Designing a Basemap

An image of a basemap of San Francisco

Designing a Basemap

A picture of Nicolas MalloyAuthor: Nicolas R. Malloy

The goal of this activity is for students to learn how to design a basemap. In geospatial science, a basemap refers to a collection of data layers that are used to create a background for the map. The purpose of a basemap is to provide context for the primary data, both spatially and thematically. Typical basemap layers include roads, administrative boundaries, and aerial imagery. In this activity, you will gather the data necessary to construct a basemap for the City of San Francisco. You will then use what you learned in this chapter to design a basemap, which will be used as the background for a thematic poster map.

Learning Outcomes

Students who complete this tutorial should be able to:

  • Summarize the steps for creating and organizing a project workspace folder structure
  • Illustrate the ability to download data from a public source
  • Demonstrate decompressing zipped files into a specific folder
  • Practice changing map output size in ArcMap
  • Apply symbology and color choices to map features
  • Demonstrate proficiency in cartographic typography
  • Insert essential map elements using ArcMap
  • Export a map as a PDF file