Category: Mapping

Learn about the categories

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Category Description
ArcGIS Methods Use of ArcGIS to accomplish specific cartographic tasks.
Cartographic Effects “What”, “why” and “how” about achieving special cartographic techniques.
Cartographic Design Visual hierarchy, figure-ground, legibility, visual clarity, visual flow, etc.
Symbology Assignment of qualitative and quantitative meaning to signs (color, size, shape, etc.)
Cartographic Representation Use of cartographic representations in the map production process.
Data Modeling Modeling GIS data for mapping and geoprocessing.
General Information Announcements and information about Mapping Center, cartographic resources and events, etc.
Labeling Type elements (font, size, form, etc.) and type placement.
Map Data Specific themes of data, e.g., transportation, hydrography, cultural, etc.
Map Elements Scale bars, north arrows, legends, tables, graphs, text blocks, etc.
Maplex Use of the Maplex Label Engine.
Page Layout Arrangement of the content on the page.
Publishing Printing and output for print, printing press, digital static or digital interactive media.
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Using rotation angles for markers, lines, or polygon fills

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

Rotation Angles - Thumbnail

If having the proper orientation, or rotation angle is an important characteristic of your symbols, it is important to make sure your symbols accurately display the phenomenon they depict. Thus, I thought it would be a good idea to review the use of rotation angles in ArcMap.

You have probably set rotation angles for symbols, (markers, hash lines, and Line or gradient fills), your data frame, and maybe even for point features which can be rotated by the angle stored in a field. Most of you already know your own data well, but if you’ve
ever downloaded data or inherited legacy data, you may not know which way the rotation angles were calculated (so if you publish data, remember to invest a few minutes in authoring the metadata).

ArcGIS has tools and functionality that may use any of three rotation methods:  Geographic, Arithmetic, and Graphic.

Continue reading

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Creating street name indexes

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Sample of a portion of a street name index

We received a suggestion to write a blog entry on this topic from Anna Schwabedal, who is a technical sales representative for Esri Germany.  Anna gave us a rough idea of how this works and I was able to use that when this topic came up through Ask a Cartographer recently, and I’ve worked on it a bit since then in order to write this. Continue reading

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About the Weather style

By Jaynya Richards, Esri Research Cartographer

Weather - Examples of wind barb symbols

The Weather style supports creating several common weather charts. These charts depict sky conditions, wind speed & direction, and precipitation. The symbols are based on weather and climate related maps and graphics designed by staff at the Center for Ocean Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA). COLA is a center jointly supported by NOAA, NSF, and NASA. This Weather style also has symbols for weather station models (Surface, Upper, Forecast), cloud cover, station wind, pressure fronts, and precipitation. Continue reading

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Creating lists or stacks of marker symbols with cartographic representations

By Peter Kasianchuk, Mapping Center Cartographer
Example of a list of markers showing the available services and amenities

A number of maps, particularly those geared towards outdoor tourism, rely on a convention that uses standard icons to list the services or amenities that are available at some place on the map. Using cartographic representations simplifies what used to be a rather unwieldy task from the perspectives of data modeling, data management, and symbology. Continue reading

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Tips for editing your style files with Microsoft Access

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

The style files that are installed with ArcMap are actually Microsoft Access databases, the file extension was changed from .mdb to .style.  Based on this knowledge, we’ll describe a few useful things you can do to edit your style files using Microsoft Access. These tasks are either not possible or a bit tedious to accomplish easily in ArcMap.

First you’ll need to open your style with Microsoft Access. To do that, launch Microsoft Access, from the file menu choose Open, and in the File Name box, type “*.style”.  Then browse to where your styles are located.  Choose a style file and open it. Continue reading

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Omit specific features from display using cartographic representations

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

If you want to remove selected features from display with standard ArcMap symbol management tools, you need to use the Layer Properties to do so.  Typically this might mean using a Definition Query based on a feature attribute value, or a classification scheme which excludes a range of attribute values.  Cartographic representations provide you with a method for removing features from display, this method is based on graphic selection. Continue reading

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Specifying multiple transformations for your data frame's coordinate system

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

WGS84 Figure 1

Not long ago we received a question via Ask a Cartographer that our map projection experts frequently get; it goes something like this: “When projecting data to WGS84, for example, which transformation is the best to use?” Continue reading

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About the Geometrical Interval classification method

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Sample surface using Geometrical Interval Classification

Those of you who regularly use the classification dialog will have noticed a new classification method was added in version 9.2. Now
available for all data is the geometrical interval classification method which was called “smart quantiles” when it was originally introduced in the Esri Geostatistical Analyst extension. Continue reading

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Create representation markers from marker symbols in existing style files

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

A number of you have written in to Ask a Cartographer wishing to know how to convert your font-based or EMF-based marker symbols to representation markers. Representation markers (introduced in ArcGIS 9.2) have a number of advantages over font- or graphics-based markers.  For example, you can create or edit their artwork while working in ArcMap or ArcCatalog, and they can be used the geoprocessing framework. One geoprocessing tool engineered to work with cartographic representations which you might find particularly useful is the Detect Graphic Conflict tool, which tells you where the symbols on your map overlap one another. But first, many of you may need to convert a significant number of markers into representation markers. Continue reading

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