Category: Mapping

Does every map need a north arrow and scale bar?

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

World with orthographic projected coordinate system showing earthquakes

I had an interesting email conversation this morning with one of my mentors, and the subject revolved around whether all maps need a scale bar and north arrow. He was trained in the “old school” of cartography, as he admits. His cartography teacher once gave him a “D” on an assignment for “turning in a map with no stated scale, no north arrow, an inappropriate title, and no statement of where the data came from.” This sparked a conversation about whether all maps do need these map elements. Continue reading

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What is a basemap? What kind of basemap do you need?

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Base Map Data Model Layer Stack

What role do you expect a base map to play in your GIS?

Some say, “The base map is the part of the map I don’t have to make.” To that, I say, who should make it, who will use it, and what will they do with it?

Today a wide variety and diversity of base maps are proliferating with emerging Internet technologies such as mash-ups on Google Earth, ArcWeb Services, your own ArcGIS Server maps, etc. Our intent is to consider, or depending on your perspective reconsider, the functionalities that a base map, particularly a GIS base map should have. Are all these new base maps what you need? Continue reading

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Why cartographic data modeling?

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Base Map Data Model Stack - Thumbnail

One of the things we end up explaining on a fairly frequent basis is why we’ve been spending time working on data modeling, the basemap data model, cartographic data modeling, or adding cartography to the ArcGIS data models. This is as good a time and place as any to put forth what we think a cartographic data model is and share some of our reasons for working in this area.

A cartographic data model is the codification of the geographic features, attributes and processes that produce a desired map or products through specified software. This includes specification of all geographic features and labels that will appear on the maps, and their symbology. It includes allowances for the software to handle or process the data appropriately and efficiently in order to make the maps.

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Cartographic relief presentation is now available from Esri Press

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

New reissue has the same cover as the original.

Eduard Imhof’s Cartographic Relief Presentation is now available from Esri Press.

Many of us have been anxiously waiting for this book to be re-released for quite some time as Cartographic Relief Presentation is a very hard book to find – you can only rarely find a copy for sale and it has a habit of being stolen off library shelves. If you do find it for sale, it is usually at an asking price of over $300, and if you don’t read German, you have to hope that you are lucky enough to find a copy of the English translation. (The original 1965 German language version, Kartographische Geländedarstellung, was translated into English in 1982 but with only a limited press run.) The great news is that you can now get a copy of your own because Esri Press has re-published the English version. Continue reading

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Graphs in ArcMap Version 9.2

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

For thematic and analytical maps, it is often helpful to give readers an idea of the statistical nature of the attribute data. Graphs are an effective way to give readers another window into the data. Before version 9.2, ArcMap’s graphing functionality was rather limited. At version 9.2, it is quite possible that nearly any graph you want to make can be created in ArcMap.

The user interface is new, and you now have the ability to make more choices, such as the selection of any color, including those that you have already chosen for the layers in your map (figure 1). Graphs can be bars, columns, XY scatter plots, lines, areas, pies, and box plots. Any graph can be two- or three dimensional, and any property can be customized. Continue reading

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Representations and thematic maps

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Representations - thumbnail

This blog entry addresses one of the new features in the ArcGIS mapmakers’ suite of tools. At version 9.2, we added the ability to store representations in your geodatabase; this has wide ranging possibilities for map makers and data publishers. You will definitely be seeing more blog entries about other uses of representations in the coming months. Continue reading

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How to produce tint bands for boundaries

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Tint Bands - Thumbnail

Not long ago we were asked how to create tint bands for boundaries like the ones on National Geographic’s and other national atlas political maps. We didn’t have an immediate answer, but promised to look into it. Continue reading

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Welcome to the Mapping Center blog

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

MC Banner - thumbnail

Welcome to the Mapping Center Blog, created to bring map makers and ArcGIS software experts together for the purpose of sharing techniques for making maps. The Mapping Center Blog is part of a larger endeavor called Mapping Center which is a repository of mapping and cartographic know-how. Continue reading

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