip/coverages/scale125k/. To describe the roads coverage from a workspace other than the one in which it resides, at the Arc prompt, type: describe %.n3k100%roads

An Arcedit example is as follows: Displaying the structural features with township and range lines can be accomplished by typing: ec %.n3k125%structure
bc %.n3k24%twnshp 2


Aliases are UNIX-platform codes used to define long commands. The aliases work the same as the global variables except at the UNIX-system level, rather than within ARC/INFO. These particular aliases expedite moving through the directory structure at the UNIX-system level. In order for the aliases to work, a person must edit the paths in the file alias.txt. The procedure is the same as that described for stat_nca (change /coal2/nca/reg3/ to be the entire path, including the name of the disk, to where the utah and kaip top-level directories were downloaded). The following statement must be typed at the system prompt or added to the .cshrc file in your home directory: source alias.txt (in this case, the alias.txt file would also reside in your home directory; if not, include the path to alias.txt in the command that is placed in the .cshrc file). The aliases are activated each time you log onto the UNIX system or by typing from your home directory: source .cshrc

To use an alias to move to the directory that contains the metadata for all of the coverages below the kaip top-level directory, at the system prompt, type: n3kd which stands for kaip/kaip.docu To list the files in kaip/coverages/scale125k/, type: n3k125 (to move to that directory) and then type: ls -al

The n3 at the beginning of each alias and global variable defines the directory structure as it exists in the USGS Energy Resource Survey Team's Regional/National Coal Assessment Data Library. The n stands for the top-level directory of that library, nca, and the 3 stands for the next level subdirectory where Colorado Plateau data reside, reg3 (for Region 3), based on defined USGS Energy Resource Regions:

For example: the alias n3kd stands for /nca/reg3/kaip/kaip.docu/

Figure 2. -- Example of the directory structure of the USGS Central Energy Team Regional/National Coal Assessment Data Library.


D.A. Ferderer and R.R. Schumann, U.S. Geological Survey, technically reviewed this report. Both provided expert assistance on the proper methods for creating FGDC-compliant metadata that can be housed in the NSDI. R.R. Schumann instructed L.R.H. Biewick on the NSDI content standards for digital geospatial FGDC-compliant metadata. D.A. Ferderer provided invaluable suggestions for making this document a prototype for future efforts to publish and release ARC/INFO coverages and other digital data.


(includes references cited in the metadata)

Edwards, Thomas C., 1993, Utah land ownership map: based on 1:100,000-scale BLM maps. Digital GIS file format, UTCFWRU Utah State University, Logan UT, scale 1:100,000.

Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc., Redlands, CA 92373 USA.

Hettinger, R.D., Roberts, L.N.R., Biewick, L.R.H., and Kirschbaum, M.A., 1996, Preliminary investigations of the distribution and resources of coal in the Kaiparowits Plateau, southern Utah, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 96-539, 72 p., 1 plate.

Roberts, C.A., McColley, R.A., Anderson, N.B., Gray, A.W., and Beach, R.A., 1993, Availability of Federally owned minerals for exploration and development in western States: Utah, 1988, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines Special Report, 46 p., 3 plates.

Sargent, K.A. and Hansen, D.E., 1982, Bedrock geologic map of the Kaiparowits coal-basin area, Utah, U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Investigations Series Map, Map I-1022-I, scale 1:125,000.

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Census, 1990, TIGER line files Precensus files, scale 1:100,000.

Utah State Geographic Information Database (SGID), 1995, Public Land Survey System, Utah Division of State Lands and Forestry, Logan, Utah, scale 1:24,000.

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U. S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-709


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