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

Downloading Data from Natural Earth

Natural Earth is a website created to provide free vector and raster data to meet the needs of cartographers using a variety of software applications. Tom Patterson and Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso (HSU alumni) are the primary authors. The data on this website is free to use without restrictions.

Open the Chrome browser and navigate to the Natural Earth website at Click the Downloads link. Under Large-scale data, click the Cultural link.

If you do not have the Chrome browser, you can download it here.

An image of the Natural Earth website
Natural Earth provides physical and cultural data in large, medium, and small scale. Click to view the image in a larger size.

Under Admin 1 – States, Provinces, right-click Download states and provinces. Select, Save Link As, then navigate to your original folder and save.

An image of the Natural Earth website
The image here shows the Natural Earth Cultural Vectors download page for large-scale data.

In a previous activity, you learned how to decompress a file using 7zip. In Microsoft Windows, navigate to your Original folder. You should see the zip file for the states and provinces. Right-click, select 7zip, then Extract Here. Be sure to delete the zip file when you are done decompressing it. You won’t need it anymore. Eliminating the zip file saves space and helps to avoid confusion later.