Tag: Cartographic Concepts

Dark Gray Canvas expands coverage

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Our most recent map update greatly expands the large scale coverage of the Dark Gray Canvas Base and Reference layers. Europe, including Russia, was added at scales ~1:288k down to ~1:9k (levels 11 to 16). This is the first ArcGIS.com basemap … Continue reading

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Dark Gray Canvas basemap now available for your use

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Just as the dark sky at night allows the stars and nebula to shine, a new basemap from Esri allows you to create exciting new maps of your data. The Dark Gray Canvas basemap is now available on our production servers … Continue reading

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A Dark Canvas for Bright People: Update

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Recently we blogged about a beta service for a Dark Gray Canvas basemap, available for you to try out and comment on, prior to a full release as an Esri Basemap. That blog can be found here. The original release … Continue reading

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A Dark Canvas for Bright People

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Esri has released a new Dark Gray Canvas basemap (as a beta) for its customers, partners and developers to use. Developed from the Light Gray Canvas basemap, the Dark Gray Canvas version opens up an opportunity to use a different type … Continue reading

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Map orientation: When true north is NOT at the top

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

Map Orientation - thumb

We got an excellent comment from a reader this week about maps that are not drawn with true north at the top. Referring to the San Diego Convention Center (SDCC) maps that are included in Esri User Conference agendas and other publications, Stephen wrote:

The map of the San Diego Convention Center is upside down, in my opinion. Flipping it and putting north toward the top would make the map much more intuitive to read and interpret. I always orient myself with north up on the map…

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Ten quick references for map makers

By Alex Tait, Chief Cartographer and Vice President, International Mapping

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At the North American Cartographic Information Society (nacis.org) conference in October, I presented a list of 10 quick references for mapmakers. These are the scraps of paper on my bulletin board next to my computer. Some are photocopies of key pages out of books, others are screen captures from useful web pages, and some things I’ve jotted down freehand as I’ve worked with maps over the years.

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Figure-ground: Whitewash

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

Whitewash - Thumbnail

In a previous blog entry, I discussed some of the major design principles used in cartography, including figure-ground organization, which is the spontaneous separation of the figure in the foreground from an “amorphous” background. Cartographers use this design principle to help their map readers find the area of the map or page to focus on. One way to promote figure-ground organization is to use a “whitewash” effect in which the area that is not the focus of attention is slightly “washed out”, thereby drawing attention to the “figure”. The way this is done in ArcMap is to symbolize a polygon for the area outside the figure with a white fill and transparency. Continue reading

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Figure-ground: Drop shadow

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

Drop Shadow - Both

In a previous blog entry, I discussed some of the major design principles used in cartography, including figure-ground organization, which is the spontaneous separation of the figure in the foreground from an “amorphous” background. Cartographers use this design principle to help their map readers find the area of the map or page to focus on. One way to promote figure-ground organization is to use a “drop shadow” effect in which a shadow is drawn for the “figure”, giving the impression that it is raised above the ground. The way this is done in ArcMap is to use cartographic representations and the Move geometric effect.

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Design principles for cartography

By Aileen Buckley, Mapping Center Lead

Design Principles Thumb

Cartographers apply many design principles when compiling their maps and constructing page layouts. Five of the main design principles are legibility, visual contrast, figure-ground, hierarchical organization, and balance. Together these form a system for seeing and understanding the relative importance of the content in the map and on the page. Without these, map-based communication will fail. Together visual contrast and legibility provide the basis for seeing the contents on the map. Figure-ground, hierarchical organization, and balance lead the map reader through the contents to determine the importance of things and ultimately find patterns.

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Esri Canvas Maps part II: Using the Light Gray Canvas map effectively

By Mamata Akella, Esri Design Cartographer, and Kenneth Field, Esri Research Cartographer

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In the first of our Canvas Maps blogs, Esri Canvas Maps Part I, we explained the initiative and philosophy behind the new suite of Canvas Maps being developed by Esri. They are a new style of basemap designed with neutral colors, minimal features and detail that allow you to map many of your operational overlays more effectively.

In this second part, we suggest some best practices to get the most out of the first of the Canvas Maps to be released, the Light Gray Canvas Map, and illustrate how it can be used effectively. The Light Gray Canvas Map works particularly well in combination with operational overlays that contain point and line features. By design, it provides users with a way of improving a number of key cartographic objectives such as developing a sound figure-ground relationship and hierarchical organization in your map. Continue reading

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