Mapping Earthquakes in Northern California

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

Inserting A Map Title

There are many conventional elements recognized by the map-reader. However, in this activity, you will only need to add a few to the map. In the next few steps, you will add a map title, a north arrow, a scale bar, and a legend. As a matter of courtesy, you will also add an acknowledgment to Natural Earth, the Northern California Earthquake Data Center (NCEDC), and the United States Census Bureau.

When you have multiple data frames on a map, you need to add map elements to each one independently. Right-click on the data frame titled California Earthquakes and select Activate. The main map should now have a dotted outline. The dotted outline indicates which data frame is active.

An image of the california earthquake data frame activated
The dotted outline indicates which data frame is active. Click to view a larger sized image.

In a previous activity, you learned how to add toolbars to ArcMap. Right-click on the empty gray area and select Draw to add the Draw toolbar. When you first open the toolbar, it may appear floating above the map. You may dock the toolbar on top to keep it out of the way.

An image of the draw toolbar docked at the top
This image shows the Draw toolbar docked at the top. It also displays the contextual menu that appears when you click on the gray space at the top. Click to view a larger sized image.

On the Draw toolbar, select the tool the looks like a letter A. Then, click somewhere near the top of the map to add a map title. Enter the title, “California Earthquakes, 2017.” When done, press the Enter key.

Double-click the title to edit. The Properties window appears. Here, you can edit the text if needed. Click the button that says Change Symbol.

An image of the properties window for title text
In ArcMap, sometimes you have to dig around for the right settings.

On the Symbol Selector window, change the typeface to Garamond. Change the font size to 100. Click OK when you are ready. Then, click OK again.

An image of the Symbol selector window for title text
You should try to limit the total number of typefaces on your map to two, one serif and one sans serif.

You may need to move the title and adjust its position on the map. By default, the text does not have a background. The lack of a background can make the text harder to read when there are map features underneath. Sometimes it is helpful to add a title bar across the top.

An image of the map title placed near center
Avoid overlapping text and labels with other lines on the map, other map elements, or with each other. They should be easy to read. Consider moving such labels to an empty space or adding a background color to the text. Click to view a larger sized image.

On the Draw toolbar, select the rectangle tool. Then click and drag to draw a rectangle across the top of the map. Any new feature you draw gets placed on top. Right-click on the title bar and select Order, then Send Backward. The title bar gets set under the map title.

Any new feature you draw gets placed on top. In this instance, the title bar is covering the map title. Click to view a larger sized image.

Just like the title text, the title bar also has properties you can edit. Right-click on the title bar and select Properties. Change the fill color to dark navy and the outline color to no color.

An image of the title bar color properties.
You can access most properties by right-clicking on an element.

On the size and position tab, change the width to 24 and the height to 1.75. Change the X value to 0 and the Y value to 16.25. When you are ready, click OK.

An image of the title bar size properties
By default, the Position value anchors the title bar on the page relative to the lower left corner.

Go back and change the color of the title text to a 10% light gray, so that it will contrast with the color of the title background.