Special Areas of Interest in the new World Topographic Map design

Since the beginning of the Community Maps Program, content contributors have been encouraged to include large scale features from “special areas of interest” within their geographies, such as university and public school campuses, large commercial centers and tourist attractions.  More recently, the Community Maps Program has been actively reaching out to campus organizations themselves to include their basemaps as part of the World Topographic Map, and many examples can be seen in this ArcGIS Explorer Online presentation.

Formerly, Community Maps participants who wanted to enhance their content contributions with campus-level features, such as walkways, parking lots and landscaped areas, needed to use the Campus Basemap Template to prepare their content for submission, because campus features were not included in the large scale Community Maps Template.  The use of two different templates to create one map resulted in some interesting challenges for Community Maps participants, and the resulting effect in the World Topographic Map could be a little jarring, as symbology changes between the two templates were sometimes dramatic (see graphic below).

Now the release of Community Maps 2.0 and the redesign of the World Topographic Map have made it easier than ever for Community Maps contributors to include campuses and other special areas of interest into their content contributions.  Likewise, the path to Community Maps participation is also greatly simplified for campus organizations that want to join the growing number educational and business institutions represented in the World Topographic Map.  Here is how these two program enhancements have impacted campus basemap contributors:

  • Community Maps 2.0 – Community Maps contributors no longer need to submit an authored map template or map cache.  Instead, they need only submit the basemap layers they want in the Local Government Information Model schema.  This focus on data migration rather than map authoring saves time and increases flexibility because you only submit the layers that you want to.  Campus-related features that will be appropriate for most special areas of interest are aggregated in the FacilitiesStreets feature dataset of the Local Government Information Model.
  • Redesign of the World Topographic Map – Organizations who are unable to submit their data for contribution under the Community Maps 2.0 workflow, are still able to submit an authored map package or cache.  In this case, they should use the new World Topographic Map Template, which reflects the redesigned World Topographic Map.  One of the many great changes in this design update is the integration of campus-related features into the template, so using the Campus Basemap Template is no longer required to represent these types of facilities.  This also results in a much more uniform and cartographically pleasing feel to map, as this graphic of North Central College and the surrounding area in Naperville, Illinois shows.

If you are a current or potential Community Maps contributor that would like to see your campuses or other special areas of interest represented in the World Topographic Map, we encourage you to find out more by attending our Campus Basemap Workshop or downloading the materials and exploring them at your convenience.  And as always, please contact us if you have questions.

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