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I am supposed to do a presentation on how to do this, and I'm not exactly sure what it is asking.

The question is: "how can you assign vector data attributes from other adjacent data?"

I am in a geology field class and am learning GIS and mapping my field sites as well. This is supposed to be something I am able to learn through the help menus and/or forums, but the question itself is not clear to me and they won't answer me. Anyone have an idea what this would most likely be asking?

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What they're asking you how to do is called a "Spatial Join". It's a very common task in GIS software.

You can find the ArcGIS help you need here.

Once you have joined the data together, you can update your fields with the joined data.

Now that you know the terminology, you can search this site for more questions relating to the topic.

Here's a video on how to perform a spatial join in ArcMap. Note, this is for version 9.3, but should still be pretty much the same in 10.x.

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Hey thats really helpful! But for some reason I think it may not be join because the next persons topic is "You have 2 sets of vector data that describe one common and many uncommon attributes, how can you make one set of data that describes all of the attributes" - Doesn't that sound a lot like a join? Do you think it would be a relate? – Emily Welk May 29 '13 at 6:22
There are two types of joins - Attribute joins and spatial joins. Your original question sounds like a spatial join because they say "adjacent data". The other sounds like an attribute join. – Fezter May 29 '13 at 11:26
For additional clarification, these joins also fall into a category of operations that are refered to as conflation – awesomo May 29 '13 at 17:06

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