Mapping Earthquakes in Northern California

Author: Nicolas R. Malloy

Table of Contents

  1. Mapping Earthquakes in Northern California
  2. Setting Up Your Workspace
  3. Downloading Data from Natural Earth
  4. Download Data from the Northern California Earthquake Data Center (NCEDC)
  5. Skill Drill: Download Data from the United States Census Bureau
  6. Adding California as a Basemap Layer
  7. Skill Drill: Adding the Humboldt County Boundary as a Basemap Layer
  8. Adding XY Data
  9. Changing the Map Projection of the Data Frame
  10. Representing Earthquake Magnitude Using Graduated Symbols
  11. Changing the Map Size and Position
  12. Creating an Inset Map
  13. Inserting A Map Title
  14. Inserting a Map Legend
  15. Inserting a North Arrow, Scale Bar, and Acknowledgments
  16. Exporting your map as a PDF file

The goal of this activity is for students to learn how to create a basic map layout. In this activity, you will create and organize a project folder using a standardized folder structure. You will then download and decompress the data from public sources. Using the data, you will create a map of earthquake magnitude in the State of California, with an emphasis on Northern California.

Estimated time to complete this tutorial: 5 hours

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
  • Perform data preparation in Microsoft Excel
  • Convert tabular XY Data to GIS data using ArcGIS software
  • Practice changing map output size in ArcMap
  • Apply symbology and color choices to map features
  • Insert essential map elements using ArcMap
  • Create an inset map
  • Export a map as a PDF file