Make Maps That Get Value from Data

Blog Post created by jherries-esristaff Employee on Oct 30, 2014

In the winter issue of ArcUser, I contributed an article called:


Make Maps That Get Value from Data


I work with a number of talented people here on cartography, and I wanted to share just a little bit of the experiences we have had in recent years with thematic maps. In particular, where do we rely on the software, or the data, to do certain things, and where do we intervene in order to extract real meaning from the data and map? 


Screenshot 2014-07-30 16.15.27.png

SPOILER ALERT: you are a critical part of the process. There are many messages present in any data set. Pick one, and make it clear. In the map above, we chose to emphasize the very rich areas and the very poor areas. A different map might emphasize the middle class income categories, rather than subdue them in grays as shown above.


The article is a follow-on to a Live Training Seminar that Jeremy Bartley and I presented back in April 2014, called:


Esri Training | Data Visualization with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript 


In that seminar, there were multiple examples of how the right settings can suddenly bring the message, otherwise buried in the data, into focus.


You might, correctly, infer that the message here is:

  • you can make great thematic maps as a manager or analyst using ArcMap
  • you can make great thematic maps as a web developer (or manager of web developers) using the ArcGIS API for JavaScript