Category: Mapping

Can you read me now?

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Text and imagery have had an uneasy relationship since the day they met. Satellite imagery and aerial photographs are the ultimate variable background, which makes any text drawn on them hard to read.

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Create a coordinate grid layer in ArcMap

Question: How do I create a coordinate grid polygon data set in ArcMap? I read about Grids & Graticules tab in layer properties but that is just for layout view.

Answer: The tool to create permanent grid polygon features is the Create Fishnet tool, located within the Data Management Tools toolbox, Feature Class toolset. The output will be a set of rectangular polygons, with the option of creating label points for each as well. Cartographic grid symbology such as tics or neatline-type labels will need to be created separately.

Formerly a Mapping Center Ask a Cartographer  Q & A.

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Showing parcel hooks/ties with representation symbology

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Example of a parcel hook or tie that denotes a connection between two land parcels

Last week we received a good question on Ask a Cartographer: is there a way to create parcel hooks with ArcGIS 9.2? After first discovering what parcel hooks were and finding an example of a typical case (shown at left), the answer seemed like a ‘no-brainer’. Sure, just use the line decoration option on a marker line representation. However, after acquiring some parcel data that included parcel hooks (thanks to Greene County, NC) and seeing the circumstances where parcel hooks (they’re also called land hooks or parcel ties) are placed on maps, I learned there are are several scenarios that need to be handled. Continue reading

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Get to know your organization's developers

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Early last month Chris Sergent forwarded me an email via Mapping Center’s submit a blog entry feature.  Chris, who is a developer, was looking to connect with other Esri developers. The spirit of Chris’s email struck me as something we could all do with a little more of, so we put Chris’s post up on the Esri Developer Summit blog. Continue reading

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Search Mapping Center content

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

We’ve added new site-wide search functionality to Mapping Center.  As our content and audience continue to grow, we will continue our efforts to make it easy to quickly find the information you need.  Continue reading

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Python script tool for selecting polygons for maps at smaller scales

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Refresh/reload the page  (F5) to refresh the animation

Which are the 30 or 500 most important of Minnesota’s famous 10,000 lakes?  Next, think about that question from the point of view of making a zoom-able map of the U.S. and how many lakes need to be shown as you zoom in.  That question boils down to how to decide which polygons to show.  Not all polygons are created equally, some are roughly round, some are banana shaped (like ox-bow lakes) some have lots of prongs (like a reservoir formed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam), some are long and twisty like a pretzel.  Continue reading

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Working with layers and scale ranges: Tips for organizing the Table of Contents

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

From the General tab of the Layer Properties Dialog box

Keeping track of scale ranges at which a layer will be visible when a map has a few scale ranges and dozens of other layers can quickly become mind-boggling. This entry describes a strategy for using ArcMap’s Table Of Contents (TOC) to create these maps and effectively manage all those layers and scales. Continue reading

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What to do when your label doesn't draw

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

So, you have just spent a few minutes deep in concentration setting up your labeling rules and applied them.  ArcMap’s little globe is spinning, spinning… spinning… and nothing.  Several of your labels didn’t draw. Panic and go to MappingCenter. Right?

Not exactly.

There are a few things we always do when diagnosing the “where’s my label” scenarios, no matter what’s being labeled or what labeling engine is being used.  Continue reading

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Cartographic design: Legends

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

Example of items in a legend

We recently received a question about legends on Ask a Cartographer, so I thought we should post a blog describing some of the cartographic guidelines for legends that may help you make decisions about their design.  Here are some tips — first related to page titles and legend titles, then some that are more general, and finally related to grouping items in legends: Continue reading

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Cartographic design: Inset maps

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

Recently we were asked if there are any cartographic standards for inset maps. Here are a few guidelines:

Purpose

First, consider why the inset map is needed. Inset maps are sometimes used to show related themes of data at smaller scales, for example: Continue reading

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