UC Central Live: 12 Tips and 2 Curiosities from Mappy Hour

07-19-2021 02:26 PM
Labels (1)
Esri Regular Contributor
3 0 714

Mappy Hour returned to the User Conference's UC Central Live program, where hosts Edie Punt, Nathan Shephard, and Kenneth Field chatted about maps from the virtual Map Gallery and brought in special guests to share tips and insights about their work. 

Ask the Cartographer and Cartographic Curiosities were a couple of the segments presented during Mappy Hour. We noted some tips and takeaways from the discussions for you to build your next great map.


Bojan Šavrič joined Mappy Hour to talk about the Equal Earth Projection, a projection notably used in the recent 31203 World Map from Lego. Bojan explains how the idea for the projection was proposed by Tom Patterson, formerly of the U.S. National Park Service, who invited him and Bernhard Jenny to address the need for an equal area projection that would work for thematic world maps.

:information: In cartography, a map projection is the methodology for presenting the globe on flat surfaces like paper, computer screens, and other forms of media.

Before closing the Ask the Cartographer segment, Edie asked Bojan what tip he has for those starting out with mapping.

Tip #1
Map projections should be used on a case-by-case basis. One map projection doesn't fit all maps.  "Before you start, make sure you select the right [projection] for whatever your purpose is," said Bojan.



Shannon Gonzalez from Esri's Map Authoring team joined Mappy Hour to share her work and provide viewers with three tips: 


Tip #2

  • "Do not be afraid to challenge the status quo. Go after a more improved color scheme."

 Tip #3

  • "Reach out to the cartography community online and through conferences. Ask questions and put your work out there for feedback."

Tip #4

  • "Pace yourself. It's easy to fall into this feeling of you need to keep up with all of the different beautiful things that are being put out by the community. Stay inspired without being too competitive. Own where you are and go at a healthy pace."


Wrapping up the conversation on Day 2, The Mappy Hour hosts also had concluding tips to share:


Tip #5

  • Kenneth Field: "What worked back then may work just as well now." Look at maps from the past to inspire your cartography and reference contemporary sources of inspiration such as data journalism in the New York Times, South China Morning Post, or Zeit Online (Die Zeit) in Germany.

Tip #6

  • Nathan Shephard: "Sometimes 3D can tell a story in a way that 2D can't, but it's not always the answer. Try 3D maps out, and think through carefully about when you're going to use it."

Tip #7

  • Edie Punt: "Think beyond the data. Think about how your legends can work or how you can do interesting things with a neat line. There is more to it than just symbols and data. Use all the periphery to the map that can really make or break your map out."


Cartographic Curiosities: Imagery Inspiration & Map Traps

In the Cartographic Curiosities segment, Madhura Phaterpekar, Product Manager with ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud, joined the conversation. She shared a Google Chrome Extension called Worldview by Esri UK that opens a map with every new browser tab.



Pictured: A view of Alaska, USA up close and on the globe by Worldview, a Chrome Extension created by Esri UK.



Pictured: A view of Greenland shared in the segment by Worldview, a Chrome Extension created by Esri UK.


Another curiosity she shared was the map traps within cartography, which inspired Kenneth Field to share a couple of his map trap creations.

To honor David Bowie, Kenneth was inspired to create a map asking the question: "(Is there) Life on Mars?”, naming the map after a song by the musician released on Bowie's Hunky Dory album. As you explore the map, you may come across the map trap of David Bowie in secretly placed on the planet.



He couldn't miss the opportunity to apply this map trap of The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, another musical reference for an interactive 3D moon globe map.




Tips #8 and #9

For tips on getting started with cartography, Madhura says to use what you're learning to channel your interest in cartography, spatial science, and data visualization.

She adds that you should collaborate more to elevate your way of thinking technically and communicating effectively.

As they closed the last Mappy Hour for the User Conference, Edie, Nathan, and Kenneth shared a last round of tips:

Tip #10

  • Edie Punt: "Iterate repeatedly. Your gut feeling is not always the best way to create a map."


Tip #11

  • Nathan Shephard:  "Consider that your work doesn't have to be a map." Focus on communicating your story or data effectively and consider other solutions like a map collection, a 3D map, an ArcGIS StoryMap, or even a video.


Tip #12

  • Kenneth  Field: "Be prepared to put your map out for public scrutiny." Ask others if the map works in the way that it is intended. Take the feedback about the map and apply it to improve your work. "It's not about you; it's about the map."


For more tips on mapping, check out the UC 2021 session for ArcGIS: Designing Thematic Maps.

What tips did you gather from Mappy Hour? Share them below!

About the Author
Community Content Manager | GIS tech enthusiast, Marketing Communications professional, and former customer of Esri. I'm here to share stories and highlight content from community members in Esri Community. Industry experience: County Government, Health & Human Services, and Business.