Learning About Projections Using ArcGIS

Table of Contents

  1. Learning About Projections Using ArcGIS
  2. Setting Up Your Workspace
  3. Downloading Data from Natural Earth
  4. Adding Data to ArcMap
  5. Symbolizing the Map by Subregions
  6. Exploring Map Projections
  7. Choose Your Projection

Symbolizing the Map by Subregions

In a previous activity, you learned how to rename the data frame and change the background color. Open the data frame properties and navigate to the General tab. Change the name to “World Map.” Then, on the Frame tab, change the background color to Gray 10%. When you are ready, click OK. You may get a repeat of the coordinate system warning. Ignoring it during this activity is OK. Click Yes, to close the warning.

An image of the Data frame geographic coordinate system warning
This warning appears when you have layers with different Geographic Coordinate Systems loaded in the Table of Contents.

In the Table of Contents, right-click on the countries layer to open the attribute table. Take a moment to read through the table to find out what kind of data is available about the various countries around the world. When done, you may close the attribute table.

An image of the countries attribute table
The attribute table contains a lot of useful information about countries around the world, including population and economic statistics.

In the table of contents, right-click on the countries layer again to open the properties. Navigate to the symbology tab. On the left choose Categories and select Unique values. Uncheck the box next to all other values. Under the Value Field, use the drop-down menu to select SUBREGION from the list of attributes. Then, click the button that says Add All values. Right-click on the color ramp and uncheck Graphic View. Choose Dark Glazes from the list of choices. When you are ready, click OK.

An image of the Symbology tab for Countries layer
The arrows point to each step described above.

Another way to change colors is to click the symbol in the table of contents. In the table of contents, click the line symbol for the graticules. When the symbol selector appears, change the color to Gray 70% and the line width to 0.25.

An image of the Table of contents for World map with arrow pointing to line symbol
You can edit symbols directly in the Table of Contents, though this limits your options.

Your map should appear similar to the image below. The countries should be color-coded by subregions in the graticules should lie underneath.

An image of the countries in dark glazes color scheme
ArcMap uses the color ramp to assign colors to the subregions randomly. Your results may vary.