In today’s lab you will be working in ArcGIS Pro to produce a map of the Smithers area using source data provided.

Goals of Map Design

Several goals of map design can be identified. These include:

  • Clarity
  • Order
  • Balance
  • Visual Contrast
  • Unity and Harmony (to be discussed in later lectures)
  • Visual Hierarchy (to be discussed in later lectures )

1. Map Preparation

You will produce a map, designed for page size (8.5 x 11″), following cartographic principles taught in lectures.

In today’s lab we will be looking at examples of each type of symbolization, your assignment will be to apply these steps to the remaining layers on your map. You are strongly encouraged to work on this assignment during the lab section to allow your TA to answer any questions you may have.

Required Elements

  • Symbolize all feature layers
  • Label features: Contour Lines, Lakes, Golf Course and Airport
  • Locator Map
  • Title, scale bar
  • Appropriate Legend
  • Your Name and Date

Create a new project in your geog205 folder on the K: drive and add a folder connection to L:\GEOG205\lab04

Add the following layers: builtup_area, cemeter(y), contour, glacier, golf_course, lakes, limited_use_road, mining_location, park, railway, rivers, road, runway, sandbar, tower, trail, vegetation, wetland.

2. Symbolizing Features

Rearrange the drawing order so all features are visible.

Symbolizing Polygon Features

Polygon feature classes can be symbolized with solid fills, outlines or patterned fills. They should not be overpowering (follow the methods explained in the lecture for polygon colouring (no bright red parking lots).

For example, for vegetation

When Symbology first opens you will see the gallery tab, here you can select from various pre-made styles. Give some of these a try, and then pick one of the green styles and we will use this as a starting point.

Next we will change to the Properties tab along the top, we will start in the appearance tab

Using this tab allows us to set basic options such as the fill colour, stroke colour, and stroke width. Clicking on a colour swatch will bring up the arc GIS colour palette were you can pick one. If you want even more options clicking colour properties will open the colour editor, where you can manually define the colour in a variety of colour spaces.

The 2nd tab is the layers tab

At the top is the list of layers, in this case a stroke on top and a fill below, with each layer there is a drop down to select the layers type, try a few and see what they look like, in particular you may be interested in the hatched fill.

Below that is the properties for the selected layer, here you can set things such as colour, stroke width and dashes, hatched angles etc.

Finally we will talk about complex symbols, like the polygon below

We have dashed lines, but the line is either there or not. How might we get a 2 toned dashed line?

Same with hatched style all of the lines point the same direction. How might we produce this diamond pattern?

Finally we come to the structure tab, we use this tab to add extra layers to our symbols, and works much like the Contents view for map layers. You can add a symbol layer (primarily you will be adding, stroke layers, and fill layers).

Once you add the type of layers you want and order them, you can return to the layers tab, to set colour and other properties of your new layers.

Now because this is vegetation, and not something dangerous, this style does not fit. remove all but one of the fill layers, and set it to a solid fill with a very light green colour to symbolize vegetation.

Symbolizing Line Features

The example we will use for line features in roads, picking this layer as it will have categories of styles applied to it.

Select the roads layer, in the appearance ribbon, and open the Symbology drop down, here there is options for a variety of ways to draw symbols, in the example above we used single symbol. The other options in the list allow us to set the style based on the attribute table. In this case we will be changing the thickness of the roads based on their class so will use Graduated Symbols.

When using graduated symbols first the Field must be chosen that on which to graduate the symbols. In this case CLASSIFICA which contains the road classification, where 1 is major highways, all the way to 4 being smaller streets, and then 0 is unclassified which will be the least significant category.

In data sets with many values you may wish to normalize it if the data changes at an exponential or logarithmic rate.

Method and Classes is then used to define what the classes look like.

Next go down to template and build the symbol you want (double click), once this is done go back and set minimum and maximum sizes.

Finally in the case of this layer, we can go to more and reverse the sorting so that Class 1 is the biggest (with class 2, as there are not any class 1 features). But now 0 became the most major, click on its number to manually adjust it to be the smallest. Your roads should now look a little something like this:

Symbolizing Point Features

To symbolize point features we will look at the tower layer. When symbolizing points we have many of the same options as lines in terms of graduated colours and sizes, something we will explore in depth in the thematic map labs.

The big option that is different here is the shape gallery, you can use a variety of pre-made symbols to help add meaning to your points. (The shape fill option at the layers tiles these symbols inside polygons). A word of guidance, as the symbols get more complex a map will seem more cluttered if they do not fit the style, especially as there are more points. In this case we only have 1 – 2 radio towers in the map frame, so using a graphic as opposed to a simple shape would be suitable.

The properties work much the same as lines, and again can be built in layers to make complex designs. As an example the radio icon is made of a tower, and a circle, that can both have their properties changed in the layers panel. If there is an icon you want from the gallery, but it’s the wrong colour, most of them can be edited by going into properties. The notable exception here are the 3D graphics.

Let’s take a few minutes to discuss if you have any ideas on how to style a layer, but not sure how to achieve that style. Do you feel confident that you can repeat these steps on the remaining layers?

3. Labeling Features

Basic Labels

Select the golf course layer, then go into Labeling, turn on Labels, and Set the Field to Entity Name.

At this point you will have a label on the golf course but it probably does not look good. We have two primary attributes to work with, style and position.

In the ribbon you will see some pre-made styles that may make a good starting point. (Note picking one of these will reset all the manual changes you have made, [Ctrl] + [z] is useful in case of accidental clicks). There are also some options to pick the font, colour, and size.

We want more options: to get them click the little expand icon in the lower left of this section.

In the Label Class pane we can set a lot of additional options

When doing styling we have a lot of conventions, but also artistic freedom, so there is no single right way to label, but labels should be easy to read (decent font size, typically upside right). These should provide some context as to what they are labelling (water is typically blue italic fonts), and not overcrowding on the map.

Some of the settings that are most meaningful, Outline colour is probably not the setting you are looking for, to bring text out from the background, the halo effect is likely what you are looking for. Open the Halo setting, and set it to white with a size of 0.5pt. Notice how the label changes.

Another section that you may find helpful is callouts; these allow you to place your labels in frames that point to the feature, this can be useful if the label would block important sections of the map. Note that when using Callouts they should be used when the label position is not directly on top of the feature, this could be using a fixed position, as found in this menu, or using the positioning rules in the next menu.

Label Placement

Often when labelling you have requirements about where the labels are placed, for example, labels on a parcel of land should be contained within the parcel. This is where the Label Placement section comes in, there are 8 pre-defined placement options to choose from and in most cases these are all you should need.

However, if you are having trouble with your labels you can press the expand button and the positioning pane will open on the right giving you options in how the labels are sized, placed, avoid overlap, automatically abbreviate, how often labels should repeat on line features, etc.

There are too many tools to go over in detail, my recommendation would be pick a predefined style that is close, determine which properties you are not happy with, and look for a setting to adjust that.

Computed Labels

Turn on labels on the contours with the following settings:

Field: Elevation

Font: Tahoma

Size: 10

Halo: White 1px

Placement: Contours

Now for the computed part, beside where you set the field there is a little orange tag

This will open the label class pane, as a simple example we will add units to the elevation, changing 3000 to 3000′ to make it less ambiguous, in the expression copy and paste the following line:

$feature.ELEVATION + "'"

What this line is saying is to take the Elevation field and add text contained within the quotes, in this case, a single quote.

Alternatively you can do basic math, e.g. converting to metres.

$feature.ELEVATION * 0.3048 + "m"

*There is no need for you to be able to write these expressions for your homework, just know the option is available. If you want to make custom labels and are not sure how to get the expression you want, ask your TA.

Selective Labeling

Selective labeling is another tool that is good to know, but not strictly needed for your homework. Go to the SQL Tab.

Here is an example you can use to make labels only show up on multiples of 500′. To break this down MOD is the remainder of division, so here we are saying to draw a label, when the remainder of Elevation / 500, is 0.

Another example you might do would be a cities point layer might use the expression below to label only cities with more than 10000 people.


A final note here, you will notice that the Label Class is set to Class 1, in the ribbon there is an option to add label classes. While outside the scope of what you will be required to do in this class, know that it is possible to use multiple classes to apply different types of label to different feature classes. Or in the case of the city example, we might use Class 1, showing only cities over 10000, when the scale is 1:500,000 or more, but class 2 labels everything but only visible at scales finer than 1:500,000. The possibilities are endless in how intricate you can make your rules.

4. Create a Locator Map

At this point in map creation, your main map should be complete, and it is time to start adding some external elements, go to the insert ribbon and add a new layout, make it a landscape letter size layout, and set your scale to 1:60,000.

Next on insert go to “New Map”

Right click where it says Map2 and go into properties:
Under General: Change the name to Locator Map
Under Coordinate Systems: Change to NAD 1983 CSRS BC Environment Albers

In catalog go into the Portal and find the layer “BC Boundary” add this to the map, and turn off the base map layers. the only thing on this map should be a polygon of BC.

Go back to your layout, and Insert a Map Frame again, this time making sure to choose the Locator Map

Add a small map somewhere it does not cover important features.

With the new map selected add an Extent Indicator for the first map frame, it will probably only show up as a single pixel for now. This is because the extent is shown as a polygon that is simply too small to see.

To make the symbol visible set the Collapse to Point option on the Extent of Map Frame Properties (should have opened automatically, if not, right click on extent of map frame, in the drawing order and choose properties).

This setting will cause the polygon to be rendered as a point.

Finally adjust the symbol to something you like and is a good size for identification.

Finally if the transparent background is hard to read, right click on the indicator map and open its properties.

Under the display tab, you can set the background to help add separation to the map. Either plain white or white with some transparency would be good choices. You should now have something similar to below.

5. Adding a Legend to the Map

To add your legend simply click legend and draw a box where you would like to place it. Just as on the locator map, go into the legend’s display properties and set a background so you can clearly see the symbols. Additionally, you will notice that your symbols are directly touching the edges; to make it more readable consider adding some X and Y gaps.

Now we have a legend but it still doesn’t look good, and we need to modify the symbols and labels, to do this we will Show Properties.

At the top of your Drawing Order you will see Legend with all of the items listed, lets start by turning off some un-needed labels.
Turn off: runway, golf_course and Cemeter(y) as these should be labeled on the map.

Turn off: rivers, sandbar, lakes and vegetation, as these should be intuitive by looking at the map and offer un-needed clutter. (Note also that ‘vegetation’ in Canada really means ‘Forest’ (tress)

Now we are going to start fixing labels, do this by renaming the layers in your drawing order. Fix capitalization, replace underscores with spaces, and extend any truncated names (tower should be Radio Tower), if we still had CEMETAR we would fix to Cemetery. To make the changes just double click on the name you want to update. Another is changing Builtup (not a word) to Built-up. Note that this is done by changing the layer, not the legend item.

In the Legend Properties deselect Synchronize with map: Layer Order

This will allow you to re-arrange the order in your map.

Finally open the properties of the Roads Legend item and turn off Headings

And finally go back to the Roads symbology settings and replace the numbers with more meaningful Labels

You should ignore the group listed as ‘Unclassified’ and rename Limited Use Road to Gravel. Also in the legend, add a line space between the roads and the railroad.

You should now have a better looking legend

6. Adding a Scalebar to the Map

We already covered scalebars in the first lab, but if you would like a refresher, the scale bar is found in the insert ribbon, you can use the dropdown to select the style you would like to use, and then draw a box on the map where you would like it to appear.

When you add your scale bar it will most likely show up with some messy looking divisions. For most people, 0.07 KM is not a meaningful unit of distance.

Using the Element panel on the right change the units to something more suitable in this case Metres would be a good choice, and change the width of the scale bar to make it 500m long. This is starting to be more useful but at this point, we still have divisions every 62.5m which is not great. Under scale bar properties:

Change the number of Divisions and Subdivisions so that the divisions represent a clean looking distance. In this case, I went with 2 divisions with 5 subdivisions, but you may find other combinations that work well. Additionally, you may notice that the labels still seem a bit off, you can change how the labels appear under the numbers section, using the Frequency Setting, as an example setting to Divisions and the first subdivision produces the following result.

7. Adding a North Arrow to the Map

Before adding a North Arrow to a map you should ask yourself if you need a north arrow.

As an example if your map is north-up it is not necessary to use a north arrow, but you may still wish to include a small arrow for style or clarification.

Conversely if your map does not have north up, an arrow should be provided to alert readers to this.

Adding the north arrow is as simple as on the Insert ribbon, going to the drop down on north arrow selecting the style you want and drawing a box where you want it to appear.

Also notice towards the bottom of the map there are options that point to magnetic north, and the Topographic styles that show both True North, and Magnetic North. These may be appropriate choices where the map will be used with a compass for navigation, but otherwise magnetic north should be avoided as it will not be intuitive to most people.

Lab Assignment #4, Due before next week’s lab

The lab assignment is to produce a finished map (8.5 x 11″) with free use of colour design as in lab instructions.

NOTE: You could make one map that can be printed in either colour and monochrome.  If you wished to also view a monchrome version, you can ‘export’ to PDF as both colour and grayscale.  You can make adjustments to your colour map to also suit grayscale, if colour were not permitted.

Evaluation for the assignment

This assignment is worth 5% of the overall class grade. 

  • 2.5% for the symbolization of the map
  • 2.5% for the overall layout

Ensure that your symbolization follows cartographic rules, and sufficient contrast enables the distinction of all symbols.

Add the following layers:

  • built-up_area
  • cemeter(y) (label on map)
  • contours
  • glacier (label on map)
  • golf_course (label on map)
  • lakes (label on map)
  • mining_location
  • park
  • railway
  • rivers
  • rivers polygon (label on map)
  • roads
  • runway (label on map)
  • sandbar
  • tower
  • trail
  • vegetation (= forested)
  • wetland

Submit your files as username_geog205_A4.pdf

Optional – Preparing ArcGIS Pro for print export

By default, ArcGIS Pro is set up for computer display. However, if we want to produce print maps, and have them look on paper as they do on screen we should enable colour profiles.

The reason we use different colour profiles is that colour is handed very differently on a computer screen as opposed to printing. A computer screen uses the primary colours of light (Red, Green, Blue); on the other hand a printer uses the primary colours of pigment (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow) and additionally blacK from which we get CMYK.

Click Project >>> Options, then enable colour profiles as seen below. (We will leave the default as RGB as that is what we will be using for the remainder of the course).

Now right click on Map, under the drawing order choose properties, and set the colour management for this specific map.

Pick CMYK, and leave the default colour profile, when working with a professional printing company they would provide you with the profiles that match their printers.

You will likely not notice a difference in your display, other than potentially blacks becoming less dark. Unless you own a colour calibrated monitor in which case you would notice a slight shift in some tones. In most cases this may be minor, but if you have important projects the extra couple of steps may be worth it.

Categories: GEOG 205Labs