Quick Start Tutorial

Texas Hazard Mitigation Package (THMP)

Below are three lessons for quickly getting started in using the THMP Site effectively. Each lesson builds on the previous one and is recommended that you go in sequence.

You may choose to PRINT this page for easy reference or open a new browser window (File>New>Window) while proceeding through the tutorial.

 

LESSON 1:

Using Summary-level data and maps

 

1. Click the Data Layers main menu (not the sub-menus, though you could) just below the banner near the top of the page

2. Click Weather-related Hazards or Non Weather-related Hazards depending on your interest.

3. This Data Layers Key page, allows you to find a list of hazards (depending on the choice above). The information below indicates how the data layers are organized in the following Data Layer Description pages.

4. Click on a hazard to see the data layers associated with that hazard category

5a. Review the page structure and notice it relates to the Key page you just viewed. Each Data Layer Description page contains both Summary-level data (top portion of page) and Detail-level data (bottom portion of page).

Note: Summary-level data generally displays historical hazard occurrences, summarized by county. Detail-level data generally displays historical hazard occurrences by actual event location, risk zones and other related detail data.

5b. In the Summary-level section, decide on a data layer to map, but first read the data layer description information about it.

6. For the data layer you choose to map, click on the Map hyperlink to activate a particular Summary-level data layer (see below).

Because we chose to view a Summary-level data layer, this activates the Hazard Summary Map Viewer.

7. This new window will open and begin to load the map and data layers in this particular Map Viewer. You will probably want to resize the window.

Note: If the new Map Viewer window inadvertently stops loading, just click the Refresh button (bottom-right) to restart the loading process.

Once the Map Viewer is initialized you will see a map of that data layer, summarized by county for the state of Texas.

Technical Info: This is a thematic map , displaying classifications (ranges) of values by color. This specific type of thematic map is often called a graduated-color map or choropleth map.

In the Layer List (right-side of Map) there will be a list of hazard categories, as well as some base map categories. The hazard category of the data layer you chose will be check-marked indicating one or more layers within that category are turned on (visible).

Base Map categories may also be check-marked as visible, by default.

If the check-mark for any folder is black, all data layers within that hazard category are visible. Otherwise, a gray check-mark indicates only a portion of the data layers are currently visible.

8. Click the check-marked folder associated with the hazard category to see all of the data layers within that category.

Note: There may be only one or several data layers associated with this hazard category for this Map Viewer.

Multiple data layers may be visible at a time, but only one data layer may be active at a time.

Warning: Be careful selecting multiple layers to be visible so that your map doesn't become too confusing or unusable. It is typically best to show only one hazard data layer at a time (though there are some exceptions). However, multiple base map layers are not as much of a concern.

The default active data layer will be the one you chose to map. This is indicated by a radio button (bulleted circle) and the data layer name highlighted. The active data layer provides more functionality, including the ability to view (Identify) its attribute data.

9. Review the Toolbar (left-side of Map) and the commands that each tool (button) represents by placing your cursor over them and displaying the hypertext.

10. Click on the IDENTIFY tool to activate it (confirmed with a red box around the icon).

11. Select a feature (county) on the map and review the Attribute Table that is displayed below the map area.

In the case of Summary-level data (this lesson example), the features are the individual counties, since the Hazard Summary Map Viewer is a compilation of historical hazard occurrences summarized by county.

Only one of the fields (columns) is currently being mapped. For Summary-level data, this is typically the 'Frequency' or 'Count' field. This field also correlates to the 'Map Classification' field which reveals what color category (range) the 'Frequency' or 'Count' value is associated with.

OPTIONAL: If you prefer to keep a printed record of the attribute data, either right-click anywhere on the table and select Print (Landscape mode) or Select all>Copy>Paste to another program like MS-Excel. There are also other ways to access this data we will discuss later.

12.. Click on the LAYERS/LEGENDS tool (upper-left button on Toolbar) to toggle between the Legend and the Layer List displayed on right-side of Map. The Layer List is the default, so clicking once should change to the Legend.

The Legend displays the symbology used to map the visible layers. For Summary-level data, as was mentioned previously, values will be classified in ranges with an associated color.

13. Prepare to Print Map:

Note: If attempting to print the entire state of Texas view, you may first choose to resize the window to eliminate east-west blank space. By cropping the state more precisely, you will increase the size of Texas on your print page which may be necessary to better view the map.

To resize your window, you may first need to restore down (double-boxes in upper-right window title bar), then click and drag the window to it's new "Texas cropped" size.

Note: If you are zoomed in to an area, the above process is not necessary (more on Zooming in Lesson 2)

14. Click the PRINT tool (bottom-right button on Toolbar). Below the map area, type in a title for your map (perhaps the data layer name) and click Create Print Page. A new window opens with legend displayed, ready for print.

Note: If a new window does not open it may be because you have a pop-up blocker and will need to hold down the CTRL button while you click Create Print Page and release once the Map Viewer has loaded.

15. From your Internet browser, choose File > Print, choose Landscape mode and any other preferences if necessary, then click Print


 

LESSON 2:

Using Detail-level data and maps

 

...Close any existing Map Viewers (if necessary), leaving your original THMP window open

1. Go to the Data Layers main menu and hover over the title to see the drop-down menu options.

2. Move down and click either Weather-related Hazards or Non Weather-related Hazards to go directly to that section's Data Layers Key page again.

3. Click on a hazard category to open the Data Layers Description page see the data layers associated with that hazard.

4a. In the Detail-level section (bottom portion of page), decide on a data layer to map, but first read the data layer description information about it.

4b. Click on the Map hyperlink to activate the associated Map Viewer for that detail-level data layer.

Because we chose to view a Detail-level data layer, this activates one of the detail viewers -- either the Weather-related Hazards Map Viewer or the Non Weather-related Hazards Map Viewer, depending on which one you chose above.

Once the Map Viewer is initialized you will see a map of that data layer for all of Texas. Maximize the window if necessary.

5. Click the check-marked folder associated with the hazard category to see all of the data layers within that category.

Notice what is visible within this hazard category and the other base map categories. Notice that the data layer you selected to map is the active data layer.

6. Click on the ZOOM IN tool (this may be active by default). On the map, click and drag a box to define a new zoom area. The map will refresh.

7. With the ZOOM IN tool still active (red box around it), simply click once on the area of the map you want re-centered and zoomed in to. The map will refresh, zoomed in again to a preset level centered at the spot you clicked.

8. In the Layer List area (right-side of Map), make another hazard data layer visible -- either within that category or another.

9. Be sure to uncheck the previous data layer. Not doing so would probably make the map confusing. Remember, that in most cases, you should only display one hazard data layer at a time. Multiple visible base map layers are typically OK.

Notice that when the Auto Refresh button is check-marked (below Layer List), your map automatically refreshes to reflect the visible data layer changes. However, some Users prefer to control this manually by clicking the Refresh Map button when they want to update the map.

10. Now click the radio button (circle) on the same data layer to change the active status to this data layer (bulleted circle).

Optional: At this point, you may choose whatever action you like, but you may PRINT the map or IDENTIFY to see the attribute data.

Note: Unlike mapping the entire state of Texas where it is best to resize the window (see Lesson 1 above), you do not typically need to do this when mapping a zoomed in area.

11. Click on the data layer name to open a new window revealing the Metadata. ...Quickly review it, then close it when done.

Note: Metadata is data about data. It contains information such as an abstract description, data source, spatial reference, attribute field descriptions, etc. Metadata for each data layer can also be opened in the Data Layer Description pages we were viewing earlier.

12. Go back to the Data Layers section of the Site by clicking on the Data Layers menu and navigating forward through the Data Layer Key page (choosing the hazard category) and on to the Data Layer Description page where your active data layer resides.

Warning: Do not attempt to use the Back button from the Map Viewer.

13. Once you are back to the Data Layer Description page, click on the Metadata hyperlink to view the metadata. ...Close the window when you are done reviewing it.

Note: This is another way to access the metadata as mentioned previously.

14. Click the Download hyperlink. This will download a zip file to your local drive containing the GIS files (ESRI shapefile format) and metadata associated with that data layer. This file can now be utilized on several GIS programs (including ArcView from ESRI), perhaps one that you already have.

Note: This Download option provides the data for the entire state of Texas (or where the relevant data exists). Notice, however, there is a Download Utility option as well. We will discover this in an upcoming lesson whereby we can download only selected counties and even add other data layers to the download group.

Optional: You may also click the Source hyperlink(s) to browse the external Site(s) from which the data layer was derived.


 

LESSON 3:

Using the Map Viewers directly

 

...Close any existing Map Viewers or additional windows (if necessary), leaving just your original THMP window open

1. Click on the Map Viewers main menu (not the sub-menus, though you could).

In the previous two lessons you learned to access the Map Viewer from the Data Layer Description pages and that specific data layer's corresponding Map hyperlink.

This was intended to provide you with a broader scope of the THMP Site and an introduction to the Data Layers (and associated information) and how they relate to the Map Viewers. ...However, there is faster method for accessing the Map Viewer if you prefer to go straight to the map.

2. Click either Weather-related Hazards or Non Weather-related Hazards.

Notice there are four Map Viewers: Hazard Summary, Weather-related Hazards, Non Weather-related Hazards and Vulnerability.

These map viewer options correspond to the Summary-level or Detail-level options you learned in the previous lessons. We will learn later in the next lesson about the Vulnerability map viewer.

3. From the Zoom Options page, click a county of your choice (see below for more).

Notice you have a choice for determining your geographic (zoom) area of interest. You may choose to zoom out to the entire state of Texas or zoom in to a specific county.

To choose to zoom to a county, you may either select a county from the drop-down list or click on your county in the map graphic below.

Once the Map Viewer is initialized, you will be zoomed into your county with only a few base map data layers set (defaulted) to visible.

Note: Accessing the Map Viewers directly (not going through the Data Layer pages), no hazard data layers are visible and none are active.

4. Choose a hazard data layer and make it visible and active.

Note: Keep in mind that some data layers are not visible until you are zoomed-in close enough. This scale-dependency is indicated by magnifying glass on the folder -- so you will have to zoom in even more to see it.

5. Scroll to the very bottom of the Layer List and review the HELP section associated with data layers.

6. Click User Guide & Help hyperlink (left-side of Map area, below the Toolbar) and review the document of helpful tips.

Optional: At this point, you may choose whatever action you like, but you may PRINT the map or IDENTIFY to see the attribute data.

7. Click on a few of the hotlinks to the other three Map Viewers (left-side of Map area) and become familiar navigating between Map Viewers.

8. Click on a menu category (above the map area) to navigate to other parts of the THMP Site, including the Data Layers section again


 

LESSON 4:

Using Vulnerability data and maps

 

...Close any existing Map Viewers or additional windows (if necessary), leaving just your original THMP window open.

1. Click on the Data Layers main menu (not the sub-menus, though you could).

2. Scroll to the bottom and click on Vulnerability data to open the Data Layer Description page.

Notice the hazards that vulnerability is calculated for. Vulnerability is based upon the intersection of (a) exposure and (b) risk zones for those particular hazards.

Exposure data for Population and Property Value are included in this Vulnerability section. However, Risk Zone data must be found by its corresponding hazard category in the Weather-related and /Non Weather-related sections of this Site.

3. In the Exposure category, click on Population

Notice that Population data is broken down by 2000 census geography (County, Tract, Block Group, Block). County population data is also provided in 2005 and 2010 estimates.

4. Scroll down to the Population (Block) 2000 data layer and click the Map 1 hyperlink and wait for the Vulnerability Map Viewer to load.

Notice that Map 2 for these data layers provides a map using the "density" factor.

Resize the Map Viewer window and notice that the Population data is not yet visible. As w.as explained in an earlier lesson, this is because many data layers are scale-dependent and are not visible until you zoom in close enough. Something as detailed as "block-level" data will require Users to zoom in quite a bit

5. With the Zoom In tool active (default), pick an area along the Texas gulf coast; drag a box to zoom to.

Note: In this lesson we will be viewing Vulnerabilities to Hurricanes, so we need to view areas along the coast.

6. You still may not be zoomed in enough. From the Layer List, click on the Population folder to expand it and notice the population data we decided to map is active and visible, but not at this scale.

7. Zoom in more and more until you can finally see the mapped data layer.

Also notice the other data layers in the Population category, as well as the overall Exposure category.

8. From the Toolbar, click on the Legend/Layer List toggle to display the Legend

Notice the range values and associated colors on the map.

Hint: If you do not recall which button this is, you can either hover your mouse over the buttons to display the hypertext or click on the User Guide & Help hotlink (left-side of map) and click Toolbar Help.

9. Uncheck the Auto Refresh button. We will

10. Toggle back on the Layer List and click on the Hazard Risk Areas folder to expand it and make visible and active the Hurricane Risk Zones data layer; Click Refresh

Notice this later is transparent so that you can still see -- to some effect -- the underlying exposure (population) data.

11. From the Toolbar, activate the Identify button and click in the different risk zones to see the Risk Zone field value in the Attribute Table.

Note: Hurricane Risk Zones vary from 1 (most probable) to 5 (least probable).

With this simple overlay display, Users can determine where higher populations meet risk zones that are more probable to experience the hazard event.

12: Turn off the currently visible layers and make visible only the Population Vulnerability: Hurricanes data layer in the Hurricanes group of the Vulnerability category; Click Refresh

This is similar to the simple overlay map we just displayed, only now a new single data layer has been created from the Exposure data and Risk Zone data inputs and the output map is more clear.

13. From the Toolbar, click on the Legend/Layer List toggle to display the Legend

The data has been classified on a relative vulnerability scale from very low to high. Now notice the more vulnerable areas.

Note: The 'very low' class indicates that although no population "resides" in those census blocks, they are in a risk zone so there is some vulnerability potential.

14. Toggle back on the Layer List and make visible the Property Value Density Vulnerability: Hurricanes data layer; Click Refresh

Realize we are now displaying property value (building + contents replacement cost) as the exposure type intersecting with the risk zones and producing a new vulnerability output data layer.

We are also now looking at this exposure by applying a density (divided by area) factor.

15. Now make visible and active the Property Value Vulnerability: Hurricanes data layer; Turn off the previous data layer and click Refresh

Notice how different the map is without applying density. This is now looking at property values without regard to the size of the census block.

16. From the Toolbar, activate the Identify button and click on any census block to display the Attribute Table.

17. Notice the 'Total Value', 'Building Value' and 'Contents Value' fields. Total Value is the "Property Value" and is the Building Value + Contents Value. Recall that all values are "replacement costs". Also note that values are in "thousands of dollars", so add 3 "0's" to all values.


 

LESSON 5:

Downloading data

 

...Close any existing Map Viewers or additional windows (if necessary), leaving just your original THMP window open.

There are multiple ways to download data from the THMP Site. We will go through each of them so that you can choose the most appropriate method for your needs and specific situation.

1. Click on the Data Layers main menu

2. Click either Weather-related Hazards or Non Weather-related Hazards.

3. Click on a hazard category to open the Data Layer Description pages to see the data layers associated with that hazard.

4. Scroll to any data layer's Download hyperlink and click it.

Note: This will download the entire data layer for Texas (state-wide; all counties relevant to this data layer).

5. OPTIONAL: You can choose to cancel for the sake of continuing this exercise without actually downloading the file. Otherwise, click Save.

Note: Many data layers may take a long time to download, especially if they are state-wide. However, if you chose to download (save) to your computer, you would then need to uncompress (unzip) the file after the download has completed.

6. From the same data layer section (on the Data Layer Description page) click on Download Utility

7. Select a County by choosing that county from the alphabetized list or by clicking on the map image.

Note: You may also choose to download by State-wide, but unlike the previous hyperlink we used, this Utility allows you to choose multiple data layers to download at one time.

8. Scroll up and down to review the list of data layers available for the county you chose (plus the option of choosing state-wide) and select several data layers you are interested in and click Submit.

9. A new window opens confirming the list of data layers you selected. Read the instructions carefully (and perhaps even print it).

10. OPTIONAL : You can choose to cancel (Command: Close) for the sake of continuing this exercise without actually downloading the files. Otherwise, click Download and follow the Instructions (above).

11. From the main menu, choose Data Layers and FTP Download.

This option takes you straight to the FTP Site where the data resides. If you are a more advanced User and already know the files you're seeking, you choose this option.

12. OPTIONAL: You can choose cancel (click the Back button) for the sake of continuing this exercise without actually downloading any files. Otherwise, double-click a file and save.

All of the download methods described above download ESRI Shapefiles (.shp) along with it's associated files and some supplemental files for your review. The Shapefile is a very common GIS format and can be opened or imported into many GIS software programs.

The next set of instructions describe how to stream THMP data layers into your GIS program.

Note: The following steps are only valid for Users with ArcGIS from ESRI, although other GIS programs may offer similar functionality.

13. Launch ArcGIS (ArcView); new empty map or an existing map, if you prefer

14. Launch ArcCatalog and expand the GIS Servers directory

15. Double-click Add ArcIMS Server and type the URL, http://www.tnris.org

16. Double-click www.tnris.org and choose whichever THMP-related Servers (Map Viewers) you wish to download/stream data layers from and add to the Table of Contents (drag and drop).

thmp_lev1 = Hazard Summary Map Viewer

thmp_leve2 = Weather-related Map Viewer

thmp_lev3 = Non Weather-related Map Viewer

thmp_lev4 = Vulnerability data Map Viewer

17. Turn on or off any data layers and make other changes as necessary.

Note that, by default, the entire set of data layers from the Map Viewer will be added to your map.

 

SEE ALSO :

User Guide & Help for utilizing the Map Viewer functions.

User Resources section for Training, Support Groups and Presentations.

Links section with external links to Reference Materials, Other Maps & Data and Real-Time Data