Designing a Basemap

Table of Contents

  1. Designing a Basemap
  2. Setting Up Your Workspace
  3. Download Data from the DataSF Website
  4. Refreshing a Folder in the Catalog Tree
  5. Changing the Map Projection of the Data Frame
  6. Changing the Map Size and Position
  7. Preparing the Layout
  8. Adjusting Line Weight and Color
  9. Cartographic Typography
  10. Skill Drill: Practicing Cartographic Typography
  11. Skill Drill: Choose a Map Theme
  12. Skill Drill: Finalizing the Poster

Skill Drill: Finalizing the Poster

In a previous tutorial, you learned how to create a map poster by inserting map elements and labels. Using what you learned, finalize the poster layout. Incorporate a title for the poster above the map. You may use a decorative typeface if appropriate. To the right of the map, use the Rectangle Text tool on the Draw toolbar to provide a block of descriptive text.

An image of the Rectangle text tool
You can access additional text tools using the drop-down menu.

You may search the internet for appropriate text. If your theme is sea level rise, the metadata on the DataSF website might also be helpful. If your theme is fire damage from the 1906 earthquake, the USGS has a webpage that might interest you.

An image of the4 SF Earthquake Fire Poster
In this example, the theme of the poster is areas damaged by fire following the 1906 earthquake.

In the margins around the map, include a north arrow, a scale bar, a representative fraction (RF), and a word statement. The last two can be found on the Insert menu under Scale Text. Your map legend does not need a title but should include all the layers except for the shoreline. For each layer, open the Properties Window and navigate to the General tab. Clean up the labels for the layers by removing any underscores. The layer names are what will appear in the map legend, and you want to avoid underscores on the final map.

An image of the SF Sea Level Rise Poster
In this example, the theme of the poster is Sea Level Rise in San Francisco.

Add an acknowledgment to at the bottom of the poster. Also, include your name and the year. When you are done creating your map poster, export the map as a PDF file with a resolution of at least 300 dpi. Save it to your final folder. Due to the large size of the dataset, ArcMap could take up to 20—30 minutes to export.

When exporting, be patient! When working with large datasets, the ArcGIS software can take a long time to run tools and export maps. Some operations can take ten minutes. Others can take more than an hour. The amount of time depends on the memory and processing power of the computer.  Unfortunately, the ArcGIS software is also prone to crashing. When it is working on a task, try to avoid clicking anywhere on the software, as this could trigger a crash. Sometimes it is best to wait.