I have been struggling for quite a long time now with keeping my project files organized.
What are your tips for keeping your datasets, images, shapefiles, etc.. organized?
put on hold as too broad by Fezter, Michael Miles-Stimson, PolyGeo♦ May 26 at 2:38
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Note: This rant will be updated as I go
I'm no computer or ArcGIS pro by any means, but here's what I do:
The Bottom Line
You did not state that you only work with Desktop GIS software, so I'll share some of my experiences from the programming oriented mindset. Let me first start by saying that I agree with of the things @dassouki says. I think the most important thing is not how you organize, but that you do this.
But to go on to my workflow. What I like about using a programming language (R in my case) is that the script I write documents all the steps I take. This is in contrast to using ArcGIS where I think it is harder to see how a user went from the raw input data to what you can see in an mxd file. Ofcourse you can keep a log of all the steps you take in the GUI, but I think a programming language lends itself much better to saving the exact workflow you took. This can be particularly important when a client/supervisor asks how you did something, or what you exactly did to produce a certain product.
So in practice I have several folders on my drive that are important (note that I am a scientist):
Some main ideas I use:
In general I like using a programming language because in one script you can go from the raw data to the resulting pictures/tables. R is quite a good candidate because it can read and write GIS data easily and has a ton of analyses on board, both GIS and statistics.
I would just like to add to the above answer - 2 things.