Book Image

Mapping with ArcGIS Pro

By : Amy Rock, Ryan Malhoski
Book Image

Mapping with ArcGIS Pro

By: Amy Rock, Ryan Malhoski

Overview of this book

ArcGIS Pro is a geographic information system for working with maps and geographic information. This book will help you create visually stunning maps that increase the legibility of the stories being mapped and introduce visual and design concepts into a traditionally scientific, data-driven process. The book begins by outlining the steps of gathering data from authoritative sources and lays out the workflow of creating a great map. Once the plan is in place you will learn how to organize the Contents Pane in ArcGIS Pro and identify the steps involved in streamlining the production process. Then you will learn Cartographic Design techniques using ArcGIS Pro's feature set to organize the page structure and create a custom set of color swatches. You will be then exposed to the techniques required to ensure your data is clear and legible no matter the size or scale of your map. The later chapters will help you understand the various projection systems, trade-offs between them, and the proper applications of them to make sure your maps are accurate and visually appealing. Finally, you will be introduced to the ArcGIS Online ecosystem and how ArcGIS Pro can utilize it within the application. You will learn Smart Mapping, a new feature of ArcGIS Online that will help you to make maps that are visually stunning and useful. By the end of this book, you will feel more confident in making appropriate cartographic decisions.
Table of Contents (12 chapters)

Data management is important

Before you start working on your project, you need to set up a logical folder and file-naming convention. This is a very important step, because as you may have experienced in the past, you can get pulled into something else and shelve a project for a length of time and lose a lot of memory of how things were done. This also helps in case someone else has to come in and pick up where you left off.

Project folder structure

If your organization has a defined folder structure on how to manage folders and files, use that structure, but if you are given a free range, I highly recommend coming up with a folder structure that will help you keep files organized. In the past, most of everything was in the shapefile format, so you would typically organize by the theme of the data. Today, ArcGIS Pro will automatically create a geodatabase file when you create a new project, giving you a place to store your project data. I will usually create another geodatabase file to be my scratch area and leave the original geodatabase file as my final project data.

Whenever I receive data from someplace, I start a folder called original and create a folder with the name of the source and make the files read-only. This has saved me a few times when I received or found data, made a change to it and couldn't revert. Now I don't have to remember where I got the data or find the person who sent it to me originally. I usually create folders for each type of file I receive, for example, KML, LYRX, SHP, raster, and so on.

If you feel comfortable with a folder structure already, by all means, use it; just keep it consistent! Consistency is key when organizing things.

Project file naming

Just like making sure your folder structure is organized in a logical way, your file naming must follow a logical pattern to be successful. We've all been there, running geoprocesses all day, sometimes tweaking settings multiple times. At the end, you see all the files with the suffixes _export_export2, _clip, _merge, and so on, and if you have a program crash or a forced restart, you will have a hard time trying to figure out which one you were using. Forcing yourself to take the five seconds to change the filename to something more descriptive will save many seconds/minutes/hours down the line. What I show will be a guide; change it as you need to, and just remember to be consistent!

My four keys to file naming:

  • No spaces or special characters
  • Use camel case or snake case
  • When including a date, use a date prefix like yyyymmdd
  • If processing data, enter the process name and any major settings (for example, 20171002_City_Limits_Buffer_10mi)

While today's software is smart enough to ignore spaces or special characters, there is still legacy software that will fail because of them. An added benefit of not using spaces is when you send a network path of a file or folder to someone, a link will automatically be generated in most email clients. If there is a space in the URL, it may create a link using all the characters up to the space, creating an invalid link. Use camel or snake case for legibility, and when appropriate, use the yyyymmdd date prefix. Having the date in that format allows you to sort by name and have the dated data show chronologically. Finally, putting in the process name with major settings allows you to quickly and easily find the particular data you processed. Now that we have thought about our folder structure and file-naming conventions, let's put them to use by finding data to populate our project!