So I need to create shapefiles (that need to be adapted and transfered for other programs) with the district outline of a couple of Caribbean countries. Is georeferencing (using the Georeferencing toolbar) of pictures/maps online a good solution? Is there any other method I can approach, possibly more professional? What other measure should I take in order to make the shapefiles created can be used after (without basemap)? (Only thing off is Coordinate system, which in my case is WGS 1984)

Realise this is a newbie question again, sorry, but help will be very much appreciated. Thanks

  • Your question is not very clear, you want to know the best method for creating a GIS layer that shows the one to many islands (I'm not sure you are using the term georeferencing in the correct context?)? – artwork21 Apr 2 '14 at 15:17
  • I need to create a layer that shower further administrative areas within each island. Thought I can use already existing pictures of the districts and georeference them, but I don't think I can do that. – Madacify Apr 2 '14 at 15:44

If you already have the projected shapefile defining the various islands then you may use the georeferencing toolbar to georeference your images. Once you have the images georeferenced you should create another shapefile (districts or something) from your island shapefile, and start an edit session and split/cut the various boundaries out referencing your georeferenced images.

  • That's what I was hoping to do. But how can I use the pictures to split up the existing big polygon (can't adjust transparency/display, so can't see through. And what do you mean by creating a shapefile from the already existing shapefile? – Madacify Apr 2 '14 at 16:11
  • Load your island layer into ArcMap, right click the layer in the table of centents, and select Export Data (and call it districts or something else). As you stated you can adjust the image transparency as needed so you can see your district layer (or if this layer is a polygon than you can simply remove the fill and put this layer on-top of the image(s) layer). This layer you may split/cut up it to represent the boundaries in your images. There is no easy way to create the boundary lines automatically from the georeferenced images. – artwork21 Apr 2 '14 at 16:15
  • Thanks. I'll try and see if that works. So don't need georeferencing? Just visual referencing of the images? Also, one last silly question - do I need to use a basemap all throughout this process, or is it enough if I just set up the Coordinate system? – Madacify Apr 2 '14 at 16:23
  • Georeferencing attempts to put your images in the correct geo location. Georeferencing should help aid in your splitting and cutting of your 'district' layer, so yes to your question. – artwork21 Apr 2 '14 at 16:27
  • Is there any way I can adjust the image/picture's transparency rather than the layer's transparency? – Madacify Apr 3 '14 at 8:42

Why can't you use a global data set?




  • I thought of this already, but what I need to do is split Tobago for example or Barbados into smaller districts (Administrative areas), and don't know what I can use for that. – Madacify Apr 2 '14 at 15:42
  • Try - diva-gis.org/gdata or try - gadm.org/country Both of these have administrative district data you can download by specifying a country. Have not used them myself so let us know if this works for you. – user23715 Apr 3 '14 at 0:43

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