Category: Mapping

Mapping Center Representations Survey

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

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We would like your input on how you use cartographic representations.
Why? Well, we’d like to know a bit more about whether and how you use
them in order to better write about them on Mapping Center. Given
your input we hope to provide relevant examples and write our content at the best
level for the largest portion of our audience.

The survey is only twelve questions and should take less than five minutes to complete.

Your help and time are much appreciated. Please click the link below to go to the survey:

Take the Mapping Center Representations Survey

Sincerely,

The Mapping Center Team

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Guidelines for minimum size for text and symbols on maps

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

There are some general guidelines you can follow regarding the size of text and symbols on a map.  The key is legibility – that is, ability to be seen AND recognized.  Legibility can be affected by:

  • Size of symbols and type
  • Contrasting colors and shapes
  • Familiarity
  • Perfect vision and perfect viewing conditions Continue reading
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How to apply saved representation rules in other layers

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Loading a rule from a style into the current representation class

A question was posed on Ask a Cartographer about using representation rules that you have saved in a style in another map on a different layer.  The online help for this topic didn’t provide much assistance. The topic on organizing representation rules in a style explained how to load the rules in to a new layer, but it didn’t explain how to make use of them, i.e., how to make the features with the newly loaded rule. Continue reading

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A little texture please: Creating fill symbols with feeling

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Depicting natural areas such as vegetation or complex hydrography such as swamps and estuaries can be accomplished by merely using solid green fill and blue fill symbols. However, such symbols are arguably bland, and certainly do not convey relative density, ruggedness, or texture.
Marker fill symbols can create many effects, ranging from replacing many of the old bitmap patterns on topographic maps to very modern styles of symbology. Continue reading

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Choosing color ramps and displaying for hillshade rasters

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

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Using ArcMap to symbolize a hillshade raster layer (the output of the Spatial or 3D Analyst’s Hillshade tool) is pretty straightforward, and the default symbology (black to white ramp) doesn’t look too bad. In fact, if your hillshade layer is the only layer in your map, and if you don’t mind not seeing some of the details that have been visually absorbed into the darker tones, the default symbology is okay. To be fair, the default symbology for hillshades is useful for much more than just terrain depictions, so it’s good to know what might be helpful when depicting terrain with a hillshade. The image to the left is an example of a hillshade using the default color ramp. Continue reading

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Using masks to create hollow cased road "symbols"

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

The map excerpt shown at right (click on it to see the details) shows an example of hollow cased roads.  The map is from a mosaic of USGS DRG image files.  The map specification requires that the cased road symbol contains a transparent gap.  The examples shown below were created with ArcMap 9.2 and used cartographic representations to re-create the effect on the USGS DRG map.

A simple two-layer cased line symbol won’t work, as there’s no way to define the center portion of the line as ‘no color’. A white center would not look right as it would block out any information below the roads in the map’s drawing order Continue reading

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Create route maps with the ArcGIS schematics extension

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

Example of a transit map

The illustration at left shows a map of the Paris Metro system (RATP). The routes are depicted in a schematic view and this kind of map is challenging to create because multiple routes may share the same path, for example multiple bus routes along a single road. When this happens, the coincident routes are offset in a fashion that makes it possible to understand the path each route is taking. When using ArcMap and line features for the routes, the coincident features draw on top of one another, making it difficult to visualize.

Continue reading

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Symbolizing roads with cased line symbols (part 3 of 3)

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Example on USGS 1:24,000 scale map of cul-de-sacs

This final part of the series will cover using cartographic representations for dashed lines, like the red and white cased lines in the image at the left, and for creating cul-de-sac or squared off ends to streets.  Both of these effects will build on the examples in the previous two portions of this series with one exception.  Because we will be using cartographic representations for the streets, we will be better able to manage line caps and therefore will not need to use the Dissolve tool to dissolve the streets by name, type, and z-level.  The removal of this step is significant because now an extra dataset is not required just to have cartographic quality streets; everything needed for a high quality cartographic depiction of streets can be stored in attributes. This should come as good news to those of you who have mentioned to us, many times, that managing additional datasets for the sake of cartography is not only a data management, but a political hurdle, that you would just as soon not have to deal with. Continue reading

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Symbolizing roads with cased line symbols (part 2 of 3)

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Example of masking on a USGS 1:24,000 scale map

Symbolizing road overpasses or underpasses typically requires that you perform two data preparation steps.  First, identify which roads overpass other roads.  This may be very simple intersections between two roads, or it may include many other roads when dealing with complex highway interchanges.  Second, represent the interchanges clearly.  This task may mean simply changing feature or layer drawing order, or it can also mean knocking out or masking portions of underpassing features.  The image to the left shows the underpassing highway being masked by an overpassing street and railroad. Continue reading

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Symbolizing roads with cased line symbols (part 1 of 3)

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Roads Cased Part 1 - Thumb

This is the first of three parts that cover how to symbolize roads with cased line symbols.  This first part will cover how to symbolize road centerline data so that the symbols look good, the second part will cover data modeling and symbolizing underpass/overpass relationships, and the third part will deal with symbolizing cul-de-sacs versus dead-end streets.  The primary inspiration for this task is the design of the USGS 1:24,000-scale topographic quadrangle maps. To the left is an example from the 1952 Manchester, New Hampshire map. Continue reading

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